About the University of Edinburgh
- The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1583 and is ranked very highly--#27 in the world (The World University Rankings, 2017).
- It has a student population of about 25,000 undergraduate students (and over 35,000 total students). As opposed to a campus setting, the city of Edinburgh is the campus. To learn more, check out this Scotland PPT, which covers Edinburgh and our other Scotland exchange partner, to compare/contrast. Also be sure to look at the gorgeous photos in this Buzzfeed.
- Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is located approximately 393 miles (4.5 hours by train) from London.
- It has a population of approximately 500,000 and remains a compact city with libraries, museums, theatres, shopping, and business areas in close proximity.
- It is a great place to live and study as it contains an enormous number of historical and cultural sites.
- If needed, click here for Edinburgh support services links, and specifically here for the Edinburgh Disability Office website.
- Open to all majors
- GPA of 3.20 preferred (3.0 minimum); major GPA most important
- Junior or senior standing
- Interested students must attend a general information session before submitting an application. Robins School of Business students must also attend a business-specific session. Click to open the information session schedule.
- Note: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university to study abroad. When reviewing applications for approval, disciplinary records will be taken into consideration and students must be cleared by the Dean's Office to study abroad. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if their probationary period extends beyond the start date of the semester abroad program.
Acceptance is competitive
There is a limit on the number of UR students studying at any one location, so applicants must indicate a 2nd choice program (including a well-considered list of classes) and must be prepared to go there. Competition is considerably higher in the fall than in the spring.
Most subjects are available, but Edinburgh is particularly strong in English literature, history, political science, economics, and the sciences (no laboratories for pre-med students). Some subjects are more competitive than others in terms of placement and course availability. More competitive ('high pressure') subjects include art, design, English literature, history, politics, law, philosophy, and art history. When a subject is considered 'high pressure,' a deep background in the subject (3-4 courses) may be required to enroll, so check each course description for pre-requisites required.
Special note for Healthcare & Society/Public Health Students: Edinburgh has a program titled Health-Science-Society that started in 2014 that is open to visiting/exchange students, so this might be a good match for students studying this subject area. Note: Don't let the 'MA' designation of this program deter you--this is an undergraduate program (4-year honours degrees in Scotland are traditionally called MA to distinguish them from 3-year degrees).
Lectures and tutorials
Courses consist of lectures, tutorials (seminars) and, where appropriate, laboratory classes. Lectures are larger than the tutorials, which typically have only 10-15 students. Students may wish to avoid first year classes, which tend to be very large. The tutorial is the traditional strength of the Scottish university system. Participation in the tutorial is very important and can count for a significant part of the total grade. In most classes, students prepare and present a seminar paper.
Course offerings are published in the Visiting Student Guide (click on "Courses & Credits" and then "Course Finder"). Normally, you will need to make your course selections from the current year's offerings, but the same courses are usually offered from one year to the next. An updated catalogue usually becomes available in April of each year.
Internship with Scottish Parliament
The University of Edinburgh offers visiting students the opportunity to serve as interns to members of Scottish Parliament in a semester-length program. Click to go directly to the Parliamentary Programme website. NOTE: Students who apply to the Parliamentary Programme will need to collect two formal letters of recommendation (on letterhead) as part of the secondary application process (after approval by Richmond). However, the turnaround time is particularly tight for students applying for spring abroad, so those students should make an early note of this requirement. This applies only to Parliamentary applicants; those doing a regular semester/year at Edinburgh do not submit recommendations.
Part year or full year
If you will be abroad for one semester only, you must look for part-year courses designated for semester 1 or semester 2. Full-year students should look at the full year list. Part-year students are not allowed to take courses designed for the full year.
Students who wish to take honours courses must be majors in that subject area and must have completed at least three-four major courses with a grade of B or better. Scottish students specialize in a specific subject rather than fulfilling requirements in a broad range of subjects; therefore, you may find levels 100 and 200 to be more advanced than first- or second-year courses at UR. In general visiting students may take anything from year 1 to year 3 coursework if they meet the pre-requisites (year 4 and post-grad courses not available to visiting students), but for much more detail, see here. Note that it is not recommended for visiting students to take more than two honours courses per semester.
Course load and credits
At Edinburgh, a full year's worth of credit is equal to 120 Edinburgh credits; one semester equals 60 Edinburgh credits. The normal course load consists of three 20-credit courses per semester. However, certain faculties (departments) have begun offering 10-credit courses, so students should adjust their course load accordingly. The minimum course load for a Richmond student is 50 Edinburgh credits per semester. While this may be fewer courses than you are used to with less contact time (class time) per course, there is greater emphasis on independent learning at Edinburgh and it is expected that you should put in 200 hours of study (13 hours per week) per 20-credit course.
Credit conversion to units
Coursework taken abroad will be transferred back to the student's Richmond record under the Conversion to Units system. The chart below shows how Edinburgh credits are converted to Richmond units.
|one 10-credit course
|one 20-credit course
|one 40-credit course
||An excellent performance-very rare
||A very good performance
|55 - 59
||A good performance
||A good performance
|40 - 49
||A satisfactory performance
|35 - 39
||A marginal fail
||D Not eligible for transfer credit
|0 - 34
IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING GRADING: At Edinburgh, each course is comprised of at least two if not three or more course components, and each component must be passed successfully in order to receive a passing grade for the entire course. For example, if a course has 10% of the grade for class assignments, 20% for a paper (essay), and 70% of the grade for the exam, each of the three components must be passed successfully in order to receive a passing grade (equivalent to a 'C' or better) for the course and to achieve transfer credit. This is regardless of the overall mark. Therefore, even if a student receives a perfect score in two of three course components, if the third component is not successfully passed, the student will not receive academic credit.
Students who meet stated deadlines are guaranteed on-campus housing. Richmond students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own accommodations. All residences are equipped with kitchens and lounges on each floor. The kitchen area often becomes a social area for the hall residents. Options include a residence hall with a meal plan (Pollock Hall) or a university flat. Flats are self-catered (residents prepare their own meals) and offer no meal plan.
Dates and Costs
See here for program dates and a budget sheet for Edinburgh.
Click here for Edinburgh's online calendar.
See UK Visa Requirements and the British Council website. The preferred option for single-semester U.S. citizen students is to enter the UK with short-term study status (no cost, and no advance application required). Typically only yearlong students or students accepted to the Parliamentary Programme should apply for the full Tier 4 student visa (as it is required for yearlong students and for students who work/intern). Non-U.S. students will need to check the requirements for their home country here to determine whether they need to apply for the full UK student visa. IMPORTANT: Students should not arrange flights through the Republic of Ireland, as they will not receive the correct visa stamp upon entry to the UK.
For More Information
To learn more, see the Edinburgh Orientation Manual. Contact Amy Bergmann in the Office of International Education if you have general questions. Robins School of Business students should contact Fae Bell in the Robins School with any questions about academics.
This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.