Student A-Z guide

This A-Z guide aims to provide you with essential information about the support and resources available to you as a Heriot-Watt student. It is not meant to be exhaustive, so if it does not answer your question, you should seek the assistance of your personal tutor in the first instance.

Please remember that there are a range of support services in the University that are here to help you and you don’t need to struggle through on your own.

This guide is arranged alphabetically under four thematic headings:

Learning and Teaching
Supporting Success
Our Community

As a Heriot-Watt student, you are part of a community where we value and draw strength from our diversity, and from the range of different experiences which have brought us together. This section helps you to find out about events, activities, and opportunities for you to meet new people!

Developing Your Skills

It’s not just knowledge of your subject that you acquire as a student. You will also develop a range of skills that will not only help you study but also help in everyday life. Plus, you will develop skills which will help you get a job and develop your career.

Clicking on the links in each section below allows you to find relevant information on the student web pages. Please make sure that you check myHWU the Student Portal and the University web pages throughout the year for the most up-to-date information.


Student A-Z


Academic Appeals
An academic appeal is a formal request by a student for the review of a decision made by the University on the student’s progression, assessment or academic award. There are valid and invalid grounds for an appeal. Appeals cannot be made on the basis of academic judgment (for example, thinking that your work deserves a higher grade). You are strongly advised to seek advice strongly advised to seek advice from your personal tutor or the Student Union Advice Hub before starting an appeal, and to try and seek an informal resolution before making a formal appeal.

Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is more than just avoiding misconduct but means keeping to the highest professional standards in your learning, assessment, research and professional conduct.  It is central to how the University operates.  Acting with integrity means:   

  • Acknowledging sources of information as required for your subject/programme (not how you might have done previously).
  • Not presenting other people's work as your own
  • Not doing other student's work for them. Following the University's ethical guidelines when conducting research
  • Reporting research findings truthfully and accurately

Support and resources are available to you throughout your studies to help you develop the Academic skills necessary for academic integrity and to avoid  academic misconduct.

Information about student accommodation at each of our campuses:

Active Wellbeing
Active Wellbeing is a global initiative to support students and staff to become more active more often.  To find out more, visit the Active Wellbeing Hub

Information on the opportunities available to students after they graduate from Heriot-Watt. These include membership of The Watt Club (Heriot-Watt’s alumni association), how to network and connect with other alumni, and how alumni can give back to the University after they have left.

Amendment to Enrolment
Amendments can be made to a student’s enrolment at any point during their studies. This can include Temporary Suspension of Studies, extension of study period or amendment to study level or method.   

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) describes technologies and methods which emulate thinking and show rational behaviour i.e. they act as if they were intelligent, rather than actually thinking independently or having developed consciousness. It underpins many technologies in use in higher education and wider society. You can find out more about how artificial intelligence can be used to support your learning on the Student Skills Hub.

Assessment is an essential part of learning at university. Make sure you are aware of the guidelines and regulations around University assessment.

Assessment Feedback
Heriot-Watt University aims to support students in becoming confident, independent learners; feedback is a key part of the student learning experience, as it is designed to help students to learn and improve. It’s also important to know it. Please also see this guide: what to do with the feedback when you receive Making the Most of Assessment and Feedback: A Guide for Students.

Assessment Results
Once your course results have been released, you will automatically be sent an email (to your Heriot-Watt email address) to inform you that new assessment results are available online to view/download via the Student Self-Service. Guidance is available on the results and the grading system used by the University.

Assistive Technology
We have a variety of assistive technology available at Heriot-Watt University. Our Technology Assistant is here to help you with the enabling technology that we have and can assist you with any queries or support needs.

Attendance and Absence (Scottish Campuses)
We recognise that students with care experience are under-represented in higher education and are committed to offering support for you to study at Heriot-Watt. We can provide access to the advice, guidance, financial support and accommodation required to help you succeed at university. We offer a named point of contact and support within the University.

