New Student's Guide

Welcome to the School of Informatics' guide for students who are about to embark on their studies at the University of Edinburgh.

This guide covers what you need to do before arriving in Edinburgh, as well as what you should know once you arrive for Fresher's Week.

Preparing for Edinburgh

International Admissions & Visas

Students travelling to Edinburgh who aren’t from the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland may need to apply for a student visa.

UK, EU, EEA & Swiss Nationals

You do not need to apply for permission to live, work or study in the UK. You should travel to the UK using your EU/EEA/Swiss passport or national ID card and there will be no restriction on studying.

All others

If you are a national of a non-EU/EEA country, or Switzerland, you must seek immigration permission to come to the UK.

University Immigration Guide

Remember students are required to speak English to the minimum level required to pass an IELTS exam.

Tuition Fees

Your tuition fees depends your level of study and nationality. If you do have a tuition fees to pay, they must be paid in advance of fully matriculating.

Scottish and EU students can expect to pay no tuition fees; Rates for other students (Including the rest of the UK) will vary.

For some students, tuition fee loans and/or grants may be available. It is important that you apply for these in good time if you will need the funds before the semester begins.

Banking in the UK

UK Students

It is a good idea to have a bank account set-up as it allows for you to directly receive student finance and payment of tuition fees, if applicable. Many banks offer accounts tailored to the needs of students.

Non-UK Students

Most students studying for more than one semester are usually able to open a bank account.

Visiting Students

(One Semester Only)
Visits of such a short length offer a limited range of suitable banking solutions. It may be worth your time contacting banks directly that will accept your business, such as Bank of Scotland or Barclays Bank.

Protip: For students from the UK many banks offer accounts with interest-free overdrafts, which many find essential to spreading the load of living costs between paydays.

Further Information on Banking in the UK

Finding Accomodation

Limited places available, apply early to avoid disappointment

Accomodation applications are handled separately from admissions; You’ll have to decide on whether you wish to apply for the University’s Halls of Residence or find accomodation on your own.

University Accomodation

For those who apply yet do not have a home address within the City of Edinburgh, your place in university accommodation is *guaranteed.

There are options of both catered accomodation at Pollock Halls and self catered accomodation in flats and halls around the city.

Private Housing

It is normal for students to rent on the public property market after their first year, though it is fine to do this in your first year too.

Most Students try and live close to Central campus, in Marchmont, Newington, Bruntsfield and Tollcross.

University Guide on Private Housing

Travelling to Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh is generally well connected, with rail, air and road links to the rest of the UK and the world.

Protip: Booking travel as soon as possible will be significantly cheaper than booking late.


Edinburgh is served by an international airport that has direct connections to most of Europe as well as North America and Asia. KLM, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Ryanair and easyJet are amongst the airlines operating at the airport.

The Airlink 100 and Edinburgh Trams connect the airport and city centre within 40 minutes, costing £4.50 and £5.50 one-way, respectively.

Edinburgh Airport Info


The city’s main station, Edinburgh Waverley, connects the majority of Scotland with the capital. There are also daily services connecting Edinburgh with major English cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.


Edinburgh is the terminus of the M8 and M9 motorways that connects the Scottish Central Belt, Northern Scotland and the spine of England.

Located south of the city centre, the University can be reached from the City Bypass with ease.

Fresher's Week

A week of events put on by the University and by the Student's Association for both new & returning students. Located in the university's central campus, the School's Appleton Tower and Informatics Forum play host to a range of events tailored to incoming Informatics students.

The central campus is a short walk from Pollock Halls, which sits at the foot of Arthur's Seat.

Familiarise yourself with the Central Campus map here or for more detail, check out the University's full campus maps:

  Campus Maps

1st Semester Begins, 10th Sept

Checking in to your accomodation

Beginning 12th Sept

You’re advised to familiarise yourself with the arrival procedures before arriving, to prevent unexpected problems.

Arrival Information for Halls of Residence

On arrival you’ll be given your Arrival Pack which will guide you through the tasks you must complete during Fresher’s Week.

Introductory Events & Socials

12th to 19th Sept

As a student at The University of Edinburgh you’re automatically part of EUSA, the Edinburgh University student’s union. Attending Fresher’s week is not mandatory though the vast majority of students do;However, you must also matriculate within this time.

Fresher’s Week Events

EUSA hosts a variety of events throught Fresher’s week. Many societies also have welcome events and socials – CompSoc (The Computing and AI Society) included. You can find more datils about the different events in the EUSA guide.

EUSA “What’s On” Guide

Introductory Lectures

The School of Informatics has an introductory lecture for new students, and even though attending is not compulsory it is advised as it forms a concise administrative introduction.

Matriculation and Registration

Beginning 12th Sept
You must matriculate, which formally enrolls you at the University.

Each student needs to matriculate, which formally admits you to the University. Your Personal Tutor (PT) should arange to meet with you within the first couple of weeks of the semester.

Be aware that for some International students, failure to matriculate is a breach of Visa conditions.

Fulfil Admissions Criteria

If specified in your admissions letter, such criteria must be met to be admitted to the University.

Register on MyEd

The University’s online portal, MyEd, includes a registration form that must be completed.

Student Card

Each student is required to have an up-to-date student card, which serves as identification and provides access to university facilities such as the library. Information regarding applying for and collecting the card can be obtained from Information Services.

Get Connected & Setup

All students at the university may use the Open Access computers, found in the Library and some other university buildings; These run Microsoft® Windows™ - however the School of Informatics’ Lab Machines run DICE (Distributed Informatics Computing Environment, more info here…) which is based on (RedHat) Linux.

