Ready for studying safely

We're ready - Edinburgh campus main reception

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Heriot-Watt University is using an approach to people starting studies at a distance. This approach will ensure you can begin – and complete – the academic year on schedule, wherever you may be in the world. Studying from a distance combines supported online learning with context-appropriate on-campus learning opportunities, responding dynamically to the changing external context.

The RBL approach will mean that you will learn through engaging online webinars, tutorials, discussions, and projects. When our campus spaces become more accessible, we will be able to make appropriate use of these, and small groups will be able to access and make the most of our modern and specialist learning spaces.

RBL will still allow you to be a part of the global Heriot-Watt community, and to learn alongside your fellow students, engage with learning opportunities, and be guided and supported by your knowledgeable and experienced academic course team.

The majority of your online learning will be through Canvas – our virtual learning environment (VLE). Canvas will be a key hub for learning and will be a space for interaction and engagement that will combine live sessions with opportunities for you to engage flexibly at a time that will suit you.

Watch this video to learn more about staying connected through the myHWU Student Portal, Canvas (your virtual learning environment), Collaborate Ultra, Office 365, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and eduroam.

Induction: Become a part of the community and meet academic staff and your peers on campus and/or online, from the word go. Log in to Canvas for your induction materials and sessions.

myHWU Student Portal: Keep up to date with your studies and the latest info at where you can also connect with your Personal Tutor. Your Personal Tutor is a member of academic staff who will be a key source of advice, guidance and support during your time at Heriot-Watt; and your first point of contact if you need advice on any issue, both academic and non-academic. They can also refer you to other support services where relevant for non-academic matters.

Teaching on campus: on campus teaching will mainly take place in small groups following health and safety guidance that includes social distancing. Limits on numbers in each room are set by the Scottish government.

The Library and study spaces: The library on our Edinburgh campus is open for study space and access to print collections, where a click and collect service will be available, along with an extensive range of resources and support services available online. Support and training/teaching will remain online for the time being. The library max occupancy limit on the access gates is 300. Face coverings are required at all times, including when seated at 1m socially distanced study spaces, unless exempt.

All Library opening hours are subject to change at short notice due to the current situation and the need to comply with government and university guidelines.
The information on the website is being updated regularly
Please check the Information Services social media channels - we will update our twitter and facebook  pages daily and more information can be found on Informs
For enquiries and the latest opening hours, contact the Library Service Desk 0131 451 3577 or email

  • Students must book study spaces through ResourceBooker in advance of coming to the Library.
  • Only individual study is supported due to current guidelines.
  • 1m social distancing must be observed including when coming in and out of the Library building
  • Study spaces are clearly marked with green YES or red NO and are numbered – see floor plans
  • In Resource Booker, you can filter to locate a study space with a PC and can filter on available times
  • Please confirm your booking at the Service Desk on arrival at the library - bookings are provisional until confirmed
  • Please only book for the times you need for essential study
  • If for any reasons you do not intend to use your booking, please cancel via the booking email – don’t be a ‘no show’
  • Be considerate of other students and help us make best use of the available space.
  • Staff are always happy to help with any booking enquiries

Guidelines on accessing the campus, teaching spaces and keeping safe

We are excited to welcome you back. In order to keep you safe, we’ve had to make some changes to the campus, so things will look a little different.

Teaching Spaces

  • When waiting to enter a class please maintain a social distance. Social distancing should be maintained at all times when indoors at a minimum of 1m.
  • Rooms are being cleaned twice a day - morning and lunchtime. For all other times, cleaning materials are available for you to wipe down surfaces where you are sitting.
  • The first row of seats will not be in use to allow staff, who are delivering a class, to ensure they are suitably physically distanced from their students.
  • When entering the room:
    • Wait until students have left the room from the last session. 
    • Use as many of the doors as possible. 
    • Stop at a cleaning station on the way in to hand sanitise.
    • Because of the strict controls placed on us, we won’t be able to increase class space immediately. Should there be too many students for a room, we apologise and all materials will be available online.
  • At the end of the session
    • Students nearest the doors should leave first, again using any available doors.  Please do not linger in the doorways.

On Campus and Corridors

  • Wearing a face covering is no longer mandatory. However, in line with government guidance, staff and students are encouraged to do so when moving around the buildings and particularly in more crowded spaces.
  • Keep left in all corridors and staircases and don't linger creating a blockage.
  • Lifts should be left for people who need them.
  • Catering facilities are available on campus.
    • Outlets will operate in a Covid safe way including new layouts, click and collect and enhanced cleaning regimes.
    • For the Edinburgh campus outlets and opening hours click here.
    • For the Borders campus outlet and opening hours click here.

Guides on Responsive Blended Learning for students

We look forward to seeing you! Stay safe, and don’t forget we are here to support you, every step of the way.