Information for prospective students who have applied to study at Heriot-Watt University.
The new academic year at Heriot-Watt University will begin as planned this September. If you are joining the University for the 2020/21 academic session, you can expect your learning to follow our previously published dates. Our academic programmes will begin on 14 September, with welcome week activities for new students taking place beforehand.
The global response to the pandemic means we are now adapting the way in which we deliver our teaching in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia to an approach we are calling Responsive Blended Learning. This flexible approach will allow students to begin the academic year on schedule, wherever they are in the world. We are preparing to start the academic year with high-quality online support and learning in place and, if possible depending on health and wellbeing conditions, some face to face activity on campus. We expect in-person sessions on campus will increase as the situation improves. Those who are unable to attend a campus within our global network will have equivalent online learning opportunities, with all students able to participate in meaningful learning experiences and feel part of the community. We will also make every effort to provide full support if you arrive on campus after teaching has started.
We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and stakeholders and this will be the most important priority in all the arrangements we make for learning and teaching in the new academic year. We are confident our approach will maintain the overall quality of our students learning experience and enable you to complete your studies as planned.
We will provide more detail on this as soon as we can. This may mean we change the format or order of our learning and teaching but be assured that we are striving to make your student experience as good as ever. Changes will vary by degree programme and individual Schools will contact offer-holders over the coming weeks to confirm how these changes will apply.
Staff will be available online to answer any questions you have about studying at the University and you can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org at any time to ask questions.
We're really looking forward to welcoming you to Heriot-Watt in September. Please keep checking the website for regular updates on our learning and teaching activities.
Frequently asked questions for offer holders due to begin
Widening Participation: What support is available to students during this time?
At Heriot-Watt we are here to support all of our students, but we appreciate that some circumstances may make your journey more challenging. Our widening participation (WP) work covers students from priority postcodes (SIMD20 or 40
), students joining the university in year 2 or year 3 from a Scottish college, students from target schools (SHEP
), mature students, students with care experience
, students who are carers and those who are estranged
. We have a range of support that you can access. If you raised your circumstances via UCAS we will have already contactedcontact you directly. If you require additional support or want to raise anything about your circumstances, please contact us
How can I find out more about the University and my course now?
You can take part in our virtual experience for a taste of student life at Heriot-Watt. Discover our facilities, both academic and extra-curricular, and chat with our staff and current students.
Offer holder webinars
Open day information
We will be running Virtual Open Days
in the coming weeks for those wanting to find out more about all the great opportunities that Heriot-Watt University can offer you.
You’ll find up to date information and you’ll be able to register for each event.
Will the pre-sessional English programme be going ahead in the summer?
I want to apply for accommodation, what should I do?
The Student Accommodation team, along with all staff at Heriot-Watt, are working hard to make sure your university journey is impacted as little as possible by the coronavirus pandemic and we are pleased to offer guaranteed accommodation on campus or off campus for students in their first year of study for those starting in September.
Our website has information about how to apply for accommodation
at our Edinburgh and Scottish Border campuses. We would encourage all potential students to apply for accommodation as they would normally at this time, and look forward to welcoming you to the University in September.
At this time, we are working towards all tenancies beginning as normal. We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation with Covid-19 and follow government guidance, and if anything regarding your tenancy or other aspects of accommodation changes, we will provide you with new information and updates as soon as possible.
We understand that some of our arriving students may be facing restrictions due to the global pandemic, so we are preparing flexible options for your arrival. This will include asking you to book a slot for arrival at campus so that we can safely welcome you into your new accommodation. Access to your room will be available from the Saturday 5 September but we will be as flexible as possible to work around later arrival dates. We are working on a process that will allow us to safely support the quarantine of our students on campus where required and in line with Scottish Government guidelines. We are also preparing our teams to be able to meet you at the airport when you arrive and to see you travel safely onto campus. We will share more information with you about this as soon as we can.
Will courses still be starting in September?
