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Choosing Courses on Your Year Abroad

Whatever your degree, there are three main issues you need to consider when choosing Politics courses:

  1. the level they are taught at;
  2. the content of the course;
  3. the credits you receive.

We are here to help, but the onus is on you to ensure you have met course requirements while on your overseas exchange. Take the initiative yourself.

Information for all politics students

NEW!  Slides from the PIR year abroad talk on Wednesday 9th November 2016

LEVEL. Courses should generally be at year 3 level or higher, though there is leeway here depending on local circumstances. For example, if you are studying in a foreign language some of your credits may be at a lower level. We try to look at each case on its merits.

CONTENT. To receive credit for a politics or international relations course, the courses you choose should be substantially politics or international relations in content, though close cognate areas may be acceptable. Again, local circumstances are important. Studying the culture and history of the country you are in, even if these courses are broader than politics, is often acceptable.

CREDITS. You need to take a normal full load at your overseas institution. If you are not sure what this is, check first with advisors there, other students, etc, before asking your Edinburgh junior year abroad contact. Typically at an American university a full load will mean 4 courses per semester. At an EU university you should have 60 ECTS for the entire year. There is no longer a possibility of making up credits in year 4 at Edinburgh. That means if you return without sufficient credits you may need to stay beyond your 4th year to gain the missing credits.

You may make a preliminary selection of courses to study at your destination university in consultation with the Politics & International Relations Year Abroad Co-ordinator. However, sometimes the preliminary selection of courses, made from the limited information available in a course catalogue, turns out to be inappropriate or unfeasible or unavailable. If this happens, it is important to find alternatives. Normally, course selection can only be finalised when the student arrives at the beginning of the semester.

Requirements for single honours politics students

  • All your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects (though there is some leeway here as per above).
  • You must find replacement courses for BOTH our required Global Justice and Citizenship AND our Approaches to Politics and International Relations, OR take them in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.
  • You are permitted to take some credits in a language course for the language of the country you are studying in. However, this must NOT be more than 10% of your total credits for the year (no more than 5 ECTS for Erasmus exchanges).

Requirements for single honours International Relations students

  • All your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects (though there is some leeway here as per above)
  • You must find a replacement course for Theories of IR as well as EITHER Global Justice and Citizenship OR Global Security, OR International Political Economy, OR take them in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.
  • You are permitted to take some credits in a language course for the language of the country you are studying in. However, this must NOT be more than 10% of your total credits for the year (no more than 5 ECTS for Erasmus exchanges).

Requirements for Joint honours politics students (not doing MEL or Arabic)

  • Half your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.
  • You must find replacement courses for EITHER our required Global Justice and Citizenship OR our Approaches to Politics and International Relations, OR take one in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Requirements for Joint Honours International Relations students

  • You must find replacement courses for EITHER our required Global Justice and Citizenship OR our Theories of International Relations, OR take one in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Requirements for Sustainable Development students, Politics pathway

  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.
  • You are recommended to find replacement courses in your year abroad for Global Justice & Citizenship OR Comparative Politics (although you might take it on your return in 4th year) AND Approaches to Politics and IR.
  • You are also recommended to find a replacement course for Cases in Sustainable Development.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Requirements for Sustainable Development students, IR pathway

  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects.
  • You are recommended to find replacement courses in your year abroad for Global Justice & Citizenship OR International Political Economy OR International Security OR Theories of International Relations (although you might take it in 4th year) AND Approaches to Politics and IR.
  • You are also recommended to find a replacement course for Cases in Sustainable Development.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Requirements for joint honours with Modern European Languages (MEL)

  • You must attend a university where there is a Politics department.
  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.
  • You are recommended to find replacement courses in your year abroad for Global Justice & Citizenship OR Approaches to Politics and IR OR take one in Edinburgh upon your return (NB these courses are compulsory for Arabic & Politics students).

NOTE: if you are a Modern European Language & Politics joint honours student and will NOT be studying courses for credit (typically doing an internship or some other work experience) your Politics assessment will be by essay.

Requirements for joint honours with Arabic

Arabic & Politics students usually don't study courses for credit during their year abroad.  Your Politics assessment will by by essay - more information can be found here.

Requirements for Politics with QM students

  • Two-thirds of your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects and one-third in Quantitative Methods
  • You must find replacement courses for BOTH our required Global Justice and Citizenship AND our Approaches to Politics and International Relations, OR take them in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Requirements for IR with QM students

  • Two-thirds of your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects and one-third in Quantitative Methods
  • You must find a replacement course for Theories of IR as well as EITHER Global Justice and Citizenship OR Global Security, OR International Political Economy, OR take them in Edinburgh upon your return.
  • You are also highly recommended to take a Research Design course, which would help you with your dissertation in 4th year.

Transferring marks overseas into Edinburgh grades

This only happens with language-based degree students.  Non-language students will be marked on a pass-fail basis, and your Honours degree will be classified solely on the basis of your performance in your fourth and final year. However, the year abroad performance is still important. You need to achieve satisfactory completion of the approved programme of study abroad before being permitted to proceed to 4th year, and Final Year Exam Boards can take into account exceptional performance, either good or bad, during the study abroad year if your degree classification is borderline.

Contact

Politics & International Relations Year Abroad Co-Ordinator:
Dr Elizabeth Cripps (elizabeth.cripps@ed.ac.uk)

Edinburh Students