National flag of Canada

Student life at Heriot-Watt

Scotland enjoys very strong historical, cultural and economic links with Canada and we are delighted to welcome applications from Canadian students who are keen to experience life in Scotland’s capital city.

The University is a great place to live and learn and is home to an active student union, first-class sports and recreation facilities and we even have our own University Pipe Band!

International students make up over one-third of our entire student population and we currently have many Canadian students studying with us at our Edinburgh and Dubai campuses.

Popular programmes

Previous students from Canada have studied:

Visiting students from Canada can spend either an academic year or semester studying at Heriot-Watt. Students from any accredited university can apply. Please see our pages for visiting students for further information.

Meet our graduates from Canada

The Toronto Watt Club is led by Bob Gillespie and they meet two or three times a year for social and business networking. Usually there will be a pub night in June and a dinner in October.

Our Canadian alumni include professionals in Husky Energy, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Cap Gemini, the Canadian National Railway and DeBeer, Stokes & Partners Inc, amongst others.

Sharon Herrnstein, MBA by distance learning

Sharon HerrnsteinI studied in Canada and graduated from my MBA in 2012. I studied online from my office in Canada, while working as a senior sales representative in the telecom industry.

With my experience gained at Heriot-Watt, I would like to use my new skills to transfer to the management consulting industry. The skills I learned at Heriot-Watt were a broad range of business skills, such as reading financial statements, understanding global HR concepts, leadership and project management skills.

What I enjoyed most was meeting students from all over the world in different industries and learning new perspectives on how to do business globally. I would recommend this program for its flexibility, reputation and up-to-date information on how to succeed in business in highly competitive times.

Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, MBA by distance learning

I am a Canadian, from Vancouver, BC. I graduated from HWU in July 2009 with an MBA.

I founded, and am the president of the Canadian Velo Event Management Society. We are a non-profit event management organization. The CVEMS has a board of directors of seven, and an event management team of 12. The popularity of cycling has increased exponentially. With little in the way of organized events for cyclists to participate in outside of racing, I saw an opportunity to begin creating such events. Today we manage relationships with world-class professional athletes; all levels of government; various First Nations communities; a stellar roster of sponsors; hundreds of volunteers per event; and of course, thousands upon thousands of participants. The CVEMS has evolved to become the foremost cycling event management organization and we are very proud to have created a new industry.

My education has proven invaluable. I routinely deal with very educated and influential people – government leaders, CEO’s of sponsor companies for example – to appreciate the challenges they have and to be able to effectively communicate with them means I must truly be able to connect with their business and speak their language. My education has given me an insight into the businesses of my suppliers, partners, sponsors, and community stakeholders that is the foundation of my success.

My degree was studied entirely by correspondence. Other than the degree-specific knowledge I learned over this period of time, I was shown the value of persistence and focus. Of course, both of those are invaluable tools in the war chest of any businessperson.

On a side note, this persistence and focus inspired me to get healthy and fit. When I graduated I really was a new person, I was a 165 pound bike racer with an MBA. I sincerely do not think I would have had what it took to reinvent my life without the confidence that my education from Heriot-Watt afforded me.

I am very entrepreneurial and I am always taking on new projects. The flexibility that is a staple of the Heriot-Watt program was a deciding factor. I am a bit of a free bird. The prospect of being able to pursue a graduate education as well as what opportunities were presented to me on a day-by-day basis was an attractive one.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Edinburgh for my graduation. This experience validated all of my expectations of the school – its campus, staff, students, and innovative values. Education today is not what it was and HWU is leading the charge to redefine what education is and how it takes place. I would recommend HWU to anyone who is a self-starter with plenty of motivation and ambition. Draw a parallel to the theory of diffusion of innovation – don’t be a laggard.

Entry requirements

These entry requirements are intended as a guide only. Please contact us or the School's admissions tutor to find out the actual requirements for the programme you want to study.


  • We are happy to accept high school leaving qualifications from every province and territory in Canada. The minimum requirement is usually five or six subjects from grade 12 at A, or 85%, or above depending on the grading system. Some programmes with require the study of specific subjects.



