School of Social and Political Science



Award Essentials

Do I need to attend all of the Input Sessions?

Yes, the input sessions are an essential part of the Award structure. You must attend all three Input sessions to complete the Award. If you have a good reason why you cannot attend, we can consider alternative arrangements. You cannot progress on the Award without engaging at each step.

I can't complete the Award this year. Is it going to show on my transcript?

No, it will not show on your transcript and no one will know you did not complete. Even if you do not complete the Award, you will have attended many development sessions and you can still use these on your CV. You may also decide to transfer to the Professional Development Certificate (see details below). 

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 aspiringdeveloping, 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. 


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. You may join the Certificate at any time. 

Can I be enrolled on an Award and a Certificate at the same time? 

No, you must choose to either pursue one of the Edinburgh Awards or SPS Certificates per academic year. However, if you decide to withdraw from an Award, you may transfer to a Certificate programme. You are welcome to pursue a different Award or Certificate each year that you are an SPS student if you would like to do so. 


Skills Sessions

Can I attend workshops from outside the School?

Yes, but a minimum of 14 of your 20 hours must be from workshops run by the Student Development Office. The remaining 6 hours can be from sessions delivered by other departments in the University, such as Career Services and the IAD (this also includes resources such as LinkedIn Learn).

You will need to send us evidence of your attendance at those sessions.

Can I attend workshops from other organisations outside of the University?

No, your professional development skill sessions should be hosted by the University of Edinburgh. You can still attend workshops from other organisations, but they will not count towards the Award.

How can I find out how many skills hours I have?

Email the Student Development Office for confirmation of the number of hours you have completed. It is recommended that you use a journal or spreadsheet to track your sessions, especially if you attend workshops from other providers.

Can I get a certificate for the sessions I attended?

Yes, we can provide these upon request.

I did some professional development workshops last year. Can I count these toward the Award?

No, only skills workshops completed during the Award will be counted.

I can't make a session I signed up for. What should I do?

Please cancel your place via the online booking system or email to let us know that you cannot attend. Many of our workshops become full quite quickly and by cancelling your place you will allow another student to benefit from the training.

If you continually fail to attend sessions without cancellation, you may not be allowed to sign up for later workshops.

What happens if I don't attend enough sessions?

If you are unable to attend enough skills training sessions, you will be withdrawn from the Award.


Impact Project

What should I do for my impact project?

The type of impact activity you complete will depend on which Award you register on. As the impact activity will require at least 30 hours of work to complete, it should be something you are interested in and feel happy working on for an extended period of time. If you would like help deciding, you can book an appointment with an SDO team member to discuss your ideas. 

Can you help fund my impact activity?

We have a limited budget available to support events:

SPS Funding Opportunities

I am doing another Award outside SPS. Can I use the same project for both of the Awards?

No, you must complete a unique project for each Award. The Careers Service monitor Award activity and records will identify if you submit the same project more than once. You must also attend all the input sessions specific to each Award on which you are registered.

Can I count my Placement-Based Dissertation toward the impact part of my Award?

Yes, your Placement-Based Dissertation will count as your full 30 hours of impact activity.

I volunteer at a charity shop. Can I use that activity for my Award?

No, only activities which feature a knowledge exchange component can be accepted for the Award.

Student category
Development Hub