School of Social and Political Science

Choosing Courses on Your Year Abroad

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Whatever your degree, there are three main issues you need to consider when choosing Politics courses:

  1. the level they are taught at;
  2. the content of the course;
  3. the credits you receive.

We are here to help, but the onus is on you to ensure you have met course requirements while on your overseas exchange. Take the initiative yourself.

Information for all Politics and International Relations students

LEVEL. Courses should generally be at year 3 level or higher, though there is leeway here depending on local circumstances. For example, if you are studying in a foreign language some of your credits may be at a lower level. We try to look at each case on its merits.

CONTENT. To receive credit for a politics or international relations course, the courses you choose should be substantially politics or international relations in content, though close cognate areas may be acceptable. Again, local circumstances are important. Studying the culture and history of the country you are in, even if these courses are broader than politics, is often acceptable.

CREDITS. You need to take a normal full load at your overseas institution. If you are not sure what this is, check first with advisors there, Edinburgh Global, etc, before asking your Edinburgh junior year abroad contact. Typically at an American university a full load will mean 4 courses per semester. At an EU university you should have 60 ECTS for the entire year. There is no longer a possibility of making up credits in year 4 at Edinburgh. That means if you return without sufficient credits you may need to stay beyond your 4th year to gain the missing credits.

Note that it is up to you to make sure that sufficient Politics/IR courses are available at the right level at your destination university to meet our requirements, before you start your Junior Year Abroad. Note also that full-year credit requirements must be met: semester-only exchanges are not permissible through PIR.

In terms of course choice, you will make a preliminary selection using the information below and information from your destination university, and check it with the Politics & IR International Exchange Coordinator, Dr Kasia Kaczmarska (PIR-Int-Exchange@ed.ac.uk) before starting your Junior Year Abroad. However, sometimes this preliminary selection turns out to be inappropriate or unfeasible or unavailable when you start at your destination university. If this happens, it is important to find alternatives. Normally, course selection can only be finalised when the student arrives at the beginning of the semester.

Requirements for single honours Politics students

  • All your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects (though there is some leeway here as per above).
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.
  • You are permitted to take some credits in a language course for the language of the country you are studying in. However, this must NOT be more than 10% of your total credits for the year (no more than 5 ECTS for Erasmus exchanges).

Requirements for single honours International Relations students

  • All your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects (though there is some leeway here as per above)
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.
  • You are permitted to take some credits in a language course for the language of the country you are studying in. However, this must NOT be more than 10% of your total credits for the year (no more than 5 ECTS for Erasmus exchanges).

Requirements for joint honours Politics students (not doing MEL)

  • Half your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.
  • Please consult the Degree Programme Table for your degree regarding Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106). If this course is a requirement, then you will either need to replace it on your JYA or take it in fourth year. If RDPIR is not required but you are intending to do your Dissertation in Politics you are strongly advised to find a replacement or take it on your return in 4th year.

Requirements for joint honours International Relations and Law/International Law students

  • Half your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects.
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.

Requirements for Sustainable Development students, Politics pathway

  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.
  • One-third of your course credits must normally be courses addressing sustainability and environment-related social science. If you wish to you can apply to take Responding to Sustainability Challenges: Critical Debates and Cases in Sustainable Development on your return in fourth year (you will need to ask the course conveners as there is a cap on numbers).
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.

Requirements for Sustainable Development students, IR pathway

  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in International Relations subjects.
  • One-third of your course credits must normally be courses addressing sustainability and environment-related social science. If you wish to you can apply to take Responding to Sustainability Challenges: Critical Debates and Cases in Sustainable Development on your return in fourth year (you will need to ask the course conveners as there is a cap on numbers).
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.

Requirements for joint honours with Modern European Languages (MEL)

  • You must attend a university where there is a Politics department.
  • One-third of your course credits must normally be chosen in Politics subjects.

NOTE: if you are a Modern European Language & Politics joint honours student, we recommend that you study at a university, in which case you must take Politics courses for credit (as above). However, if you will NOT be studying courses for credit (typically doing an internship or some other work experience) your Politics assessment will be by essay.

Requirements for Politics with QM students

  • At least 1/6 of your course credits must normally be chosen in Quantitative Methods, and the remainder in Politics subjects.
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.
  • You will take Statistical Modelling (SSPS10027) on your return in fourth year.

Requirements for IR with QM students

  • At least 1/6 of your course credits must normally be chosen in Quantitative Methods, and the remainder in International Relations subjects.
  • You must find a replacement for Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106) or take it on your return to Edinburgh in fourth year.
  • You will take Statistical Modelling (SSPS10027) on your return in fourth year.

Transferring marks overseas into Edinburgh grades

This only happens with language-based degree students. Non-language students will be marked on a pass-fail basis, and your Honours degree will be classified solely on the basis of your performance in your fourth and final year. However, the year abroad performance is still important. You need to achieve satisfactory completion of the approved programme of study abroad before being permitted to proceed to 4th year, and Final Year Exam Boards can take into account exceptional performance, either good or bad, during the study abroad year if your degree classification is borderline.

Contact

Politics & IR International Exchange Coordinator:
Dr Kasia Kaczmarska (PIR-Int-Exchange@ed.ac.uk)

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