Heriot-Watt Introductory Academic Programme

A group of students working on laptops in shared study space

The Heriot-Watt Introductory Academic Program (HWIAP) prepares you for studying at Heriot-Watt university by introducing you to the academic culture and self-directed study style you'll need at Heriot-Watt University. Workshops focus on understanding the academic culture of the university and expectations of your lecturers, and developing your Academic English language and study skills, so that you can confidently engage with the reading, writing and research tasks you will undertake in your chosen field of study.

Who is the Introductory Academic Programme aimed at?

The HWIAP is open to international students at all levels at each of the university’s five campuses. Through attending the workshops you will better understand the academic culture of the institution and the skills and behaviours you will be expected to demonstrate in your classes.

Sessions will cover a range of topics including:

  • critical thinking and reflection
  • critically evaluating academic sources
  • university research
  • academic reading
  • editing and proofreading
  • referencing and citation

What topics are covered?

Workshops usually run each week for one hour, starting from the second week on the academic calendar. You are encouraged to attend a workshop each week but are welcome to choose only the workshops that are most appropriate for you.

For more information about the topics covered in the sessions, book a session and access additional learning resources, please visit our Skills Hub.

Overview and learning outcomes

Study etiquette and cultural differences 

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • understand some of the differences between your previous and your new academic culture
  • interact with your new academic community more effectively
  • correspond with tutors and peers appropriately

Academic English 

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • differentiate academic English from other types of English (e.g. journalistic English) 
  • understand common features of Academic English
  • adapt your writing to different audiences (considerate writing)

Academic reading

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • understand the structure of academic texts
  • read and understand selected academic texts
  • apply a range of different techniques to your academic reading (e.g. SQRRRR)

Integrating sources and avoiding plagiarism 

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • paraphrase complex academic texts
  • summarise complex academic texts
  • integrate academic sources into your own writing

Groupwork and participation in seminars 

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • understand the importance of groupwork
  • know what is required of you in seminars and tutorials
  • participate more effectively in seminars

Critical thinking and reflection

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • understand what critical thinking means
  • critically evaluate academic sources
  • reflect on your own learning

Citing and referencing

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • recognise different types of academic sources
  • reference and cite different academic sources correctly
  • integrate academic sources into your own writing

Conducting academic research

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • understand the importance of research
  • understand the different steps in the research process
  • apply appropriate techniques to your own academic research

Editing and proofreading (Clear, Coherent, Concise, Correct) (60 minutes)

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • identify common errors in academic writing
  • improve selected writing using the 4Cs of academic writing
  • effectively edit and proofread your own writing

Key information

Graham Down