The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society offers a wide range of programmes online. The outcomes of our online programmes are identical to those of our on-campus programmes.

As an online student you will:

  • receive the same qualification as on-campus students;
  • study the same courses with course materials made available online;
  • have a similar workload to part-time students;
  • have access to academic support and student support services;
  • have flexibility regarding when and where you study.
I chose to study online because I did not want to stop the valuable learning on the actual job while gaining the necessary academic training.
Sebastian Flatau, MSc Architectural Project Management.


Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design

Institute for Infrastructure and Environment

The Urban Institute

Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering

International Centre for Island Technology

Why online?

  1. Online learning offers a flexible study option, allowing you to combine your study with work and other commitments. Online learning is therefore ideal for those wishing to further their academic qualifications while in full-time employment.
  2. It also provides you, wherever you are in the world, with the opportunity to work towards a high quality, internationally recognised qualification from one of the UK's foremost universities in the provision of Independent Distance Learning.
  3. It allows you to study when it best suits you, using online course material all available through Heriot-Watt University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  4. Studying via Independent Distance Learning doesn't mean you'll be left on your own. Tutors will provide you, by phone or email, with academic support similar to that received by our on-campus students.
  5. Our friendly Distance Learning Office can help you with any non-academic questions you may have.
  6. There are two intakes per year; January and September.

Study resources

All of our IDL programmes have been designed to provide you with the resources you need to successfully complete your studies:

  1. Our comprehensive study materials are made available through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  2. As an IDL student you will have 24/7 access to Heriot-Watt's Online Library services from which you can access further materials to help you with your studies.
  3. You will have access to discussion boards which allow you to make contact with your tutors and other students.


The majority of courses are assessed by examination, however some may be a combination of coursework and examination or coursework only. For more information about the assessment procedures, please contact the Programme Leader of your preferred programme.


Exams for distance learning students are usually organised in each student's country of residence through the British Council or other partners. Please note that this is not possible for all countries, but we do endeavour to accommodate everyone we can.

For more information about exams, please contact our Distance Learning team: