I graduated from Edinburgh in 2008 and I really enjoyed my time there.
I studied Modern European Languages but I won't go into much detail about my course, as I want this review to be useful to anyone considering Edinburgh University, regardless of their subject.
=== Unique Aspects ===
First of all, degrees at Edinburgh last at least 4 years, so for many students this means they would spend an extra year at university in Edinburgh. This obviously has pros (you can go into more depth in your subject and enjoy the university experience for longer) and cons (mainly just the cost!).
Another aspect of an Edinburgh course which is a bit different is that you have to take "outside subjects" in your first year. This means you have the chance to try something new without actually having to commit to studying it for your degree. You can then continue your outside subject if you want to (instead of your main subject or as a joint honours degree) so this gives you a lot of flexibility. It is ideal for students who are not ready to 100% commit to one subject but I know some people did find it annoying they that had to take an extra subject when they wanted to focus on the one they had chosen for their degree. I was not allowed to take the outside subject I wanted (a third language) and ended up taking philosophy. I quite liked having the outside subject just to add a bit of variety.
=== Campus ===
My course was based around George Square in the centre of the city, which is where most humanties students will spend most of their time. The main library is here and it is close to the students unions. Some of the buildings are attractive (such as McEwan Hall) but some are quite ugly tower blocks (e.g. David Hume Tower). There are also some classes in nice old terraced buildings to the side of the square. On the whole, I was glad to be based there as the location is so convenient. Some other subjects are elsewhere, such as the law school is further towards the Bridges (in very nice buildings), Kings Buildings for sciences are to the south and I never once set foot there! There are shuttle buses between Kings and George Square.
=== My Course ===
I was satisfied with my course (languages), especially the German Department which was amazing. It is a very small, friendly department with tutors who love their subject and many are experts on their particular research topics. The French Department also has very good tutors with real expertise, but it is not quite as friendly and personal as German simply because they have more students. Both languages have their own theatre groups which put on plays in the target language.
European language courses at Edinburgh are very traditional and literature heavy, so I would only recommend it if the idea of ploughing through old novels and plays, often in slightly out-dated language, appeals! I was not given many options until my final year, as years 1 and 2 contain a lot of compulsory modules and year 3 is spent abroad. My degree result was based only on my final exams in 4th year and my disseration which I also wrote in 4th year, so it is good for people who are good under pressure but want the option to take it easy every now and again in the earlier years! It is not ideal for people who are scared of the pressure of having everything resting on a few final exams. However, this does not apply to all subjects by any means, so definitely check with the department you are interested in if you want to know how the course is assessed!
I won't say any more about my course as it won't be relevant to most people thinking of going to Edinburgh.
=== Accommodation ===
For new first year students ariving at the university, the University of Edinburgh has a large catered hall of residence (Pollock Hall) on the South side of the city, close to Arthur's seat and Holyrood Park. It also has a large number of self-catered flats throughout the city and I chose to live in one of those as I did not want to be tied down to eating at certain times. I found the process of applying for accommodation very simple and I was allocated to my first choice residence. I was given all the information I needed when I accepted my university place.
Pollock Halls is made up of a number of different blocks. Many of these are non-descript 1960s blocks. Chancellor's Court is a comparatively modern block, built in 2003, which was seen as the most luxurious part of Pollock due to being modern and all the rooms having en-suite bathrooms. While I was at Edinburgh, the old house Salisbury Green which was one of the original buildings on the Pollock site was still in use as student housing and in my opinion this was by far the nicest house at Pollock. Unfortunately for the students it is now used as a hotel. Pollock students eat in the JMC. Personally I never ate there, but the comments I heard about the food were generally not very favourable!
The self-catered flats generally house 4-6 students, although some flats in Kincaid's Court contain 12 students! This block seemed to house a lot of exchange students including a lot of American students and European students on the Erasmus program. I went to quite a few house parties in this block and it did have a very sociable atmosphere, but I know some of the people living there did find it frustrating living with so many people due to problems with keeping it clean, so many people sharing kitchens and bathrooms etc. The self-catered flats do have cleaners who come around once a week.
I was happy with my self-catered flat. I shared with three other girls, and the whole building housed 122 students. This meant it was easy to meet and make friends with plenty of people when moving in, and people were generally friendly and in and out of each other's flats. The rooms are quite large in most flats and they have open plan kitchen lounge areas. Most flats have washing machines in the basement but a few blocks (Darroch Court, possibly others now) have their own washing machines in the flat.
