Academic Support

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

Below are the academic areas where we provide support. If the issue affecting you is something affecting the whole class or a larger group, the Advice Hub can refer you to your Class Rep or School Officer.

Study Advice

Every student needs help with studying from time to time. You have an allocated personal tutor, a member of academic staff who you can approach with any issues you’re having. You can find out who your personal tutor is by checking your student handbook or by visiting your School Office.

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).

If something happens that affects your studies, then you must tell the university about it. You should speak with your personal tutor or your course director. You then need to get your hands on a Mitigating Circumstances Form from your School Office or the University website. 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, and then draft an appeal letter with you and advise 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 (claiming the work of others as your own), collusion (when two students copy one another) and cheating in exams.

If you are accused of academic misconduct then it is likely you will be invited to meet with one of the disciplinary committees. You will be asked to submit a statement in your defence. The Advice Hub can help you understand disciplinary procedures, draft your statement with you, accompany you to the meeting for moral support and also help 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 complaints procedure, but we would encourage you to resolve any complaint you have informally with the department or person before proceeding down the official route.

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

Useful Links 

The University’s information on the appeals procedure:

Information Services, covering study space, Power Hours and finding academic resources:

Heriot-Watt’s guide to mitigating circumstances, including the mitigating circumstances form to download: