School of Social and Political Science

SPS Edinburgh Awards & Certificates


The School of Social and Political Science (SPS) Edinburgh Awards and Certificates are a series of year-long events and activities designed to strengthen your CV and help you stand out to employers.

The focus is on developing and implementing transferable soft skills as an integrated part of your studies.

The Awards provide evidence of your ongoing commitment to developing professional skills and boosting employability. They encourage you to view your professional development as a three-step process:

  1. Identifying the skills that you want to develop
  2. Learning about the skills through training workshops
  3. Putting your new skills to practical use through a series of 'impact' activities

Our Certificates focus on the same skills development journey but with less of a time commitment. 


What are employers looking for?

We all know the job market is really tough, but the good news is that the activities you do outside of your degree do count for potential employers.

Employers are looking for you to have a proven commitment to personal development and that you are confidently able to articulate your skills and abilities.

With so many people competing in the graduate job market every year, just having a degree may no longer be enough. 

Employers want university graduates who are ready for work - they’ll be investing in you and they want to know they’ll get a return on that investment.

Employers look for graduates who:

  • are self-aware
  • capitalise on their strengths
  • will have impact wherever they work
  • are committed to personal development and life-long learning
  • can confidently provide evidence for these claims

The SPS Edinburgh Awards and Certificates can help you to stand out from the crowd, adding something extra to your CV.

What is the difference between an Award and a Certificate?

Edinburgh Awards

The Edinburgh Award is a programme created by the University of Edinburgh that students can undertake alongside a particular activity. The Award aims to recognise student involvement in specific activities that have a positive impact on others and enhance these experiences. The programme focuses on the three stages of aspiring, developing, and owning your skill development. 

There are over a hundred different versions of the Edinburgh Award at the University, but the Awards mentioned below are run locally by the School of Social and Political Science. Our Student Development staff are committed to supporting students in developing and reflecting on their skills.

An Edinburgh Award appears on your Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) transcript

The Award entails 55-hours of self-directed work over the academic year. 

See our Award FAQ pages for more details


SPS Certificates

Certificates recognise attendance at specific skills development workshops, but require a shorter time commitment than the Edinburgh Awards. These Certificates are run locally by the Student Development Office and are awarded in-house. Therefore, this will not appear on your HEAR transcript, but it can still be a great thing to add to your CV!

You will be asked to reflect on your skill development throughout the year via the completion of surveys, but you will not be required to attend input sessions or complete an impact activity. 

SPS Certificates

SPS Academic Skills Development Certificate

  • This version of the Certificate intended for pre-honours (UG 1 & 2) students within SPS. 

SPS Professional Development Certificate

  • This version of the Certificate intended for any students within SPS.
SPS Edinburgh Awards

SPS Edinburgh Award for Leadership in Peer-Assisted Learning

  • This version of the Award is for current SPS PALS Leaders. 

SPS Edinburgh Award for Professional Development

  • This version of the Award aimed at undergraduate students within SPS but open to postgraduate students. 

SPS Edinburgh Award for Professional Development with Leadership

  • This version of the Award aimed at postgraduate students within SPS but open to undergraduate students.
Student category
Development Hub