Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh

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Coordinates: 55°57′00″N 3°10′48″W / 55.950°N 3.180°W / 55.950; -3.180

Centre for Open Learning
CampusHolyrood Campus
AffiliationsUniversity of Edinburgh College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus, University of Edinburgh.jpg

The Centre for Open Learning (COL) the home of Short Courses, English Language Education, International Foundation Programme, Summer School, Winter School and Access programme at the University of Edinburgh. The Centre is based at Paterson's Land on the University of Edinburgh's Holyrood Campus.


The Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL) was a school within the College of Humanities and Social Science.[1] The buildings of the Office of Lifelong Learning were located on Buccleuch Street in the Central Campus adjacent to George Square in Edinburgh. In 2012, the Centre moved to its current location at Paterson's Land on the University's Holyrood Campus.

In 2004, the Centre collaborated with North Highland College to offer video conference tutorials covering emergency veterinary topics, the first time that this was achieved at a UK vet school.[2] In 2007, OLL launched a ten-week Magic of Harry Potter course.[3]

In 2008, OLL merged with the Institute of Applied Language Studies.[4] In 2011, the English Language Teaching Centre joined the Centre. In April 2016, it was renamed the Centre for Open Learning.[5] In 2017, the University of Edinburgh Summer School joined the Centre and in 2018 the Access programme was launched. In 2019, the Centre will welcome the first cohort of the University of Edinburgh Winter School.


Short Courses are offered in a range of art, design, humanities, social sciences and languages. The Short Courses programme offers over 300 part-time, weekly courses each year. Each year there are around 12,000 enrolments on the Centre's Short Courses. Many courses can be studied for credit, and credit may be accumulated to gain a Certificate of Higher Education. The Centre for Open Learning hosts the largest number of languages in Scotland, including Swahili, Gaelic, Spanish and many more. In 2018, this increased to 23 languages when it added Finnish to its catalogue.

The Access Programme offers a part-time, one-year programme which provides a route for adult returners to education into undergraduate degrees offered by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

English Language Education offers pre-sessional courses and support for students studying or planning to study at the University of Edinburgh. It also offers in-sessional English language support for international students enrolled at the University and bespoke English language programmes.

The International Foundation Programme offers a full-time, one-year programme for international students to prepare them for study on degree programmes within the University of Edinburgh's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Summer School and Winter School offer short courses to international students enrolled on undergraduate programmes at their home institutions. The Winter and Summer Schools include a social programme to give students a unique international experience.


  1. ^ "About the Centre for Open Learning (formerly OLL)". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Vets to study via video link in UK first". The Scotsman. 5 March 2004. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Harry casts a spell on students". The Scotsman. 2 April 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  4. ^ Wojtas, Olga (7 August 2008). "Arts and social sciences 'crisis' at Edinburgh". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Office of Lifelong Learning – Change of Name" (Press release). 4 April 2016. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.

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