Heriot-Watt, The International University of the Year 2018

“More than most (educational institutions), Heriot-Watt has embraced the world view that marks out the finest higher education, making it our International University of the Year,” stated Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

“With high-quality, new campuses in Malaysia and Dubai, Heriot-Watt students have outstanding opportunities to study abroad as part of their degree, while the overseas campuses also provide openings for students to travel in the opposite direction and experience Edinburgh first-hand,” he explained, when awarding the first International University of the Year title to Heriot-Watt recently.

The university is also recognised for its global presence and impact, ranking 41st in the world for its international outlook; this score is based on the percentage of the university’s international staff, the level of international co-authorship of academic papers and the percentage of international students studying at the university.

Established in 1821, Heriot-Watt is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the UK. With roots deep in Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt has since expanded its reach to include two other campuses in the UK, one in the UAE and one in Malaysia. It offers the best of premier education and knowledge transfer with known works in practical, leading-edge research. Among others, Heriot-Watt shines as a truly global institution with seamless inter-campus transfers made easy and accessible for all its students.

“Since the programme allowed me to transfer overseas for any amount of time, this seemed like the best opportunity for me, financially. While studying in Malaysia, I travelled to and from home every day. However, in the UK, I live mostly on campus managing my time with cooking, cleaning, shopping and studying. I would sometimes study at the park and just generally be outside more often. Importantly, studying is the same wherever I go, just with different lecturers and classmates,” said Muhammad Irfan Bin Mohd Iwan Jefry, a third-year MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering student from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia who is currently studying at the university’s UK campus.

“I’m fond of the learning and teaching culture here,” concurred Chooi Li. “The classes in the UK are much bigger than in Malaysia plus there are many more international students on campus which makes for interesting group projects as many different points of views are brought into the project.” Chooi Li is a fellow third-year MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering student.

Kim Ritchie, a final year MA (Hons) International Business Management student from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland who transferred to the Malaysia campus, remarked, “As the Malaysia campus is newer than the Edinburgh campus, the class sizes are considerably smaller. This means more time can be spent with the lecturers.”

She thoroughly enjoyed the experience of transferring to Malaysia. “The opportunity to study in Malaysia was very appealing from many perspectives. Continuing the same programme while experiencing an entirely different culture and country seemed like a win-win and the sunny climate in Malaysia made it an even easier decision to make!”

In addition to this, students who transfer to Malaysia also enjoy touring around the tropics. “We were able to use Malaysia as a base to travel around other Asian countries,” enthused Thomas Bill. “We visited Vietnam, Thailand, Bali, Penang and Langkawi. The opportunities to travel to other countries are great, never mind the brilliant opportunities to travel around Malaysia itself.” Thomas is also a final year student pursuing the MA (Hons) International Business Management.

Highlighting the truly global nature of the university, recently, students from Heriot-Watt’s global campuses converged at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s lakeside campus in Putrajaya for its first ever Inter-Campus Boat Race competition. It was a grand splashing time that brought students of diverse nationalities together with a goal of creating happier and more resilient students. This was one of the events carried out under Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s ‘A Happier U’ campaign.

“Initiatives such as ‘A Happier U’ by Heriot-Watt University Malaysia will go a long way in ensuring that graduates are resilient, emotionally intelligent, happy as well as life and career ready,” said YB Datin Paduka Ir Siti Hamisah Tapsir, Director-General of Higher Education.

Dr Siti added of the Education Blueprint by the Ministry of Higher Education: “We recognise the importance of developing Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced graduates. This the first shift in the (Education) Blueprint. We are also advocating humanising the fourth industrial revolution as we see this as an important pre-requisite for our youth and our nation to remain productive and play a key global role in this century.”

Professor Bryn Jones, the Deputy Vice-Principal for Heriot-Watt’s Dubai campus who accompanied the Dubai team, also highlighted the event’s significance to Heriot-Watt’s ‘Year of the Sea’, a campaign that spans all its campuses and takes a deeper look into conservation and education related to oceans, seas and other bodies of water. Dr Heidi Burdett of Heriot-Watt University, a research fellow at the Edinburgh Institution’s Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, said scientists must also look around the world for answers. She said, “As part of Heriot-Watt’s ‘Year of the Sea’ programme, we’ll be focusing on marine research not just in Scotland but at our global campuses. We need a much greater understanding of what’s happening in our lochs, rivers, seas and oceans.”

To find out more about the ‘Year of the Sea’ campaign, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia’s ‘A Happier U’ campaign and its foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as scholarships on offer, visit its campus in Putrajaya during its Open Days or during consultation hours at 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Alternatively, log on to or call +603 8894 3888/e-mail

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