What is a personal tutor?

Every student has a member of academic staff allocated to them as a personal tutor who will be a key source of advice, guidance and support during your time at Heriot-Watt. Your personal tutor is your first point of contact if you need advice on any issue, both academic and non-academic, and can refer you to other support services where relevant for non-academic matters. Personal tutors provide a clear point of contact for you throughout your degree.

Finding out more about personal tutoring

During Welcome Week you will find out more about the personal tutoring system at Heriot-Watt as part of your induction programme. You will be allocated a personal tutor and there will be an early opportunity to meet with them.

Once you have enrolled you can find your personal tutor’s name and email address on your student record, which you can access via myHWU, the student portal.

The role of the personal tutor

Your personal tutor will be able to advise you on settling in, on getting started in your subject, on preparing for assessments and provide advice relating to your results. They can also advise you on University regulations and procedures. They will invite you to meetings at key points in the academic year, but you can contact them at any time if there is anything you would like to discuss with them. Your personal tutor will advise you of their availability and offer times for face to face meetings, for example, during office hours or by appointment. They will have an overview of your academic progress and discuss this with you. Your personal tutor will also be able to advise you on further relevant sources of professional advice and information available within the University.

The personal tutor is not there to provide individual tuition or detailed advice on the content of courses they do not teach. Please make sure you talk to your lecturers if there is anything you don't understand or are having difficulties with. As with any enquiry, if your personal tutor is unable to answer your question, they will, however, be able to signpost suitable alternative sources of advice and guidance.

Meeting your personal tutor

Your personal tutor will arrange to meet with you at key points during the academic year.

Contact Points for New Students (Both First Years and Direct Entrants)

  • Welcome Week: as part of your induction you will find out more about Heriot-Watt University's personal tutoring system and have the opportunity to ask any questions you have or talk about anything you are not sure about.
  • By the end of week 2 of teaching: You will be invited to a meeting to discuss how you are settling in and check that everything is going well. However, if you have any concerns, please try and see your personal tutor as soon as you can, you don't have to wait until the next meeting invitation.
  • Post-assessments: Early in semester 2 you will be invited to a meeting to discuss your semester 1 results. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on what has gone well, or not so well, and how your 1st semester experience will help you in semester 2 and beyond.

You may be invited to other meetings throughout the year. Please make every effort to attend them and let your personal tutor know if you are unable to.

Other sources of Information, advice and support

Personal tutors are one part of the support system for students at Heriot-Watt. To find out more, please refer to our 'Support and advice' information or consult the Student A to Z Guide

Read more about personal tutors including how to make the most of your personal tutor, how to change your tutor, some frequently asked questions and some student testimonials about their experiences of their personal tutors.