English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and a couple of questions :) Watch

Filippo T
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(Original post by Okorange)
Edinburgh is considered to be better than Glasgow in general and especially for English Lit.
Yeah, I thought so. Thank you for answering
Do you know how big the lectures are at Edinburgh?
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Okorange
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(Original post by Filippo T)
Yeah, I thought so. Thank you for answering
Do you know how big the lectures are at Edinburgh?
Not sure, maybe someone can answer you. I don't think it'll be a big issue since usually lectures don't go over 150 people and usually not everyone shows up.
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Filippo T
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(Original post by Okorange)
Not sure, maybe someone can answer you. I don't think it'll be a big issue since usually lectures don't go over 150 people and usually not everyone shows up.
Yeah, right. I just wanted to have more of an idea about how the ratio and rapports between students and academic staff members are supposed to be.
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Ambry
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(Original post by Jada23)
Oh okay cool thank you so so much! Is the nightlife quite good in Edinburgh then?

Been researching Edinburgh Uni and everything and the student satisfaction on the teaching seems like really low, whats the teaching like there and is it all only taught in really big lecture halls with loads of students or are there smaller seminars too?

Was also wondering if you knew at all how easy/hard it was to get a year abroad placement in the 3rd year because i'd be really interested in going to the USA for a year or something like that
So sorry I didn't reply sooner! I am a law student and quite a few people take the course, so we get our main lectures in big lecture halls but we also do tutorials for every subject which are much smaller and you can ask your tutor questions, prepare work and its good to really get to grips with what you're doing. Lecturers also have office hours where you can go and speak to them and ask them questions.

The nightlife here is really good I think! There is something for everyone - pubs if you like chilling, cheaper clubs if you are looking for something fun but don't want to spend much money, and fancier places. Opium is an alternative bar that does rock and metal and has free entry, Hive is cheap and plays pretty much everything. Cab Vol plays dancier/house music and is really really cool, Opal and Lulu's are a bit pricier but you can get dressed up a bit more... there's loads of student nights too and every club has nights that are cheaper than others. Great nightlife tbh! Also, you are close enough to get a train to places like Glasgow for a night out!

Personally I have no idea why satisfaction is so low, I'm loving it here and the teaching so far seems to be to a really high standard.

As far as studying abroad goes, you have a good chance if you get decent grades! Erasmus (european) and international (USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc) are separate exchanges, you can apply to both. I heard international is harder to get a place on, but tbh it is the same in every uni. A fourth year I know went to Canada last year and said he didn't have exceptional grades, so just don't be completely lazy and you have a good chance!
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Ambry
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(Original post by Filippo T)
Personally, I'm not going to study History but English Literature, but I'm finding it very hard to decide between Edinburgh and St Andrews too. I was quite sure about Edinburgh (bigger city, more diversity, less posh, cheaper), but then I found this ranking on the web which made me feel far less confident about it.
http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ables/rankings
It basically says that St Andrews would be equal/better than Oxford as far as English is concerned, even though I've always heard people say Edinburgh (which appears to be 19th, whereas it was 10th last year) was great for the Arts. I don't want my choice to depend on abstract criteria, but I'm very interested in an academic career path, so I'm questioning whether I should pick a more prestigious university as St Andrews seems to be. Any advice? Is St Andrews really that good?
Edinburgh always tends to do worse in domestic rankings and VERY good in international ones. I have no idea why. However, employers seem to regard Edinburgh very highly and I'd say it is equally as prestigious as St Andrews. English at Edinburgh is meant to be very good and very competitive. I don't think you would have any problems going in to academia if you went to Edinburgh.
However, St Andrews is also a very good uni. I would maybe look closely at the types of modules each university offers and see what you might be more interested in? Also, think about what sort of place you would like to live - Edinburgh is quite a big place with a lot going on, whereas St Andrews is smaller but maybe more closely knit? Think about what suits you better.
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Jada23
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(Original post by Lorem Ipsum)
.

Also as a History student Edinburgh has the advantage of being right next to the National Library of Scotland, a copyright library, which I have found vital. Too often the books I've needed have not been in the Main Library and I have had to go there; that's partly Edinburgh's fault for not having enough copies, but at the same time there's never going to be enough of everything on any popular course. Academically Edinburgh is fine, there's a lot of courses which will suit all interests. Most lecturers are very good. Essays take three weeks to be returned, which is pain but you get used to it. Feedback is sometimes average, but mostly informative even if brief. From what I have heard I think this really sharpens/improves in Honours years, but I am only in second year so cannot personally testify. Tutorials are normally good as long as you do the reading, to get the most out of them you have to do the work, but that's quite obvious. They are a maximum of 12 people I believe, and are taken by an even mix of doctoral students and faculty members, which is good.

