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Learning and assessment

At Edinburgh Law School, we encourage an interactive approach to learning. Not only do you learn from academic teaching staff, but you develop your learning through discussion and collaboration with your teachers and fellow students. You will experience a range of different learning formats and approaches during your programme, depending on the subject matter and courses you are studying.

Students in a seminar

Under normal circumstances most of our postgraduate courses are taught by way of two-hour interactive seminars. These normally take place weekly over the course of each semester. Our aim is to enable you explore topics independently, examining in detail the subjects relevant to your studies through intellectually rigorous discussions, guided by experienced academics, helping you to learn how to make and develop your own arguments. This approach will develop your problem solving and communication skills, helping you build core competencies which you can apply in your future career, whether in the legal profession, business, government, non-governmental organisations, third sector or academia.

All students are expected to actively participate in discussions and to prepare for classes in advance by reading the materials that have been assigned in advance of the seminar. Questions for reflection and discussion, or other exercises, will be provided. Preparing effectively will allow you to engage fully and make the most of your seminars.

Seminar-style learning is more intensive than traditional lecturing, and we believe that it helps to give you a deeper understanding of the law and its practical application. Please do not worry if you are not familiar with this form of learning. We understand that you may not have studied in seminars previously, and you will receive guidance from your programme director and from your seminar leaders as to how to participate.

You may also learn through lectures, class debates, individual presentations, or group exercises, depending on the subject being studied.

Our postgraduate courses use a range of assessment formats, including essays, reports, oral presentations and class participation. These assessments are designed to help you develop writing, analytical, and legal research skills that will be essential in professional life after completion of your degree.

Courses at postgraduate level are not assessed through written exam.


Staff teaching on our programmes include world-leading scholars in their fields. You can find out more about the staff teaching on each programme by visiting the programme page. 

At Edinburgh Law School, our academic staff are engaged in high-quality research. This enables a research-led approach to learning, which gives you an insight into the most cutting-edge debates in modern legal and socio-legal study. Many of our staff are also engaged in advising on the development of law and policy in practice, bringing these experiences into their teaching. The quality of our teaching is recognised by students, with 22 Law School staff receiving nominations for the Edinburgh University Students Association Teaching Awards in 2019.  

Some courses also feature input from senior practitioners from relevant industry or government sectors, providing practical insights to real-world challenges.

Contact us

If you have any questions about our approach to teaching for the next academic year please don't hesitate to contact us.