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Glossary of Terms

This glossary defines the terms used within the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study, as well as more widely across the University.

Each term is recorded alphabetically; selecing a letter below will take you direct to the appropriate section. Each term has its own URL which is identified by clicking on the term name.



Term Definition
Absence/Absent A student is deemed to be absent from the University if s/he is not engaging or participating satisfactorily in the study activity for which s/he is registered as a student. Student absence is not necessarily linked to the absence of a physical on-campus presence, but may be so linked if a student is required to attend classes, seminars, tutorials, online activities or other group or individual meetings.
Abstract A brief but comprehensive summary of the contents of the thesis.
Academic and Honorary Staff Members of staff of the University holding a contract of employment either as a member of teaching and research staff in the University or holding honorary status (awarded to persons who have rendered appreciable public service to the University).
Academic Misconduct Academic misconduct is any type of misconduct that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. This includes plagiarism, collusion, falsification, deceit, cheating and impersonation.
Additional Class Information This is information on the teaching arrangements of a course other than the contact teaching time, class hours, times, or locations.
Aegrotat Degrees A degree without classification, awarded in exceptional circumstances when a student has been unable to take his or her assessment or examinations because of illness or circumstances beyond their control. Aegrotat degrees are awarded on the understanding that had the candidate been well, he or she would have obtained the award.
Alternative Assessment Alternative assessments test the same learning outcomes as the original assessment but may use a different assessment method, e.g. online assessment or take-home examination compared with an invigilated exam. They may be used for a whole course when the original assessment was disrupted or for individual students where special circumstances apply.
Anniversary Date The anniversary date is the date upon which the student starts the next year of his/her study. Students are registered at the anniversary date and so pay annual tuition fees from this date. The anniversary date takes into account any interruption of study applicable.
Anonymous Marking Students’ identities are not revealed to markers or to the Board of Examiners until near the end of the assessment process when anonymity ends and a check is made. Names of their markers are not withheld from students.
Applicant An applicant is someone who has formally submitted an application for admission to the University, where the application is still active, and the individual is not yet a student.
Assessment Assessment is the set of processes which measure the outcomes of students’ learning in terms of knowledge acquired, understanding developed and skills gained. These processes of measurement are necessarily diverse, in order to measure different aspects of learning in an appropriate manner, e.g. by examination in an exam hall, online, take-home, and with different specifications, e.g. open or closed book, specified time frame, and by coursework, which include essays, tutorial participation, oral presentations, practical, lab work etc. Assessment includes attendance and satisfactory completion, (where both result in a ‘pass’) as well as other diagnostic, formative and summative methods.
Assessment Only This is a mode of study where the student takes some or all of the assessment for a course but is not required to attend classes, seminars, tutorials, online activities or other group or individual meetings for that course. This is currently recorded as “Exam only” on the student record.
Assessment Regulations

Assistant Supervisor

 For postgraduate research students, the role of the Assistant Supervisor is intended to be considerably more limited than that of the Principal Supervisor in terms of responsibility, but in some cases the Assistant Supervisor may have day to day involvement in the student’s supervision. Assistant Supervisors may be appointed to provide (where relevant) complementary expertise, such as specialised knowledge of a particular technique.

See also "Principal Supervisor", "Co-Supervisor" and "Lead Co-Supervisor".
Attendance Date The date by which students are required to be in attendance at the University e.g. Induction Week ahead of Semester 1 commencement.

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Term Definition
Blind Marking Blind marking takes place when work is independently assessed by more than one marker and neither marker knows the other’s comments or judgements when reaching their own marks, grades and judgments on the student’s work.
Block of Course Each Semester is divided into two blocks: Blocks 1 and 2 in Semester 1; Blocks 3 and 4 in Semester 2. Block 5 is the period beyond the end of Semester 2. (See “Delivery Period of a Course”).
Board of Examiners A Board of Examiners is a body consisting of University staff and external examiners where appropriate, with membership approved by the relevant College whose role is to take an overview of each student’s academic performance on a relevant course or programme based primarily on assessment results, and to make a final academic judgement on the appropriate outcome, e.g. on progression or the award of degree, diploma or certificate.
Board of Studies A Board of Studies is the committee in Schools which undertakes scrutiny of curriculum development proposals and where local decisions about courses, programmes and academic policy are made.
Borderline Borderline marks are defined as marks from two percentage points below the class or grade boundary up to the boundary itself, Boards of Examiners may award a pass to a student whose mark is shown on the student record as between 38.00% and 39.99%.

