We may store information about your visit using cookies (small files of letters and numbers which are sent by us to your computer or other access device when you visit our website) which we can access when you visit our corporate site in future. We do this for the following reasons:

  • recognising your preferences so you don't need to re-enter them on every visit
  • tracking progress through online applications
  • monitoring site performance and content popularity
  • remarketing: using third party technologies to advertise online and make ads more relevant to you.

In addition, some third-party services featured on our site may also use cookies for similar reasons. 

By using our site, we assume that you're happy to use cookies but if desired, cookies can be disabled through your browser settings - please view your browser's options or help pages for more information. Please note, however, that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site.

We use first-party cookies to store user preferences and provide statistical analysis, while third-party services use cookies to store settings and provide additional functionality.

First-party cookies

Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics throughout our site to monitor site performance, content popularity and other quality indicators. Using this service may set up to five cookies from our site, all of which contain anonymous data:

Google Analytics cookie usage
Name Purpose Expires
__utma (and _ga) contains a unique ID to record visits from the same user 2 years
__utmb records the start of a session 30 minutes
__utmc a session cookie which only lasts while you view the site Browser close
__utmt indicates the type of request 2 minutes
__utmv only used if more custom, detailed statistics are required 2 years
__utmz records where a visitor came from previously 6 months

More information on the use of cookies for Google Analytics can be found at Cookies & Google Analytics and Safeguarding your Google Analytics data.

Other First-party cookie usage
Name Purpose Expires
_CAN_BId This is a User Identification cookie. It holds a unique (32-character) reference that identifies you each time that you return to the Website. 2 years
CAN_SId Session Identification cookie. This holds a unique (32-character) reference which allows us to relate all the current tracking to a single Session 30 minutes


Some of our pages are used for online services (such as making payments and submitting applications), which use 'session' cookies to login or progress through application stages, and are only present within the session. These cookies are strictly necessary to provide the service that the user has requested.

Third-party cookies

In addition to the cookies above, some third-party services we use also store cookies.


On some pages, we display Twitter feeds and share buttons. If you are not already logged into Twitter, only one cookie is set but being logged in means several are used. For more information, see Twitter's Privacy Policy.


Some of our pages contain a Facebook share button, which sets a number of cookies if you are already logged into your account. For more information please see Facebook's Policy on Cookies, Pixels & Similar Technologies.


We embed photo galleries from Flickr on some of our pages. The Flickr gallery sets four cookies and as part of Yahoo, falls under Yahoo's privacy policy.


Heriot-Watt University uses third party technologies to advertise online and make ads more relevant (“Remarketing” – also known as ‘retargeting’).

These third parties include media partners such as Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn who make use of Remarketing cookies – both first party (such as Google Adwords and Google Analytics) and third party (such as DoubleClick) – to serve more relevant ads to users based on such users’ past visits to our Website, whether those users are on our Website or on other websites.

To find out how to control whether you see online interest-based ads from Facebook please visit the Facebook Help Centre.

To opt out of Google Remarketing or to control your ad preferences, please visit the Google Ad Preferences page.

To opt out of Twitter Remarketing please see Twitter Privacy Controls.

To opt out of other third-party vendor's use of cookies by visiting the Network Advertising Initiative opt-out page or the Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice page.

Remarketing cookies typically expire a maximum of 180 days from the time that the cookie is set or updated (whichever is the later).   


We may also use personalisation cookies to build profiles relating to you and other visitors so that we can direct more relevant content to you based on your use of our Website.

Such personalisation uses cookies to recognise visitors returning to our Website so that relevant content can be directed based on previous visits.

We do not generally store any other personal data that you provided to us in your cookies.

We use ‘session’ cookies which enable you to carry information across pages of our Website and avoid having to re-enter information. Session cookies enable us to compile statistics that help us to understand how the Website is being used and to improve its structure.

We use ‘persistent’ cookies which are cookies that remain in the cookies file of your browser for longer and help us to recognise you as a unique visitor to the Website, tailoring the content of certain areas of the Website to offer you content that match your preferred interests.

On some of our web pages third parties may also set their own cookies (for example when you click social media sharing buttons or view embedded videos hosted on another Website). We cannot access the data stored in any such cookies (nor can such third parties access our cookies).

Part of your IP might be collected to identify your country.