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PPLS Undergraduate Student Handbook

The PPLS Undergraduate Student Handbook has more information on Student Support and academic guidance; late coursework and plagiarism; illness and disability adjustments, and useful sources of advice.




You should regularly check your university email and check for announcements on the course Learn page, which can be assessed from your MyEd page via http://www.myed.ed.ac.uk/

The course Learn page will provide information concerning:

General information and announcement about the course

Lecture notes and PowerPoint slides

Tutorial arrangements

Information about assessment arrangements

Psychology library

Psychology is extremely fortunate in having its own library, in part, supported by the Stirling-Boyd bequest and the Drever Fund and staffed during semester-time, by a full-time librarian, Mrs Karen Fleet. The collection is used extensively by third and fourth year students and by postgraduates and academic staff. All students must register with the librarian before using this facility. Access is by matriculation card. This library space is now shared with Philosophy, as after formation of the School of PPLS, the Haldane and Psychology libraries amalgamated.

Of particular benefit to students is the extensive collection of reprints used in the lecture courses, and multiple copies of key texts. All books in the Psychology library are also housed in the main university library. In addition there are a number of journals which are uniquely located here. There is also a resource room with computing and video facilities.

Psychometric tests

Many students will wish to use psychometric tests in their research projects. Psychology houses a store of tests, and students may borrow some of these tests from the librarian. Some general information about choosing and locating tests, together with some information about specific types of test, e.g. personality, can be found at the following links:




British Psychological Society Accreditation

The Single and Combined Honours degree programmes in Psychology which are listed below are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), provided the minimum standard of a Lower Second Class Honours is achieved, in addition to successfully completing the research project (Year 4 Dissertation in Psychology). This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

If you intend to practice as a professional psychologist, you first need to obtain an undergraduate degree that confers eligibility for GBC. Then you would need to undertake further training in the form of a relevant postgraduate degree and supervised practice before you would be eligible to become a Chartered Psychologist and to work independently as a psychologist. For further information, see:


The following degree programmes are accredited by the BPS as conferring eligibility for GBC:

Single Honours Combined Honours
MA (Hons) Psychology MA (Hons) Psychology & Business
BSc (Hons) Psychology MA (Hons) Psychology & Economics
  MA (Hons) Psychology & Linguistics
  MA (Hons) Philosophy & Psychology
  MA (Hons) Sociology & Psychology

For single honours degrees, all standard pathways, as specified in the relevant Degree Programme Table (DPT), are accredited, with the condition that students must take a selection of year 3 and year 4 courses which cover all of the following core areas of Psychology:

Cognitive Psychology

Biological Psychology

Social Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Individual Differences

This condition also applies to combined honours degrees. In addition, accreditation is conditional on students taking the Year 3 Methodology 1 and Methodology 2 courses and the Dissertation in Psychology (Year 4).


The following honours degree programmes are not accredited as conferring eligibility for GBC

BMedSci (Hons) Psychology

BSc (Hons) Cognitive Science

MA (Hons) Cognitive Science (Humanities)


The degrees of students who spend their Junior Honours Year abroad do not automatically confer eligibility for Chartered Membership of the BPS. However, such students may apply to the BPS for GBC on an individual basis, after graduation (on payment of the relevant BPS membership fee). If you are considering doing this, it is important that you select honours level courses to cover the 5 core areas, and courses equivalent to Y3 Methodology 1 and Y3 Methodology 2 (qualitative component). On your return, in final year, you must cover the remaining of the 5 core areas you did not cover abroad, with a maximum of 3 core areas covered abroad being allowed to count.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods courses should be freely available to INTERNATONAL Exchange students in English-speaking parts of the world. In all cases, exchange students should consult with the International Co-ordinator at their destination, as well as the Exchanges Co-ordinator here in Edinburgh, when selecting courses and finalising your Learning Agreement. Note that up to 20 Edinburgh-equivalent (10 ECTS) credits may be taken in outside courses.

Some ERASMUS destinations (University of Amsterdam and Complutense University of Madrid) do not, at the moment, offer advanced Quantitative Methods courses taught in English, and students returning from these destinations should, in addition, take Y3 Methodology 1. Quantitative Research Methods courses currently identified as similar to our Y3 Methodology 1 include: Statistics for Life Sciences (Amsterdam) and Quantitative Research Methods – Masters Level (Copenhagen).

Most ERASMUS destinations do not, understandably, offer Qualitative Methods courses taught in English. Therefore, students returning from ERASMUS exchanges should take Y3 Methodology 2, unless they have taken a qualitative methods course in the host language.

Qualitative Research Methods courses currently identified as similar to our Y3 Methodology 2 include: Qualitative Methods: From Theory to Practice – Masters Level (Copenhagen).


Research Seminars

The series of departmental seminars should be regarded as a valuable way to get an overview of areas of psychology not covered in your 4th year options. This will be particularly important for single honours students in the General Paper. Final honours students are expected to attend a reasonable number of seminars each semester – details will be emailed to you in advance of each seminar.



The Drever Prize (currently £200) is awarded to the best overall student in any Psychology degree programme.

The Robert Sproat-Birch Prize (currently £80) is awarded to an academically distinguished student, ideally with a record of helping others through voluntary activities or other good works at some stage in their degree, or immediately thereafter.

The Gillian Birrell Memorial Prize (currently £100) is awarded to the best undergraduate psychology dissertation on a topic which is related to health or to individual well-being. In the event of there being no suitable candidates, it is awarded instead to the best dissertation in the broad field of applied psychology.

The BPS Prize is awarded to a student with the highest overall grade on graduation. The student wins the BPS’s Book of the Year, a certificate, and one-year’s free membership of the society.