  • For most of our Masters level programmes we require a good first degree with a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 (or equivalent) or above in a relevant subject.
  • For PhD study a Masters level qualification from a good university is normally be required. Applicants should also demonstrate some form of research experience.

English language requirements

If you do not meet our English language requirements, you can apply to one of our academic English programmes, which are specifically designed to prepare you with the language and study skills needed for academic study.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are listed alongside each programme in the online prospectuses.

Tuition fees are higher for international students. If you are unsure what your residency status is, you can complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess whether you have a relevant connection to the UK that might positively influence your fee status.

Learn more about applying for student support in Scotland.

Scholarships & bursaries

At Heriot-Watt we believe that a university education is an investment in your future. That is why we offer a generous package of scholarships to encourage and support well qualified, ambitious students to come and study with us. See the full list of scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for.

The following scholarships are available to all international students who choose to study at Heriot-Watt:

Students from Canada may also be eligible for:

Canadian students who have already started their multi-year studies at Heriot-Watt may also be eligible to apply for awards from the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund (CCSF).

Our representatives in Canada

We work with approved representatives in Canada who can help you apply and enrol on your chosen programme.Find your nearest representative.

Visa & immigration information

Because you are from a non-visa national country, it is not compulsory that you apply for a visa to enter the UK if you are coming to study for less than 6 months and do not intend to work during your studies. Instead, you may be able to enter the UK as a student visitor, if you can show that:

  • you are over 18 years of age
  • you have been accepted onto a programme of study with an approved organisation (Heriot-Watt University is an approved organisation)
  • you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK.

If you will be studying in the UK for more than 6 months, you will have to obtain a Tier 4 student visa (entry clearance) before entering the UK.

We strongly advise all non-visa nationals to obtain a Tier 4 student visa before travelling to the UK.

Tier 4 Student Visa (in-country application)

The Tier 4 Student visa is for all non-EEA students coming to study in the UK for over 6 months.

To apply for this visa you need to fill the VAF9 and VAF9 Appendix 8: Tier 4 (General) forms and provide the requested supporting documents as specified in the Tier 4 guidance. You will also have to provide your CAS number from your Tier 4 sponsor (Heriot-Watt University), and your biometric features (10-digit finger scans and a digital photograph) in person as part of the application process.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you are a postgraduate student you may need to apply for an additional certificate under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).

Only certain programmes are affected by the scheme; your academic School at Heriot-Watt will send you more information about this along with your unconditional offer. Or you can check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's list of programmes that request the ATAS certificate.

Your ATAS certificate should be printed and submitted as part of the visa application process.

More information

Further information and help can be found on Heriot-Watt University's International Student Advisors' Office (ISAO) website.

Working in the UK

Tier 4 student visa holders studying at higher educational institutions are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations if studying at degree level or above, or studying a foundation degree (a programme that leads to a qualification at level 8 of the SCQF).

Students studying any other programme will only be able to work up to 10 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations.

Please note that term time covers all periods of your programme when you are doing academic work, and includes for example preparing for examinations and time spent producing MSc projects, dissertations and writing up thesis.

Learn more about working during your studies.

Working conditions for Tier 4 dependants

  • Dependants of students from outside Europe who come to the UK to study for less than 12 months will be prohibited from working
  • Dependants of students from outside Europe who come to the UK to study a programme that is below degree level (except a foundation degree programme) will also be prohibited from working
  • Dependants of students from outside Europe who come to the UK to study a programme at degree level for 12 months or more will be able to work during their stay in the UK (part time or full time).

Please note: from 4 July 2011, non EEA international students can only bring their dependants to the UK if they are coming to study at postgraduate level on a programme lasting for at least 12 months (or 6 months if you are a government-sponsored student). To find out if your family members can join you in the UK, please see the guide for Tier 4 family.

Find out more about dependants and bringing your family to the UK.

More information

You can visit our Careers Advisory Service website for more guidance on employment during and after your studies.