Heriot-Watt University: Ranking, Courses, Campus, Acceptance Rate, Eligibility

Source: HeriotWattUni

The Heriot-Watt University is a research-oriented public university originating from Edinburgh, Scotland. The university was founded in 1821, originally known as the School of Arts of Edinburgh. It was only in 1966 that the institution was granted the status of being a ‘university,’ under the command of the Royal Charter from the UK. It is also one of the eighth oldest higher education institutes in the entire United Kingdom.

The name of the University had been uniquely constituted by joining the names of two great men- Scottish inventor James Watt and Scottish philanthropist George Heriot. Post its establishment in the year 1821, and it was known as the world’s first institute for mechanics. The university has global recognition and fame due to the highly innovative research techniques, as well as the high number of employed graduates every year.

In totality, the university has five campuses spread across different parts of the world; as Edinburgh, Scottish borders, Dubai, Malaysia, and OrkneyEasy transfer between these campuses is allowed to students if they wish to, both for part-time and an overall one. As a result, it has been deemed to be one of the most popular universities that promote transnational education and believes in delivering education that fits the requirements of modern society at large.

  1. The university is divided into six schools of study: Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, Engineering & Physical Sciences, Mathematical & Computer Sciences, Textiles & Design.
  2. The Dubai campus is one of a kind since it is the first-ever University to be set up in Dubai International Academic City.
  3. The University also confers Post-graduate degrees in selected courses such as MBA and BSc Levels.
  4. The existence of more than fifty student societies that host various activities throughout the year to promote throughout the students’ holistic development.
  5. Apart from student societies, sports are also given equal preference and importance. There exists a total of thirty sports clubs in the university as well.

Heriot-Watt University Rankings

The university has managed to put up its fame with top-notch rankings both within the country and the world. The university, because of its heritage of long fame as well for its exorbitant reach, world-class campuses, and uniquely weaved education techniques, has been chosen by a huge number of students worldwide. 

  • In 2011, the university was conferred the title of Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year.
  • In 2012, it appeared consecutively for the second time as the Scottish University of the Year.
  • In 2012-13, the university was declared as the University of the Year for student experience in the entire region of the UK.
  • In 2012, the university ranked 1st in Scotland and 4th in the UK, under the National Student Survey.
  • In 2019, according to the rankings by The Complete University Guide, the university was ranked 4th in UK and 1st in Scotland for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design.

Heriot-Watt University World Rankings

As mentioned, the University holds high rankings within the UK and holds significant numbers in the world rankings. These figures are also indicative of the university’s popularity as well as the preference ratio it holds than other universities among students.

  • In 2020 itself, the university was placed 301st in the rankings conducted by the QS World University Rankings. 
  • In 2020, it ranked within the top 300 universities worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  • According to the World University Rankings of 2015, the university was ranked 11th globally, based on the indicator of international outlook.
  • Subject wise as well, the university has been ranked within the top 150 universities in the world for Chemical Engineering and within the top 200 universities in the world for Electrical Engineering.
  • In 2019, the university was ranked in the top 600 universities in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Heriot-Watt University Courses 

The University has a unique distinction to its system of courses. A student is allowed to choose up to four courses at any chosen area of interest by the student. However, at the time of filling up of details, the student has to select four other courses as alternatives, if the selected ones have a clashing timetable during a particular semester. 

The list of courses available are as follows:

  • Accountancy and Finance
  • Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Biology
  • Brewing and Distilling
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computer Science and Information Systems
  • Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying
  • Economics
  • Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Geography, Urban Planning, and Property Development
  • International Business Management
  • Languages and Inter-Cultural Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Heriot-Watt University Undergraduate Courses

The structure of the undergraduate program in the university is very different from the usual ones. The program is divided into a five-level structure, where each level refers to one year. Admission to the undergraduate program is very different as well, since a candidate may get admission even at the second or third level, depending upon the student’s academic merit and qualification.

The list of courses/ subjects offered at the undergraduate level is the same:

  1. Accountancy and Finance
  2. Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics
  3. Architectural Engineering
  4. Biology
  5. Brewing and Distilling
  6. Chemical Engineering
  7. Chemistry
  8. Civil and Structural Engineering
  9. Computer Science and Information Systems
  10. Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying
  11. Economics
  12. Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  13. Geography, Urban Planning, and Property Development
  14. International Business Management
  15. Languages and Inter-Cultural Studies
  16. Mathematics
  17. Mechanical Engineering
  18. Physics
  19. Psychology

Heriot-Watt University Online Courses

Not just regular on-campus academicsthe University also offers Distance Education facilities. The courses offered in this format are mostly professional enhancing courses. Having the expertise of over 20 years in this form of education, the University delivers quality education over a wide range of disciplines. All of these are post-graduate level degrees. The valuation of online degree courses is the same as regular on-campus degree courses. Even the assessments taken are similar for both kinds of students enrolled.

There are 28 online courses available as follows:

  1. Advanced Structural Engineering
  2. Applied Petroleum Geoscience
  3. Brewing and Distilling by Distance Learning
  4. Building Services Engineering
  5. Civil Engineering
  6. Civil Engineering and Construction Management
  7. Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying
  8. Construction Project Management
  9. Energy
  10. International Marine Science
  11. Marine Renewable Energy
  12. Marketing
  13. MBA
  14. Mature Field Management  
  15. MBA with Specialism in Finance
  16. MBA with Specialism in Marketing
  17. MBA with Specialism in Oil and Gas Management
  18. MBA with Specialism in Strategic Planning
  19. Petroleum Engineering
  20. Real Estate and Planning
  21. Real Estate Investment and Finance
  22. Real Estate Management and Development
  23. Renewable Energy Development
  24. Safety and Risk Management
  25. Safety, Risk and Reliability Engineering
  26. Sustainable Urban Management
  27. Urban and Regional Planning
  28. Water and Environmental Management

Heriot-Watt University Campus

The Heriot-Watt University has been divided into three distinct campuses in Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, and OrkneyEach of these campuses offers world-class facilities that aide with the internationally acceptable educational standards. All the campuses are set in the most picturesque landscapes spread in the entire United Kingdom, and they become a great place for both learning and living.

Along with the campuses in the UK, the other two international campuses in Dubai and Malaysia are equally well suited, all the more because these two are located in the most prominent business hubs of the world. 

Heriot-Watt University Notable Alumni

With students registering in the Heriot-Watt University from across 190 different countries, the count of successful alumni has soared up to a thriving number of 130,000. The Watt Club, the alumni association of the university registers and welcomes the new students warmly round the year. The club ensures a lifetime of connectivity with the alumni and helps create a harmonic community.

Some of the notable alumni from this institute involve:

  • Scottish novelist Muriel Spark
  • Politician Fiona Hyslop
  • Scottish Football coach Jack Ross
  • British Labour Party Politician Bernie Grant
  • British historian Deepak Tripathi

Heriot-Watt University Acceptance Rate 

With many incoming international students to the university every year, Heriot-Watt University has an acceptance rate of 60 %. This percentage is higher than any other University across Scotland, for that matter in the entire UK.  

Heriot-Watt University Scholarships for International Students

The University understands and acknowledges that with the mere help of offering a scholarship, a student can be pushed to achieve greater heights in their career. As a result, every year, more than a hundred students (both home and overseas students) enjoy the benefits of Heriot-Watt and externally sponsored scholarships and the assurance of generous employment opportunities after the student graduates. 

The Scholarships are both awarded at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Also, there are additional scholarships meant for doctorate-level research students. In totality, there is a provision of £ 7.5m that supports all the funding of scholarships to both home and overseas students.


  • Only for students enrolled in Civil Engineering
  • £ 2,500 allotted every year in a 4-5-year degree course
  • Assured paid internship every summer
  • Assured full-time job in reputed civil engineering company after completing graduation
  • Assistance in CV building


  • Only for students enrolled in Electronics undergraduate courses
  • £ 1000 allotted per annum
  • Paid internship every summer
  • Open chances provided for quality network building


  • Strictly meant for international students, from countries of India, Nigeria, Nepal & Pakistan
  • Partial Scholarships worth £1500-3000 available only to self-funded students
  • Should be enlisted into a full-time course


  • Strictly meant for international students from India, Nigeria, Nepal & Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Qatar and Thailand
  • Partial Scholarships worth £1500-3000 is available only to self-funded students only.
  • Enlisted into a full-time post-graduation degree course.

Heriot-Watt University Requirements

Apart from the application process, several other requirements need to be furnished to get admission to the university. Along with formal educational qualifications, individual skills and experience are also given equal valuation through the admission process.

Other requirements include:

  • Specific cutoff percentages for admission into respective courses
  • English language requirements through IELTS examination:
  • 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each element in undergraduate courses
  • 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element in post-graduate courses
  • Separate IELTS requirement for selected courses of Actuarial Science & Mathematics and Interpreting & Translating language courses.


✅ Is Heriot-Watt University good?

Ans. Having a massive reputation and support from millions of successful alumni across different countries of the world; and being a consistent ranker in many worldwide surveys, the Heriot-Watt University is a good option for the university to go ahead with if planning for studying in abroad. 

✅ What is Heriot-Watt University famous for?

Ans.Though all the courses offered by this university have a high success rate; however, the most popular and successful course from this university is Telecom Engineering. It has the most number of enrolled students per year in comparison to any other course.

✅ Is Heriot-Watt University in Dubai accredited? 

Ans. The Royal Charter of UK equally accredits all the other international campuses of the Heriot-Watt University. The campus in Dubai has been specially licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority of Dubai.

✅ Is Heriot-Watt MBA recognized in other parts of the world?

Ans. All the degree courses offered by the university are universally accepted according to the international standards of education, and hence the MBA degree is also recognized elsewhere. 

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About the Author

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.

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