FAQS - Student support, life and registration

Please see some specific questions about student support, life and registration for the Foundation Pathways:  

Can the University help me with immigration issues?

Yes, we have a specialised International Students Advisory Service (ISAS) that provides immigration advice and services on behalf of the University. Its advisors are experienced in a wide range of immigration and visa issues, and their services are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

ISAS will contact you to offer help with the visa application process as soon as you have been accepted on to the Foundation Academy programme and have received your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). They can also help you with extending your visa from within the UK, correcting your visa (if necessary), obtaining immigration permission for friends or relatives to visit you in the UK during your course or to attend your graduation, and many other immigration-related issues.

There is more information available on immigration and visas.  

Can I work whilst studying? 

If you come to the UK on a Tier 4 (General) student visa, your visa will state whether you are able to work in the UK. For further information on working in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa.

If you are under 18 and would like to work in the UK, the rules are the same (it will state on your visa the hours you are able to work); however please note that the national minimum wage will be lower than for people over 18. 

Will I get help with settling in to the University and adjusting?

We have many successful years of welcoming international students to Birmingham and we fully understand the needs of someone coming to study in the UK for the first time. Our Welcome activities will ensure that you have all the help you need to settle in and feel at home here as quickly as possible. This starts before you arrive at the University, with a free collection service from whichever airport you are arriving at.

When you arrive, a Welcome team of senior students will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and offer you the benefit of their experiences. Together with other Foundation Academy students, you will be guided through the process of registering with the University and other necessary administrative tasks such as opening a bank account here and registering with the police (where necessary). Suitable social activities will be arranged for you to ensure that you can meet people and make friends right from the start.

I have a disability - what support can the University provide for me?

We welcome students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties. Our Disability and Learning Support Service can provide a wide range of support services for you. These include individual student consultations, assistive technology and guidance on how to use it, specialist equipment loans and provision of non-medical helpers.

Adapted rooms are available in your residence (Mason) for wheelchair users and for students with hearing and sight impairment. Please contact us if you require specially adapted accommodation.

For more information about the services we offer for students with who have a disability. 

Is there somewhere on campus where I can observe my faith? 

Yes. St Francis Hall, the University chaplaincy, is a place where students of all faiths can meet for worship, seek advice or counselling from a chaplain, or obtain information on places of worship in the local area. Chaplains, who are ministers or religious representatives, are available every weekday during term time.

There are over 20 chaplains from different faiths at the University. The chaplaincy is also home to a wide range of student-led faith-based groups and societies which organise their own events and social activities.

For further information on Chaplaincy at University of Birmingham.

Can I get careers advice during my time at the University of Birmingham?

The University’s Careers and Employability Centre offers a range of services that will help you identify and work towards your career goals from the day you arrive at Birmingham. This includes a dedicated careers advice and guidance service delivered by experienced and professionally qualified staff.

Throughout your time at the University we are committed to helping you improve your employability and develop the skills that are valued by employers. Further information on our Careers Network is available. 

I have accepted my offer, how do I register with the University? 

You can register with the University online in advance or in person when you arrive. We recommend that you register online in advance, as this will save you time in your first week at Birmingham:

Online registration  - To register online you will need your University username and password. You will receive your username, password and programme title by email when your application status becomes ‘Unconditionally Accepted’. This email will be sent to your personal email address. Please check your ‘Spam’ folder to ensure that any safeguards you may have will not block this message. If you are an international student you will need to have your passport and visa checked upon arrival and will then be provided with a student identification card.

Registration upon arrival -  If you do not register online in advance, you will be able to register on arrival. Details will be sent to you nearer to the start of term.

Can I get involved in volunteering or join student groups?

Of course! Volunteering is a great way to improve your chances of finding a job when you graduate, and at Birmingham we offer over 200 volunteering opportunities, which are open to all our students. These range from conserving the local environment to fundraising for national or international charities.

Our Guild of Students (Birmingham’s students’ union) also hosts over 170 student groups and societies where you can socialise and meet new friends. There are groups based around almost every activity and interest you can think of, as well as international societies bringing together students from specific countries. 

What opportunities are there for sport and exercise?

Birmingham is one of the UK’s leading sporting universities and is currently placed third in the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) sports league. Our students can choose from 50 different sports in which to play and compete.

Our global reputation for sport was confirmed in summer 2012 when the world-beating Jamaican track and field team, including Olympic champion sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, chose the University as the base for their pre-Olympic training camp.

We are currently building a major new Sports Centre for the University and the wider community. The £55 million centre will have a wide range of facilities, including Birmingham’s only 50m swimming pool. The centre will open its doors in early 2016.

However, sport is not just for elite athletes at Birmingham. Our Active Lifestyle programme offers fitness, dance and exercise classes to suit all abilities and fitness levels. There are more than 80 classes a week in activities ranging from boxercise and studio cycling to martial arts, salsa and yoga.

As a foundation student you have access to all our sporting facilities and expertise on the same basis as all other students here.

What is it like to study on the Birmingham campus?

Our Edgbaston campus offers a safe, friendly environment, a picturesque setting and all the amenities of a small town. These include a wide range of shops, cafés, banks, a travel agent, a post office, a regular farmers’ market, medical and dental surgeries, sports facilities and a train station.

The campus provides an inspiring location for academic study, with its historic red brick architecture set on a spacious green parkland site. Many students consider the campus setting to be one of the University’s greatest assets.

There are also many cultural attractions on our campus that are free for all our students to enjoy, including an award-winning art gallery, a geological museum and a botanic garden. We are continually developing and improving the campus facilities.

In September 2012 the new Bramall Music Auditorium opened as the latest addition to our campus. This multi-million pound development provides a 450-seat auditorium for music, opera, drama and prestigious lectures, as well as state-of-the-art rehearsal rooms and recording facilities.

Other developments currently in progress include a new sports centre, which will feature a 50-metre swimming pool, and a new library development which will provide outstanding facilities for a new generation of students and researchers, as well as an open access cultural hub for the University and the city.