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Term Definition
Calendar Day Any day of the week, including weekends (i.e. Monday to Sunday)
Capped Marks The University does not use capped marks. Capped marks are those where a student cannot gain a mark on resit above a particular level, e.g. 40%. Generally for progression, classification and postgraduate distinction decisions, the first attempt mark will be used even if a resit mark is available. An exception to this is when the first attempt is a “null sit”.

Cheating is an example of academic misconduct. It is any attempt to obtain or to give assistance in an examination or an assessment without due acknowledgement. This includes submitting work which is not one's own.

Communication Channels The official formal communication channels used by the University with students are the University email account, MyEd and/or post.
Co-requisite of Course A co-requisite course to 'Course X' must be undertaken in the same Semester or Academic Year (as specified) as 'Course X'.
Classification This is the grading scheme used to identify the level of achievement of an honours degree. The class of degree can be First class honours (1st), Second class honours, upper division (2.i), Second class honours, lower division (2.ii), or Third class honours (3rd).
Class Only A student attending a course on a class-only basis does not sit assessment and does not receive credit for that course.

For postgraduate research students, the Principal and Co-Supervisor have equal roles and responsibilities, but the Principal Supervisor tends to deal with the administrative aspects of supervision. The supervisory arrangement of “Principal plus Co-Supervisor” is normally chosen when the student’s proposal involves interdisciplinary research.

See also “Principal Supervisor”, “Lead Co-Supervisor”, “Assistant Supervisor”.
Collusion Collusion is a form of plagiarism. It is an unauthorised and unattributed collaboration of students in a piece of assessed work.
Common Marking Schemes

Compensation See the definition of “Credits Awarded on Aggregate”.
Compulsory Course

Compulsory courses are those which a student must take as part of their degree programme, as specified in the Degree Programme Table in the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study

Concession A concession is where the requirements of University regulations are waived by those with specific authority to do so, e.g. the Curriculum and Student Progression Committee (CSPC) and relevant College committees or officers. Colleges may devolve the operation of some concessions to Schools.
Concession for a Course A concession for a course allows for the substitution of a course required in the Degree Programme Table (DPT), with another course. The concession requires approval by the appropriate body in the school or College.
Contact Teaching Time This is the average normal time per week in which the student can expect direct teaching contact with staff, for example lectures, supervised dissertation, project, practical or studio hours. A course may have additional non-contact teaching time, for example labs or tutorials.
Core Course This is a compulsory course that must be taken and passed in order to progress to the next stage of study within a specific degree programme.
Course Each year of study of undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes is composed of courses. A course is a unit of teaching and learning formally offered within the University, which carries credit expressed in credit points (see General Undergraduate Degree Programme Regulations) and which may contribute to a University award (certificate, diploma or degree). A course will have: a course code (recorded on the University’s Student Record system), one or more units of assessment, a specified credit value, a specified credit level, a named Course Organiser, and an identified host department/school/teaching organisation.
Course Code The unique alphanumeric code assigned to each course. The course code is listed in the individual course entry, beside the course title.
Course Organiser

The Course Organiser’s remit varies according to local School organisation, but in outline the Course Organiser is responsible for:

