School of Social and Political Science

SPS Edinburgh Award for Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning


This version of the Edinburgh Award is designed to support you as a PALS Leader in developing and practicing your transferable skills by reflecting on the positive impact you have on others in your role. It is a tailored and reflective process designed to help you identify skills to focus on and develop, both throughout your time in the programme and beyond. 

The Award runs October to March and entails 55-hours of self-directed work over the academic year.

You must be an SPS PALS Leader to participate in this Edinburgh Award. 


Why complete an Edinburgh Award?

On the SPS Edinburgh Award for Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning, you will have the option to partake in group coaching, participate in three check-in points throughout the process to help you stay on track to meet your goals, and gain access to a Teams group to network, ask questions and share experiences.

As competition for graduate jobs continues to intensify, SPS Edinburgh Awards are an ideal way to make your CV stand out. Employers will want to know what you can bring to the role and your experience from participating in the Awards can help to demonstrate your broader skills, showing what you have learned in addition to your academic knowledge. 

Your SPS Edinburgh Award for Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning will also appear on your Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) transcript

There are many different versions of the Edinburgh Award at the University, the information below is specific to this version only.

You can see the other versions here:

Award Structure

To complete the Award you must:

  • Attend three Input Sessions (1-hour each)
  • Complete 20 hours of skills development workshops
    • 12 hours of leadership workshops
    • 8 hours of SDO development workshops
  • Submit a series of short reflective pieces detailing your progress on the Award and focusing on your development as a leader
  • Complete at least 30 hours of involvement as a PALS Leader (preparing for and facilitating sessions etc.) 

See our Award FAQ pages for more details

Part 1: Attend Three Input Sessions

To qualify for and continue to progress on the Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning Award, you must attend three Input Sessions.

Each Input Session lasts one hour and is run by the Student Development Office (SDO).

You cannot progress to the next stage of the Award if you do not attend the Input sessions.

In each session, we will:

  • discuss your progress on the Award
  • think about the skills that you are developing
  • reflect on how you can use these to demonstrate employability

The Input Sessions are as follows:

  • Input 1 - Aspiring
  • Input 2 - Developing
  • Input 3 - Owning

Input Sessions will feature a mix of presentations, group activities and individual reflections.

All Input Sessions will be delivered on campus.

Part 2: Attend 20 Hours of Skills Development Workshops

To qualify for the Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning Award, you must attend 20 hours SPS PALS Training and SDO (Student Development Office) Skills Development workshops.

12 Hours will be from your core PALS Training 


8 hours must be from the SDO Skills Development workshop list. 

The Student Development Office (SDO) runs skills development workshops throughout the academic year. Sessions focus on a wide range of subjects, including both professional and academic skills and match up to the Graduate Attribute skills framework that the Edinburgh Award uses. 

Some of our workshops are 1 hour and the longest is 3 hours to fit around your other commitments.

SDO Workshops

See the full list of workshops available and book your space:

Workshops and Events


Attending Sessions Across the University

As part of the SPS Edinburgh Award, you may attend skills sessions offered by other training providers across the university (IAD, Career Services, etc.)

A minimum of 6 of your 8 hours Workshop must be from workshops run by the Student Development Office.

The remaining 2 hours can be from sessions delivered by other departments across the university (this includes resources such as LinkedIn Learning). 

Please note: You will need to send us evidence of your attendance at any sessions not facilitated by the Student Development Office. If you have questions about how to do that, please get in touch.

Part 3: Submit a Series of Short Reflective Pieces

To qualify for the Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning Award, you must submit a series of short reflective pieces detailing your progress on the Award.

After each Input Session, you will submit a 600-word reflection on your progress to date.

You are encouraged to think about:

  • how your skills are developing, especially your leadership development
  • how you can begin to use them in practice as PALS Leaders
  • how you would describe your progress to an employer

At the end of the Award, you also reflect on the impact you have created as a PALS Leader. 

Part 4: Undertake an Impact Activity 

The impact activity for this Award is fulfilled through your involvement as an SPS PALS Leader. 

This may include:

  • planning and preparing for sessions
  • promoting sessions
  • updating Learn and social media
  • communicating with faculty and peers
  • facilitating sessions
  • other tasks associated with your role as a PALS Leader

These activities must total at least 30 hours across the year. 

At the end of the year, you will be asked to submit a log of your PALS activities, along with a 500-word reflection on your impact on your community as a PALS Leader. 

How do I sign up?

Information about how to enrol on the Award will be given at the introductory training for PALS Leaders in September. 

After the session, you will be sent a link to submit your first 600-word input reflection (Input 1). 

Contact the Student Development Office team

If you have any queries about the SPS Edinburgh Award for Leadership in Peer Assisted Learning, please contact the Student Development Office (SDO) team:

Contact the SDO team

More Information on SPS PALS

Learn more about SPS PALS:

SPS Peer Learning and Support


Student category
Development Hub