Choosing your modules

Students usually take 60 credits (30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) per semester or 120 credits per academic year. This translates to around three to four modules per semester, depending on the weighting of each module.

As an exchange or study abroad student, you can take modules from Faculties other than your own (except Medicine) where the timetable allows and where you have the appropriate background.

Module choices are finalised during academic advising when you will meet your Adviser of Studies. This is a compulsory part of registration.

Module credits

Most modules come in values of 10, 15, 20 or 30 credits. One credit represents the outcome achievable by the average student through 10 notional hours of learner effort. This means that you might take fewer classes than you would at home (for example, two 30-credit modules per semester).   

Modules at first and second level (1000 and 2000) are known as 'sub-honours', while modules at third and fourth level, and in some subjects fifth level, (3000, 4000, and some 5000) are known as 'Honours'.


Although many 1000-level modules – those typically taken in a student’s first year of studies – are suitable for beginners, some modules require several years of background study at high school.

In addition, if you wish to study Honours-level modules, you should ensure that you have the requisite background knowledge; for most subjects, this means prior study at university level in the relevant field.

Subject-specific exchange programme

If you are attending St Andrews through a subject-specific exchange programme, you are expected to take at least one module per semester in the subject of the exchange.

Module catalogue

The module catalogue has information about all available modules for each subject, and includes:

  • a brief description of the module’s content
  • the number of credits attached to a module
  • level of modules
  • contact hours and independent study hours
  • assessment information
  • the module coordinator.

The module catalogue also contains general information to help you plan your proposed programme of study.

If you would like further details about the content of a particular module, or have questions about any information in the course catalogue, please email the Study Abroad team at