Student Life

  • UK University courses require a lot of independent study – get organised for effective study!
  • Prepare for your studies by reading before the start of your programme
  • Most courses feature online learning modules (Succeed) where you can get materials and extras on-line
  • Know the rules and requirements for your programme of study – this helps you plan your study and avoid problems
  • Some courses also involve group work – working with others can expand your experience

Studying at Stirling

Studying in the UK may be very different to studying in your home country. Even students from countries whose education system is similar to the UK will find that there are differences.


Teaching in British universities may be less formal than you are used to at home. At Stirling, teaching centres around lectures and tutorials.

In lectures you are expected to listen and take notes while your tutor presents the lesson. There is usually little or no opportunity to ask questions or discuss topics.

Tutorials and seminars however are an opportunity for students to discuss their subject and develop ideas, guided by a tutor. The size of classes will depend on the programme of study. The largest undergraduate lectures are those for first and second semester modules. These can range from 50 to 350 students, depending on the subject. Seminar or tutorial groups will be smaller and will average around 10 to 15 students in most programmes.

Independent Study

You are expected to study mainly on your own. You are encouraged to develop your own ideas rather than merely repeat the text books.

Your tutors will ensure you have the basic information you require, guidance on reading etc, and your tutors or programme directors are there to assist with any difficulties you may have.

Independent study means that you will need to organise your study time well. You will need to prioritise and plan our work so that you meet deadlines and prepare well for examinations.

You should check your programme requirements and regulations so that you can target your work. Assessed coursework and exams will usually take priority.


Most courses are assessed by a combination of written coursework and examination. You should be aware that your examinations may take place right up to the last day of semester. You should not, therefore, confirm any travel plans to go home until the final examination timetable is published.

If you think you will have a problem meeting the deadline for a piece of assessed work, for example because you are ill, you should contact your tutor immediately. Don’t wait until the deadline has passed.

Some important issues for international students

In the UK it is customary to approach academic staff if you need advice or wish to discuss something: you should not wait for them to approach you.

Illness: If you are ill or have any problems which may affect your studies it is important that you tell members of staff in your academic department before assessments are completed and before exams.

Assessment rules: you will receive more detailed information from your academic department about the rules that apply to examinations and assessed work. You should read this information carefully. You should be particularly careful to follow guidelines on referencing (quoting other people’s writing in your work). If you are not sure, you should ask your tutor for guidance when you are preparing your work. You must NOT use another student’s work as your own or quote from books and articles without referencing them properly – this is known as plagiarism and is taken very seriously and could jeopardise your studies.

Getting ready for study at Stirling

Here are some things you can do to prepare for your studies:

1. Get to know your programme of study

Read any information that you have received about your programme of study, and, if possible, buy or borrow some of the books on the recommended reading list.

You can read programme information here:

You may also be able to access some programme material on-line before you arrive in Stirling. Your programme director will send you information if this is the case.

2. Learn more about studying in the UK

3. Read more from other students at the University of Stirling – see our Student Viewpoints page

Library & IT

IT and computing facilities

When you join the University you will receive a network user name and password giving access to the high powered University network and IT facilities. These include; an email account, file storage space, PC labs and library resources. Students with their own computers, laptops and mobile devices can connect them to the network and continue to use our services in the University accommodation or when away from the University campus. Further information is available from the IT Support section on the Library Web pages.

The new Library at Stirling

We are delighted to welcome you to our new state-of-the-art library. This outstanding contemporary environment with stunning views over the Stirlingshire countryside includes a variety of study spaces to meet your different needs for quiet individual study, high-tech learning, and working together in groups and less formal situations.

The electronic Library

In addition to the half million books, printed journals, DVDs and other materials in the library building, the Library extends out onto the Web to give you 24 x 7 access to e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources.

You can explore what is available on the Library Web pages. See especially the sections called:

  • Subject Research Guides
  • A-Z Online Resources
  • Library Catalogue

Note: although you can see the resources before you join the University, you won’t get full access to them until you have received your network username and password.

International Newspapers

Once you have your IT username and password you will be able to use the Nexis UK database to access newspaper articles from a wide range of international newspapers in English and other languages.

Finding your way around the Library

Make some time to get to know the Library as soon as possible. This will help you when you are busy and trying to complete your essays and other course work.

  • Go along to the induction sessions to learn more about the services, facilities and how to use them.
  • Join one of the library tours offered during induction week.
  • Pick up a map of the Library and also use the guides and information on the Library Web pages
  • Go along to any library classes organised for your course or modules. They will help you with your research and to find specialised and electronic information.
  • Ask for help.

Ask for Help

We have a variety of ways that you can ask for help or guidance:

Visit us at the Information Centre in the Library. There are specialists here to help you with IT and computing as well as Library & Information enquiries.

  • Send an email:
  • Library Help:
  • IT Help:
  • Phone us:
  • Library Help +44 (0) 1786 467235

  • IT Help +44 (0) 1786 467250

  • Make an appointment to meet your subject librarian.

We are here to help so do get in touch with us.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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