Studying in the UK

The education system in the UK and the way you are taught here may be totally different from the way it is in your home country. Most of our taught programmes are delivered through a combination of lectures and tutorials and in some cases, labs. You will also be expected to undertake a large amount of independent study. You will be given a timetable during induction that will contain information about the lectures, tutorials or labs that you must attend.

Lectures, tutorials and labs

A lecture is a talk given by an academic member of staff. The class can be quite big and you will be expected to listen and take notes. There may be an opportunity at the end of the lecture to raise any questions. Lectures can run for anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours and you won't normally be expected to participate in discussion unless invited to do so by the lecturer.

A tutorial (or seminar as they are sometimes known) gives students the opportunity to discuss topics that were taught during a lecture, and to look into these in more detail. In these sessions you will be expected to participate in discussions and will normally be asked to prepare some work beforehand.

This is normally a small class that takes place in a laboratory and gives you the opportunity to do hands on experiments dealing with the practical applications of what you have been taught in your lectures and tutorials. A lab can be run by an academic or may in some cases be run by PhD students.

Preparing for study in the UK

Prepare for Success is an interactive web based learning tool for international students who are getting ready to come to the UK for study in further or higher education. It contains learning resources which are activity-based to help you find out about different aspects of academic life in the UK, and the skills needed for effective study. As well as preparing you for what to expect during your studies, the activities provide scope for English language improvement.

Prepare to Study and Live in the UK: An online course developed by the British Council to help familiarise yourself with UK culture and Higher Education. 

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also provides information on their website that you may find informative when learning about the education system in the UK.

Support once you arrive

Information Services offer an extensive choice of workshops designed to help students get the most from their studies. Topics covered include; finding information online, preparing for exams, citing and referencing and techniques for managing stress. Students can find out how to write better essays and reports, critically evaluate journal articles, perform well in group work and much more. You can find information on the Workshop Programme at the Edinburgh Campus on our website. If you have any questions about the workshops, please contact Information Services.

For students studying at our Scottish Borders Campus, please speak to your Library who will be able to advise which workshops are taking place.

An introduction to these services will normally be explained in an optional one hour lecture at the start of each term. The session is called ‘Study in the UK' and you can find copies of the slides used in the previous presentation: