Study in the UK with Heriot-Watt University

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Heriot-Watt University UK
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By Matt Killorin
Last updated on June 30, 2023

Learn more about Heriot-Watt’s globally ranked center of research and learning — now accepting undergraduate and postgraduate applications through Shorelight.

Heriot-Watt University UK

A group of international students at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh sit and stand on a lawn in front of a cow sculpture and have a conversation

Heriot-Watt University is a top-ranked public research university based in the UK. With campuses in Scotland, Dubai, and Malaysia, and a 200-year history of academic excellence, Heriot-Watt is truly a global university and a leader in transnational education.

International students interested in studying in the United Kingdom (UK) can now access Heriot-Watt’s world-recognized academics with application and visa assistance, and dedicated enrollment support services from Shorelight’s expert advisors. 

Limitless Research Opportunities at Heriot-Watt 

More than 86% of the research outputs at Heriot-Watt are considered “world leading” and “internationally excellent,” according to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The diversity of research projects, laboratories, dedicated technology spaces, and academic expertise at Heriot-Watt is rich and exciting.

There are eight major research categories represented at the university:

  1. Art and design: Textile research and innovation, urban design, and medical product design and manufacturing are just a few art and design-based research areas. 

  2. Computer science: As a Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) university, Heriot-Watt is redefining the role of computers in all areas of science and foundational research. 

  3. Engineering: Students conduct engineering research work with multidisciplinary teams and international leaders of industry. Heriot-Watt also partners with Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Napier University in the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics (ERPem) to redefine engineering and mathematical pursuits for the future. 

  4. Language and culture: Heriot-Watt’s prestigious translation and interpretation research program is more than 40 years old, featuring languages such as Arabic, British Sign Language (BSL), Chinese, English for Academic Purposes, French, German, and Spanish.

  5. Life sciences: Combining state-of-the-art facilities, interdisciplinary research, and real-world challenges, Heriot-Watt researchers find innovative ways to conduct life science research. 

  6. Mathematical sciences: Heriot-Watt’s internationally recognized mathematics research covers both pure and applied mathematics and includes applications in oil-reservoir modeling, geophysical systems, combustion, medical health, epidemics, water resources and flooding, and more.

  7. Physical sciences: From fundamental physical sciences research to applied research, Heriot-Watt’s interdisciplinary approach combines chemistry, physics, and geosciences. 

  8. Social sciences and business: Social science and business research cuts across many facets of modern culture including communities, social interactions and learning, health and well-being, urban environments, business and management, and economics and finance. 

Innovating in the UK for More than 200 Years 

Herriot-Watt was founded in 1821 on the Enlightenment principle that education was a right, not a privilege. The pioneering mechanics institute was the first to open its doors to the general public and created a higher education model so popular that, by 1851, it had inspired the construction of more than 700 mechanics institutes across Britain.

The eighth-oldest university in the UK, Heriot-Watt also played an integral role in the lives of many scientist trailblazers, such as Marie Ogilvie Gordon, and equal rights advocates, such as Mary Burton, whose work made the world a better place not just for women, but all of humanity. The university began admitting women students in 1889, 20 years before such a requirement became law. 

The same spirit of innovation and inclusion continues to guide Heriot-Watt today as a global university with an international outlook. Heriot-Watt has campuses in Dubai and Malaysia in addition to its three campuses in Scotland: EdinburghOrkney, and Scottish Borders

  • Heriot-Watt Edinburgh campus — Heriot-Watt’s main campus is located in the historic and scenic city of Edinburgh, ranked by QS World University Rankings among the best cities in the world for students. The Edinburgh campus is equipped with specialized facilities and a variety of student-oriented programs, all designed to help international students adapt to campus life and support their academic and professional growth.

  • Heriot-Watt Orkney campus — Heriot-Watt’s Orkney campus, the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT), is part of its School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure, and Society (EGIS), and is located in Stromness, a coastal city on Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The ICIT is a “Living Laboratory”, recognized as a world leader in research and innovation of renewable energy, marine science, and environmental resources.

  • Heriot-Watt Scottish Borders campus — Home to Heriot-Watt’s School of Textile and Design, the Scottish Borders campus is located in Galashiels, a city with a rich history and thriving textile industry. The Scottish Borders campus shares much of the clubs and facilities on the Edinburgh campus, but is also largely self-contained, with its own state-of-the-art accommodations, in the Jean Muir Student Village.

  • Heriot-Watt University Dubai campus — Heriot-Watt is the first British university to set up a campus in Dubai and has since received a five-star accreditation by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai’s supreme educational quality assurance and regulatory authority, for three consecutive years. Located in the Dubai Knowledge Park, students benefit from professional development opportunities at the 500+ businesses operating within it.

  • Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus — Officially launched in 2015, Heriot-Watt’s lakeside location in Putrajaya is Malaysia’s first green campus, offering environmentally friendly, sustainable facilities, such as its living grass “Green Roof”, rainwater harvesting system, natural daylight powered lighting and more. The campus also offers state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities on par with its UK counterparts and is located just half an hour away from the country’s capital and business hub, Kuala Lumpur.

Students enrolling at any of Heriot-Watt’s campuses have the unique opportunity to move between campuses for a truly global experience.

Beyond its history of inclusion, global outlook, and innovative programming, Herriot-Watt was founded on a tradition of recognized academic excellence. 

Here are just a few rankings and statistics that define Heriot-Watt: 

  • QS World University rankings, 2023: #283

  • Complete University Guide, 2023: #34 in the UK

  • Guardian: The best UK universities 2022: #36

  • Sunday Times, 2022: #30 in the UK 

Designed Around International Student Needs

Heriot-Watt’s Global College includes several helpful pathways for students from different backgrounds and countries of origin. It is the perfect option if you still need to improve your English language skills or are short of other academic requirements.

The Bachelor’s Degree Accelerator Programme is a one-year course of study designed to help international undergraduate students find success at the university level with a tailored learning experience that addresses common challenges international students face. 

The Global College’s Pre Master’s Programme aims to provide international postgraduate students with a supportive and nurturing environment to help them find a path to and succeed in a career-focused degree, regardless of their starting point.

Innovative Course Lists Prepare Students for Tomorrow’s Careers

Heriot-Watt has 30,000+ enrolled students worldwide, with more than 50 global learning partners. As a world-ranked university with a thriving culture of research, innovation, and integration, it’s no surprise many course offerings are tailored to changing social and economic needs.

Here are just a few of the many areas of study at Heriot-Watt:

Ready to Start at Heriot-Watt?

Heriot-Watt’s 200-year tradition of providing a welcoming learning environment while excelling in research, academics, and career opportunities makes it an ideal choice for international students studying in the UK. And with tailored application support, visa guidance, and more, Shorelight advisors are here to help in your journey to a Heriot-Watt degree.

Learn more about Heriot-Watt University in Scotland >