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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College, SEAS, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Min. 3 College Level Courses in Major Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 25
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BED LogoUniversity of Edinburgh

A comprehensive institution set in the heart of the city, the University of Edinburgh is a high-ranked and attractive destination for study abroad. The university offers courses in multiple discipline, located in a unique and historical destination that features a perfect mix of international and Scottish culture. The 33,000+ students at the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world are very active in clubs, societies, and events. Study abroad students are guaranteed housing at this two-campus university.

For additional information, visit the University of Edinburgh Study Abroad 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 University of Edinburgh counts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Darwin among its alumni. Winston Churchill once served as university rector.

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



The program at University of Edinburgh is for College, Wharton, and SEAS students.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Minimum 3 college level courses in major, with grades of B or better.

English majors are required to have completed at least 4 college-level courses in English literature with grades of B or better. Writing courses within the English department do NOT count towards this requirement.

Political Science or International Relations majors are not eligible to apply to the University of Edinburgh and should consider the Parliamentary Program instead. 


Language of Instruction



A full course load at University of Edinburgh consists of 60 Edinburgh Credits per semester, which is generally between three and six courses. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

Each student is assigned a personal tutor who will advise on a suitable pattern of courses as well as on other academic or personal matters. A complete course guide providing course descriptions and prerequisites is available on the University of Edinburgh Website. Teaching methods will usually consist of a combination of lectures and tutorials, with laboratory work for science based courses. For most courses, lectures form the main teaching framework, which provide a guide to the subject matter and set out the foundations of the course. The tutorials consist of a small group of students and will provide the opportunity to develop themes and discuss problems, usually on the basis of written work. Most courses will be assessed by a combination of essay, tests and examinations.

College of Arts and Sciences students are expected to take two advanced courses (called honors courses) in their major, which earn 1.5 CUs per course at Penn. The third course can be from 1st or 2nd year level, earning students 1 CU. Generally, each of these courses counts for 20 Edinburgh credits; in total, 60 Edinburgh credits are required (no exceptions). Courses must be discussed with the appropriate faculty members at Penn before studying abroad. Students must have a 3 course minimum in their major to apply to the University of Edinburgh. The University of Edinburgh’s English department requires students to have completed at least 4 literature courses in the subject to be eligible to take honors courses. 

History of Art majors may have difficulty securing the required classes for their major and are discouraged from applying to this program.

Students enrolling in Science, Engineering, and Business disciplines also must enroll in 60 credits at the University of Edinburgh, but course credits vary. While some courses may be 20 credits, others will be 10 credits. Students should expect to take between 3 and 6 courses to maintain full-time enrollment. Students cannot enroll in fewer or more than 60 credits.
University of Edinburgh Academic Calendar
University of Edinburgh Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
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.

Methods of assessment vary from department to department and, while professors usually take account of tutorial essays and practical work, greater emphases are placed on performance in end-of-term class examinations and, above all, end-of-year degree examinations in all courses. Penn students are required to register and sit for all degree examinations. All approved courses earn Penn residential credit and are recorded with grades on the permanent transcript. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy.

Grades are reported to Penn on the University of Edinburgh scale 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

BED Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by University of Edinburgh prior to the start of each semester. Specific information will be distributed upon acceptance, while general orientation events and information can be found on the University of Edinburgh website.

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
BED 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. 


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

Housing is guaranteed for study abroad students. Accommodations consist mainly of a variety of self-catered housing in flats and university residences, together with catered halls of residence. There is a wide variation in the amenities provided in halls of residence and students. Students will be required to sign a contract for a fixed period of time when they receive their housing assignment.

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

Academic Year

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.