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Scottish Higher Education Transitions Map: A Guide

What is the Transitions Map?

The Transitions Map presents examples of practice relating to the way students enter, move through, and ultimately leave university. It is aimed at everyone with an interest in how students enter and transition through higher education – for example, policy makers seeking case studies, or practitioners interested in sharing approaches. To help you get the most from the materials please use the Guide to the Map.

Each transition type is represented as an island.  It should be noted that these islands simply offer a convenient way of grouping material – it doesn’t mean these are preferred outcomes or routes through higher education.

The Map is not intended to represent the entirety of practice in Scotland.  We will be continuing to collect practice as the Theme progresses.  If you have practice you’d like us to add to the map, please email us

What does the Transitions Map include?

The Map is populated with resources generated in response to the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme, including case studies from Scottish higher education institutions (typically 2-5 pages in length) and papers presented at our conferences (10-20 pages).  By including papers from our conferences, the Map captures practice and research from outside Scotland that is relevant to the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme.

Also included on the Map are relevant pieces of work conducted by the Theme’s Student Network and QAA Scotland (such as the Mastersness Toolkit, which explores aspects of the taught postgraduate experience).

At present, we have mapped around 300 examples of practice.

Who is the Transitions Map for?

The Map allows users to find examples of practice.  Colleagues in the following roles are likely to find it a valuable resource:

  • Policy makers
  • Practitioners, including academic staff and administrators, student support staff, and educational developers
  • Students, student representatives, and staff working within students’ associations
  • Those working in any of the Scottish education sectors (the Map includes examples of practice involving transition into higher education, which is likely to interest colleagues in the school and college sectors).

The Map has primarily been designed for colleagues in the Scottish higher education sector, but we hope that it also provides a useful and informative resource for those outside Scotland who wish to learn more about policy and practice here, including our enhancement-led approach to quality.

How can the Transitions Map be used?

The Map can be used by browsing or searching.

To browse, simply go to the island in which you are interested and move your cursor over the pins.  As you pause on a pin, you will see a hover-over description of the resource to which that pin is linked.  Click on the pin and you will be taken to a landing page with a brief description of the resource.  There will also be a link to the resource itself (in most cases, this will be in the form of a PDF).  All resources include the names of key individuals you can approach should you need further information, and many include contact details.

To search, scroll to the bottom of the Map and enter your search terms in the box.

We want to help people reach the resources they need quickly and easily, while maintaining a sense of ‘location’ within the landscape of student transitions.

How might the Transitions Map be used in future?

The Map will be a long-term legacy of the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme, a resource we can continue to update and promote.  It functions as a visual representation of the student journey as well as a source of useful information for students and staff.

Charting and populating this landscape has helped us to understand how the more common student transitions sit in relation to each other, as well as the patterns, trends, links between, and gaps in existing practice.