One of the biggest benefits of studying at Edinburgh is the electives system, where you can choose to study courses outside of your degree programme from a range of options across the University. Here, our student blog writer Ita gives her advice on how to pick them.
Every year students struggle with choosing their electives. Hundreds of courses are available so finding the right ones can be tricky. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with the whole idea (don’t worry too much about that – you’re not the only one). So below, I will give you some tips which might prove useful.
- Watch the SPS Course Options advice video! It’s newly created for this year and walks you through everything you need to do.
- Think carefully about what you want to study (apart from your main degree of course). Do you have a particular interest in one of the academic fields? Do you simply want to try something new? Or maybe you’re thinking about switching to a joint degree? Do you prefer exam- or coursework-based assessment? These questions might help you narrow down your search. And remember, you’re not limited to your School when choosing your electives.
- Go to Path. Path is our online platform where you can find all courses that are available to you each year as well as their timetables and short descriptions. You will be able to see which courses you have to take each year and various options available to you as electives. You can also build your own timetables to see whether your chosen courses “clash.” This again will help you narrow down your search. You can visit the platform multiple times, so don’t feel pressurised to explore it all in one go.
- Make a shortlist. It is always useful to have a shortlist of your top 3-4 choices as some of the courses fill up quickly and you might not be able to enrol on your first choice. It might also come in handy later on in case you would like to switch your electives, for example if your expectations of your chosen elective do not correspond to reality. You will usually have 2 weeks from the beginning of the semester to change courses (only the electives; you can’t change your required/compulsory courses).
- Discuss your choices with your Academic Adviser. Before you officially enrol on your courses, you will meet with your Academic Adviser. Make the most of this opportunity to discuss your choices with them, especially if you’re still unsure about your final decision.
- Double-check the course description before making your final decision. This step might seem obvious, but do read courses’ description carefully. This will help you understand what will be required of you (e.g. some courses might require good knowledge of math). This way you will most likely avoid being enrolled on a course that you might struggle with.
These are the top tips that I have used throughout my studies and found very helpful. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful too. And the last thing to remember: don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help if you need it. Your School offers various support services and schemes. So if you find yourself struggling, just ask and we will be more than happy to help.