  • general course management;
  • assessment-related activities;
  • advising and supporting students on course-related matters;
  • monitoring and reviewing courses
Credit Level The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF credit level identifies the level of the outcome of learning achieved (see General Undergraduate Degree Programme Regulations).
Credit Points The University adheres to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF within which credit points are used to quantify the volume of learning achieved. Two SCQF credit points are equivalent to one point in the European Credit and Transfer System (ECTS).
Credits Awarded on Aggregate Credit can be awarded for a limited number of failed courses in honours years or taught postgraduate programmes when a student has met specific conditions. An example of this is when all the marks for the taught components of the relevant year of the programme (120 credits) are available, if the student has achieved pass marks (40%) in at least 80 credits and has an overall average of 40% or more over the full 120 credits, then they may be awarded credits on aggregate for the failed courses. Not all degree programmes permit the award of credit on aggregate.
Credit Total The total credit points allocated to a set of courses.
Critical Review A critical review is a writing task that asks the student to summarise and evaluate a text. The critical review can be of a book, a chapter, or a journal article.

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Term Definition
Deceit Deceit is dishonesty in order to achieve advantage. For example, by resubmitting one’s own previously assessed work.
Degree, Diploma or Certificate Exit awards conferred on the student by the University.
Degree Examination These are summative examinations which count towards a University award.
Degree Programme Specification (DPS) Each degree programme has a specification which gives a concise description of the learning outcomes and how they are demonstrated and achieved.
Degree Programme Table (DPT) The Degree Programme Table (DPT) identifies the regulated path for a degree e.g. the mandatory and elective course options required to achieve the award. A student will follow the curriculum for a degree programme set out in the DPT.
Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) The Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) sets out in the regulatory framework by which the University’s programmes are governed, the valid courses to achieve an award (Degree Programme Table), and details of all the courses offered by the University.
Degree Type Degree programmes are based on a number of standard models. The 'Degree Type' defines in brief the model followed by individual degree programmes, e.g. 'Single Honours'. Degree Types are outlined in the General Undergraduate Degree Regulations.
Delivery Period of a Course The period in which the course is actually taught (normally either Semester 1 or Semester 2, or the whole Year: both semesters).
Description of a Course A brief statement of the content of a course.
Diagnostic Assessment Diagnostic assessment indicates a student’s aptitude to learn and preparedness for a programme of study at the particular moment of testing. Incipient learning problems may be identified.
Discontinuation (of Students) An obsolete term, now replaced by “Withdrawal” or “Exclusion”.
Distance Learning A distance learning course or programme is one which is designed to be studied without the need for students to physically attend the University, unless such physical attendance is required for short periods (e.g. summer schools). This may include online learning.
Dissertation The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship in which a student has the opportunity to study in depth a topic chosen on the basis of the student’s own interests, the staff available to supervise, and the feasibility of the topic proposed in the light of resources and time available. The dissertation is characterised by the depth of investigation, analysis, comprehension and critique demonstrated.
Doctorate Doctoral degrees are designed at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 12 and are allocated at least 540 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 420 are at SCQF Level 12.
Double Marking Double marking is where a student’s work is assessed by more than one marker. If the second marker does not know the first marker’s comments or judgement prior to marking this is blind double marking. Double marking does not need to be blind. Double marking is a form of moderation and may be done for a sample of the students taking a course, e.g. those who are borderline for progression decisions, or for the whole course.

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Term Definition
Engagement A student is deemed to be engaged with his/her studies when s/he is attending as required, responding in a timely manner to the needs of the programme and progressing adequately.
Equivalent Course A course of comparable credit value and level which may be substituted for or equivalent to another course in the Degree Programme Table.
Examiners (External and Internal)

External Examiners are appointed from outside the University to help ensure that degrees awarded by the University are comparable in standard to those of other equivalent departments in appropriate universities, although their content may differ. They also ensure that the assessment system is operated equitably and fairly in respect of the treatment and classification of students.

The roles, powers and responsibilities of External Examiners are set out in the University’s Code of Practice for External Examiners of Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate Programmes.

