Independent Distance Learning

Heriot-Watt has been providing Independent Distance Learning (IDL) for over 20 years and offers a wide range of professionally oriented programmes in this format. There are currently over 14,000 Heriot-Watt students studying our IDL programmes as both independent learners or with the support of our Approved Learning Partners.

IDL students gain the same qualification and degree certificates as on-campus students. The academic standard is exactly the same and all students undertake the same (or equivalent) assessments.

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Why study via Independent Distance Learning?

Choosing IDL means you can:

  • Study at a pace that you can set to suit your own circumstances, allowing you to combine your programme with work and other commitments.
  • Study in your own country and in some cases, in your own language
  • Remain in employment during your studies, allowing you to apply your learning directly to your job
  • Complete assessments at a place that is convenient for you. You can sit an exam at one of Heriot-Watt University’s campuses (in Edinburgh, Dubai or Malaysia) or at one of our 400 exam centres across six continents.

How does Independent Distance Learning work?

IDL students have a similar workload to part-time students. The following resources are available to help you with your studies:

  • Academic support – studying via IDL doesn’t mean you will 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.
  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – comprehensive course materials are made available through our recently upgraded VLE.
  • Heriot-Watt’s online library services – 24 hour access to our online library, from which you can access further materials to help you with your studies (Edinburgh Business School students can access the library on application once they have matriculated).
  • Discussion boards – you will have access to discussion boards which allow you to make contact with your tutors and other students.
  • Administration assistance - as well as academic support, our Schools offer dedicated administrative support for all IDL students. Our friendly administrators can help you with any non-academic questions you may have.

Further information

See our Independent Distance Learning programmes for further details including entry requirements and fees, or join one of our online chats to ask any questions you may have.

View our IDL graduate profiles to see what some of our alumni have to say about their experiences at Heriot-Watt and find out what they've gone on to achieve after their studies.

Key information

Admissions Office (Postgraduate)