FAQs for future students

Page last updated: Friday 12 June, 10:00

This page is being regularly updated to reflect the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)World Health Organisation (WHO) Public Health England (PHE) and other sources including local partners. We are monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact, and doing all we can to make safe and reassure our staff and students.

Read the University's latest statement on COVID-19

This page contains information for:

Will the University campus and accommodation be operating as normal in September 2020? UPDATED - 11 June 2020, 18:00

All University activities are currently due to operate as normal in September 2020.

Online provisions are being developed should the pandemic continue to affect campus activities. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be following government advice. Please read the information below to understand the current situation and the developments being made.

Postgraduate International students (or students from overseas)

We plan for our campus to be open in September and to be able to welcome the majority of students, delivering a mixture of on-campus and online teaching. However, we do appreciate that there are a range of factors which mean you may not be able to join us in September and so, rather than miss out on the opportunity to study with us, are considering the possibility for some programmes to begin in January 2021.  You will have received an email from us if this relates to you, and will confirm no later than 31 July when your programme will be starting.

Please also check the International section below for more detailed answers.

When will term start? UPDATED - 10 June 2020, 11:30

We can confirm that there is no plan to delay the start of term in September. We are starting to reopen campus from Monday 1 June and are planning that campus will be open in September for teaching, although we anticipate that social distancing and some other restrictions will be in place. 

Postgraduate International students (or students from overseas)

We realise that, as a student coming to the UK to study, there are a range of factors which mean you may not be able to join us at the start of the autumn term. We are considering a number of options to ensure that you have every opportunity to study with us, whether that means a delayed start or a combination of campus and online teaching. We will provide more detailed information within the next few weeks.

How will I be taught – face-to-face or online? UPDATED - 28 May 2020, 09:00

Given the uncertainty about the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, we are already preparing to teach both on-campus and online to ensure your studies are not delayed.

As we prepare for September we are working with all our academic departments, with input from Student Representatives and our Guild of Students, to ensure that even in these challenging times, we can continue to provide you with a world-class education.

Nearer the start of term we expect to have further clarity about the mix of online and on-campus teaching, based on the government guidance at that time.

How will you ensure that campus is safe? UPDATED - 28 May 2020, 09:00

We can reassure you that we are taking steps to ensure that campus is a safe and secure environment when you arrive. We will be adhering to government policy but also ensuring that we use our own academic expertise which has contributed to the national and international fight against Coronavirus.

Work is ongoing to develop a full set of measures that will be in place by September, and we will keep you updated in the coming weeks as our plans take shape.

I haven’t applied for accommodation yet – what should I do? UPDATED - 28 May 2020, 09:00

You can apply for university accommodation online. The deadline for applying for accommodation is currently 31 July 2020. By applying by this date, we guarantee students covered by one of our guarantee schemes accommodation. We are currently preparing for our accommodation villages to be operate as normal in September 2020.

If you are considering privately rented accommodation, the current government guidelines allow house viewings and moving house in England.

What about the rest of university life –how will I meet friends and be part of the community? UPDATED - 28 May 2020, 09:00

Getting to know the University, building your home here and making friends are all important parts of settling into university life and we are developing plans to be able to welcome you fully into the University experience.

Undergraduate

I’m worried about my place at university for September 2020 – what should I do?

We appreciate that the current situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the implications for starting University may be a concern for you. Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to minimise the impact of the situation on you coming to University.

The situation continues to change quickly and we will be working closely with the relevant authorities regarding any potential implications for applicants and new students. When we have updates that are relevant to you we will be in touch, and will update this page with any further updates too.

What will happen if I am not able to sit any of my exams in summer 2020? UPDATED - 20 April, 17:00

As announced by the Government in March 2020, assessment and exams will not go ahead for students due to take them in summer 2020. The Government released a statement stating that they will be providing calculated grades to students which reflect their performance as fairly as possible.

Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your subjects, based on what they know about your work and achievements:

  • the grade they believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned within each subject
  • the order of students at your school or college, by performance, for each grade.

