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 non-academic matters. Personal tutors provide a clear point of contact for you throughout your degree.

For Edinburgh campus students in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS)specific arrangements apply.

Making the most of your personal tutor

Your personal tutor is an important source of advice, guidance and support, and can direct you to other University support systems and resources as required. However, as a student you have certain responsibilities to help make personal tutoring as effective as possible:

  • Make sure you check your Heriot-Watt email or Microsoft Teams for any message from your personal tutor and respond to it as soon as possible. 
  • If you are unable to attend an arranged online or face to face meeting at the agreed time, then let your personal tutor know as soon as you can.
  • If you have any changes in personal circumstances which may affect your studies, let your personal tutor know as soon as you can.
  • Remember that your personal tutor is not just there if things go wrong, they can advise you on a range of issues and also direct you to other sources of advice.

Contact with your personal tutor 

Your personal tutor will contact you a minimum of three times each semester. However, you don’t have to wait until the next contact point if something is urgent and you need advice, you can email them at any point in the semester. Also, your personal tutor may contact you at other times too, so please make sure you respond if they do. 

Meetings with your personal tutor may be online or in person. For online meetings, the University will be using Microsoft Teams as the key way for personal tutors and students to contact one another individually, as a group and for students to interact with each other. Note: Microsoft Teams is part of the range of software available free when you enrol as a Heriot-Watt student. 

Contact points during the academic year

September Semester 

  • Start of semester – Welcome Week (new and continuing students) or Teaching Week 1 (continuing students).  This is to introduce, or re-introduce you to your personal tutor, explain how personal tutoring will work and answer any questions. 
  • Consolidation Week – this is a time for reflection and checking your progress.  It is therefore the ideal time to discuss any issues or questions you have with your personal tutor. 
  • Teaching Week 10 – an opportunity to discuss with your personal tutor any issues around end of semester assessments and preparing for semester 2 

January Semester

  • Start of semester (for all students but for students starting in the January semester, or on campus for the first time, this initial meeting at the start of the semester is particularly important).  
  • Consolidation Week – a time for reflection and to check your progress, also an opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions about your semester 1 results or assessment feedback. 
  • Teaching week 10 – an opportunity to discuss with your personal tutor any issues around end of semester assessments and preparing for the next academic year. 

Contacting your personal tutor

You don't have to wait until the next contact point if you need advice from your personal tutor.  Sometimes your personal tutor may be unavailable due to a planned absence or other University commitments, if so, you can contact your year co-ordinator, programme director or head of discipline (contact details for each will be in your programme handbook).

Changing personal tutor

Students can request a change of personal tutor and to do so by making an enquiry via AskHWU on the myHWU student portal.

Your personal tutor may change during your time at University. If so, you will receive an introductory email from your new personal tutor giving details of how to contact them and when they are available.

Key information

Keith MacAskill

Job title
Student Experience Manager