Accommodation in Edinburgh is a bit more expensive than some other cities I considered, such as Manchester and Leeds. I can't remember what the prices were in my day and I am sure they have changed now, so I won't try to give any figures but I am sure they are available on the university website.
=== Social Side and Things To Do ===
The social side at Edinburgh is great. It is very varied and there is bound to be something for everyone. There are hundreds of societies and each year students have the opportunity to find out about the societies and teams on offer by going to the Societies Fair during freshers' week. This also gives them the opportunity to load up on freebies from some of the stalls!
Societies range from sports, drinking, music, Student newspaper, artistic societies, political societies, LGBT, fund raising, societies for different subjects, theatre and probably almost anything else you can think of! Most societies cost about £3 to join and you can then attend and take part in all their activities for the year.
There are three student union buildings - Teviot, Potterow and Pleasance. These are all very central and a short walk from each other. Teviot is in a lovely old building that looks a bit like a castle turret. It has more of a laid back, pubby atmosphere inside and also has a large hall for balls. Potterow is more of a clubby atmosphere. In my day the Big Cheese, a cheesy disco, was a classic for most students along with things such as 80s roller disco. In Potterow there is also a shop, coffee bar etc for day time activities. There are also meeting rooms which can be used for societies. Pleasance houses a theatre, bar, general meeting rooms for societies and also has the gym.
I am sure anyone would be able to meet likeminded students and find fun ways to spend their time at Edinburgh University.
Outside of events and activities organised by the university itself, the city offers so much. It is an amazing place to live. There are lots of really nice cafes, bars and pubs including plenty with a lot of atmosphere and personality, such as Chocolate Soup where you can get amazing hot chocolate or the Brass Monkey pub whose back room is like a huge bed to lie on and watch the films they regularly project on the wall in there. For those who like culture there is loads of art, history and buildings of interest all around the city. In the summer there is the Edinburgh Festival and in the winter Princes Street has the Winter Wonderland german market.
Edinburgh has lots of green spaces, such as Princes St Gardens and the Meadows. There is the famous Arthur's Seat hill and you feel like you are really in the countryside when climbing it. You are also close to the beach at Portobello. It is ideal!
=== Careers and Future Prospects ===
These days many students are worried about whether going to university will be worth it for them as they will be paying back £9,000 per year in fees and in this economic climate there is no guarantee of a job at the end of it. So is going to Edinburgh a good investment?
In my experience, an Edinburgh degree is a great thing to have on your CV. It is an old, traditional university and a lot of employers hold Edinburgh University in high regard. After graduating I worked abroad in Austria and people there knew of Edinburgh's good reputation. My law firm over there specifically wanted to recruit Edinburgh grads as they had had good experience of them in the past. Now I am back in the UK and wanted to get into a London law firm. I had no problem getting interviews for training contracts and I think my Edinburgh degree definitely played an important role as you often hear of HR sifting out applications from lower ranked universities and most people I met at interviews had gone to traditional universities like Edinburgh. Although Edinburgh sometimes moves up and down the league tables in the newspapers and is not always inside the top 10, it has always had a very solid reputation. It is a member of the Russell Group, which people seem to fixate on these days!
The careers service at the university is probably similar to most universities. I have to admit I didn't pay much attention to it until my final year but I then found out they host careers fairs a few times a year which give students the opportunity to learn about their options and meet big employers such as some of the law firms, banks, accountancy firms, retail companies offering grad management schemes, organisations for international aid and development and more. There is an intranet page with loads of adverts for graduate jobs as well as part-time jobs to do while at uni.
=== Overall ===
I was very happy with my choice of Edinburgh. I loved living there and I still miss it! I feel that my Edinburgh degree has set me up well for the future and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
The University of Edinburgh's reputation goes before it. It is continually ranked in the top ten universities in the UK and is part of the elite Russell Group of universities - a marker that the university is renowned for its research and contribution to academia. Along with St Andrew's and Glasgow, Edinburgh University is one of Scotland's "Big Three" and a degree from this university is recognised as being world-class throughout the world.
Situated in the centre of Edinburgh, the main university buildings are found in and around George Square. This is next to the meadows part of the city and means that it is very green and relaxing. The buildings themselves are a little less beautiful - there are some prime examples of 60s brutalist office buildings, including the main library which bears more than a passing resemblance to a multi-storey car park.
However, alongside these concrete buildings, there are some traditional streets that have been bought be the university over time and are now used as classrooms. The George Square area is used primarily for Arts and Social Sciences degree teaching. There are lecture theatres behind the David Hume Tower as well as next to the main library all of which seat around 300 people.