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Careers advice and guidance is available to all students and recent graduates to help:

  • Develop your employability skills 
  • Identify your potential career options 
  • Help you to find work experience/part time work 
  • Market yourself to employers

Careers: UK Campuses
Careers: Dubai Campus, contact 
Careers: Malaysia Campus, contact 

Caring Responsibilities (Scottish Campuses)
Heriot-Watt University is committed to supporting students who are carers. A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

Change of Address
For legal, academic and administrative purposes it is very important that the information the University holds about you is correct and up to date, including your address details. You can check and amend your personal information by logging in to Student Self Service.

Changing Your Course
If you wish to change your course you can do this online after you complete online enrolment up until the end of the second week of the semester. To swap a course, go to the ‘Student Menu’ in your Student Self-Service and select ‘Course Swap’. There is further guidance online as you follow the process.

Learning, teaching and assessment will be delivered through a combination of face-to-face and online methods as part of the University’s Globally Connected Learning. Online activities and materials will be delivered through Canvas, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, and Microsoft Teams. Prompt course registration will ensure that you are able to participate in all activities.

Changing Your Programme
The University recognises that students may wish to transfer to a different programme of study and will normally allow this provided that a student’s prior study or subject knowledge meets the entry requirements of the new programme. Transferring after Year 1 may be difficult without repeating stages of study. If you are considering changing to another Heriot-Watt programme please make sure you discuss this with your personal tutor and see the following advice:

  • Think carefully about what you want to study instead
  • Access all sources of information about any alternative programme. Find out who the programme contact is, what the entry requirements are and what careers it might lead to. You can find out the programme contact by logging an enquiry with your school using AskHWU on the MyHWU portal. Find out if you would you have to repeat a year.
  • Talk to programme staff and students who are currently studying the programme.
  • Remember, it is not automatic that you will be allowed to transfer to a different programme.
  • If you are able to transfer, make sure you complete the correct forms and have the appropriate approval. Your new programme leader can advise you on this.
  • You may have to repeat a year on your new programme, e.g. start again at Year 1, in which case you should check with your funding body what financial support will be available if you do this. Repeat funding can sometimes be offered but this will depend on your circumstances.

Childcare and School Information (Scottish Campuses)
Information on nurseries, childminders and schools is available at this link for students at Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney Campuses.  You may be eligible for financial support for childcare costs.

If for any reason you are unhappy with action taken (or not taken) by the University, or by the standard of service you have received, you are able to make a formal complaint using the University’s Complaints Procedure.

Cost of Living Support (Scottish Campuses) 
We recognise that living costs have risen significantly over the last two years, so there are several   initiatives that the University and the Student Union have put in place to help students.   

Being a student can be a very positive experience but there are also many challenges to deal with such as being away from home, being in a new country, exam pressures and building new relationships with friends. If you are worried about any issue or are thinking about dropping out of University, we can offer you counselling, support, and information to help you deal with the difficulties you may face. It may be that you only need one appointment but can attend more if you wish.

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Data Protection
Information about how the University uses and protects data.

Disability Support
The Disability Service provides support for students with a range of disabilities (dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, sensory impairment, mental health, medical and physical health conditions, autistic spectrum condition). Let us know if you have a disability and we’ll arrange an appointment. We also offer advice and screening if you think that you may have a disability. You may be eligible for additional funding from the Disabled Students Allowance. Drop-in times and contact details are available via the link above.

The University can take action against any student if they have committed an academic offence (such as plagiarism, collusion or cheating in an exam) or a non-academic offense (such as improper use of, or damage to, university property, or unacceptable behaviour).

Discretionary Credit
A student who has not achieved the minimum number of credit points necessary to qualify for consideration of an award, or the minimum number of credit points to progress from one stage to another, may be awarded the requisite credit points at the discretion of the Award Board or Progression Board, as appropriate.

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Effective Learning Service
Our global team of Effective Learning Advisers can provide advice and guidance on study skills for University work e.g. academic writing, study strategies, managing your time and effective group working.

Make sure you keep checking your Heriot-Watt email at least every day and use it if you need to contact the University. Sometimes mail from personal email addresses is blocked by the University’s IT systems, so use your Heriot-Watt email to be sure your message gets through to us. Essential messages and information will also be available via myHWU the Student Portal.

