Scottish universities course structure

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aaron2578
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So I've heard that for the first two years you get to study things other than your degree subject and you can even end up changing your degree subject.

Can I ask, how does this work (if it varies between universities then I'm asking about St Andrews/Edinburgh)? Do you learn whatever modules you want or do you have to pick subjects? If you pick subjects do you have to follow specific modules or can you learn whatever you want within your subjects? And if you pick subjects, do you get to choose from generic titles or the other courses offered at that university?

Thanks!
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aaron2578
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(Original post by aaron2578)
So I've heard that for the first two years you get to study things other than your degree subject and you can even end up changing your degree subject.

Can I ask, how does this work (if it varies between universities then I'm asking about St Andrews/Edinburgh)? Do you learn whatever modules you want or do you have to pick subjects? If you pick subjects do you have to follow specific modules or can you learn whatever you want within your subjects? And if you pick subjects, do you get to choose from generic titles or the other courses offered at that university?

Thanks!
And, if you decide to change your degree subject, how hard is it? Might there be any unforeseen consequences?
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mike23mike
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(Original post by aaron2578)
So I've heard that for the first two years you get to study things other than your degree subject and you can even end up changing your degree subject.

Can I ask, how does this work (if it varies between universities then I'm asking about St Andrews/Edinburgh)? Do you learn whatever modules you want or do you have to pick subjects? If you pick subjects do you have to follow specific modules or can you learn whatever you want within your subjects? And if you pick subjects, do you get to choose from generic titles or the other courses offered at that university?

Thanks!
You have it wrong. Most courses have some flex in that you can take a few optional modules. Thus, a typical year is made up of 120 credits and the modules are either 10, 15 or 20 credit modules then you will probably have to take 100 credits of core modules but have an option to take 20 credits from another department. e.g. Law, you have to take 100 credits from the Law School which are not negotiable but you can take 20 credits from other Humanities and Sociail Science schools - History, Geography, Business Studies, Languages, English etc.
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aaron2578
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(Original post by mike23mike)
You have it wrong. Most courses have some flex in that you can take a few optional modules. Thus, a typical year is made up of 120 credits and the modules are either 10, 15 or 20 credit modules then you will probably have to take 100 credits of core modules but have an option to take 20 credits from another department. e.g. Law, you have to take 100 credits from the Law School which are not negotiable but you can take 20 credits from other Humanities and Sociail Science schools - History, Geography, Business Studies, Languages, English etc.
So even in the sub-honours years of a Scottish degree you'd only get to do a few optional modules?
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Hi! It depends on the degree you are doing, if you are doing something like med or law, you just do those subjects, but if you do any of the disciplines that are within the Scottish MA system, you may be able to choose. I do psych at Dundee (2nd year now) and I also do Geography and Environmental Science to make up the rest of my credits for the year, but as of September next year I will just be doing psych. Provided you have competed all the prerequisite modules for a particular degree pathway, you can change your degree subject in 2nd year (so for me, because I have done 4 semesters of Geog and Env Sci I could swap to either of them). There should be a list somewhere on those unis websites with all the modules on offer, which often cross disciplines into other schools: for instance at my uni, a psych student could take a module in the business or life sciences school!
Within each subject/discipline there tends to be a set selection of modules that you have to take in order for that course to gain accreditation, although general cross-disciplinary mods also exist, including careers and internship at my uni!
Hope that didn't sound too complicated, its a slightly strange system that I didn't know much about as an English student studying in Scotland, but it works out pretty neatly, and I'm sure the unis would be happy to answer any questions over the phone!!
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aaron2578
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi! It depends on the degree you are doing, if you are doing something like med or law, you just do those subjects, but if you do any of the disciplines that are within the Scottish MA system, you may be able to choose. I do psych at Dundee (2nd year now) and I also do Geography and Environmental Science to make up the rest of my credits for the year, but as of September next year I will just be doing psych. Provided you have competed all the prerequisite modules for a particular degree pathway, you can change your degree subject in 2nd year (so for me, because I have done 4 semesters of Geog and Env Sci I could swap to either of them). There should be a list somewhere on those unis websites with all the modules on offer, which often cross disciplines into other schools: for instance at my uni, a psych student could take a module in the business or life sciences school!
Within each subject/discipline there tends to be a set selection of modules that you have to take in order for that course to gain accreditation, although general cross-disciplinary mods also exist, including careers and internship at my uni!
Hope that didn't sound too complicated, its a slightly strange system that I didn't know much about as an English student studying in Scotland, but it works out pretty neatly, and I'm sure the unis would be happy to answer any questions over the phone!!
Thanks! It's not clear for the courses and universities I've been looking at; would the subjects that I can do (that aren't my degree subject) be generic areas (for example 'Biology') or would be they be specific course titles (for example 'Neuroscience') or could they be specific but not offered as a degree course (for example 'Biophysics')?
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mike23mike
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(Original post by aaron2578)
So even in the sub-honours years of a Scottish degree you'd only get to do a few optional modules?
Hi
I am not sure what you want to study at Edinburgh or St Andrews? I am using Law as an example but you can do the search yourself for your actual subject:

At Edinburgh the Year 1 compulsory law units are:

Scottish Legal System - 20 credits
Critical Legal Thinking - 10 credits
Contract Law - 10 credits
Family Law - 10 credits
Public Law of the UK and Scotland - 20 credits
European Union Law - 10 credits

That equates to 80 credits. Thus you will have the option to select 40 credits from other departments.

You can repeat for the year 2, 3 an honours years and see how many credits you have to pick optional units from other departments.
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aaron2578
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(Original post by mike23mike)
Hi
I am not sure what you want to study at Edinburgh or St Andrews? I am using Law as an example but you can do the search yourself for your actual subject:

At Edinburgh the Year 1 compulsory law units are:

Scottish Legal System - 20 credits
Critical Legal Thinking - 10 credits
Contract Law - 10 credits
Family Law - 10 credits
Public Law of the UK and Scotland - 20 credits
European Union Law - 10 credits

That equates to 80 credits. Thus you will have the option to select 40 credits from other departments.

You can repeat for the year 2, 3 an honours years and see how many credits you have to pick optional units from other departments.
Hi, so following on from the example, could I pick whichever modules I want for those 40 credits?
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mike23mike
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(Original post by aaron2578)
Hi, so following on from the example, could I pick whichever modules I want for those 40 credits?
Hi, you would need to discuss that with the school or dept since each dept will differ on what options they can offer their students depending on their tie up with other departments.
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aaron2578
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(Original post by mike23mike)
Hi, you would need to discuss that with the school or dept since each dept will differ on what options they can offer their students depending on their tie up with other departments.
Alright, thanks!
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