Internal examiners are teaching and honorary staff of the University who teach Scottish Credit and qualification Framework level 7 to 12 courses which are awarded for credit and are listed in the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study

Internal and External Examiners are members of the Board of Examiners. See Boards of Examiners.
Exclusion (see also “Withdrawal”) Exclusion is the University’s action by which an individual’s status as a student is removed due to reasons other than completion of a programme of study. After exclusion, the individual is no longer entitled to access University resources.
Extension of Study A student may apply to be given additional time to complete his/her studies only under exceptional circumstances where it can be shown that unforeseen difficulties have delayed the normal progress of studies. Extensions of Studies may not be requested retrospectively. A fee is chargeable for extensions of study.

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Term Definition

Falsification is an attempt to present fictitious or distorted data, evidence, references, citations, or experimental results, and/or to knowingly make use of such material.


Feedback is information that is provided to students which can enable them to review what they know, understand and can do in their studies, and to identify areas for improvement.

Feedforward can provide students with information they can use to make improvements to future assessments.  Examples include:

  • the opportunity to get comments on a draft or outline, and so to take account of these in the final version;
  • the option of a practice test (e.g. getting feedback on how well students answered multiple-choice questions); or
  • what has sometimes been called 'pre-emptive' feedback - a pre-exam revision seminar, or a workshop focusing on past exam papers.
Formative Assessment Formative assessment is designed to provide students with feedback on progress and to inform development but it does not contribute to the overall assessment. Formative marks or grades do not directly contribute to final results
Freshers’ Week See Induction Week.
Full-Time (Student) There are a number of different definitions of “full-time student” across the sector. The Scottish Funding Council refers to a full-time course or research study which “involves the student in an average of at least 21 hours study a week, including private study, for periods of more than 24 weeks per year or, in the final year, for 24 weeks or less if the earlier years met the definition of full-time”. The University’s expectation of credit load is that a full-time undergraduate student will attain 120 credits at each stage of full-time study and that a full-time taught postgraduate masters student will attain 180 credits.

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Term Definition
Grade The grade is an outcome for an assessment, defined by the range in the common marking schemes.

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Term Definition
Handbook/Study Guides Handbooks provide students with information about programme and course content, aims and objectives, teaching and assessment, support and other issues. They indicate what is expected of students.
HESA Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Home Institution The home institution is the higher education institution where a visiting student is registered on a degree programme.

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Term Definition

Impersonation is the assumption of the identity of another person with intent to deceive or gain unfair advantage.

Induction Week

Induction week is the week before the start of teaching in Semester 1 of the academic year. A variety of events to orient and welcome new students are available. The orientation helps new students to organise their classes, acclimatise to student life, and introduce themselves to other students.

Integrated Masters This is an integrated degree programme comprising five years of undergraduate study, involving courses at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF level 11. See the relevant Degree Programme Table for further information
Intercalation The period when a student is officially suspended from studying for an academic degree in specific circumstances.
Interruption of Studies If students are temporarily unable to study they may apply for an interruption of studies. Only if there is evidence that it has been caused by an event which is largely unavoidable and beyond the control of the student will an interruption be authorised by the School or College. During the interrupted period no studies may be carried out. Periods of interruption of study do not count towards the student’s total permitted period of study. Interruptions of Study may not be requested retrospectively. Interruptions may be available for students to carry out activities which enhance the student’s career, for example internships, or for students who are performing at national or international level in their chosen sport.

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Term Definition
Junior Honours The first Honours year of an Honours degree programme, normally involving courses at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF level 9 or 10.

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Term Definition

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Term Definition
Lay Summary A lay summary is a brief description written in non-technical language that should be easily understood by a reader lacking specific or technical knowledge of the subject area.
Lead Co-Supervisor

A supervisor for a postgraduate research student, where two supervisors bear equal responsibility for the student, with one of the two nominally the lead.

