School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences Dept of Computer Science

Transferring to On-Campus Courses

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Transferring to On-Campus Courses


Students may decide part-way through their studies that they would like to complete them by studying full-time at a Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh campus. Transfer on-campus is possible provided that they have passed a complete Stage of studies. Transfers to on-campus are not automatic and students must contact the CS DL team in the first instance to discuss their options. If applicable, further information will then be sent to them by the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences.
For example, students can transfer to Year 2 of the equivalent on-campus degree programme when they have completed Stage 1 of their Programme; to Year 3 when they have completed Stage 2 of their Programme; and to Year 4 (i.e. the Honours year) when they have completed Stage 3 of their Programme.

Issues regarding Transferring On-Campus

Students should not consider transferring to an on-campus programme without very careful consideration. There are considerable difficulties in adjusting to a new mode of study in a new country that has a different culture. It can be very expensive to study in the United Kingdom. In very broad terms, it will cost them at least £18,000 per year to stay on-campus and pay for their programme. Thus students have to be absolutely certain that they want to do so and that it will be in their own best interests.
If students transfer (to Year 2 after Stage 1 or Year 3 after Stage 2) to an on-campus mode, the content of the various courses that they take will be very similar to those studied in previous stages. The approach will, however, be very different. Students will have to attend a number of lectures and tutorials and the pace will be largely determined for them.

Students will also have examinations at the end of each academic semester so they will only have about eight weeks to prepare for them. If students transfer at the Honours stage (i.e. to Year 4 after Stage 3) there are some further considerations that they will need to take into account.

      • The Cost of Studying in Scotland

It is not cheap to study in the UK. Students from non-European Union countries are charged a full tuition fee. The government sets this fee. The fee for the academic year 2012-13 is £13,530. Other costs include travel to and from Scotland, accommodation, food, books and stationery, clothes, bus fares and personal expenditure. It is difficult to give a precise figure for such costs because it depends on the type of accommodation students choose and how much they spend. As a general guide, it is suggested that students should allow for at least £6,000 for the academic year September to May for this type of expenditure. Thus the total cost for a year on-campus in Scotland could easily amount to over £20,000 (excluding travel costs to Edinburgh).
This is a very large sum of money and students should balance the costs against the benefits. Students will also incur travelling costs in getting to and from Edinburgh. Such costs will obviously vary depending from which country they come.

      • Travelling to Scotland

The Heriot-Watt academic year normally begins the in the middle of September. Students are normally advised to arrive in Scotland a week earlier in order to give themselves time to settle in.
Edinburgh is an hour’s flight time away from London Heathrow and slightly longer from London Gatwick. If students come via London then they can either fly or take the train or the bus (the bus is the cheapest). The airport, railway station and the bus station in Edinburgh are all within less than 12 km from the Riccarton campus. When they first arrive in Edinburgh they are advised to take a taxi to the campus; this should cost no more than about £15.

      • Accommodation On-Campus

Accommodation is reserved for overseas students on-campus provided that a reservation has been made by 22 August. Catered and non-catered accommodation is available and there are single and double rooms (including some that have en suite facilities). Students should go to the Heriot-Watt University web-site for further information.

Medical and Dental Services Facilities

All students are automatically registered with the University Health Service on the Riccarton campus. Undergraduate and post graduate students undertaking a course of more than six months are entitled to free medical treatment available under the British Health Service, although there are some items that have to be paid for e.g. prescriptions for medicines.

University Regulations for Transfer On-Campus

Transferring to an on-campus mode of study is permitted but it is not an automatic right. Certain conditions are laid down. In summary, they are as follows:
A transfer from Mixed-Mode study may normally only be made at the start of the University’s academic year, i.e. September.
Students will not be permitted to take a course on-campus where they have previously registered for the equivalent course. That is, students cannot take a course where they have already been awarded credits for its equivalent.
For example:

If a student has passed the Stage 3 Computer Graphics then they would not be permitted to take Computer Graphics whilst studying on-campus at Heriot-Watt University.
The applicant must have successfully completed a full Stage of study before being eligible to apply. Additionally, students should have obtained a Grade D or above in each of the synoptically-linked or stand-alone courses relating to that Stage. A Grade E also counts as having successfully completed the synoptically-linked courses, provided that it is not a pre-requisite for higher level subject-linked synoptically-linked or stand-alone course(s).
The Head of the School (School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences) must give their permission for students to transfer to on-campus mode.

Honours Year On-Campus

Students are accepted, in the first instance, only onto the three year Ordinary Degree. To obtain an Honours degree from a Scottish University you are required to study a further one year (year 4). At present this is only available at our Edinburgh Campus (UK) and not through Approved Learning Partners.
There is no automatic right of progression onto an Honours year on-campus. The student’s eligibility to be admitted to the Honours year on-campus is subject to fulfilment of the requirements of eligibility for an award of degree and satisfying the entry requirements into the on-campus Honours degree pathway chosen, and at the discretion of the admissions office and Head of School (School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences).
The School reserves the right to change the rules and requirements for transferring to the Honours year on-campus, and students who wish to transfer should contact the CS DL team in the first instance for guidance.
Normally a 50% average is expected for progression from Stage 3 to Stage 4.

        • Structure

Heriot-Watt’s academic year is broken down into two twelve-week semesters - Semester 1 runs from September to December; Semester 2 from January to May.
Students are required to take eight courses per semester. Some courses are synoptically-linked. The courses that they select will depend upon the specialism that they wish to pursue or the type of degree that they wish to obtain. Students must get at least a Grade D in a course that is a pre-requisite for a subsequent course.
Most fourth year courses are assessed partly on an assignment basis and partly by formal examinations. Some courses have formal examinations at the end of Semester 1 while other courses have them at the end of Semester 2. Graduation normally takes place in June.

      • Grading

The UK Honours Degree system is a way of grading students’ degree results. Some degrees are classified into ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Honours’. The distinction is a fine one but ordinary degrees generally include less material and they may demand a less analytical approach than Honours year degrees do. An Honours Degree is also usually divided into ‘classes’.
The Scottish (and UK) honours classification system is summarised below. The highest award is a first class honours degree. A First class honours degree is normally only awarded to students who obtain an average of 70% or more in their final year examinations. Only a small proportion of students gain a first class honours degree and few employers demand it as a condition of employment.
Many UK universities still record the performance of students on a percentage basis using the scheme outlined above. Heriot-Watt now uses an alphabetical grading system but this does not necessarily equate to the percentages shown above. Grade A is the equivalent of first class honours, Grade B an upper second, Grade C a lower second, and Grade D a third. An overall Grade E would mean that students would be awarded ‘a degree with honours’, and Grade F would be a fail.

Classification of Honours Degree

Average mark normally required




(First Class)


Highly prestigious.


(Upper Second Class)


Considered to be a very good Honours Degree. Many employers now demand an award at this level. The number of ‘2.1s’ being awarded has increased in recent years.


(Lower Second Class)


Regarded as a good Honours Degree. Students should feel comfortable if they receive such an award.


(Third Class)


An award at this level is not highly regarded, although it does not rule out a successful career. Nonetheless, if students are likely to get a third it might be best for them to graduate with an Ordinary Degree.

Applying for a Transfer On-Campus

If students are interested in transferring to an on-campus degree course they should make a provisional application, using the Course Transfer form (obtainable by contacting the CS DL team), by 1 May (students can only transfer in September). Once students know that they have successfully completed a particular Stage of their Programme, they should confirm their interest by writing to the CS DL team as soon as possible, since the accommodation arrangements have to be confirmed by 22nd August at the latest.
Withdrawing from Study

Students may find that the Programme is not suitable for them and they may decide to withdraw from it.

Students should think very carefully before they do withdraw. If they do so, it may well be that sometime later they decide that they would like to continue with their studies.
Before making a final decision about withdrawing, students should discuss their situation with their Approved Learning Partner representative or contact the CS DL team directly.

Certificate and Diploma of Higher Education Exit Awards

Students may decide that after completing the whole of Stage 1 (Certificate level) of the Programme, they are satisfied with the level that they have reached. It is then possible for them to exit with a Certificate of Higher Education. Similarly, after completing Stage 2 (Diploma level) students may decide that they do not wish to study any further for a degree. Students may then exit with a Diploma of Higher Education.
The above do not apply to students who are direct entrants into Stage 3.
The CS DL team must be informed immediately if students opt for one of the above options or decide to withdraw altogether before they have completed their certificate, diploma or degree course.


If students do decide to withdraw from the Programme then they are required to complete a Programme Withdrawal form. This form should be returned to your ALP or to the CS DL team.
Students must also enclose their Student Identity card.


The School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences may exceptionally re-admit a student who has withdrawn (or been withdrawn) from the Programme if a period of no more than 4 years has passed since they withdrew/were withdrawn and they have not achieved a further relevant qualification. Such students can recommence from where they stopped and their period of study will be extended by the time that they were not a matriculated student of Heriot-Watt University.
However, it will be the student’s responsibility (and cost) to acquire the current learning materials in use at the time of recommencing their studies and should not automatically expect that they will be able to rely on learning materials obtained when they first began their studies.
If a period of four years or more has elapsed since their withdrawal, or the student has achieved a further relevant qualification, then the student will have to re-apply and be given entry to the appropriate Stage of study. Such students will be treated as new students and be subject to the rules and regulations, policies and procedures at the date of acceptance (not when they first began their studies). They will also be subject to the costs prevailing at the time they recommence their studies.
The above re-admission rules do not apply to students who have not informed the CS DL team (or Heriot-Watt University) of their withdrawal or have not studied (i.e., actively undertaken assessment) for a period of years (however long) and wish to recommence their studies.

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