School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences Dept of Computer Science

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Introduction and Welcome

This handbook contains information on the programme structure, notes, description and the courses offered on the Computer Systems programme.

Key Contacts

The Computer Science Distributed Learning team (hereafter referred to as the CS DL team) are responsible for the provision of the Computer Systems programme.

Head of School

Philippe De Wilde

Head of Computer Science

Nick Taylor

DL Director

Roger Rist

BSc Computer Systems Course Director

Peter King

DL Manager

Lisa Scott

Idris Al-Skloul Ibrahim

DL Administrator

Rodi Amiridou

For any queries, please contact the DL Administrator in the first instance.


All new students must enrol by the start of the new Academic year in August or in January for the mid-year intake students.

All continuing students should also enrol on-line by the start of the new Academic year in August.
Enrolment involves logging in to our online system to check and update personal details and agree to the University’s terms and conditions. This needs to be done annually in September regardless of when a student first enrolled.
Enrolment for students will include the following,

  • Confirmation of Personal and Statistical information

  • Confirmation of Contact Details

  • Upload a passport-style photo for student card (for new students only)

  • Confirmation of Programme Details

  • Contact information for enquiries regarding tuition fees

  • Acceptance of University terms and condition

To login to the online enrolment system you will need your Registration Number (continuing students) or HW Person ID (new students) and Date of Birth in DDMMYY format.
Please note that you have three opportunities to enter your details for the on-line enrolment correctly before your account gets disabled.
If you have problems with on-line enrolment, please contact the DL Administrator at in the first instance.


It is essential that the University is kept informed of any changes to student’s personal details and it is the responsibility of the student to notify the CS DL team.

Contact Details

Students should submit a completed Change of Details form, in order to inform the CS DL team of any change to their address or contact details. This form is available from their ALP.


Students are given access to the VISION, Heriot-Watt University’s Virtual Learning Environment. Here students can access course information, learning materials, administration forms as well as two diets of past examination papers. Examination results lists are posted after each examination diet, prior to the official results letters being issued. There are also discussion forums where students can post course specific questions to tutors and contact fellow students.

VISION can be accessed after on-line enrolment at using the username and password which is provided to students within their matriculation pack. If you have difficulty accessing VISION please contact the DL Manager Lisa Scott in the first instance.

Heriot-Watt University E-mail Address

All students of Heriot-Watt University are assigned a personal HWU email address, which uses the same login details as VISION.
To access their emails, students must go to and in the search box type “Webmail”, then select the first option: “Webmail-Heriot-Watt University”
It is very important that students check their HWU email on a regular basis as this is the email used to make students aware of important information being posted onto VISION (e.g. changes to the programme which may affect your studies). Students cannot, therefore, claim to not know of changes, if they do not access VISION on a regular basis.
Students must ensure that they login and activate their account immediately.

Programme Structure

Our academic year is divided into 2 semesters corresponding to 30 weeks. There will be 12 weeks teaching in each semester. You are expected to study 4 courses each semester, giving a total of 8 courses in a full year. Each course is worth 15 credits. Courses may be mandatory or optional.
Mandatory courses: These courses are compulsory
Optional courses: Students are required to choose from a specified list of courses relevant to the subject area of their degree discipline.
All undergraduate courses are designed to be of equal length in terms of student effort. The average student is expected to put in a total effort of 150 hours per course. These 150 hours includes all lectures, tutorials, computing labs, workshops, background reading, writing up notes, coursework, revision and examinations for the course.

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