See also “Principal Supervisor”, “Co-Supervisor”, “Assistant Supervisor”.
Learning Outcomes Learning outcomes are the stated aims and objectives for a course or programme. They outline the understanding, the skills and the knowledge that students will attain through successful completion of the course or programme.
Learning Profile A student’s Learning Profile presents the recommended reasonable adjustments to be implemented so that a disabled student is able to participate fully with their studies. The Learning Profile is compiled by the Student Disability Service following discussions with the student, and in some cases the student's Personal Tutor.
Leave of Absence Leave of Absence is the authorisation given to a student who is studying on campus but who wishes to undertake his/her studies temporarily at a term-time residence that is not within a suitable distance from Edinburgh. Such students must apply to the College or School for a Leave of Absence, and this will only be authorised where suitable justification is provided in the context of meeting the obligations for undertaking their programme of study. Distance learning students do not require leave of absence authorisation for their off campus learning. Leave of Absence (to study away) should not be confused with Interruption of Study (when study stops for a temporary period).
Level See Credit Level.

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Term Definition
Mainstream Adjustments

Adjustments that are made to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of learning and teaching for all students.

Further information is available on the Institute for Academic Development website at:

Mark The mark is the overall percentage for a course, approved and awarded by a Board of Examiners and reported to Registry.
Marker Markers are people who mark students’ work for formative or summative purposes but who are not examiners and therefore do not have membership of the Board of Examiners. Markers do not have to be members of staff. Examples of markers are graduate tutors who mark tutorial, laboratory or examination work, who may be on hours to be notified contracts; and members of professions or guest speakers who contribute to student assessment. Examiners also mark students’ work and may informally be referred to as markers but as they are examiners they have membership of the Board of Examiners.
Marking Schemes


In order to matriculate a student must satisfactorily complete all the admissions requirements for entry to the University, register with the University and have attendance confirmed by the University.

All students must matriculate at the beginning of their studies, and then matriculate at the beginning of each new academic session thereafter. Matriculation carries with it the agreement to abide by University rules.

This is the maximum period within which the student must have completed his/her programme of study, and have met the requirements for the award.

For doctoral and MPhil research students this is the end date of the submission period allowed, within which the research thesis must be submitted to the college for examination. A doctoral or MPhil research student is deemed to be working between “thesis submission” and notification by the college of his/her eligibility to graduate, as preparation for oral examination and post-examination corrections will be required.

A doctoral and MPhil research student required to resubmit a thesis for re-examination is required to re-matriculate.
Maximum Period of Study

This is the maximum period within which the student must have completed his/her programme of study, and have met the requirements for the award. The maximum period includes any extensions, interruptions of study and for some research degrees, the submission period

Member of the University Community Some University policies and regulations refer to students being accompanied by “a member of the University community”, for example, in the student academic appeals and student conduct processes. In these cases “member of the University community” includes current students and staff, including staff in the Edinburgh University Students Association and the Edinburgh University Sports Union. There is also a wider community of former staff and students and the parents of students, but these are not “members of the University community” for regulatory purposes.
Method Of Study Method of study is the method by which a student is studying, for example full-time full year, full-time part-year, part-time continuous or part-time intermittent.

Misconduct is where a student has not behaved appropriately. The Code of Student Conduct lists examples of student misconduct:

Moderation The QAA Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education, Section 6: Assessment of students – September 2006 notes that moderation is “Internal moderation is a process separate from that of marking and provides assurance that assessment criteria have been applied appropriately, reflecting the shared understanding of the markers, and an approach which is comparable irrespective of the academic subject (in particular recognising that students may be studying more than one subject).” Boards of Studies and Boards of Examiners establish in advance of the meeting of the Board of Examiners what forms of moderation are appropriate for their course to ensure adequate scrutiny and equity. Often moderation is coordinated by Course Organisers and Programme Directors. Moderation methods include sampling of marks, double marking, operation of marking schemes, checking marks against students’ profiles of marks to ensure consistency. The University’s Taught Assessment Regulations state that “All pieces of work must be double marked, checked or moderated in a way which is appropriate to the discipline and to the credit weighting of the piece of assessment”.
Module A subdivision of a course, covering a discrete part of the course’s content.

