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Teaching and learning

During your course of study with us a variety of teaching methods will be used, all of them designed to complement each other and to ensure you acquire both a sound knowledge of your chosen subject area and skills relevant to your future employment. The University has a clear teaching and learning strategy and there's a lot more detail in the description of each course programme. Here's what a typical day might consist of:


Lectures are designed to provide you with the framework of a subject. They normally last for one hour and are given by specialist staff. You are encouraged to note the main points and handouts are often given summarising the important points and explaining any complicated issues or diagrams.

Tutorials and seminars

Tutorials, and to a lesser extent seminars, can take several different forms. Characteristically, they involve small groups of students and a member of staff. They provide an opportunity for active discussion on relevant topics, many of which will have been covered in the lectures. They also help develop transferable skills such as communication and teamwork and offer a platform for you to participate fully in your learning. For example, before a seminar or tutorial, you may have to complete recommended reading to ensure you come prepared to participate in the discussion.

The major feature of a tutorial or seminar is that you are encouraged to take a measure of control over your studies and to contribute positively to these discussions. Many first year students initially feel awkward when taking part in seminars, but as their knowledge and confidence grow they soon enjoy this stimulating way of learning.


Laboratory work is an essential part of many courses, particularly in the science and computing areas. It provides you with an opportunity to apply your knowledge and develop appropriate practical skills. Laboratories normally involve carrying out experiments and using some of the most up-to-date equipment. Both group and individual project work is undertaken in laboratory sessions.

Case studies

Case studies are used widely throughout the University to examine the application of theoretical knowledge to real-life situations. The examination of these applications with their supporting theories usually takes place during seminars.

Field work

This enjoyable part of courses involves activities such as visits to companies, European exchange trips, work placements and study trips. You will spend time away from the University to develop skills and gain an insight into your chosen area of study. It provides a valuable opportunity to discover the realities and practices of the profession you are aiming for.

Web-based learning

A number of the courses across the University use web-based learning materials to augment the more traditional forms of course delivery. This is a very flexible method and allows you to select when such study takes place and to adjust the pace of learning.

Private study

Students are expected to undertake private study on a regular basis and are normally given recommended reading lists for each of their subjects.

Higher Education Achievement Report

From July 2015, all students graduating from Abertay will be issued with an electronic Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), which will be a comprehensive record of not only your academic grades but also a wide range of other achievements such as academic prizes, sports awards, extra-curricular work and so on.  Your HEAR will support applications for employment and further study.  Find out more on the dedicated HEAR page on this site.