The law school is in the historic Old College building on South Bridge. This is a few minutes from George Square and forms one of the most beautiful parts of the university. The tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city and the Principal of the University's office in set within this building too.
The theoretical parts of Medical degrees are taught in the medical buildings off Bristo Square and these are, once again, some very beautiful buildings which back onto the historic McEwan Hall. The vet school is situated just off the meadows and the main science buildings can be found at King's Buildings (KB) which is a little distance along Mayfield Road - there is a free shuttle bus between the two main areas every 15 minutes or so.
The teaching and research at the university is continually ranked at world class levels and the standard of the academic staff is outstanding in most if not all departments. There is a strong sense of support throughout the university with every student being allocated a Director of Studies who is a first point of call for all problems and questions.
The student mixture is a healthy ratio of Scottish:Rest of UK students. There is a large number of English students which makes this university different from the University of Glasgow that has a large number of Scottish students and few English students. Class sizes and tutorial sizes are regularly kept low and lectures are usually at around 250-300 people in popular Arts/Social Science degrees but lecturers are happy to take individual/ personal questions following the lecture so that students do not simply feel like a number.
Graduations take place in the McEwan Hall which is an absolutely beautiful building and the ceremony of it all makes one glad that Edinburgh was one's choice at the time of making such a huge decision.
Socially, there are two main student unions, Teviot and Potterrow. Students are free to use both of them interchangeably and many do so. As well as these two places, there are countless bars and clubs which welcome students. There is little if any conflict with the local people unlike universities like Durham so the whole experience is somewhat more relaxed.
I am glad I chose to go to university in Edinburgh. As a graduate, I am able to use the library facilities for the rest of my life and the degree has given me skills that I can put to use in whatever walk of life I find myself. Everyone values an Edinburgh University degree and if you are about to make the choice of where to go, there are a LOT worse places that you could find yourself than Edinburgh. A lot of people come here for four years of university and find it impossible to ever leave!
Really, the university league tables speak for themselves - year after year, Edinburgh scores highly on them, both in the UK, and the world (last I checked, Edinburgh was about 23rd in the world, and 6th in the UK - only after Oxbridge, and elite London universities? Forgive me if I'm wrong.)
Despite a low student satisfaction score recently, due to a lack of decent feedback on work, the university still remains one of the top universities, not only in the UK, but in the world.
And now away from the facts, and speaking as a current student there myself - Obviously, there are some flaws with the university and its services, as there will be with any large institution. First year accommodation is good, but sometimes it takes a while to get a repair done (for instance - 3 weeks before they believed us that our electricity kept going off for no reason, and we weren't just being silly little girls. That's now fixed...after 3 separate electricians...) First year class sizes can be large, depending on what subject you take - if you're in the Arts college, studying something like Psychology or Sociology, you're looking at around 300 students in the lecture. However, there are small tutorial groups.
Personally, I have few problems with the university. I feel I am somewhat supported by them emotionally (they have an Advice Place, plus a counselling service which is free for all students, as far as I'm aware). I love the many societies on offer, and the multiple student unions - especially Teviot.
I feel that studying in Edinburgh University is a good experience, with a wide variety of different people - the university is incredibly mutlicultural. It's also an amazing city to live in.
This is an awful, awful, awful insitution which is chock full of persons who are in complete and utter dreams. They have never been aware, it seems, what it might be to do some adult study, even just a little bit of post 18 study. Apparently the city in its physical figurement and its stylish cafes, bars, resaurants and maybe theatres caters for this though I can't see how it might cater properly for the actual categorical truth.
A description of an arts-humanities course is at
Here is an addition to advantages and disadvantages listing.
A true advantage? Hmm, this is all I can truly and seriously suggest:
It is great for frightened and really, really really bent drama queens of all appearances, very commonly male and surprisingly prevalent also, female bent very lower class drama queens with very aware non-regional accents who usually went to non state schools (males v. similar). It is impossible to distinguish between these types, both male and female, and those who are very noticable also at Edinburgh who have the opposite of very aware non regional accents - the "worse than Shirley Valentines" and "worse than Dirty Dens". There is nearly no-one who is real, or could occupy some remotely human position. This is due to the huge, huge, huge discrepancy in reputation and actuality. The little kids, massively and unbelievably undeveloped as they are, cannot take this discrepancy (or are bizarrely just the type not to take such a discrepancy, leaving aside the real picture!) and can't take that they are the butt of a large nasty joke (nicer description than the truth) by someone nasty, and live in a fantasy world, thus in sickness submitting to the nasty beast.