This information will be used to standardise judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across schools and colleges. Your school or college will consider a range of things like your classwork and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework you might have done; and your general progress during your course. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in. For further information you can read the most up-to-date Government advice on how qualifications will be awarded in summer 2020.

The situation continues to change quickly and we are working closely with the relevant organisations regarding any potential implications for applicants and new students. As soon as further information becomes available we will continue to update our advice and keep you informed.

In light of Covid-19, if predicted grades are used to award results, how will you decide who to offer places to as there may be too many people wanting places? UPDATED - 20 April, 17:00

If you have already been made an offer to study at the University of Birmingham then the terms of that offer still apply. As the situation is continually changing we will be working closely with the relevant organisations to fully understand the implications, and will update our advice and keep you informed. Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to minimise the impact of the situation on you coming to University. The best way to find out how the Department for Education is planning on awarding grades for those who were due to be assessed in summer 2020, is to read the most up-to-date Government response on the cancellation of A Levels and other exams.

I will not be able to get any grades this year; how will my application be considered? UPDATED - 12 June, 10:00

Following the decision by government to cancel all examinations in England this year it has been confirmed that exam centres should submit ‘calculated grades’ for all candidates who would have taken exams this summer wherever there is sufficient evidence to do so. We therefore expect the vast majority of applicants to receive calculated grades this August.

If you are a ‘private candidate’ registered with an exams centre (i.e. not currently a student at the exam centre) your centre should still provide calculated grades for you unless there is genuinely insufficient evidence for grades to be calculated. In the first instance you should contact the centre where you were registered to take your exams to find out if they will be able to provide calculated grades to your exam board(s). If they will be providing calculated grades then the University will consider these in the same way as though you had taken examinations.

For any applicants who are not provided with calculated grades the university will consider whether there is sufficient alternative evidence of suitability to study. As all applicants’ circumstances are different such decisions will be made on a ‘case by case’ basis considering all relevant information available to us including any evidence of likely achievement and their academic profile to date.

If you receive confirmation from your exam centre that they will not be providing calculated grades for you should alert us to this by emailing ugadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Please ensure that you state your UCAS ID number and the programme you are holding an offer for. You should provide a summary of the situation which means you will not receive grades and, where possible, a copy of the confirmation received from your centre that they will not be providing grades for you.

The university is continuing to monitor updates on provision for ‘private candidates’ from OfQUAL (the exams regulator for England), UCAS and other agencies and we will update this FAQ as more information becomes available.
You can view the latest guidance from OfQUAL for students hoping to progress to University.

Will the deadline for applying for University accommodation for 2020 entry be extended? UPDATED - 6 May, 15:00

We’re aware that the UCAS deadline has been extended until the 18 June 2020 to ensure you have as much time and clarity when making decisions about your future. In light of this, we have decided to extend the accommodation Fresher’s Guarantee Scheme deadline for Home/EU students to the 31 July 2020 (international students are offered the same guarantees, and must apply by the same date).

This means that as long as you place Birmingham as your firm choice on your UCAS form and you submit an application for accommodation via our online portal by 23:59 GMT on the 31 July, you’ll be guaranteed an offer of accommodation in one of the University Owned or Partner residences. If you’ve already applied for accommodation then there’s nothing more you need to do for the time being.

The situation continues to evolve and we will update you as soon as any new information becomes available. In the meantime, you may want to explore the Resources page on the Accommodation section of our website.

I have applied for a course with a year abroad for September 2020 – how will Covid-19 affect my year abroad?

We will work all relevant partners, including our study abroad partnership universities around the world, to continually assess the situation. Your Year Abroad typically takes place in the third year of your degree (starting in September 2022 for those who start university in September 2020).

I am due to attend an offer-holder visit day or an open day – is this still going ahead? UPDATED - 26 May, 16:30

In order to minimise the risk to our students, staff and the wider community, we have moved all offer-holder visit day events for 2020 entry online, which you are able to join from any location. You will still have the opportunity to speak to staff, learn more about your chosen programme and get a flavour of life at Birmingham. If you had already registered for an offer-holder visit day or are an existing offer holder, then you will have already received an invite to one of our online events. There will be further opportunities to learn more about life at Birmingham online which we'll make sure we let you know about.