The global response to the pandemic means we are now adapting the way in which we deliver our teaching in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia to an approach we are calling Responsive Blended Learning. This approach will allow students to begin the academic year on schedule, wherever they may be in the world.
We will begin the 2020/21 academic year in September as planned, with semester 1 scheduled to start in the week beginning Monday 14 September. Our Welcome Week on Scottish campuses is due to take place on 7- 13 September 2020..
Due to the restrictions in place around Covid-19, we may need to change the format or order of some of our teaching though please be assured that our commitment to teaching excellence and student safety will remain.
We are delighted you chose to apply to Heriot-Watt and want to give you everything you wanted from us, despite the challenges. We will keep providing you with detailed information and will be ready to welcome you in September.
Will there be a January 2021 intake for the UK Campuses?
We will be running selected postgraduate MSc programmes at our UK campuses with an intake in January 2021. Details are currently being finalised and full details will be published shortly on the programmes being offered on the University website. Please note that all programmes being offered in January will also be running for the September 2020 intake.
My school, college or university is closed and my exams have been cancelled – how will this affect my application/offer?
We are aware that as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak applicants will be anxious about the impact that any closure to their current institution may have on their application. Advice for students in the UK is detailed below. For students currently outside the UK who are unable to provide academic evidence to meet the entry criteria, please get in touch to discuss your individual situation.
The Scottish and UK Governments have stated that students at school and college will still be awarded their qualifications, however the grade achieved will be determined by an alternative assessment of a student's ability. In Scotland, this process is being managed by the SQA and updates on how they intend on awarding grades can be found here. For A-Level candidates, OFQUAL are publishing guidance on behalf of awarding bodies – read the latest guidance
. The exam bodies will provide the University with applicants' achieved grades in the same way as they would have under normal circumstances and these grades will be used by the University in determining whether you have met the conditions of your offer.
If you are not satisfied with the award you are given by your exam body there will be a mechanism for you to have this reconsidered, and the University will retain your offer of a place until that process is complete.
The University is also working with local colleges to ensure students studying HNC/D or other college-based qualifications are not disadvantaged by the current circumstances. For applicants currently at University we would encourage you to follow your institution's advice regarding accessing assessments or the support they have in place for students unable to complete their assessments due to their personal circumstances. Please be reassured that Heriot-Watt will treat any regulated grades as that awarded grade.
What if my English language test centre is closed? Will you consider alternative assessments?
We know that test providers are intending to offer additional test appointments once they reopen to deal with the backlog.
We will continue to monitor the provision of English language tests over the coming weeks, and will assess the impact this is having on our offer holders, to identify if there are any actions we can take to alleviate problems with access to tests.
The University has confirmed that for September 2020 it will accept the TOEFL at Home, IELTS Indicator and Duolingo tests - all of which can be undertaken without the need for attending a test centre. We may also be able to consider IELTS Academic tests taken within the last four years. Please refer to our English language requirements
You have an offer to start your research degree with Heriot-Watt in May 2020. What should you do?
If you have an offer to commence your research degree in May 2020, we will be deferring your entry until September 2020.
If this will cause you significant difficulties, please contact your planned supervisor to discuss.
Advance Fee Instalments
If you have accepted an offer to study with us and you are required to pay a deposit, you are expected to pay this by the deadline you have been given. Due to the current situation this payment can be made in instalments. If you have queries regarding this, please contact your admissions team. email@example.com
Can I receive a refund of my advance fee instalment if I cannot travel to campus or if there is a delay to the start of the academic year?
You are encouraged to continue to pay advance instalments for tuition fees and advance rent payments for the planned start of the new academic year in September. Should there be any delay to the start of the academic year, or if you are unable to travel to campus because of visa or transport restrictions, you will be given the options of:
- Starting your programme of study online, where possible, before transferring to on-campus study at an appropriate stage
- Studying at an alternative campus, with the option to transfer to your campus of choice after the first semester or first year, where applicable
- Deferring enrolment to a later date
- Receiving a full refund of your advance instalment
If you want to defer your offer
We can usually defer some offers for most of our degrees, but we expect the number of deferrals we can allow will be limited. If you would like to defer your application until 2021 entry, then please contact your admissions team: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are waiting for a decision on your application
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on the way we live and work worldwide. Our admissions staff are observing the UK-wide lockdown and working remotely. We realise that you may be concerned about any impact this will have on your application to study with us, and we would like to give you some reassurance.