English Gym 
The English Gym is available to all Heriot-Watt University students and provides free academic English language and study skills support drop-in sessions and workshops at the Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia campuses, and online materials for all students. 

Enhanced Transcript
Your Enhanced Transcript not only details your awards and grades but notes all academic and extra-curricular activities undertaken at university, having a record of your university achievements in one document allows you to maximise your employability and share with your prospective employers and postgraduate recruiters.

Enrolment is the formal process of becoming a student of the University, agreeing to abide by its rules and accepting any liability for fees or other costs associated with your studies. All new and continuing students must be enrolled while studying at Heriot Watt University.   The enrolment process must be completed online at the start of each new academic year.

Equality and Diversity
As well as meeting our legal requirements we make sure that people across the University Community understand how they contribute to a Culture of Inclusion for All. This holistic approach helps us maintain an open and accessible working, living and learning environment where all are supported to reach their full potential.

Estranged Students
An estranged student is "someone who no longer has the support of their family due to a breakdown in their relationship which has led to ceased contact. This might mean biological or adoptive parents or wider family members who have been responsible for supporting a student in the past". We recognise that estrangement causes particular challenges to students and the University is able to provide a range of support. If this applies to you, please get in contact.

European Exchange
Our European Exchange Programme enables you to study or work in Europe as part of your degree programme, usually for a semester or full academic year. At Heriot-Watt, students have the opportunity to study at a wide range of institutions in Europe and may benefit from an Erasmus+ grant if the placement meets the criteria.

Exam Conduct and ID Checks
Make sure you know what is required and permitted within each of your exams and understand the University exam conduct.

Exam Timetables
On our website, you will find information on the exam timetable and when it will be available. Please note that exam timetables are subject to change so check regularly – we recommend checking the morning of each exam for any adjustments.

Examinations and Examination Diets
There are three examination diets (assessment periods): December, Spring and Summer. It is important that you are available for the whole of the assessment period as exam dates may be subject to change.

An Exchange placement can be arranged with an institution abroad, outside of Europe. This can be arranged with your school Exchange Co-ordinator, but it is your responsibility to complete the application for that institution.

Exit Awards
You will receive an award if you successfully complete your programme of study. However, if you leave the University part way through your programme, you may still have met the required criteria for receiving a Certificate of Higher Education, a Diploma of Higher Education or an Ordinary/Bachelors Degree as an exit award.

External Examiners Information
External Examiners are independent of Heriot-Watt and their role is to ensure that students are judged fairly according to the academic standards expected by the wider higher education sector. In addition, they ensure that that the processes for assessment, examination and determination of awards are sound and fairly operated, and that the quality of programmes is appropriate. Students can request copies of the External Examiners’ reports for their programme by emailing

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Failing a Course
Failing a course may be a setback, but it is not necessarily a disastrous one. Students who have failed can go on to pass resits and still graduate with a good degree. If you fail a course, it is important you discuss this with your personal tutor in the first instance. Your personal tutor will be able to offer advice on how to obtain detailed feedback and suggest sources of support.

Faith and Belief
Heriot-Watt University respects religious and cultural diversity and aims to support individuals in their religious and cultural observance.

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Globally Connected Learning
Our approach to learning and teaching is Globally Connected Learning, a blend of on campus and online learning. To help you get the most out of online learning, the University has produced a guide to Netiquette. Please note that most of your learning will be in person, and you are expected to attend in-person classes.

Details of the specific blend of on campus, online and independent study will be set out by your course teams, who will support you through your studies.

You can discuss any issues around your learning or your wellbeing with your personal tutor and with the University’s professional services. Periods of Study The University Regulations explain the maximum time allowed to complete your programme of study.

Go Global
Go Global is the University’s inter-campus transfer opportunity and offers students the opportunity to study at a different Heriot-Watt campus.

Graduate Attributes
Through your experience at Heriot-Watt University you will develop the skills and qualities of the four graduate attributes: specialist, creative, professional, and global.

