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What’s the difference between a course and a programme?

Each degree programme is comprised of a number of courses.

Courses can also be studied individually (where they are offered) as a ‘short course’ without being registered on an entire programme.

What is a module?

A module is as another term for a course. It is a discrete unit of study within a programme.

How many credits is each course worth?

The credit value of a course is related to the amount of effort required. One credit is equivalent to 10 hours of notional student effort which includes study and assessment time. The credit value of each course is listed in the relevant prospectus entry.


How do I apply?

You can find an "Apply now" button on our online prospectus.

What is the application deadline?

There will be cut off dates for entering into the next available cohort (usually September and January each year) but you can apply anytime to start at the next available start date.

Do I need to provide transcripts and evidence of my qualifications?

Yes, we will require you to provide a full transcript of any previous qualifications with an official translation into English if the original is in an alternative language.

I don't have the required level of qualification, but I have worked for many years in the area of my intended course. Can this be taken into consideration?

Yes, in some instances a lower qualification in combination with relevant work experience can be taken into account. A comprehensive CV describing the relevant experience should be included with any application.

How do I evidence work experience?

You should fully describe the nature and duration of work experience that is relevant to the degree subject. Our admissions team will consider it and come back to you for further information, if required.

Do I need to register for a whole degree programme or can I just select one course?

You can elect to study a single course if it appears on our list of short courses. This list is added to on a regular basis. Having taken one short course, you can choose to continue your studies if you then wish. Many programmes offer a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) and Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) option if you are unsure about committing to an MSc in the first instance.

Studying Online

What courses does University of Aberdeen offer online?

Our list of courses and programmes is on our website. New courses and programmes are regularly added.

Will studying online suit me?

Studying online means that you can fit studying around your work and personal life. For our fully online courses, since you do not have to travel to our campus, you can study from anywhere in the world.

Studying online does mean that you have to motivate yourself to study and manage your own time.

When can I access the course?

We will advise you of the date that your course will be available. Some course offer an induction that can be started before the course start date.

Will I have to travel to Aberdeen?

Our fully online courses have no requirement to travel to our campus.

Some of our programmes are blended meaning that they involve a mix of online and on-campus courses. Where this is the case, it will be stated in our prospectus.

How will I be taught?

Courses are delivered through a virtual learning environment and are designed specifically for an online audience. They use a range of activities including live online classrooms, videos, online quizzes, innovative online assessment, discussion boards, collaborative wikis, blogs, reflective logs, and personal journals.

All courses will be accessed through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and can accessed through login details that we will provide to you before you start.

Before your course starts there will be lots of guidance on how to use the VLE so that you are familiar with it before you start your course.

How will my work be assessed?

You may experience a range of different types of assessment during your studies. These may include essays, online tests and group work. Some courses may involve more formal exams which are taken at an exam centre.

Do I need to be present in a particular location for exams?

Some courses involve an exam. Where this is the case, you will be able to take the exam at a British Council exam centre. This may incur an additional cost.

Are there lots of deadlines for course work?

Most courses will have course work to complete. At the start of the course, you will be made aware of all the course work, assignments and deadlines so that you can plan accordingly.

What happens if I am late submitting an assignment?

As soon as you know you are not going to make a deadline you should contact your course coordinator. There may be penalties for late submission. These will be explained as part of your course materials.

Are there fixed times for classes or online tutorials?

Occasionally, there will be synchronous sessions such as tutorials for your course where you will meet online with your tutor and classmates. Where you can’t be present, you will normally be provided with access to recorded materials for you to view at a more convenient time.

Will I get to meet any students on my course?

Most courses will have discussion boards and collaborative working tasks where you can interact with other learners on your course. But they could be anywhere in the world!

Some courses may involve group work which will allow you to work alongside your fellow class members.

Social media is a great way to find other learners on your course.


Will I have access to a tutor?

Yes. All courses have an academic member of staff who serves as the course coordinator. Other staff and in some cases external experts also contribute to the delivery of the course. The contact details of the course coordinator will be available to you through the VLE, so you can contact them with course queries.

How can I contact my tutor?

Course coordinators can be contacted by email or directly through the VLE.

How will my tutor contact me?

Your tutor will contact you through the Aberdeen email address that we will give you. Personal email addresses will not be used, so if you prefer to use one, then set up an auto-forward from your Aberdeen account to your preferred account.

Will I get access to the library?

Yes, our libraries are fully available to you, just like for on campus students. If you are local, you can visit. If you are not local, you can still access the millions of books, journals and manuscripts through on line access. When you have access to the VLE, you will get full instructions and guidance on using the library.

Will I get careers advice?

Yes, just like our campus students you will have access to our Careers and Employability Service. They offer a comprehensive range of initiatives support your career including career mentors, interview practice, CV clinics etc. These can all be accessed through our VLE once you join us.

What if I have a technical issue with accessing my course?

Our IT Servicedesk is available to you 8am-5pm GMT (BST) or calls can be logged with them via an online portal or by email. They can assist with problems accessing course material or downloading software that we offer. You will have to remember that some technical issues you will encounter may be caused by the equipment (PC, laptop) you have, but if we can help, we will. It is important to check the minimum technical specifications you will need before trying to study with us.

