When does the programme run?
The programme runs from September to August. There is one intake per year, and students work on taught courses from September to March, and then turn their attention to their dissertation. The timetable is varied for those part-time students taking the programme over two years.
Should I do any pre-reading?
This depends very much on your background if you have come straight from a degree in Social Policy, in Politics, or in other social science disciplines, you may be familiar with the issues and language of Policy Studies. If you are returning to University after an time away from higher education, or have studied another discipline at undergraduate level you may need some more work to orient yourself towards the discipline. A list of readings is sent out during the summer months before you start the programme, but the Programme Director will be happy to recommend one or two texts prior to this according to your needs.
How is the taught element taught?
Not every course follows the same format, for example, data analysis courses require work in a micro-lab and on web-based material to accompany supporting lectures, but many substantive courses take the form of two hour seminars in which a lecturer will set out the outline for the day's discussions, and may introduce key ideas and concepts, and then will proceed to guide students in discussion. This means that the onus is on students to come prepared for such discussion, having read adequate material from lists provided in course handbooks.
Why dont all the courses run every year?
In order to allow a variety of courses to be taught, and to allow for research leave and sabbaticals for academic staff, some courses will not run every year. Certain courses, including the main research courses and European Social Policy are run on an annual basis.
When would I graduate?
If all goes well, you will graduate in November or December around three months after you submit your dissertation.
Why should I study Policy Studies in the UK, in Scotland, and at the University of Edinburgh?
The UK has a rich and vibrant academic environment for Policy Studies and associated disciplines, a number of which are brought together in the School of Social and Political Science and in the wider College of Humanities and Social Science. Scotland, as a recently devolved polity is an exciting place to observe contemporary developments in government, and Edinburgh itself hosts a number of institutions of interest to Policy Studies students: the Parliament; Courts at various levels; tribunals and ombudsmen; and various NGOs. For more on the experience of studying in Edinburgh, see the interviews with our students.
Image: View to Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh. ©Andy Aitchison 2007.