Academic Support

Life can get in the way sometimes and might affect your studies. Don't worry, we can help!

We offer support in many areas related to your academic life, and if an issue is affecting your whole class or a larger group, then we can refer you to your Class Representative, or School Officer. Here are examples of some of the things we can help with:

Study Advice

Every student needs help with studying from time to time. The best person to ask about course-specific study tips if your lecturer or your Personal Tutor. The University allocates every student a Personal Tutor; a member of academic staff who you can approach with any issues you are having. You can find your Personal Tutor on the Student Self Service Portal under Student Services → Your Student Record.

You can also access a range of study skills advice and study support from Information Services. Power Hours operate through the academic year, with help in citing, referencing, academic writing and finding information, just some of the workshops available. More information is available here.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are any personal issues out of your control that you feel have got in the way of your academic studies or an exam (e.g. illness, family circumstances). The criteria for what qualifies as “mitigating” are available for review here.

If something happens that affects your studies, then it may be best to tell the university about it. You can speak with either your personal tutor or your course director. To apply you'll need a Mitigating Circumstances Form available online here or from your School Office.

It is really important that the University knows about any Mitigating Circumstances when they arise - otherwise, if you later wish to appeal on the basis of these circumstances, you will have to provide a good reason as to why you did not report them earlier. If you have already taken an assessment but your Board of Examiners has not yet met to confirm your results, then there should still be time to submit a Mitigating Circumstances form.

Academic Appeals

We can provide support and independent advice with regards to academic appeals i.e. if you have received poor results and/or are unable to continue with your program of study due to mitigating circumstances.

We can help you decide if you have grounds for appeal, with drafting an appeal letter and advising on any supporting evidence you may need.

There are strict deadlines on making an appeal so please come and speak to someone as soon as you receive your grades or decisions about progression.

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct covers Plagiarism; the act of claiming the work of others as your own, Collusion; when two students copy one another, and all forms of cheating in exams.

If you are accused of Academic Misconduct, you will be invited to meet with one of the Universities disciplinary committees and to submit a statement in your defence.

The Advice Hub can help you understand disciplinary procedures, draft your statement with you and accompany you to the meeting for moral support, We can also represent you if you wish to appeal the decisions of the disciplinary committee.

Making a complaint

If you aren't happy with any aspect of your time at Heriot-Watt, then don't sit in silence. The University has a guide for students wishing to make a complaint here, and we can provide support to you through the claim.

The Advice Hub is independent of the University, so we can discuss your complaint with you and advise on the actions you can take.

Equally, if you’d like to make a complaint about our service or the Student Union more generally you can do in writing to the President and find our complaints policy here.

Useful Links 

The University’s information on the appeals procedure: https://www.hw.ac.uk/students/studies/complaints/student-appeals.htm

Information Services, covering study space, Power Hours and finding academic resources: http://www.hw.ac.uk/is/index.htm

Heriot-Watt’s guide to mitigating circumstances, including the mitigating circumstances form to download: https://www.hw.ac.uk/students/studies/examinations/mitigating-circumstances.htm