Will I get an email account?

Yes, all our students, online or on campus, get a University of Aberdeen email address.

How can I save my work?

As a student of the University of Aberdeen, you will be given personal file space for saving your work.

What if I have a personal problem that I need to speak to someone?

Student Advice and Support team offers impartial and confidential advice and support on a range of issues that might affect you during your studies. Full contact details will be available through the Virtual Learning Environment once you start studying with us.

If I find the studying too much, can I take longer to complete the course?

If you are finding it difficult to complete your studies alongside your other commitments, you may be able to take a break from your studies or reduce the number of courses you are taking. If you find yourself in this situation, you should speak to your programme coordinator to discuss your options.

How can I learn more about all the tools available to me in my studies?

Our Learners’ Toolkit is an award winning resource that will be available to you as s student of the University of Aberdeen. The Toolkit has a wide range of advice, guidance and suggestions on current and future technology to help you with your studies.


How much will my programme or short course cost?

The cost of your programme or short course will be contained within the description on our programme or short course lists.

Do I have to pay for it all upfront?

In order to manage your budget, you can pay for each course before you start studying it. That way, you can spread the cost of your programme over its duration for each year of study in two instalments, payable by September and January each year. Or you can pay for a year of study upfront.

Can I pay by credit card?

Our electronic payments system accepts major credit cards.

How do I pay for my online course?

For new Online learners, we will give you guidance about paying for your first instalment.

If you are already a registered student and are returning to continue your studies, you will use our electronic registration system that contains a payment facility for you to pay for your next course.

My employer wants to sponsor me - is that possible?

Yes, sponsors can pay your course fees. The payment terms are the same as for self-payments - a course must be paid for before it starts.

Are any discounts or scholarships available?

Our alumni can apply for a 20% discount to the fees of our online programmes and courses.

Do I need to pay more for textbooks and other resources?

Use of textbooks are minimised. If they are needed, you will be made aware. Text books will not be provided to you so you should order those in time for them to arrive before your course start date.

Will I be given all the resources I need to complete my course?

All the resources you require will be provided to you or will be signposted to you, e.g., original papers that are available online through our library.

If I stop my course can I get a refund?

If you decide not to study with us before your course starts, we will refund you.

Once a course starts, refunds are not available.

If you are registered to a programme and have paid upfront, you will receive a refund for any of the courses that you have not started.

How many hours a week will I need to study?

The time you will need to invest will vary from course to course, and may depend on your level of prior knowledge. For an average Masters level 15-credit course, it is likely to be around 10 hours a week including both taught and self-study time.

Can I start whenever I want?

Our online programmes have fixed start dates throughout the year. The Prospectus entry gives the start month for each programme and you will be advised of the specific start date.

Can I take a break during the course?

If you want to take a break you can. You should let your course coordinator know and follow the procedure for suspending studies. When you are ready to re-start, you can join the next available start date.

What happens if I am not able to complete the course in the expected time?

If you are not able to complete the course in the expected time, you should discuss this with your course coordinator who can go over the options available to you.


How will I access my course?

You will access your course through a Virtual Learning Environment. That will be your access point to the course and all the resources and support you should require for your studies.

What equipment will I need?

You will need access to a computer with internet access and speakers or headphones.

When will I get my IT account (new students)

You will get your IT account (username and email address) after you pay for your first course. It is important to pay for your first course before the course start date in order to get the username that you will need to access the course material in the Virtual Learning Environment so you can familiarise yourself before your course commences.

How do I re-active my IT account each year (returning students)

As part of completing eRegistration for the next year of your programme you will re-register your IT account.

I have read about MyCurriculum on the university website, do I need to complete this?

No, Online learners do not need to use MyCurriculum at present. You will be contacted by the Online Team to discuss your course choices.

I have read about eRegistration on the university website, do I need to complete this?

New Online learners do not need to use eRegistration so should not access it.

If you are already studying online and are continuing your studies, we will give you instructions on when and how to access eRegistration to confirm your course choice and pay.

Online Degrees

Is an online degree different to an on campus degree?

An online degree is only different in terms of its mode of delivery. The degree is delivered to the same quality and standards.

Will my degree say that I studied online?

Your degree certificate will be the same as an on campus student.

Will I get access to the same benefits and services as an on campus student?

Yes, as a full student of the University of Aberdeen you will have access to the same benefits and services as our campus students. You will have access to our support services and will receive the same benefits, like student discounts, as on campus students if you evidence your student status, usually through your ID card or by purchasing an NUS card.

What kinds of students study online?

Students study online for all sorts of reasons, so there is not a “typical” online student.

Balancing studying with work and home life make online learning popular, but also accessing a course only delivered abroad. Learning online also cuts down the expense incurred by studying away from home.

Can I graduate on campus?

Yes, you may choose to attend a graduation ceremony in Aberdeen to receive your degree. Ceremonies are held in June and November each year. Alternatively, you can apply to graduate in absentia. Information about Graduations and applying to graduate.