All the information you need to apply for and attend your graduation ceremony.

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Harassment and Bullying
Heriot-Watt University is committed to a working, learning, and living environment that is free of discrimination and intimidation. If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed, in person or online, please talk to your personal tutor, or to Student Wellbeing. 

Health and Wellbeing
During your time at University it is important to look after yourself and use the resources available to help you with this, including Wellbeing Services, and medical and dental services.

Heriot-Watt Values
At Heriot-Watt, we have an established set of values that help up to nurture innovation and leadership and show our commitment to continuous development in all our activities. They are:

  • Belong to a diverse, inclusive and international community working together across boundaries and cultures
  • Inspire curiosity to learn and find solutions that transform lives
  • Collaborate by working in partnership to shape the future whilst taking responsibility for our own actions
  • Celebrate excellence and take pride in the achievements of our students, staff and alumni

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Library Essentials
Library essentials covers how to navigate the library service across campuses at the University. If you need to borrow a book or book out a study space this can be accessed from the library essentials webpage.

Library Resources for Your Subject
There is an Academic Support and Liaison Librarian supporting your subject or School. Who can provide advice and guidance on library resources and developing your information skills. See also the online subject guides for information about books, journals, and online resources for each subject area.

LinkedIn Learning
As a Heriot-Watt student, you have full, free access to LinkedIn Learning. The platform hosts over 12,000 digital courses on business, creative and technology topics. These courses are broken into bitesize sections, making it easy to focus on developing the skills you need.

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Managing Your Money
As a student you will find there is a lot to think about financially. For some of you, studying at university will be the first time you have had to manage your money and keep your expenditure within a fixed budget. Advice and support on money matters is available at all Heriot-Watt campuses.

Maternity and Paternity
The University has a set of published guidelines to ensure that students who become pregnant during their studies know where to seek advice and support, including on matters such as returning to study following a period of maternity leave and on requests for shared leave or paternity leave.

Maths Gym
The Maths Gym is a cross-campus initiative aimed at supporting all Heriot-Watt students, from any subject, to strengthen their mathematical or statistical skills and gain confidence in applying these skills. We provide support through a variety of activities including:

  • drop-in sessions
  • one-to-one or small group appointments
  • workshops.

Whether you want to brush up on basic skills or need help to understand new material from your course, the Maths Gym is there to help you.

Mental Health
If you experience a mental health difficulty while at the University, or have a pre-existing mental health condition, you can discuss any issues and concerns with a professional counsellor or mental health advisor.

Mitigating Circumstances
There are circumstances which, through no fault of your own, may have affected your performance in an assessment (exams or other assessment), meaning that the assessment has not accurately measured your ability. These circumstances are described as ‘mitigating circumstances'. You can submit an application to have mitigating circumstances taken into account.

MyHWU Student Portal
The Student Portal brings together your services and relevant information in one place. Below is a summary of the services available to you via the portal:

  • Office 365 suite: through single sign-on, all of your Office 365 services will be accessible through the Portal.
  • Library: whether you want to search for books or view your loans & reservations, the Portal allows you to do this on your phone or desktop.
  • Canvas: access your courses here, including announcements, tasks and assignments.
  • Student Information: all university-level regulations and policies relating to your studies can be found on the Portal.
  • Campus and School News: the Portal enables the University to promote events and experiences which will help you develop your skills.
  • Personalised: You can hide, add and move tiles on your dashboard.
  • AskHWU: You can find everything you need to help you navigate your time at HWU through the AskHWU search tile. Ask questions of the University and enquire directly with members of staff to get information about ID cards, student finance, confirmation of studies letters, exams, enrolment, Careers, Wellbeing Services and much more.
  • Appointments: book appointments with a range of different services (Student Wellbeing Services, Careers, Finance etc.) through your student portal.

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Next Steps: Post-Result Help
Next Steps is a simple guide that can help you after you have received your course assessment results. The guide has information about importance of obtaining feedback from your assessments, and how to reflect and act on feedback to ensure you are more successful in your studies.


People Finder
Find a key person on campus by using People Finder.