In terms of St. Andrew's history and places of interest, I learned the same, and more about it in a day than my friend who had studied there for a year. There's just not that much there. In Edinburgh it is possible to discover entirely new parts of the city almost every day, while exploring. St. Andrews is certainly pleasant, but really only for a day trip or weekend. Also unless you are coming from Fife it is a big pain to get to due to the non-presence of a train station.

Halls in Edinburgh are fine, I would advise living in Pollock Halls though because it's a nice mini-campus environment. Edinburgh flats after first year are pretty cool but can be bad/expensive. Students live around the city but it is still small enough to walk anywhere so there are flat parties all the time. Marchmont and Newington are probably the most 'studenty', but I definitely want to live in Tollcross in 4th year because of its great location, and I will not be getting drunk so much.

My degree course is quite similar to what you will be doing, so if you have any more questions academically or otherwise about Edinburgh let me know.
Thank you so much

So would you recommend the history department there, I'm just worried if the teaching and feedback isn't great because I really want to go somewhere where I will love the course and be able to do well/get good marks

Also what is the workload like, how many essays and stuff? And do they guide you on how to do them in the tutorials/how to improve at all or whatever

Oh okay cool, was kind of thinking of maybe non-catered just so I could have the full experience but is Pollock Halls better would you say then?

How are you finding it in Edinburgh? Really want somewhere where I can have fun and meet really great people but from what it sounds like, Edinburgh sounds perfect in that respect
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kirstylouisee
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This is probably a little late, but hi! I'm studying English Literature too! I haven't found anyone else yet who's studying it at Edinburgh.

At the open day I got the impression that the English Lit department is pretty friendly at Edinburgh as they talked a lot about the different events that happen in the department, such as plays and nights out. There seems to be a lot of communication between the tutors and students too as the department offers lots of extras outside of the degree, like poetry readings, lectures on different areas of literature and a writer in residence (but I think that's already been mentionned!)

Anyway, good luck in deciding!
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Lorem Ipsum
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(Original post by Filippo T)
Personally, I'm not going to study History but English Literature, but I'm finding it very hard to decide between Edinburgh and St Andrews too. I was quite sure about Edinburgh (bigger city, more diversity, less posh, cheaper), but then I found this ranking on the web which made me feel far less confident about it.
http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ables/rankings
It basically says that St Andrews would be equal/better than Oxford as far as English is concerned, even though I've always heard people say Edinburgh (which appears to be 19th, whereas it was 10th last year) was great for the Arts. I don't want my choice to depend on abstract criteria, but I'm very interested in an academic career path, so I'm questioning whether I should pick a more prestigious university as St Andrews seems to be. Any advice? Is St Andrews really that good?
Rankings are not really that useful, as my American flat mate says "Ignore rankings, they are just rate universities who spend the most money buying off assessors." I do not think that is quite the same in the UK, but it is worth remembering. For example, I can show this ranking http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...and-humanities, which puts Edinburgh way above St. Andrews. It is not that useful though in reality other than for Wikipedia pages. Both Edinburgh and St. Andrews will have top English faculties so academically the difference will be very limited. You can look at the courses on offer, but academically it will only be the courses that are the key difference. As I have written above, I think Edinburgh easily wins as place/student city. My advice would be if you pick Edinburgh to make sure you do not to English and Scottish literature, reading-wise that is a known suicidal combination.

(Original post by Jada23)
Thank you so much

So would you recommend the history department there, I'm just worried if the teaching and feedback isn't great because I really want to go somewhere where I will love the course and be able to do well/get good marks

Also what is the workload like, how many essays and stuff? And do they guide you on how to do them in the tutorials/how to improve at all or whatever

Oh okay cool, was kind of thinking of maybe non-catered just so I could have the full experience but is Pollock Halls better would you say then?

How are you finding it in Edinburgh? Really want somewhere where I can have fun and meet really great people but from what it sounds like, Edinburgh sounds perfect in that respect

The faculty is among the best at Edinburgh it has a cool building in the Old Medical School, just next to Teviot (the SU) and has a wide variety of academics within in. If you look at the recent research assessment you will notice the size of Edinburgh's contribution for assessment, which shows how big the faculty is. Consequently there is a wide variety of courses on offer from all areas of world history, as well as the fact you can take outside courses in sub-honours. Marks are generally fair, but feedback kind of depends on each tutor. You can always arrange a meeting/go to your tutors office hours to get detailed feedback, although only some/few will organise this themselves. However really I have found if you are genuinely serious about your subject you will know that you need to spend 30 hours (which is recommended) on an essay to guarantee a solid 2:1, and no amount of detailed feedback will necessarily help you in achieve that.

In first year I had around six essays a semester, but this year it has gone down to around four. Tutorial work depends on tutor. Last year in British History I had a tutor who made us do 100 pages of reading and 800 words for every week. That was hell, but he was the best tutor I have had. Mostly you just need to have read a couple of articles and some primary resources. Some tutors have essay guidance sessions, especially in first year. These are fairly handy, although I am of the belief that the best historians will have a fairly good understanding coming to university what constitutes a decent essay anyway. Your courses tutor normally marks your essays so it is definitely worth asking what they specifically like in essays, even if they do not bring it up themselves. It is quite easy to pass without doing much work, but to get 70+ average is hard for anyone. There's a bigger jump between 67-71 than from 0-65. To get a decent year abroad if you want to do that then you need 65+ average in first year. I managed 68 and I partied pretty hard, although spent a lot of time in the library as well. Work hard-play hard is definitely a thing you learn.

I would advise Pollock. While the idea of your own kitchen is nice, it actually saves a lot of thought having catered, especially settling in. Halls in Pollock have their own pantries on every floor anyway with a microwave etc., although no ovens. You will have your own kitchen when you move out of halls anyway for three years so you are not missing out on anything. Kitchens shared between 8+ people are also famously (and as I can testify from those I have seen) dirty, which is something you will not have to deal with. Although allocation is basically random within Pollock, Chancellors and Turner/Lee/Baird/Grant are probably best. I was in John Burnett, which is very hotel-esque, although it is the home of the true social élite of Edinburgh University.

So far for me it has been the most interesting part of my life. 2014 was probably the best year of my life so far, and I am off to California next year to that will be an excellent adventure. There's a diverse student body from varying social and economic backgrounds, including a large international student population, so I have met people unlike any I had previously, which has been great. My degree is very flexible with no compulsory courses, so I have a lot of academic freedom too which has been nice. Booze is relatively expensive (by English standards, St. Andrews is the same), but abundant, once you get used to the fact it cannot be bought at Tesco in Scotland past 10pm. While there may not be so much culture as in London, Edinburgh is a capital city of sorts, which means there is enough to keep you ticking over, Glasgow is 50 minutes (£8) by train away so there a plenty of big gigs there too. Societies can be/seem a bit cliquey at first, but you get past that quite quickly. I think that has covered most of it, hope this has helped. Maybe see you when I come back next year!
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sammy.naton
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Make sure you guys join the facebook group

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Filippo T
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(Original post by Lorem Ipsum)
Rankings are not really that useful, as my American flat mate says "Ignore rankings, they are just rate universities who spend the most money buying off assessors." I do not think that is quite the same in the UK, but it is worth remembering. For example, I can show this ranking http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...and-humanities, which puts Edinburgh way above St. Andrews. It is not that useful though in reality other than for Wikipedia pages. Both Edinburgh and St. Andrews will have top English faculties so academically the difference will be very limited. You can look at the courses on offer, but academically it will only be the courses that are the key difference. As I have written above, I think Edinburgh easily wins as place/student city. My advice would be if you pick Edinburgh to make sure you do not to English and Scottish literature, reading-wise that is a known suicidal combination.




The faculty is among the best at Edinburgh it has a cool building in the Old Medical School, just next to Teviot (the SU) and has a wide variety of academics within in. If you look at the recent research assessment you will notice the size of Edinburgh's contribution for assessment, which shows how big the faculty is. Consequently there is a wide variety of courses on offer from all areas of world history, as well as the fact you can take outside courses in sub-honours. Marks are generally fair, but feedback kind of depends on each tutor. You can always arrange a meeting/go to your tutors office hours to get detailed feedback, although only some/few will organise this themselves. However really I have found if you are genuinely serious about your subject you will know that you need to spend 30 hours (which is recommended) on an essay to guarantee a solid 2:1, and no amount of detailed feedback will necessarily help you in achieve that.