Psychology Building information

Fire Routine Procedure

All students should be familiar with the action to be taken in the event of a fire and on hearing the fire alarm and with the contents of notices describing the Building Safety Policy.

1.         Familiarise yourself with the fire alarm points in your area (i.e. close to the lecture theatres, tutorial rooms or laboratories). Most alarms operate by breaking the glass to release a button.

2.         On seeing a fire, report immediately by using the University emergency telephone Number – 2222 from internal phones - and to any member of staff in the area. Leave the building immediately. The Safety Officer (Ms Sylvia Rennie) should also be informed.

3.         You should also be familiar with the escape routes in the building. These are marked FIRE EXIT with an arrow to indicate the route to take.

4.         Routes to Fire Exits must not be obstructed by chairs or the storage of goods.

5.         On hearing the fire alarm (a continuous siren) leave the building directly by the nearest fire exit. DO NOT wait to collect bags etc. The last person leaving any room should close the door.

6.         The fire assembly point for Psychology is outside the Hugh Robson building next door to 7 George Sq.

7.         There is a list of fire stewards and deputies posted on the walls at various points in the building. These members of staff will check (if possible without putting themselves at risk) that an area is clear and report to the safety officer.

8.         It is important to remember that safety of people takes complete precedence over tackling outbreaks of fire.


Electrical safety

All portable electrical equipment (i.e. equipment which plugs into a socket) is safety checked every 2 or 4 years, depending on type. All tested equipment should carry a green/white test sticker, and equipment without this sticker should not be used. Obvious damage, particularly to insulation on cables, should be reported to your supervisor and the equipment repaired before further use.


First aid

Psychology has several university-trained First Aid officers, whose name and telephone numbers are displayed on notices throughout the building. The First Aid room is based in G20, with a fully stocked First Aid kit.


Other safety considerations

Safety instructions and training for any specialist procedure or equipment will be given before use. If you encounter any circumstances where your or others’ safety comes into question, please speak about this to your supervisor or demonstrator. Further information on safety policy and practice can be found on the University Health and Safety Department website at http://www.safety.ed.ac.uk.


Out of Hours Working (all staff, postgraduates, students)

Monday to Friday - 8.00am-5.30pm (servitor cover during these hours)

Monday to Friday - 5.30pm-9.00pm/Saturday and Sunday - 9.00am-9.00pm (no servitor cover during these hours)

Vacate the building by 9.30pm

Front gate locked by university Security at 10.00pm each evening.


Building entry after hours

Staff and postgraduates holding a university staff card and undergraduates (3rd and 4th years only) holding a valid matriculation card which allows access to the building, may do normal work in offices, computer labs and the library out of hours. The Late Working book (kept by the entry door) should ALWAYS be signed on entering and leaving the building.


Research work after hours (Non-Participants)

(This applies to all staff - researchers, postgraduates, students)

Research work, which does not involve especially hazardous activities or the use of participants, may be carried out after hours, provided that explicit permission has been given by a supervisory member of the academic staff, after due consideration of the risks, and adequate supervision is employed.


Research work after hours (Participants)

(This applies to all staff - researchers, postgraduates, students - who work with research participants)

Before any research work using participants is carried out within the department, the relevant ethical permission must be obtained. If the researcher is testing participants out of hours, then the following rules must be followed:

1. No participant may be admitted to the building less than one hour before the end of working hours. Thus, the last participant access is 8 pm.

2. Visitors and participants must be signed into the Visitors book on arrival, and signed out on exit.

3. Participants must be escorted from the building by the researcher (i.e. the researcher must witness them leave the building).

4. If participant payment is offered, researchers should keep no more than one payment in the testing room. This is to minimise vulnerability to financial theft.

5. It is strongly recommended that researchers testing participants after hours should not work alone, but should work in pairs or groups, to minimise personal vulnerability.


Security Checks

The University Security Staff have the authority to ask the identity of persons found in the building outside normal working hours and to check this information against entries in the Late Working book.


Tier 4 students - STUDENTS ON A TIER 4 VISA

As a Tier 4 student, the University of Edinburgh is the sponsor of your UK visa. The University has a number of legal responsibilities, including monitoring your attendance on your programme and reporting to the Home Office where:

  • you suspend your studies, transfer or withdraw from a course, or complete your studies significantly early;
  • you fail to register/enrol at the start of your course or at the two additional registration sessions each year and there is no explanation;
  • you are repeatedly absent or are absent for an extended period and are excluded from the programme due to non-attendance. This includes missing Tier 4 census points without due reason. The University must maintain a record of your attendance and the Home Office can ask to see this or request information about it at any time;

As a student with a Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, the terms of your visa require you to, (amongst others):

  • Ensure you have a correct and valid visa for studying at the University of Edinburgh, which, if a Tier 4 visa, requires that it is a visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh;
  • Attend all of your University classes, lectures, tutorials, etc where required. This includes participating in the requirements of your course including submitting assignments, attending meetings with tutors and attending examinations. If you cannot attend due to illness, for example, you must inform your School. This includes attending Tier 4 Census sessions when required throughout the academic session.
  • Make sure that your contact details, including your address and contact numbers are up to date in your student record.
  • Make satisfactory progress on your chosen programme of studies.
  • Observe the general conditions of a Tier 4 General student visa in the UK, including studying on the programme for which your visa was issued, not overstaying the validity of your visa and complying with the work restrictions of the visa.

Please note that any email relating to your Tier 4 sponsorship, including census dates and times will be sent to your University email address - you should therefore check this regularly.

Further details on the terms and conditions of your Tier 4 visa can be found in the “Downloads” section at www.ed.ac.uk/immigration

Information or advice about your Tier 4 immigration status can be obtained by contacting the International Student Advisory Service, located at the International Office, 33 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9JS

Email: immigration@ed.ac.uk