DICE accounts are managed and set up separately from your MyEd and University account. You’ll be emailed with setup details once you’re matriculated.

Informatics Computing Support

Protip: It's worth spending time during your first year getting to thoroughly know DICE and Linux, as it'll be helpful to you in later years as your studies become more complex.

Email and Productivity  

The University’s mail service (Outlook) is provided by Microsoft Office 365, which includes an Online Office suite.

WiFi and Internet  

Eduroam and Central

Eduroam is the preferable way for you to access the internet and University’s werb serviced on campus. It’s part of an international educational network, meaning once you’ve set up your account on it, you will be able to access the internet at thousands of Academic locations worldwide. The eduroam network is also more secure and resilient than Central.

University guide on using the Network


If you’re in one of the University’s Halls of Residence, you will be able to access the internet via the KeyCom service. The basic package is free, with paid upgrades available. Setup instructions will be given to you when you arrive by your accomodation.

Protip: If you're having trouble getting set up, you can attend one of the Get Connected sessions during Fresher's week or the semester.

Get Connected Sessions

Safety & Security: The University publishes Information security guides; Services such as the Informatics OpenVPN also exist.

Course Choices

Most degree programmes provide a level of flexibility in what courses you can take over the course of a semester or year.

Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll need to confirm your choices with your PT.

Path & DRPS

Path is an interactive course selection builder; the mandatory courses and the range of courses that are available to your degree programme will be listed there. These are not necessarily limited to your degree’s school or college. (Note your selection is not automatically conferred to your Personal Tutor).

Path Course Selector

DRPS (Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study) provides a wealth of information about courses. It can be confusing to navigate at first, but it is the official source of programme information.



Beginning 20th Sept


The Undergraduate and Taught Master’s Student labs are in Appleton Tower, which is within the Central Campus close to George Square . These computing labs are open 24/7, but a Student Card is required to enter before 8am, after 5pm and on weekends.

  Campus Maps (Interactive)

Note that the Informatics Forum is the School’s office and research building, not a general study space for undergraduate students.


Timetables can be found on your MyEd page:

Support & Teaching Organisation

The Informatics Teaching Organisation (ITO) has a collection of handbooks available for each year of study, and should be your first point of contact if you have any questions:

ITO New Student Handbook

Getting around around Edinburgh

For travelling to and from the King’s Buildings Campus the University offers a free shuttle bus. All you need use it is your Student Card.

King’s Shuttle Bus Information

Edinburgh has Buses, Trams and Taxis (Black Cab and hireable like Uber). Buses are mostly run by Lothian Busses, with some other services also being available. The Trams mostly cover New Town, with routes out to the Western Suburbs and the Airport.

Protip: If you use the bus a lot, buying a bus pass ('Ridacard') is significantly cheaper than singles


There are a number of cafés and lounge spaces on Campus, as well as around town.

List of Edinburgh Uni Cafés

Popular supermarkets are Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ScotMid / The Co-op. Those in self catered accomodation will need to buy food at one of these. The Student’s Union (EUSA) has a hanful of shops and cafés on campus too.

Protip: Buying in bulk and sharing meals with flatmates can reduce your living costs. Getting a NUS Extra card will get you a Student discount at many retailers. (Some may accept a Matriculation Card)

A Note on Alcohol  

Only persons over the age of 18 may purchase alcohol in the UK. A valid ID is required to make a purchase.

The Scottish licensing laws permit the sale of alcohol at supermarkets before 10pm only. The usual licenses given to pubs requires them close at 1am, for clubs and bars usually at 3am.

Societies & Clubs Signup

During Fresher’s you’ll have the opportunity to meet, get involved with and sign up for clubs and societies.

Student Union

EUSA is the Edinburgh Univeristy Students’ Association. Consisting of over 35,000 members, your membership provides access to its locations across campus, which consist of bars, cafés, shops.


There are over 270 student-run societies that cater for a wide span of interests, from everything Harry Potter to how to make the perfect cocktail.

Sports Union

Made up of more than 60 clubs, the Sports Union provides a platform for students to take part in a wide range of sports. The Union is also responsible for running a variety of facilities such as a number of gyms, 25m swimming pool and pitches to allow students to work on their fitness.

Personal Safety and Responsibility

Edinburgh is a safe city with a low crime rate, but you must ensure that you take your own personal safety into account.

Emergency services can be reached by dialling 999. Non-emergencies can be reported by dialling 101.

Students are expected to adhere to the Student code of Conduct.


It is a good idea to register with a GP (General Medicine Practitioner) while you’re a student. The University has a health service which can accept some number of students, while others can register with the GP whose caption area they live within.

Safety Advice

While Travelling

Make sure that you produce copies of and keep your passport, visa and travel documents safe. Don’t carry excess amounts of cash and valuables, especially if you will not be with your luggage, such as checking your luggage in for a flight.

In Your Accommodation

Keep your valuables out of sight and make sure that your doors and windows are locked, especially when you are not present. For unexpected and unknown visitors, ask for them to present identification. University staff and security should always have Staff ID on them. These cards look the same as your student card.

Moving Around the City

Try not to walk home at night alone. Make sure that you plan ahead and try to stay with your friends. Be sure to keep aware of your surroundings. Black cabs are a safe mode of transport for getting home, especially if you do not know the area.

University Security

The Uni Scurity section is rtesponsible for emergency buildings problems and personal safety issues – They can be called 24/7. In a serious emergency such as a fire Allways call 999 first. Security staff are identifiable by their red jackets and vehicles, and will allways be carrying ID (You should ask to see it if in doubt)

Semester 1 Ends 21st December
(Semester 2 runs from 11th Jan to 26 May 2017)