In first year I had around six essays a semester, but this year it has gone down to around four. Tutorial work depends on tutor. Last year in British History I had a tutor who made us do 100 pages of reading and 800 words for every week. That was hell, but he was the best tutor I have had. Mostly you just need to have read a couple of articles and some primary resources. Some tutors have essay guidance sessions, especially in first year. These are fairly handy, although I am of the belief that the best historians will have a fairly good understanding coming to university what constitutes a decent essay anyway. Your courses tutor normally marks your essays so it is definitely worth asking what they specifically like in essays, even if they do not bring it up themselves. It is quite easy to pass without doing much work, but to get 70+ average is hard for anyone. There's a bigger jump between 67-71 than from 0-65. To get a decent year abroad if you want to do that then you need 65+ average in first year. I managed 68 and I partied pretty hard, although spent a lot of time in the library as well. Work hard-play hard is definitely a thing you learn.

I would advise Pollock. While the idea of your own kitchen is nice, it actually saves a lot of thought having catered, especially settling in. Halls in Pollock have their own pantries on every floor anyway with a microwave etc., although no ovens. You will have your own kitchen when you move out of halls anyway for three years so you are not missing out on anything. Kitchens shared between 8+ people are also famously (and as I can testify from those I have seen) dirty, which is something you will not have to deal with. Although allocation is basically random within Pollock, Chancellors and Turner/Lee/Baird/Grant are probably best. I was in John Burnett, which is very hotel-esque, although it is the home of the true social élite of Edinburgh University.

So far for me it has been the most interesting part of my life. 2014 was probably the best year of my life so far, and I am off to California next year to that will be an excellent adventure. There's a diverse student body from varying social and economic backgrounds, including a large international student population, so I have met people unlike any I had previously, which has been great. My degree is very flexible with no compulsory courses, so I have a lot of academic freedom too which has been nice. Booze is relatively expensive (by English standards, St. Andrews is the same), but abundant, once you get used to the fact it cannot be bought at Tesco in Scotland past 10pm. While there may not be so much culture as in London, Edinburgh is a capital city of sorts, which means there is enough to keep you ticking over, Glasgow is 50 minutes (£8) by train away so there a plenty of big gigs there too. Societies can be/seem a bit cliquey at first, but you get past that quite quickly. I think that has covered most of it, hope this has helped. Maybe see you when I come back next year!
Wow, that was so helpful! Thank you so much You solved most of my doubts and gave me also some additional information, which is great. I'll keep your advice in mind.
Last question: in terms of postgraduate research, coming from St Andrews would be as highly regarded as coming from Edinburgh? If, for example, I was so good (or foolish) to aim for a postgraduate course at Universities like Cambridge or Oxford, would that be more difficult if I graduated from Edinburgh rather than from St Andrews or would the only thing that really matters be my final grades?
Again, Thank you so much
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Filippo T
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(Original post by kirstylouisee)
This is probably a little late, but hi! I'm studying English Literature too! I haven't found anyone else yet who's studying it at Edinburgh.

At the open day I got the impression that the English Lit department is pretty friendly at Edinburgh as they talked a lot about the different events that happen in the department, such as plays and nights out. There seems to be a lot of communication between the tutors and students too as the department offers lots of extras outside of the degree, like poetry readings, lectures on different areas of literature and a writer in residence (but I think that's already been mentionned!)

Anyway, good luck in deciding!
It's nice to know there's someone else who's studying English at Edinburgh 24 hours left to decide (or to make my decision real), I'll tell you as soon as I've pressed the button on my keyboard haha
Thank you for the useful information
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Filippo T
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Last question, everybody: in terms of postgraduate research, coming from St Andrews would be as highly regarded as coming from Edinburgh? If, for example, I was so good (or fool) to aim for a postgraduate course at Universities like Cambridge or Oxford, would that be more difficult if I graduated from Edinburgh rather than from St Andrews or would the only thing that really matters be my final grades?
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nearlyheadlessian
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(Original post by Filippo T)
Last question, everybody: in terms of postgraduate research, coming from St Andrews would be as highly regarded as coming from Edinburgh? If, for example, I was so good (or fool) to aim for a postgraduate course at Universities like Cambridge or Oxford, would that be more difficult if I graduated from Edinburgh rather than from St Andrews or would the only thing that really matters be my final grades?
It would have no impact either way. Your degree classification, proposed research, references, etc. - along with your ability to pay (you have to prove you have £20k for a year at your disposal) or talent at securing funding would be what mattered.
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Filippo T
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I have finally decided to go to Edinburgh
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Melanie Poynor
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I also hoping to study English lit with Spanish at Edinburgh, do you know where the best accomadation is?
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