College students and mature students

College students

College students make up a significant part of our student population and are studying on a range of different subjects across the whole University. The majority of students use HNC and HND qualifications to get advanced entry into years two or three of our degrees but they can also be used to start in year one too. Other qualifications college students typically use to start in year one are listed below.

There is a range of support available to college students and mature students when they become university students. You can find out more on our Student Support webpages. This can include help with finances, childcare and making the transition into university. We have also put together two guides  – one for college students and one for mature students – detailing everything you need to know about coming to university. See the key documents section below.

Mature students

We realise that most of our mature students will need to use college qualifications to get into university including HNC and HND qualifications and access courses such as those run by SWAP detailed below. We also know that working out what you need to get, and which qualification would be best, can often be daunting for those who have been out of education for some time. That is why we encourage any mature students thinking about studying at Heriot-Watt to get in touch with us. Our widening participation team will work with you, and the university admissions team, to work through all your options – just get in touch WP@hw.ac.uk.

We also understand that often mature students can have significant relevant work experience as well as qualifications that may be relevant to the degree they want to study. If you can show you have successfully completed some recent study we may be able to relax some of our entry requirements depending on your work experience.

For instance it is possible, in some cases, to get entry into a postgraduate course with a relevant qualification and work experience, for example:

  • HND plus 4 years of relevant post qualification experience
  • HNC plus 6 years of relevant post qualification experience
  • 8 years relevant experience at a suitable level plus either interview or passes in two modules

If you think you have relevant work experience that would help you get into a degree course then get in touch with admissions team to find out more – studywithus@hw.ac.uk. Each application is considered individually with ability, experience and potential taken into consideration.

HNC/HND qualifications

Around 20% of our students use a qualification such as an HNC or HND to get into our university each year. We have a number of partnership agreements (called articulation agreements) with local colleges in specific subjects which support students to get advanced entry into years two or three, and some have specific modules that you have to study. This is particularly relevant for our Engineering and Computer Science degrees. Our partner colleges include: -

  • Borders College
  • Edinburgh College
  • Fife College
  • Forth Valley College
  • Glasgow Clyde College
  • West Lothian College

Advanced entry in not available for every HNC or HND and for every degree course so you should check with us before applying to a particular course.

You do not have to be studying on a course with a partnership agreement, however. Students come in with HNCs and HNDs from across Scotland every year so if you don’t see your college listed above don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t consider you.

Advanced entry in not available for every HNC or HND and for every degree course so you should check with us before applying to a particular course. Just get in touch with our WP team and we can advise you on what degrees you can apply to with your qualification – WP@hw.ac.uk.

Alternative degree pathway – partnership programme

In addition to the articulation agreements mentioned above we also have a number of partnership degree courses set up at local colleges. This means that you study the first two years of your degree at college and the final two years of your degree at university. Throughout your course you are both a college student and a university student and can take advantage of all the benefits on offer to both. An HND qualification is built into this programme and those who successfully complete their first two years are guaranteed a place in third year at university.

These are our partnership programmes: -

  • BEng / MEng Chemical Engineering – with Forth Valley College
  • BEng / MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering – with Edinburgh College and Forth Valley College
  • BEng / MEng Mechanical Engineering – with Edinburgh College and Forth Valley College
  • BA (Hons) Design for Textiles (Textiles) – with Glasgow Clyde College
  • BA (Hons) Design for Textiles (Weave) – with Glasgow Clyde College
  • BSc (Hons) Fashion Technology – with Glasgow Clyde College
  • MA (Hons) International Business Management – with Borders College

If you are interested in our partnership programmes and want to find out more, get in touch with our our widening participation team – wp@hw.ac.uk

SWAP – Scottish Wider Access Programme

We are an active member of SWAP East which provides access courses tailored to help mature students progress into university. These courses are designed specifically for anyone who has been out of education for some time and who has few or no formal qualifications. To find the right access course for you get in touch with SWAP East directly – swapeast@ed.ac.uk – or ask us for advice – WP@hw.ac.uk.

You can also find out more by using the ‘possible degree progressions’ search engine on the SWAP East website.