Summer School Subjects

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Summer School Subjects

Summer School Subjects

Please click on a subject to read a description of the course.

Academic Skills

Biological Sciences

Chemistry

Computing

Data Analysis

History and Politics

Language, Literature and Film

Marketing and Business

Maths

People and the Environment

Physics and Engineering

Psychology

Sociology and Criminology

 

Academic Skills

This course is designed to ease your transition to, and prepare you for success in, your future studies. As a higher education student, you will be expected to work effectively as an independent learner and to develop and then display a new range of academic skills. Compared to school, you will also find a less hierarchical relationship with staff, more time spent working collaboratively, and a greater emphasis on constructing your own knowledge and ideas.

In this course you have the opportunity to try these new skills and ideas out with practical strategies and guidance from current students, university staff and Fellows from the Royal Literary Fund. The content of the course will be of benefit as you undertake learning and assessment during Summer School, and then beyond into university. Course themes include: academic writing, critical thinking, presenting evidence, feedback, discussion and presentation skills and effective research. 

Watch the film below to hear about Academic Skills in the words of the Summer School Class of 2017!

 

 

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Biological Sciences

Biology is the science of life and therefore the possibilities for study are as varied as life itself. The LEAPS Biological Sciences course is relevant to a wide scope of courses available at university and college ranging from Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Forensics and Medical Microbiology to Ecology, Forestry and Crop Science. It can also be useful to students of Environmental Engineering, Geography, Geology, Psychology and Education/Teaching. You will be based at the King's Buildings Campus (KB) of Edinburgh University but sessions will also be held at the SRUC research facility on the Bush Estate and Central Campus of Edinburgh University (Bristo and George Square area).

Biology as a subject studied at Higher level is a prior requirement for the course.

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Chemistry

The LEAPS chemistry course is designed to introduce potential university students to the methods of teaching used in degree programmes. Chemistry is often called the ‘Central Science’ as it overlaps with a wide range of other disciplines – medicine, veterinary science, physics and in particular these days, the biological sciences. You might find that, even if you are not planning on doing a chemistry degree, chemistry will be part of your programme as a support subject (what we call a pre- or co-requisite). 
 
All of our teaching takes place in the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh - The Joseph Black Building - at the home of our Science and Engineering campus, King's Buildings. You will be lectured and tutored by Faculty academic staff on a range of first year topics and helped in the laboratories by postgraduate students. This year we will be emphasising the importance of practical work in understanding theoretical concepts and a large part of the course will take place in the first year laboratory suite. You will undertake a range of experiments where you will synthesise, measure and, yes, even cause a few explosions!

Our entrance requirement for the LEAPS course is that you have studied at least Higher Chemistry at school.

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Computing

The Computing course will give an appetite for this very exciting profession. The student will work with the state-of-the-art Android platform, one of the most common platforms for mobile and tablet devices, such as Google Nexus and Samsung Galaxy. Students will have the opportunity to design, build and program simple game apps (applications) for Android, using methods of teaching and assessment similar to those used in first year university courses. Focus is also placed on improving student teamwork and presentation skills. The course offers an ideal introduction for students intending to study university courses related to Computer Science, Information Systems or Game Development.

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Data Analysis

Overview

This course will introduce and familiarise students with the principles of quantitative data analysis and statistical techniques at a first year undergraduate level. The course will be of particular interest to those who will go into subjects involving statistical analysis, such as social and political sciences or business studies. No previous experience is assumed.

Course Content

On this course, students will learn about key concepts in statistical theory; how to manage and analyse data; and how to code in statistical packages. Important parts of the research process will be introduced, including finding data sources, using analysis packages, formulating research questions, and interpreting descriptive and inferential statistics.

Learning Approaches

The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures (to learn about theoretical concepts) and computer lab sessions (to gain practical experience in data analysis).

Assessment

Assessment for this course will be based on coursework assignments and an end of course test. As a data analyst taking the course you will be encouraged to undertake a short piece of analysis on an area of interest to you.

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History and Politics

In order to understand where we are today, it is essential to understand where we have come from.  The History and Politics course aims to bring together complementary but separate disciplines to form a coherent and stimulating programme. The course not only enables students to set contemporary political problems in their historical perspective, but also equips them to approach the study of the past with the conceptual rigour derived from political science.  This team-taught course will expose students to a number of different approaches to both contemporary society and the study of the recent past, including political, cultural and social history.

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Language, Literature and Film

Students intending to study English Language, Literature, Linguistics, Film, Media, or Cultural Studies will benefit most directly from this course, but anyone aiming to improve their spoken and written communication skills and their analytical and critical skills will find the course useful.

The language part of the course will explore how spoken and written English changes with time, from region to region and for specific purposes. Phonological, phonetic, orthographic and grammatical terms and concepts will be introduced as required.

The literature section focuses on Gothic literature, considered to be an amalgam of mystery and romance which seeks to shock and terrify. Its incarcerated maidens, tyrannical villains, sublime landscapes and haunted edifices are several of the gothic conventions present in the plot of possibly the first gothic novel by Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto. During the Victorian era the Gothic alters and evolves; the Victorian Gothic marks the end of the rationalistic age of Enlightenment and bridges the revival of medievalism and French Revolution in the late eighteenth century with the domestication of gothic fiction at the closing of the nineteenth century.

