Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study

Search

SPS Peer Learning and Support

There are several peer support projects in SPS, providing extra academic and social support for students. These projects aim to foster students’ independent thinking and learning and contribute to a sense of community within the School and individual subject areas.

Forms of Peer Learning and Support

Most of the Peer Learning schemes in the School of Social and Political Science are PALS schemes, which stands for ‘Peer Assisted Learning’. PALS is a model where students from years 2-4 plan and run regular, structured sessions on academic content for students in the years below them, usually years 1 and 2. The higher year students (PALS Leaders) do not teach, but rather run activities which facilitate group reflection and discussions on the main themes of compulsory courses. The purpose of PALS schemes is to get new students settled into university life, provide a space where new students can meet people, develop relationships and improve their academic understanding. PALS sessions are open to everyone, whether you are feeling a little behind and need a little help or wish to make new friends to socialise and revise with.

Most PALS groups also occasionally run social activities which aim to provide pastoral support for students, besides their peer learning sessions. Not every peer support scheme follows the traditional PALS model: PIR Families, for example, has a focus on providing pastoral support only through a “family” model which brings together students from all years.

Peer Learning and Support 2020-2021

This page provides an overview of existing schemes. Sessions are usually advertised through LEARN announcements, emails and Social Media. No sign-up is required, just join in!

PIRPALS (Politics and IR)

Sessions for this scheme are based on the content of the core pre-honours Politics and IR courses “Introduction to Politics and international Relations” (Semester 1) and Political Thinkers (Semester 2).  These sessions are open to all students on the courses.  During our weekly sessions we go over lecture material from the previous week and we hold speciality essay and exam sessions to go over all the content from the courses. Join us for a chance to ask questions, meet new people, and find a new way to learn and study! 

This scheme was shortlisted in 2016/2017 for the Students’ Association Impact Award for Best Peer Learning Scheme and was the winner of the Award in 2017/2018.

Social Mediahttps://www.facebook.com/pirpalsuoe/

Staff Contact: SSO Natalie Stroud (natalie.stroud@ed.ac.uk)

PIR Families (Politics and IR)

PIR Families group interested students of all years into ‘families’, which are all led by a trained Peer Support student leader. They organize various thematic social events within individual families as well as jointly with everyone. The focus of PIR families lies on providing a supportive community for all students in Politics and IR.

This scheme was shortlisted in 2016/2017 for the Students’ Association Impact Award for Best Peer Learning Scheme and was the winner of the Award in 2017/2018.

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/pirfamilies/

Staff Contact: SSO Natalie Stroud (natalie.stroud@ed.ac.uk)

SDPALS (Sustainable Development)

Sessions for this scheme for semester 1 are based on the content of the core pre-honours Sustainable Development courses Sustainable Development 1a (Semester 1), International Development, Humanitarianism and Aid (Semester 1; essay and exam session only).

Social Media:  https://m.facebook.com/groups/701239083594906

Student committee contact: sdpals@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk

Staff Contact: SSO Sue Renton (Sue.Renton@ed.ac.uk)

SOCPALS (Sociology)

Sessions for this scheme are based on the content of the core pre-honours Sociology courses Sociology 1A (Semester 1) and Sociology 1B (Semester 2). Open to all students on the courses!

Social Media: ‘SocPALS’ Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/2712006902189010/about/

Staff Contact: SSO Karen Dargo (Karen.Dargo@ed.ac.uk)

QMPALS (Quantitative Methods)

QMPALS is a peer-assisted learning scheme to help pre-honours SPS students in the Q-Step programme, as well as outside students taking the Quantitative Methods courses. 

Social Mediahttps://www.facebook.com/groups/2103068153329511/

Student committee contact: qmpals@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk

Staff Contact: SSO Sue Renton (Sue.Renton@ed.ac.uk)

SocAnthPALS (Social Anthropology)

Sessions for this scheme are based on the content of the core pre-honours Social Anthropology courses. Open to all students on the courses!

Staff Contact: SSO Sahara Choudhury (sahara.choudhury@ed.ac.uk)

PPALS (Social Policy)

Sessions for this scheme are based on the content of the core pre-honours Social Policy courses Social Policy and Society (Semester 1), European Social Policy (Semester 1; essay and exam sessions only) and Politics of the Welfare State (Semester 2). Open to all students on the courses!

Social Media: PPALS Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ppalsedinburgh/

Staff Contact: SSO Alex Dysart (alex.dysart@ed.ac.uk)

Got ideas for Peer Learning and Support?

We are continuously working on developing our support offer further and expanding into new subject areas. If you have any feedback or new ideas, please contact the Peer Learning and Support Coordinator Larissa Nenning lnenning@ed.ac.uk or speak to your SSO.

If you are looking for more information on other Peer Learning and Support schemes across the university, check out the website of the Students’ Association:  https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/support_and_advice/peer_learning_and_support/

white image