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Term Definition
Named Certificate and Diploma Named certificates and diplomas are those with a specific title other than the Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education or Undergraduate Diploma of Higher Education. Examples include the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, the Diploma in Pain Management, and the Diploma in High Performance Computing.
Non-Examining Chair A non-examining chair is the convener of a Board of Examiners who ensures that due process is carried out by the examiners whilst not taking an active part in the examination itself.
Non-Graduating Student Non-graduating students (NGS) are individuals who are not registered on a degree programme at this or another higher education institution, who take one or more taught courses (usually postgraduate) or undertake supervised research at the University.
Normal Year Taken (NYT) The year of study in which a course is normally taken by full-time students.
Null Sit If an assessment is recorded as “null-sit” by a Board of Examiners then it does not count as an assessment attempt and therefore does not contribute to the maximum number of permitted assessment attempts.

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Term Definition
On-Campus Learning On-campus learning refers to those courses or programmes which are designed to be studied by students physically attending the University, unless such physical attendance is not required for short periods. A student on an on-campus programme of study cannot reside at a location that prevents his/her on-campus participation as required. In such a case, the University reserves the right to insist that the student moves to a more suitable location or risk being excluded from study.
Online Assessment Online assessment is an assessment which is delivered to students online.
Open Book Examination In open book examinations students are permitted to have access to specific material which is approved by the School.
Oral Assessment

An oral assessment is a judgement made based on the student’s verbal contribution. It can include a variety of activities:

  • students making presentations which are part of the assessment of a course;
  • student participation in tutorials;
  • specific skills which are assessed orally, e.g. in languages;
  • a viva voce examination.
A viva voce examination that assesses the student’s general knowledge of the field of research; establishes the extent of any collaboration; ascertains that the student can work independently and lead the work of others; and confirms that the work is the student’s own.
Other Teaching Time This is the number of hours per week that a student will be required to undertake formal activities other than direct teaching (directed learning and independent learning). This might include labs and other workshops.

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Term Definition
Part-Time Student There are a number of different definitions of “part-time student” across the sector. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) defines part-time as a “short full-time course with an overall course length of 24 weeks or less”. The SFC then further defines part-time in relation to “structured” or “non-structured” programmes of study.
Personal Tutor Every undergraduate student has a Personal Tutor, a member of the academic staff who provides academic guidance and support.
Placements A placement is a period of vocational, industrial or academic experience, which may be paid or unpaid, where the placement forms part of the student’s award. The individual remains a student of the university while on the placement.
Plagiarism Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s work as the student’s own, without proper acknowledgement of the source, with or without the creator’s permission, intentionally or unintentionally.
Portfolio A collection of previous work containing a significant amount of material worthy of publication or public presentation submitted by an applicant as part of the evidence required to assess the quality of the application for undergraduate or postgraduate study.
Postgraduate or Undergraduate Study Undergraduate study is that study taken at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF levels 7 to 10. Postgraduate study is study taken at SCQF levels 11 or 12. Undergraduate Masters degrees also include courses at level 11.
Pre-requisite A pre-requisite to ‘’Course X’’ is a course that must be successfully completed before the student can undertake ‘’Course X’’.
Prescribed Period of Study The prescribed period of study defines the period during which a student is expected to complete his/her taught or supervised studies. Following completion of the prescribed period of study, doctoral and MPhil students are given a period of time to write up their research and submit a thesis before the maximum period of study is reached. It follows that for non-doctoral or non-MPhil students the maximum end date of study and the end date of the prescribed period of study are the same date.
Principal Supervisor

The Principal Supervisor is the person primarily responsible for giving the research student help and advice to obtain good training in research, choosing a topic of appropriate scope and significance, organising the research, composing a thesis that meets the University’s expectations, and submitting it in the appropriate timescale. It is important to note, however, that the student has direct responsibility for the production of their thesis and its final quality. The Principal Supervisor may be supported by one or more Assistant Supervisors.