On the film studies part of the course, you will study narrative, editing, genre and authorship as well as some of the major cinematic trends. Students will have the opportunity to discuss a variety of film excerpts whilst increasing their enjoyment and critical awareness of film in general.

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Marketing and Business

The study of marketing principles and consumer behaviour is regarded as a valuable way of introducing the subject of business management more generally. This course seeks to introduce students to the basic concepts of marketing, together with general issues in respect of the business environment, such as would be covered in the first year of degree courses in Marketing, Business Studies, Management and similar programmes.

The course is presented on the basis of no previous knowledge of Marketing or Business Management. Students who have studied either of these subjects at school, for example through having taken the SQA Higher in Business Management, may find some of the concepts familiar, though possibly treated in a different way.

Teaching will consist of a mixture of interactive lectures and other activities, for which preparation ahead of the classes is required. There will be some theoretical material presented, but the emphasis will be on the practical applications of marketing. Observational research, for example visiting retailers and studying relevant websites and social media, will be an important element of the course.

The assessment will be a group presentation, based on primary and secondary research undertaken by students. There will NOT be an examination. The group marks will be adjusted through the use of WebPA, a digital peer assessment methodology. This ensures that the students who contribute the most to the classes and the coursework achieve higher marks than non-contributors.

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Maths

The Mathematics course has two main aims: first, to build on the core knowledge and skills developed in Higher Mathematics, and second, to demonstrate the power of applying mathematical reasoning in the real world.

The course is arranged around various themes, including 'counting and estimation', 'probability and statistics' and 'optimisation'. Each theme will show different ways that mathematics can be employed to solve real-world problems, often using ideas which should already be familiar from school. The course is designed so that you will get something from it whether you simply want to reinforce your knowledge from Higher Mathematics and have confidence using mathematics in everyday life, or whether you are planning to go on to study for a degree which involves mathematics.

The course will be taught through a mix of interactive lectures, group activities and problem solving exercises. There will be regular assessments of basic skills, and project work based on solving problems in context.

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People and the Environment

This course, which takes a holistic view of the environment and society, will enable you to study many of today's pressing problems, such as climatic change and natural hazards, which affect people worldwide and have both physical and human dimensions. By using a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, and by drawing on examples from around the world and from around Scotland, you will gain a deeper understanding of the breadth and relevance of contemporary geographical studies. Assessment will be based mainly on work that is submitted and continuously assessed throughout the course.

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Physics and Engineering

Just as the world needs its doctors, nurses and teachers, engineering is something which we simply couldn't do without. Engineers are some of the best-equipped workers in the world, and is certainly worth consideration by anyone with a passion for physics, creative thinking and the opportunity to make a real difference in the world.

Engineers design and manufacture a diverse range of products from skyscrapers, cars, trains and turbines in power stations through to space rockets, satellites, mobile phones and the components that power medical equipment. Engineering involves combining Physics, Maths and Computing to analyse engineering systems and the application of your skills to design, make and test the products you have built.

The Physics and Engineering course is being offered at three sites in Edinburgh. The Physics section of the course begins at King’s Buildings at Edinburgh University, continues to the Mechanical Engineering section at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton Campus, in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and finishes at Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston Campus, in the School of Engineering and Built Environment for the Electrical Engineering section of the course. It is broad ranging, with themes in waves and quantum physics and in the principles and applications of mechanical and electrical engineering. There will be a wide variety of teaching methods used – practical workshops, lectures, written work, tests and group sessions. The practical nature of the course does not lend itself to one final written examination, therefore all elements of the course will be continuously assessed.

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Psychology

Psychology is the science of everything we humans feel, think and do. This course will introduce you to a range of psychological topics that attempt to explain how we view the world, our personalities, thinking processes and emotions, and the ways that we behave and interact with one another. Through lectures, tutorial discussions and workshop activities, you will study some key psychological theories and research findings, as well as research methods used by psychologists. The course includes in-class hands-on mini-experiments and behavioural observation.

In order to join this course you do not need to have studied psychology previously (e.g. for Higher or National 5), and we assume no prior knowledge. However, if you have studied psychology at school you will still find the course interesting as the topics are different from those you may be familiar with, and we will expect you to develop deeper understanding and critical thinking.

Assessments include coursework (an essay and a brief research report, 65%) and an examination (35%).

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Sociology and Criminology

This course is designed to introduce students to University teaching on Sociology and Criminology. These are two distinct, but closely related, fields of teaching, research and theory. Throughout the course we will highlight important linkages between the two sections.

The first part of the course comprises the sociology sessions. This part of the course will introduce students to ‘sociological thinking’ and a grounding in some of the key ways that different thinkers have tried to describe and explain human society. Each session will challenge students to use these different sociological approaches to explore a range of important and fascinating issues, such as gender, cities, the media and everyday social interaction.

The second part of the course introduces the study of criminology through an initial look at some of the ways people have tried to explain and study crime, followed by sessions looking at some of the central institutions of the criminal justice system, and some of the key topics that criminologists study. The key aims of this module are to enable students to: a) develop a basic understanding of sociological and criminological approaches to studying and understanding social life; b) have knowledge of key arguments and theories within the topics covered; c) be able to start to apply sociological/criminological theories to contemporary social problems.

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