If you are looking to study at the University from September 2021 and beyond, our Undergraduate Open Days due to take place in June 2020 will now run as Virtual Open Days online, and we have a host of activities planned to help you learn more about what life is like studying at the University of Birmingham. You will have opportunity to hear from our academics all about the courses that you’re interested in, speak to current students about their experience at Birmingham, engage with a range of different content developed by our students, and there will be lots of opportunities to have your questions answered.

Our Autumn events programme on campus is continuously under review. As campus re-opens and it is safe to do so, we aim to ensure that there are opportunities for you to visit our University in person, as we know this plays a really important part in deciding which university is best for you. The best thing to do is register for an event (either our online events, or current planned dates in the Autumn) so that we can keep you up-to-date with our latest plans.

Who can I talk to about my place at Birmingham for September 2020, and can I defer? UPDATED - 9 June, 15:45

As well as running online events where you can ask questions, we are offering a live chat facility on our website at key times in the coming months for you to ask any questions. This is available now and if you are an existing offer holder you will have been sent further information with details of how to access it.

We will be able to consider deferral requests after 1 August 2020, at which point the national and international picture will be clearer. If you do decide that you would like to defer your offer at this point, please contact our Undergraduate Admissions Team at ugadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Please note that only applicants who meet the terms of their standard offer will be permitted to defer.

You may also like to visit our undergraduate admissions FAQs, or if you have outstanding questions about your own offer you can email ugadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Will you be running open days for students looking to start university in September 2021? UPDATED - 26 May, 16:30

If you are looking to study at the University from September 2021 and beyond, our Undergraduate Open Days due to take place in June 2020 will now run as Virtual Open Days online, and we have a host of activities planned to help you learn more about what life is like studying at the University of Birmingham. You will have opportunity to hear from our academics all about the courses that you’re interested in, speak to current students about their experience at Birmingham, engage with a range of different content developed by our students, and there will be lots of opportunities to have your questions answered.

Our Autumn events programme on campus is continuously under review. When campus re-opens and it is safe to do so, we aim to ensure that there are opportunities for you to visit our University in person, as we know this plays a really important part in deciding which university is best for you. The best thing to do is register for an event (either our online events, or current planned dates in the Autumn) so that we can keep you up-to-date with our latest plans.

Our 2020 Open Days on campus will provisionally take place on the following dates:

  • Saturday 12 September 2020
  • Saturday 17 October 2020

Can I still apply for my place in accommodation for 2020 entry? UPDATED - 26 March, 09:30

Yes – you can find out further information on the Accommodation section of our website.

Can I still apply for student finance for 2020 entry? UPDATED - 26 March, 09:30

Yes – the Student Loans Company has stated that new and existing students can continue to apply for student finance as normal and they will continue to process applications that have been received as quickly as they can. You can find out more on the Student Loans Company website.

Postgraduate

I am due to attend an Open Day/Offer-Holder Visit Day on campus. Is this still going ahead? UPDATED - 30 April, 17:00

In light of recent government advice, and in consideration of the safety of students, staff and attendees, all events scheduled all campus involving external visitors from 23 March to 1 September will be moved to virtual provision. Our online offer holder events will give you the opportunity to talk to staff and find out more about studying at Birmingham as you make your decision. You can find out more information online and look out for an invitation to any programme-specific events.

If you have any queries about your offer you can:

  • Contact us via email: pgadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk 
  • We will also be running a live chat facility on our website at key times in lieu of staff availability on campus to take phone calls. 

I will not be able to sit my exams this year. How will this affect my admission to the University?

Following the announcement that the schools are to close, the government is due to release more details about qualifications and grades. We are monitoring the situation closely and are liaising with relevant organisations, including schools and examination boards. We will update our guidance in line with government advice as soon as possible.

I have submitted an application to the University for September 2020 start but have not received a response yet. Will the processing of my application be affected by the coronavirus epidemic?

A decision on your application can take up to 8-12 weeks of submitting your application, we select students with care and your application is likely to be considered by several members of the academic staff. This is provided all of the necessary documents have been submitted.