Edinburgh University is currently ranked top in Scotland league tables, with over 20,000 students this is no easy task. The university is not only appealing on its diverse range of subject options open to student, but the location is arguably one of the best in the UK. A typical year in Edinburgh will see the world famous Fringe festival, the world famous Hogmanay, a diverse range of bands playing in both small and large venues such as the corn exchange, or my personal favourite Whistle Binkies - where they have live music most nights and open mic nights on Monday and Tuesdays ? they also serve a mean pint of Guinness, a rarity in Scotland. If Edinburgh doesn?t hold all the live music necessary then a quick train journey down to Glasgow will easily satisfy that need for live music ? recently staring there were Muse, supported by Elbow, also Counting Crows and many more. If music isn?t your thing then how about a bit of dancy-dancy. Many nightclubs are situated in Edinburgh, City nightclub, where the MTV after party was held ? including guests such as Justin Timberlake. Other clubs include the Establishment, which hosts a wealth of drinks promotions especially on student nights ? Wednesdays. The great thing about clubs like these is that, not only do students from Edinburgh uni go there, but you find some from Napier and Herriot-Watt, increasing the range of people you have the opportunity to meet. Other activities in the town include the zoo, one not to miss, Murray field rugby grounds and a great series of leisure centres provided by Edinburgh Leisure. I have more than 2 within walking distance from me, the commonwealth pool great for a 50m swim if your up for it, and the meadow bank sports centre ? fantastic for badminton. Getting a bit carried away on the social and extra curricular activities there, one has to bare in mind that you are probably considering studying here. I can not speak for all degrees as I am a member
of the Science and Engineering department but I can give the gist. Great subject options available ranging from a standard business degree to the more artsy degrees like philosophy. There is of course the House of Moray where they teach education ? this place is speculated to be where J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter and the fist book was written. Many people come out of Edinburgh university with a highly rated degree that no employer should over look. My only complaint for the degrees is that so many require you to do 2 years of maths, something many of us are trying to avoid. I do maths related to computers which is way over my head especially when the math lecturers speak in their own language of maths and expect you to know what every x, y, p, q, and z on the board mean, and don?t get me started on real numbers, fake numbers, numbers that mathematicians made up to make their life easier, and so on. I am still struggling my way through this math but at least after the 2 years you are free from the maths and can concentrate on your degree of choice. If you are sporty then Edinburgh does host some good services but at a cost and they are nowhere near the league of Bath university and Loughborough University. You can pay £50 membership for the year in the pleasance sports centre which will entitle you to free swimming and gym, but other services come only with a discount such as squash. I personally have chosen to join Edinburgh Leisure as they meet my needs much better. Overall, I would rate Edinburgh University highly. Most of my friends came here with the opinion of just studying and then leaving for home, but the Edinburgh bug struck them as it struck many and they have remained here for work opportunities and more. University work isn?t too much of a struggle ? work when required and then go and have some fun. Also, in this day and age you have no excuse not to visit with flights so cheap into Edinburgh and t
ransport to and from the airport a piece of cake, id be sure after a visit you also will be struck with the Edinburgh bug.
Three weeks in Ediburgh and already I love the place. And here's why.... I enrolled in my teacher training course (PGCE) at Edinburgh University's Moray House School of Education and so far, I have loved everything about the uni, the city and my course. I had always cosidered Edinburgh to complete my degree, however, I my parents live just 45minutes away and I wanted to step out by myself properly so I headed to Durham for three years...but always with the intention to move back to Scotland as soon as I had finished. So having graduated and decided on my future career path, I really didn't think twice about applying to Edinburgh. So what is so great about Edinburgh? Well, for me it has everything that I could posibly need and want. Not only is it one of the best universities in Scotland with a fantastic history in Education, but in my opinion, it is one of the best city's in the UK! For those of you who have visited Durham, you will know that it is a very quiet freindly place and a lovely place to love in but it is very quiet. So after three years "growing up" in the confort of a small town, I wanted to experience real city life...and I got it, but there is always the security blanket that Edinburgh is very friendly - i have heard it described as the "small village inside the big city's costume" and I totally agree. My experiences of Ediburgh University itself are as yet somewhat limited...so this review will continue to be updated as I experience more aspects of the Uni. So far, I have been very impressed with the Matriculation and Administration etc. that is the first port of call for any new student...registration and all that malarcy ran smootly and efficiently. The introduction we received in our first week here was impressive as we were introduced to the careers centre, student information people and all the other pastoral units behind the education facade. My only gripe at this poin
t is that our first week was somewhat of an 'information overload' but I cannot think of any other way they could have got around that. My only real problem with Edinburgh as a University is their complete lack of help when it comes to accommodation. The Accomodation information I received looked very impressive but wasn't actually all that useful. And they only offer places in the Halls of Residences for Freshers and post-grads living outwith the EU...and yet they offerred me no help in finding somewhere to live and seemed to ignore the fact that I was living 300 miles away and in the middle of my finals! But I found somewhere to live in the end, no thanks to the Uni. As for Sport and clubs, there seem to be a billion different things that you can do and as far as I am aware, there are intermural sporting tournaments. So from what I can gather, you can do anything here at any level you want. And with Edinburgh being a bit city, there are local clubs which could offer you more scope if the Uni club usn't for you. But there are a range of people here, from all backgrounds with ll interests so everyone is bound to find their niche here! So far that is all I know!! At the end of the month the other students arrive and I will be taking part in the "Fresher's Experience"...so watch this space....
