Student life at Heriot-Watt

As well as having our own new Malaysian Campus there are a total of 400 additional students from Malaysia studying towards a Heriot-Watt University degree. We have a thriving population of 90 students studying at our Edinburgh Campus and we also have a few students at our Scottish Borders and Dubai campuses.

The most popular programmes for Malaysian students at our Edinburgh campus are:

We hold a graduation ceremony each autumn in Kuala Lumpur, and we also have an active branch of the Watt Club in Malaysia, which hosts annual anniversary dinners and many more activities.

Student societies

The Malaysian Bruneian Singaporean Student Union Edinburgh (MABSSUE) would be happy to hear from anyone interested in studying in the city, and they hold annual welcome activities to help you settle in! 

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.

Undergraduate programmes

The following qualifications are acceptable for entry into Level 1 of undergraduate programmes:

  • GCE A-Levels (as per the requirements in the undergraduate prospectus).
  • Mara Diploma in a relevant subject.
  • STPMs (these are treated as an equivalent to A-Levels); you must have taken a minimum of three subjects.
  • UEC with an average grade of grade of 75% or above and a suitable English language credential.
  • International Baccalaureate, subject to grades and subjects.
  • Australian Matriculation Examinations, subject to grades and subjects taken.

The following qualifications may acceptable for entry into Levels 2 or 3 of undergraduate programmes:

  • GCE A-Levels (as per the requirements in theundergraduate prospectus).
  • Mara Diploma in a relevant subject with a strong CGPA.
  • College diplomas in business, finance and accountancy tend to be considered for Level 1 or 2 entry to four-year MA honours degrees.
  • College diplomas in engineering and construction may sometimes be considered for Level 3 entry to four-year honours degrees.

Postgraduate programmes

For most of our Masters level programmes we require a good first degree in a relevant subject. Any relevant work experience will also be considered.

English language requirements

English language requirements for entry to Heriot-Watt University programmes

To study at Heriot-Watt University you must demonstrate that your English level is high enough for university study. We usually ask for the following English language scores:

English language requirements for entry to Heriot-Watt University
Heriot-Watt English requirementsIELTSTOEFL iBTPearson PTECambridge
Postgraduate*6.5 overall89 overall62 overallCAE (grade C) overall
  with minimum:
Listening 6.0
Speaking 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
with minimum:
Listening 19
Speaking 22
Reading 20
Writing 20
with minimum:
Listening 57
Speaking 57
Reading 57
Writing 57
with minimum:
Listening grade C
Speaking grade C
Reading grade C
Writing grade C

* Exceptions for postgraduate programmes: Languages: IELTS 7.5 or equivalent; Computer Science: IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

Undergraduate**6.081 overall57 overallFCE (grade B) overall
  with minimum:
Listening 5.5
Speaking 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 5.5
with minimum:
Listening 17
Speaking 20
Reading 18
Writing 17
with minimum:
Listening 51
Speaking 51
Reading 51
Writing 51
with minimum:
Listening grade C
Speaking grade C
Reading grade C
Writing grade C

** Exceptions for undergraduate programmes: Actuarial Science: IELTS 6.5 or equivalent; Physics: IELTS 6.5 or equivalent; Textiles & Design: IELTS 6.5 or equivalent; Languages: IELTS 7.5 or equivalent.

Students are advised to contact the individual departments for minimum skills scores for listening, speaking, reading and writing.

English language requirements for visa purposes

The UKBA requires all students to be at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) B2 level in order to study on a degree programme. Students must have CEFR B2 level in all 4 components of an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

Heriot-Watt's English language requirements are higher than the UKBA requirements, and it is the Heriot-Watt English language requirements which you will need to meet to be accepted onto your degree. In most cases, if you meet the Heriot-Watt English language requirements you will also meet the entry requirements for a Tier 4 visa.

In very few cases, you may be accepted onto a Heriot-Watt degree but be lower than the UKBA requirement in just one component (listening, speaking, reading or writing). In this case, you can either re-take a SELT or you can join our pre-sessional academic English programme.

English language requirements for visa purposes
CEFR levelIELTSTOEFL iBTPearson PTECambridge
B2 for degree level studyOverall: 5.5

with minimum:
Listening: 5.5
Speaking: 5.5
Reading: 5.5
Writing: 5.5
Overall: 72

with minimum:
Listening: 17
Speaking: 20
Reading: 18
Writing: 17
Overall: 51

with minimum:
Listening: 51
Speaking: 51
Reading: 51
Writing: 51
Overall: First Certificate (FCE) grade C

with minimum:
Listening: borderline
Speaking: borderline
Reading: borderline
Writing: borderline

See the full list of SELTS that are acceptable for entry to the UK on a student visa.

Note: If you have completed your previous studies with English as the medium of instruction, either in the UK or overseas, you will still be expected to take a SELT unless you come from one of the majority English-speaking countries as follows:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

If you do not meet the 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. If you pass the assessments on the Academic English language programme, you will be accepted onto your degree programme without the need to take IELTS or another SELT.

We offer 3, 6 and 12 week programmes; your academic School will be able to advise you on which programme you should take.

If you are a non-native speaker of English, we strongly recommend that you complete at least some part of our academic English programme before you start your studies, even if your English is already of a high level.

Find out more and apply for an academic English programme now.

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.

Our visits to Malaysia

Our International Recruitment Office attends education exhibitions and recruitment fairs in Malaysia. Come and visit our stand at one of the following exhibitions to find out more about us, our programmes, and to get advice on how to apply:

  • We attend the British Council Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in the autumn and spring each year.  Dates for 2012 will be confirmed here soon.
  • Staff from our International Recruitment Office and School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences will attend the following events in Malaysia for 2012-13:
    • 3-4 November 2012
      Kuala Lumpur
      Grand Ballroom, Level 3, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
    • 30-31 March 2013
      Kuala Lumpur
      Grand Ballroom, Level 3, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
    • 2 April 2013
Our representatives in Malaysia

We work with approved representatives in Malaysia 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.

Living in the UK

Before you arrive

You should visit Heriot-Watt's new students website, especially the information for international students, which will help you prepare for your first few weeks in the country and at university.

When you travel to the UK, you will need to make sure that you bring with you all the correspondence you had with us, as well as proof that you have enough money to support yourself. For more information on documents you'll need to have available for immigration control at the airport please check the UKCISA website.


The ISAO organises a free shuttle bus service from Edinburgh Airport to the Edinburgh Campus at the start of Freshers' Week (see the new students website for details). There is also a free connecting bus service from the Edinburgh Campus to the Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels.

If you are planning to arrive outwith Freshers' Week, you'll need to make your own travel arrangements. You can find more information on transport on the campus pages.


You can find information on living on any of our campuses, as well as details on living in private rented accommodation, on the accommodation pages.


You can find our which healthcare services you are entitled to while living in the UK on the Medical Centre website.