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Teaching and learning

For the 2021-22 academic year our teaching model will depend on Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time. Based on the information currently available to us, we expect that you will be with us in Edinburgh for the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

We expect that some physical distancing measures are very likely to still apply when the academic year starts in September 2021, and currently plan to deliver a mix of in-person and digital teaching.

It is our intention to deliver as much small group teaching as possible, such tutorials and seminars, in-person and on campus subject to the Covid-19 situation and Scottish Government guidelines. It is anticipated that large class sizes are likely to be the most significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, large group teaching, such as lectures, are the most likely form of teaching activity to be delivered digitally.

We will continue to monitor government guidance on Covid-19 prevention measures and will adjust our 2021-22 plans in response to any relevant changes, providing you with regular updates on what to expect.

The following information is based on our normal campus-based teaching model.

Students in class

Studying at the University offers a much more independent lifestyle than you may have experienced at school. We expect all our students to take responsibility for their own learning and we firmly believe that the more you put in, the more you will get out of your time here.

We aim to deliver the highest quality of teaching and learning to our students. Methods of teaching and learning in the Law School vary from subject to subject but, in general, formal lecturing provides the teaching framework in years one and two, complemented by small group tutorial sessions.

First year students usually have two or three lectures in each subject per week, plus a regular tutorial. The size of the lectures in some courses may be more than 200, but in other courses the numbers are much smaller. Tutorials usually comprise 12–15 students and thus gives you an important opportunity to engage directly with your tutor.

Lectures provide the guidelines to the subject-matter and outlines the foundations on which you must build. Tutorials provide the opportunity to develop themes or discuss problems, often on the basis of written work.

Lectures and tutorials are replaced at honours level by two-hour seminars in which you will be expected to discuss and explore topics in more depth. While Ordinary courses tend to focus on building your knowledge and applying that knowledge to problem-solving, Honours is more concerned with critical analysis, structured and coherent argument, and independence of thought.

Self-study is also an important part of the law degree: you will be expected to prepare for classes from week 1 of first year, and the more reading you do, the more you will develop your knowledge and understanding of law. Students are also encouraged to form small study groups with your peers, to review lectures and prepare for tutorials or seminars.