See also “Assistant Supervisor”, “Co-Supervisor”, “Lead Co-Supervisor”.
Probation Under the Code of Student Conduct, students may be placed “on probation” by the Student Discipline Committee.  Under this, they are required not to commit any misconduct offence and may be required to meet conditions specified by the Student Discipline Committee.
Programme Director

Programme Directors for taught postgraduate programmes provide individual students on their programme with academic and pastoral support. Some undergraduate programmes also have Programme Directors.

The Programme Director's remit may include elements of the Course Organiser role e.g.:

  • general course management;
  • assessment related activities;
  • advising and supporting students on course-related matters.
Programme of Study A programme of study is the sum of all the elements leading to a defined graduating curriculum. The undergraduate Certificate and Diploma of Higher Education are not defined graduating curricula and therefore are not programmes of study. See relevant Degree Programme Table at
Programme of Study (Taught) An undergraduate or postgraduate taught programme of study has taught content covering 50% or more of the total content. Standards for these degrees are governed by the University’s Taught Assessment Regulations.
Programme of Study (Research) A postgraduate research programme of study has research content covering 50% or more of the total content. Standards for these degrees are governed by the University’s Postgraduate Research Assessment Regulations. Research programmes are also called “fields of study”.
Progression In order to progress i.e. to move to the next stage of study, students must meet the requirements specified in the degree regulations and Degree Programme Table:
Prohibited Combination Courses with a substantial overlap in subject content that cannot be counted together in a qualifying curriculum.

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Term Definition
Reasonable Adjustments

Reasonable adjustments inform staff of what support is recommended for disabled students in lectures and in exams, e.g. permission to record lectures, extra time in exams etc. The reasonable adjustments recommended for an individual student are recorded in the student’s Learning Profile.

Reasonable adjustments are recommended by the Student Disability Service, following discussion with a disabled student, and are intended to ensure that disabled students have full access to their course of study. A list of recommended reasonable adjustments, called a Learning Profile, is sent by the Student Disability Service to:

  • the student
  • the Co-ordinator of Adjustments in the relevant School
  • the student's Personal Tutor
  • to Student Administration (if there is an exam-related adjustment)
  • to the Library (if assistance is required)

Reasonable adjustments may include alteration of a physical feature (eg providing ramped access to a building) or provision of an auxiliary aid or service (eg extra time for an exam or providing a loop system or microphone is a teaching space).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF defines Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as the process for recognising learning that has its source in experience and/or previous formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts. This includes knowledge and skills gained within School, College and University and outside formal learning situations such as through life and work experiences.

All applications for RPL at the University must be supported by evidence that the applicant’s prior learning:

  • is closely similar in content to the course(s) from which exemption is sought;
  • is at the same SCQF academic level as the course(s) from which exemption is sought;
  • is sufficiently recent that the student’s knowledge remains active and up to date. The time elapsed since completing the prior learning should not exceed five years;
  • has been undertaken at other universities or institutions of comparable standing.
Registration The process of registering with the University confirms a student’s personal details, and reviews study details. The student must also make arrangements for the payment of fees if they have not done so already. Completion of the registration process is only one of the components required for full matriculation at the University.
Regulations Expert The Regulations Expert’s remit is to act as an immediate source of knowledge and advice for Boards of Examiners about the relevant University Regulations and guidance and their academic application. Some Schools appoint a Regulations Expert to act for the whole School or across a number of Boards of Examiners.
Requirements This indicates whether a course has any requirements for entry, such as pre-requisites, co-requisites, or prohibited combinations.
Result The result is the overall outcome for the course, expressed as ‘Pass’ (and type of pass), ‘Fail’ or ‘Absent’, taking into account the marks achieved for course work, class assessments etc. where such marks count towards the overall programme result.

