School of Social and Political Science

Attendance and engagement with studies


This page is being updated for 2022/23

Class attendance

The University expects you to attend all your 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
  • attending group meetings
  • sitting examinations

Taking attendance

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

Missing a class

If you have to miss a class due to unforeseeable circumstances (for example, illness on the day), it is your responsibility to contact the Course Organiser well in advance.

You are then expected to take steps to catch up with what they might have missed.

Taking part

You 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 you are, the more you will gain from the experience and each other.

Support with working independently

Much of your 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 you begin your dissertation or placement.

The School provides maximum support throughout the academic year to help you navigate your independent learning.

You should remember to refer to Programme and Course handbooks, and to ask any questions to the Programme Director and Course Organisers first.

You also have access to a range of support services throughout the University that can help you make the most of your postgraduate programme.

Student Visa requirements

The University of Edinburgh is the sponsor of Student visa (and Tier 4) students. The University has a number of legal responsibilities, including monitoring your attendance and reporting to the Home Office where you:

  • suspend your studies
  • transfer or withdraw from a course
  • complete your studies significantly early
  • fail to register or 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. 

Legal requirements

If you are student with a student or Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, you are legally required to:

  • ensure you 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 your courses including submitting assignments, attending meetings with personal tutors and attending examinations. If you cannot attend due to illness, for example, you must inform the Graduate School Office and your course organiser.
  • make sure that your contact details, including address and contact numbers, are up to date in your student record;
  • make satisfactory progress on your chosen programme of studies;

  • observe the general conditions of a Student visa or Tier 4 General student visa in the UK, including studying on the programme for which your visa was issued, not overstaying the validity of your visa and complying with the work restrictions of the visa

Please note that any email relating to Student visa or Tier 4 sponsorship will be sent to your University email address – you should therefore check this regularly.

More information and contact

Further details on the terms and conditions of Tier 4 and other student visas, and contact details for the Student Immigration Service, can be found on the University Immigration pages.

Student Immigration Service


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Taught MSc