The School of Social Sciences specialises in industry-focused degree programmes which embrace a truly international outlook. Our degrees are taught by experienced professionals and globally recognised academics. We are proud to produce high-calibre, career-ready graduates. The School is the largest of five academic schools at Heriot-Watt University and we provide teaching and research across our core disciplines:

  • Accountancy and Finance
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • Languages and Intercultural Studies
  • Psychology

We have an internationally renowned undergraduate distance learning programme, as well as a range of Pre-Sessional English Language courses. Our PhD programme is well established and highly successful.

A truly global outlook

Everything we do at the School of Social Sciences has a truly global outlook. Many of our programmes are delivered across Heriot- Watt’s three main campuses in Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia, offering you the exciting opportunity to transfer between our worldwide locations for one or more semester. This is our unique and hugely popular Go Global project. Beyond Go Global, we have excellent links and collaborative partnerships in leading business and language schools all over the world including student exchange programmes with universities in North America, Europe and Australia.

We have joint degree programmes with institutions across Europe, and an undergraduate distance learning programme with partners from Trinidad to Sri Lanka. Our international reach means we have over 3,000 undergraduate students, 1000 postgraduate students and over 150 doctoral students studying at our three campus locations in Scotland, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. We also have a further 2,000 students worldwide studying a degree with us through one of our Approved Learning Partners.

Teaching, research and scholarship

We are internationally recognised for the quality of teaching and research across each of our departments. As an undergraduate student you will be taught by leading academics who, in many cases, have published the research which shapes your discipline and written the books which will guide your learning.

Many members of staff balance their teaching time with continued professional practice as translators, interpreters, practitioner psychologists, tax and finance specialists, and management consultants. This brings real-world experience into the classroom.

The School has a vibrant research community which includes over 100 PhD students. Our academics are involved in a range of research and consultancy work funded by international agencies such as ESRC, EU, EBRD, World Bank, industry, commerce and government both in the UK and overseas.

League tables and student satisfaction

We take great pride in our student-centred approach to learning and receive positive feedback from the majority of students. In the National Student Survey 2016 our students ranked us as the number 1 university in Scotland for Economics, number 2 for Business Management and Languages, and number 3 for Accountancy and Finance. In the Guardian University Guide 2018 we rank as the number 1 university in Scotland for Economics and Accountancy and Finance, number 3 for Business Management and number 4 for Language

School of Social Sciences Blog #LoveWattYouDo

The school has recently created a blog to share voices and messages from the many staff (teaching and research active) and students who call the School of Social Sciences their home, as well as many of our successful alumni. We hope the #LoveWattYouDo blog provides a personal snapshot of the many reasons the School community enjoy working and studying here.

Come over and have a read!  

Our departments

  • Accountancy, Economics & Finance
  • Business Management
  • Languages & Intercultural Studies
  • Psychology

Our research

The School's research centres provide insight, knowledge and expertise across a range of disciplines and we are involved in a wide range of research activities.