School of Social and Political Science

Attendance and engagement monitoring


This page is being updated for 2021

The University expects all students to attend all their University classes, lectures and seminars, whether or not these are described as “compulsory” by the individual staff members. This includes participating fully in the requirements of all courses, including submitting assignments, contributing to tutorials and workshops or laboratories, attending meetings with Personal Tutors, group meetings and sitting examinations.

Staff take attendance records at every class. The main purpose of attendance monitoring is to help students manage their progress throughout the year and to provide additional pastoral or academic support where needed.

If you need to miss class

If students have to miss a class due to unforeseeable circumstances (for example, illness on the day), it is their responsibility to contact the Course Organiser well in advance. Students are then expected to take steps to catch up with what they might have missed.

Taking part

All students are expected to take an active part in lectures, seminars and tutorials, as this is a central part of the learning process. In some courses, participation forms part of formal assessment. Postgraduate study thrives off student interactions – the more engaged and prepared students are, the more they will gain from the experience and each other.

Independent study

Much of students’ study time is spent working independently, reading and preparing for classes, and writing papers and other assignments. This component increases over the course of the year, as students begin their dissertation or placement. The school provides maximum support throughout the academic year to help students navigate their independent learning. Students should remember to refer to Programme and Course handbooks, and to ask any questions to the Programme Director and Course Organisers first.

Student support

Students also have access to a range of support services throughout the University that can help them make the most of their postgraduate programme.

Graduate School Support Team

Tier 4 Visa Requirements

The University of Edinburgh is the sponsor of Tier 4 students. 

The University has a number of legal responsibilities, including monitoring student attendance and reporting to the Home Office where students

  • suspend their studies, transfer or withdraw from a course, or complete their studies significantly early;
  • fail to register/enrol at the start of the programme or at the two additional registration sessions each year without explanation;
  • are repeatedly absent or are absent for an extended period and are excluded from the programme due to non-attendance. 

The University must maintain a record of your attendance and the Home Office can ask to see this or request information about it at any time. 

Student with a Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh are legally required to:

  • ensure they have a correct and valid visa for studying at the University of Edinburgh, which, if a Tier 4 visa, requires that it is a visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh;
  • attend all of University classes, lectures, and seminar. This includes participating fully in the requirements of their courses including submitting assignments, attending meetings with personal tutors and attending examinations. If students cannot attend due to illness, for example, they must inform the Graduate School Office and their course organiser. 
  • make sure that their contact details, including address and contact numbers, are up to date in their student record;

Please note that any email relating to Tier 4 sponsorship will be sent to students’ University email address – students should therefore check this regularly.

  • make satisfactory progress on their chosen programme of studies;
  • observe the general conditions of a Tier 4 General student visa in the UK, including studying on the programme for which their visa was issued, not overstaying the validity of their visa and complying with the work restrictions of the visa.

Further details on the terms and conditions of Tier 4 visas can be found on the University's Immigration page.

Student Immigration Service

Student Immigration Service

Information or advice about Tier 4 immigration status can be obtained by contacting the Student Immigration Service.

Address: Reid Room, Student Systems & Administration, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL Email:

Student category
MSc by Research