Our admissions staff have access to all our systems and are continuing to process applications as normal. Any academic staff involved in making admissions decisions are also able to participate remotely.
However, this new way of working will take a little time to settle down and it does mean you may see a delay in decision making on your application. Please bear with us as we make these adjustments. We will make decisions as quickly as we can, and we will communicate these with you as normal.
If you have received an offer to study with us
We have made your offer to study with us at Heriot-Watt because we believe you demonstrate the potential to be successful in your studies with us, and to contribute to our university community. If you have a conditional offer and are worried about meeting your conditions as a result of school or university closures or cancelled exams, please be assured that we will accept your calculated grades. Read more about the application process
If you cannot take school or college exams
We understand that many of our applicants have either had exams cancelled or may not know if they will be able to take their exams as planned.
Many qualifications, including most UK qualifications, will now be awarded on the basis of work you have already completed in school or college, tests already taken, and teacher or lecturer assessments. We are confident that the arrangements which have been announced are robust and that the grades awarded will be a good reflection of your ability and potential. We will accept the grades awarded as normal this year. Our requirements will not change as a result of the different assessment methods involved. You can find more information from the following awarding bodies:
Cancelled or postponed exams
Some exams or tests have been postponed until later in the year or may even have been cancelled completely. Where it is no longer possible for you to meet the conditions of your offer using the qualifications you had planned to take, please let us know. We will work with you to see if you have alternative evidence that we can use to decide if you have met your conditions.
If you cannot obtain documents
If your school or university is closed, you may not be able to provide all of the documents we have asked for, such as transcripts or references, at this time. If this is a problem for you, please contact your admissions team who will be able to review your deadlines. UGadmissions@hw.ac.uk
If you have issues regarding your visa
We are aware that visa centres have been closed for several weeks now in some countries. Students who had been due to start a degree in March, April or May and who have been unable to apply for their visa should contact our Global Student Advisers
to discuss their options.
We hope that visa centres will reopen before other students will need to apply for visas but will keep the situation under review.
If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) Calls are free of charge.
Postgraduate Research Student information
If you are a visiting research student, please read our PGR FAQs
if you are due to start a placement on or before September 2020.
Responsive Blended Learning – what does it mean?
You might have seen us use the term Responded Blended Learning to describe the what learning and teaching will be like from the start of term. We wanted to give you some more detail on what ‘Responsive’ means for you. Our staff are working hard at the moment to ensure that we offer you an enriching and inclusive start to your studies with us.
We will be responsive in three ways:
- We will respond to your journey as a student and your prior experience before you joined us. There will be an extended induction period and your learning will start where you left off. We understand you might not have been able to complete your previous learning so we will provide you with additional teaching to make sure you are brought up to speed.
- We will respond to your wellbeing needs. Being part of a community at Heriot-Watt is at the heart of our student experience and we will make sure that this is part of your learning from day one. We are investing our time and resources into building a community that will be ready to welcome you in September.
- We will respond to our students needs for learning and teaching. That means that we will have a learning community online where required and on-campus wherever possible – to meet your needs while always putting your safety first. This will be a blended learning approach that will benefit all our students regardless of the restrictions you may face. Wherever you access your learning, you will remain part of the same group, developing your learning together.
Travel advice to students
The University follows UK Government policy with regards to travelling at all times as advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice. The FCO currently advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide
. It is not possible at this time to predict when the UK Government may lift the restriction on international travel but we expect it to be in force for some time to come. New border control measures are likely to be imposed for people arriving to the UK. Please see the GOV.UK website
for more information.
We are currently looking into this and will publish information on this subject as soon as we can.