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Term Definition
Schedule of Courses A list of all courses offered by a School. Each Schedule has been assigned a letter to allow cross-referencing from individual Degree Programme Tables. Each Schedule is sub-divided into Subject Areas.
SCQF The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (see for more information)
Semester The academic year is constructed from semesters, each containing 11 weeks for teaching and additional weeks for revision and examination.
Senior Honours The second Honours year of an Honours degree programme, normally involving courses at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF level 10 or 11.
Special Arrangements In some cases courses may have specific requirements for entry that are not covered by the pre-requisites, co-requisites, prohibited combinations or costs. In such cases, this section of the course description describes these arrangements.
Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are circumstances which are beyond a student’s control and for which there is sufficient documentary evidence to show that these circumstances may have adversely affected a student’s performance in an assessment.

Start Date The formal date by which a student is deemed to have commenced their programme of study. For postgraduate students this will always be the first day of the month. For undergraduate students this will usually be the first day of semester 1 or semester 2.
Student A student is someone who has been admitted to the University to study for academic credit at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF level 7 or above and has commenced the matriculation process and has not otherwise exited the University (through successful completion, withdrawal or exclusion). Successful completion of studies occurs when the student has no further study to perform; this precedes graduation.
Student Support Officer

The Student Support Officer is an administrative staff member in the Student Support Team in Schools or services who provide a point of contact for students in order to provide information in response to routine queries: maintain appropriate records and make sure that these are made available to staff who need updates: and provide administrative support.
Subject Area Heading used in the School Schedules to group courses into disciplinary sub-divisions or other groupings that facilitate reference from the Degree Programme Tables (DPTs).
Submission Period Doctoral and MPhil students are given an additional 12 month period at the end of the prescribed period of study, called the submission period, also referred to as writing up period. During this period, the student collates the finalised research work ready for submission, the research study having been completed by the end of the prescribed period of study. The student’s supervisor maintains pastoral and general academic interest during the submission period, but research supervision should have been completed.
Summative Assessment Summative assessment measures the level of attainment by a student in the programme of study.
Supervisor See definitions for “Principal Supervisor”, “Co Supervisor”, “Lead Co-Supervisor” and “Assistant Supervisor”.
Suspension Students may be required to temporarily suspend their studies and activities on grounds of misconduct or to prevent danger to themselves or others.  This can be a total or selective restriction on attending the University or accessing its facilities or participating in university activities.  Students may request to temporarily suspend their studies: this is called interruption of studies.
Synoptic Assessment Synoptic assessment requires students to make and use connections within and between different areas of their study, demonstrating and applying their knowledge and understanding.

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Term Definition
Take Home Examination This is an examination which is given to students for them to complete and submit within a specified period of time. A take home exam does not need to be sat under invigilated conditions. The exam can be issued to students using a variety of methods, e.g. email, direction to an online webpage, handed out on paper.
Thesis A thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author’s research and findings.

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Term Definition

Home Office:

Unit of Assessment A unit of assessment is a component of a course which is considered by a Board of Examiners as a discrete entity in reaching its final mark for the course or its progression or award decision. Examples include an essay, an exam paper, questions within an exam paper, etc.
Unsatisfactory Progress See Progression

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Term Definition
Visiting Student Visiting Students (VS) are students who are studying or conducting research at the University for a short period of time i.e. for less than or up to one year. Visiting Students do not graduate from the University of Edinburgh. There are three categories of Visiting Student: Visiting Taught Undergraduates (VUGs), Visiting Taught Postgraduates (VPGTs) and Visiting Research Students (VRes).
Viva Voce A viva voce (oral) examination that assesses the student’s general knowledge of the field of research; establishes the extent of any collaboration; ascertains that the student can work independently and lead the work of others; and confirms that the work is the student’s own.

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Term Definition
Withdrawal Withdrawal is the student’s action by which s/he voluntarily chooses to leave the University. After withdrawal, the individual is no longer entitled to access University resources.
Writing Up Period Doctoral and MPhil students are given an additional 12 month period at the end of the prescribed period of study, called the submission period, also referred to as writing up period. During this period, the student collates the finalised research work ready for submission, the research study having been completed by the end of the prescribed period of study. The student’s supervisor maintains pastoral and general academic interest during the submission period, but research supervision should have been completed.

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