Periods of Study
The University Regulations explain the maximum time allowed to complete your programme of study.

Personal Tutors
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 nonacademic matters. Personal tutors provide a clear point of contact for you throughout your degree.

Plagiarism is the act of taking the ideas, writings or inventions of another person and using these as if they were your own, whether intentionally or not. Here you can find out more about plagiarism, how the University responds to it and guidance on how to avoid plagiarism in your academic work. The Library also provides workshops and support on citing and referencing to avoid plagiarism

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If you fail an assessment during the first or second semester of an academic year, you will have to sit a reassessment for that course before being able to progress. This page contains information on reassessment procedures, how to register and pay for reassessments on your campus, reassessment diet dates, and information about additional reassessment opportunities.

Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer
If you have previously been in higher education, have passed courses or have academically relevant professional experience, this could count as credit towards your Heriot-Watt degree. In the linked page, scroll down to ‘Recognition of Prior Learning & Credit Transfer to view the policy and procedures relating to this, as well as other information.

Recording of Lectures
Learning and teaching activities may be recorded for academic purposes. Students will have access to these recordings for use in their studies, but must not download, access or use these recordings for any purpose other than their studies at the University. Equally, students must not copy or share the recordings, in whole or in part, in any way with any other party. The above guidance does not apply to students who have permission from the University to record sessions as part of any reasonable adjustments, to ensure the accessibility of their studies. New and continuing students will be invited to sign up to these requirements as part of the Student Declaration at the point of enrolment.

Requirements for Awards
These regulations explain the number of credits required to receive an award from the University. Refer to the regulation(s) that are appropriate for your level of study.

Residence Life (Edinburgh Campus)
Residence Life (Res Life) provide help and support for students living in University accommodation. This can be practical help and information, help with the transition to living in halls of residence, signposting to other sources of support and providing a calendar of social events. 

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Sexual Misconduct
The University is committed to providing a safe environment that allows you to work, study, and fulfil your potential without fear of sexual misconduct and has a policy to combat sexual misconduct.

Skills Development
Studying at university gives you the opportunity to learn new skills or build on existing skills you already have. Information Services provide many workshops and resources to help you gain or develop the skills you will need to have a successful time at university.

You can access a range of IT software provided by the University to help in your studies.

Sport and Exercise
Opportunities for a range of sport and exercise activities are available at all our campuses. From recreational fun to competition, there’s a place in the WattFamily for everyone regardless of sporting ability or experience. The Edinburgh campus is also home to Oriam Scotland's Sports Performance Centre.

Student Advisors

The University is piloting a new student support system designed to improve your student experience.

From August 2024, if you belong to one of the student cohorts indicated, you will be allocated both a Student Advisor (pastoral and wellbeing advice) and an Academic Advisor (academic advice), who will work in partnership to support you during your studies.

Student Fees, Funding and Additional Charges
The University can give you advice about paying your tuition fees as well as information on scholarships and bursaries, and other means of financial support.

Student Partnership Agreement
Heriot Watt University and the Heriot Watt University Student Representative Bodies work in partnership to develop a Student Partnership Agreement (SPA) each year. The Agreement identifies the main, agreed priorities for working in partnership each academic year and outlines an associated action plan. 

Heriot-Watt University has a long and proud tradition of student engagement in institutional governance and decision-making and the Student Partnership Agreement sets out our ambition to continue to work in partnership across all of our campus locations, with the aim of increasing engagement with the institution, enhancing the student experience and engendering a sense of belonging to the University community.

Student Policies and Guidance
Our list of student policies can give you information on University regulations and guidance relating to issues including attendance, mitigating circumstances, mental health, and programme transfer.

Student Representation
All students have representative bodies for their campus who will also oversee clubs and societies and organise events for students.

Heriot-Watt University Student Union (Edinburgh, Orkney and Scottish Borders Campuses)
All Heriot-Watt students at Scottish campuses are a member of the Student Union. In addition to the wide range of societies, the Student Union offers volunteering opportunities for students to get involved in and make friends and connections during their time at university. The Union regularly hold events and host campaigns for good causes. The Student Union can also provide advice and support for all Heriot-Watt students via the Advice Hub.

