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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Credit Available For: College Other Eligibility Requirements: Prior Coursework as Required by Subject, See Program Description
Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment
Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 15
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BEP LogoUniversity of Edinburgh: Political Parliamentary Programme

Political and policy buffs spend a semester taking three courses, interning, and completing a research project at the Scottish Parliament. This is a perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience in house governance works, with a unique opportunity to be part of policy making, research and ministerial activity. Despite a different schedule than most, students on this program are considered full-time University of Edinburgh students and have access to all amenities provided by the university.

For additional information, visit the University of Edinburgh: Political Parliamentary Programme website

The City of Edinburgh

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is a vibrant, student city with great access to nature, history, and city life. More than 1.3 million people live in the metropolitan area, which features architectural gems such as the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood Palace. With Scottish culture and unbridled nature mere minutes from the city, Edinburgh is a wonderful place to spend a semester or two!

Did you know…?

The very modern Scottish Parliament building was reconstructed and opened in 2004 to house its 129 members.

Edinburgh Castle, located in the center of the city, sits on a dormant 340-million-year-old volcano.



The program at University of Edinburgh Political Parliamentary Programme is for rising juniors or current juniors or seniors who have completed at least four courses in relevant subject areas (i.e. Politics, International Relations, Government, Social/Public Policy, Criminal Justice), having achieved grades B or above, at the point of application.

There are a limited number of spots for Penn students on the University of Edinburgh Political Parliamentary Programme. All candidates should identify a second choice program.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of four relevant courses by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. 

Other Requirements: Completion of at least two full years of undergraduate study by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is required. 


Language of Instruction



A full course load at University of Edinburgh’s Political Parliamentary Programme consists of three classes and a research project per semester (70 Edinburgh credits).  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.
In the first five weeks of the programme, students enroll in the University of Edinburgh's Institute of Governance and take courses in Government and Politics in the United Kingdom, Scottish Politics, and Scottish Society and Culture. After courses, students are assigned to intern with a member of Scottish Parliament. During this time, students are required to undertake a research project and will have study space in the parliament building as well as an academic base in the Institute of Governance. Students on this program are considered full-time University of Edinburgh students.

Further information on the courses, course schedules, and more can be found on the University of Edinburgh’s Political Parliamentary Programme homepage.
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Grades are reported to Penn on the University of Edinburgh and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
University of Edinburgh Grade Penn Grade
70-100 A
65-69 A-
60-64 B+
55-59 B
50-54 B-
40-49 C
30-39 D
0-29 F

Special Features

BEP Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by University of Edinburgh Political Parliamentary Programme prior to the start of each semester. More information will be distributed upon acceptance.

Internship Opportunities

Students participating in this program intern with a member of Scottish Parliament for 10 weeks.

Group Excursions

The University of Edinburgh’s international office hosts popular excursions, which tend to fill up fast. The Edinburgh University Students’ Association also hosts local and regional trips.

Other excursions and activities are organized by the Cornell Brown Penn UK Centre.

Buddy Program
BEP Special Features
Global Buddies is run by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association. The program matches incoming students with current students for cultural and language exchange.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at the University of Edinburgh have access to a wide range of more than 200 student activities and associations. More information can be found on the Edinburgh University Students’ Association page. 


BEP Campus
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Interns are guaranteed an offer of accommodation by the University of Edinburgh. Participants live among other interns in university-owned premises, such as catered halls of residence, self-catering residences, and university flats. Most are located conveniently to academic areas and the Parliament building. Students generally have en-suite accommodations, including a shared kitchen and common room. More information on housing is distributed upon acceptance.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here and here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

AASAP/UK Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship: Merit-based scholarship awarded to the applicant who demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience and who agrees to share how the scholarship helped to fulfil their academic and personal ambitions. The award is £500 for a semester abroad or £1,000 for a full year.

BUTEX offers eight scholarships to North American students studying at a university in the United Kingdom. The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university. Interested students should contact the appropriate Global Programs Manager in the Penn Abroad office.

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Edinburgh, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.