Heriot-Watt University

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  1. How to apply for postgraduate programmes

How to apply for postgraduate programmes

Application form

You can apply for all postgraduate programmes (except Edinburgh Business School programmes) using our online application form.

You must create an account to use the online application form. You don't have to complete the application in one session; you can save what you have done so far and return to complete it at a later date.

Edinburgh Business School programmes

You can apply for Edinburgh Business School programmes through the Edinburgh Business School website.

Supporting documents

You will need to supply various documents to support your application. These include:

  • a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts
  • proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). If you need to improve your English language, please take a look at our Academic English programmes here at Heriot-Watt.
  • references from two academic sources (applicants with relevant full time work experience may use their current employer as one of the referees - complete attached form)
  • a copy of the photo page from your passport - this is only required if you are an international students who requires a visa to enter the UK
  • a financial guarantee* to prove how your tuition fees and personal maintenance costs will be met - this is only required if you are one of the following:
    • any Institute of Petroleum Engineering student applying to study on campus
    • an international student who is not entering the UK on a Tier 4 visa
    • an international student who is being sponsored by your government or a commercial organisation
  • Postgraduate taught Masters students in the Institute of Petroleum Engineering also need to complete a supplementary application form.

*A financial guarantee is either a signed letter from the person or organisation that will pay your fees or, if you are going to pay your own fees, a reference or statement from your banker showing that you have enough money to meet these expenses. You also need to show that you can meet the cost of living in or close to the University (approx £8,500 - £9,000 per year for a single student).

Attaching your supporting documents

You can attach all your supporting documents to your online application form using the document upload facility. We will accept scanned documents at the application stage, but you may be asked to provide original copies of your documents at a later date.

When to apply

There is no official deadline for postgraduate applications (except for the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society's distance learning programmes); we accept them right up until the beginning of term. However, if you are applying for a popular programme, it is in your best interest to submit your application as soon as you can so that you have the best chance of getting a place.

You should also bear in mind that in order to secure accommodation on campus you must have received and accepted your offer and submitted your accommodation requirements by the deadline (usually mid-August).

How we process your application

You will receive a response by email usually within 24 hours of submitting your application with your application reference number.


All applications will be carefully considered by appropriate staff in the relevant school and you will receive a response as soon as possible.  For some programmes, where the volume of applications is very high, this may be several weeks but for most programmes, you should hear from us within 2 weeks.

The response that you receive from the School will be either:

  • an unconditional offer
  • a conditional offer (further supporting documentation will be required, such as a copy of your degree certificate if you had not completed your degree when you first submitted your application)
  • regretfully, a decision to reject your application

Responding to an offer

If you receive an offer, please respond to it as soon as possible.

Unconditional international applicants who wish to study the 3 week Pre-sessional English programme, prior to their degree programme, must indicate this on their Reply to Offer. You will not be able to select this at a later date.

We operate a tuition fee advance instalment payment, which means that you can secure your place at Heriot-Watt University by paying the first instalment of your first year’s tuition fees. This payment will mainly apply to overseas or self-financing postgraduate students.

If you wish to study for a postgraduate award and are able to demonstrate that your tuition fees will be paid for by a third party (a sponsoring company or government agency, for example), you can be exempted from paying the advance instalment at the discretion of your School.

Once you have accepted your place you will be sent a confirmation letter, which you may use to help you obtain an entry visa to the UK (if you need one) or to obtain funding for your studies.

Information about how to register in September will be available during the summer.