Heriot-Watt University Dubai Student Council is the primary representative body for all students at Dubai campus. Further details can be found on the Student Council’s page Facebook page.

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Student Association represents students at Malaysia campus, manages clubs, implements welfare projects and organises events for students. 

Student Service Centre
The Student Service Centre offers help and support relating to matters on enrolment, examinations, paying tuition fees, graduation, as well as advice for students holding a visa.

Student Success Advisors 
Nobody knows the challenges of being a Heriot-Watt student better than those who have been through it all themselves. With the benefit of recent experience and successful study at Heriot-Watt, the Student Success Advisors will be able to offer advice to students based on their own experiences. They also have an overview of the other support resources available at Heriot-Watt and point you in the right direction if you need it.

Student Surveys
Feedback from students is extremely important as it allows the University to further improve and enhance what it offers to students. Surveys give students the opportunity to feedback their thoughts and opinions to the University.

Study Spaces
Heriot-Watt provide a large number of modern and contemporary study spaces for both individuals and groups in convenient locations. Some of these spaces are open late and offer IT access as well as food and drink.

Submission of Coursework Policy
You will have a set submission deadline for each piece of coursework. This policy explains how the deadline works.

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Teaching Timetables
Use the link above to find out when and where your lectures, tutorials, or labs will be taking place on your campus.

Temporary Suspension of Studies
In certain situations, it may be in a student’s best interests for them to suspend their studies temporarily to enable them to deal with particular issues and return at an agreed date. A Temporary Suspension of Studies (TSS) can be applied for and approved on the basis of genuine medical, personal, financial reasons, or military service.

Thinking of Leaving
If you are thinking about leaving university for any reason please talk through your decision with a member of staff at the university. Many students think about leaving university at some stage during their studies. If anything is bothering you or you are thinking about leaving, you can come along to a drop in to speak to a member of support staff to explore and understand all of your options.

Togetherall is an online support resource that can be used 24 hours a day, every day. You can sign up with your university email address then choose an anonymous username for your time on Togetherall. You can use Togetherall for help with a wide range of mental health and wellbeing issues.

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UK Armed Forces Reservists 
The University has signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and we are committed to ensuring that current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families are treated fairly. We will ensure that students who are reservists are not disadvantaged in their studies by undertaking compulsory training and service, and this includes the consideration of Mitigating Circumstances in assessments. You can discuss any issues relating to your service with your personal tutor.

University Regulations
Heriot-Watt has a detailed set of rules that govern how the University operates, these are the University’s Ordinances and Regulations. Ordinances are set by the Court, which is the University’s governing body, and outline how the University is governed. University regulations provide the framework for the University’s academic work and the education of our students, they define our policies and procedures, and the support we provide to our students.

Using Student Engagement Data to Support Students 
To help the Student Success Advisors provide targeted support to students, they are able access to engagement data derived from how students interact with the University’s electronic resources used for study.  This aggregated data offers the Student Success Advisors a holistic view of a student’s engagement. The team can then find students who may be having difficulties and contact them to offer specific support to help them re-engage with their studies. Only Student Success Advisors have access to this data. It is not available to a student’s course organizers or staff marking student assessments and its use is defined in our university analytics principles. This data is only collected to help us provide the best possible support to students who might need help. This process is designed to be supportive, not punitive. 

If you have any questions about the use of this data, please contact 


Virtual Learning Environment
Heriot-Watt’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is called Canvas. Canvas is a vital learning and communication tool for you and your lecturers, so make sure you log in and check Canvas every day. For further support see the Canvas Student Guides.

Visa Advice
Advice on visa requirements for studying at Heriot-Watt is available at all our campuses.

Volunteering offers you the opportunity to develop your skills and experience while helping your fellow students, your community or a charitable organisation. There are numerous opportunities for volunteering within and outside the University. The Careers service also provide advice on volunteering. Your experience as a volunteer can be logged and evidenced, and help enhance your employability.