I graduated from Edinburgh last summer, having read Business Studies and Accountancy over the past four years. To me, Edinburgh was a great university, and one which gives students of all backgrounds a great opportunity to make the most of their higher education. I was attracted to Edinburgh by it's reputation, and also because of the fact that it is located in a city which I knew and loved. Edinburgh university doesn't have one central campus (though some might argue that george square is, I wouldn't agree!), and instead is spread across the city. This is great as it means that you aren't isolated in a small industrial estate area like Heriot Watt or Napier! The lectures were interesting, and notes very comprehensive (especially if you are allergic to 9am lectures!). Much is made of the so-called social divide at Edinburgh. To be perfectly honest I have to say that this was never an issue during my four years at the University. I came from a state comprehensive, and found that I fitted in without any problems. I think that whether you fit in or not depends on your attitude - if you have a chip on your shoulder about others having a privileged background, then get a life - your life is what you make of it! I had friends at edinburgh across a wide social stratus - ranging from people with backgrounds like mine, up to Lords of realm. To be honest, backgrounds don't matter - it's people that count! Careers support at Edinburgh is also good - being well established on the milkround circuit helps graduates to get a job without too much work. All in all I can't think of anywhere I'd rather have studied
The University of Edinburgh consistently ranks as the best in Scotland. Combined with a reputation as a ‘party town’ it comes as no surprise that applications are numerous and entry requirements can be stiff. In recent years, the University has received many English students, such that they now outnumber the Scots entirely. Divided into two main campuses – George Square for Arts and Social Science, King’s Buildings for Science, Edinburgh University currently educates some 18,000 individuals; when combined with the city’s smaller Napier and Heriott-Watt Universities, you can understand that students form a sizeable minority. Edinburgh enjoys some very fine teaching in some areas and some less impressive teaching in others. It would be best to check out your individual course's government rating in terms of teaching and research before you come here – a high entry requirement does not guarantee anything. Edinburgh is a beautiful and bubbly city, there are enough bars, clubs, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and theatres to serve every taste; perhaps the biggest downside is the weather which is filthy for 7 months, alright for 3 and great for 2. Accommodation is plentiful (see review) but not cheap. In fact, the city is expensive full stop; prices generally compare to London although there are plenty of student friendly venues that your bank manager will love you for. Socially, the university tends to be somewhat cliquey; few find this to be a problem, as you don’t tend to want to be friends with the offending groups anyway. There are plenty of jobs and a dedicated university job-finding service should you need to supplement your income. Overall, I’ve found my time here (4 years and going) to be massively enjoyable; you wont get bored, you’ll (hopefully) get a prestigious degree and you’ll probably get drunk (a lot). 5 stars.
I studied 4 years in Edinburgh, living there for a couple of summers and got myself a BSc (Hons) by the end. I'm not going to rant for hours about how I loved every minute of it as that is plainly empty and annoying, but this is a good city and, with a few good people, you can really get a lot out of it. There is history everywhere, from museums to castles, palaces to cathedrals, to pass hours you only need to walk around looking at the top of buildings and seeing from one to the next a difference of ofton 100 yrs. As a student the usual pitfalls are there, the hardest part generally is the divide between classes, where public school and not tend to stay at armslength, or further if they could, chucking stones whenever they can!! Clubs are good but specific, know what you're looking for before you go, or just go to Glasgow and enjoy yourself. This is a big city with 4 universities and 40,000 students, it's hard going to start with, but stick to your guns and you'll soon find it's all there for you.