Please be assured that we are working hard to process every application within the regular timeframe. Admissions will notify you when a decision has been made. 

I cannot book an English language test because centres are currently closed. Will the University offer an alternative way for me to prove my English proficiency? UPDATED - 2 April, 14:30

The deadlines for September 2020 vary by department but are normally set for the summer period. We are monitoring the situation closely and have developed additional English language testing options.

You can find out more on our English Language requirements pages.

I am unable to submit original documents, as required by the University’s admissions team, because my country is in lockdown and all international postage has been suspended. Have alternative arrangements been put in place?

We would like to inform you that for this year, given the exceptional circumstances, we will accept scanned or photographed copies of documentation (certificate and transcripts) to confirm your academic results, rather than you having to provide original copies to confirm your place. You will need to provide original copies once you arrive on campus, but scanned or photographed versions will be accepted through the postgraduate admissions portal to allow you to take up your place.

If for any reason your University results and degree certification is delayed we will accept your final transcript and a letter from your institution confirming successful completion of your studies.

I am unable complete my undergraduate course and/or provide my final transcript because my education has been disrupted (e.g. due to self-isolation) or my university has closed. How will this affect my admission to the University?

The University is currently developing guidance and will keep applicants updated of developments.

Can I defer or amend the start date for my programme? UPDATED - 8 June 2020, 15:45

PG Taught

We will be able to consider deferral requests after 1 August 2020, at which point the national and international situation will be clearer. If you do decide that you would like to defer your offer at this point, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team at pgadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Please be aware that a non-refundable deposit of £1,500 will be payable to secure your place for September 2021.

PG Taught (Business)

If you have applied for an MBA course, please email your request to mbaadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk. For all other Masters programmes at the Business School, please email mscadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

PG Research

The majority of our PhD programmes offer flexible start dates, so this is not normally a problem. We would recommend that you discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance, to ensure that they can accommodate an alternative start date. Once you have agreed a new start date, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team at pgadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk with your request.

Will accommodation be available? UPDATED - 11 May, 12:55

At the moment we are planning for our accommodation to be available for a September start and are monitoring the situation carefully. Any changes will be communicated to our applicants and be published on this page as soon as there is an update.

You can still apply to us, and be assured that you are not committed to the contract or costs of the accommodation until you have firmly accepted your offer, met all conditions and have paid your Advance Rent Payment, which you pay to secure your accommodation (like a deposit). 

You can find out further information on the Accommodation section of our website. 

How will the pandemic effect the University's relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company? UPDATED - 15 May, 18:30

The Royal Shakespeare Company and University of Birmingham fully intend for their partnership to continue in the coming academic year (2020-21), but because of delays caused by COVID-19 we are still in the process of finalising these arrangements. Currently, all university activities are due to operate as normal in September 2020. Online provisions are being developed should the pandemic continue to affect campus activities, and activities based in the premises of our partners. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be following government advice.  

If you are a prospective postgraduate student who would like to discuss this further, please contact Sally Delbeke, Partnership Manager: s.delbeke@bham.ac.uk.

Will my programme begin in September? UPDATED - 11 June, 18:00

We plan for our campus to be open in September and to be able to welcome the majority of students, delivering a mixture of on-campus and online teaching. However, we do appreciate that there are a range of factors which mean you may not be able to join us in September and so, rather than miss out on the opportunity to study with us, are considering the possibility for some programmes to begin in January 2021.  You will have received an email from us if this relates to you, and will confirm no later than 31 July when your programme will be starting.

International

I’m a foundation or undergraduate offer holder and my school results may be delayed and my exams may be cancelled - what should I do? UPDATED - 9 April, 15:40

To date, we are aware of the following decisions:

  • International A levels – exams cancelled for summer 2020, alternative assessments to be put in place with results available mid-August
  • International Baccalaureate – exams cancelled for summer 2020, alternative assessments to be put in place with results available 5 July, for updates see https://www.ibo.org/news/news-about-the-ib/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)  - exam schedule pushed back by 5 weeks with results available end of July
  • Gaokao examination – put back by a month, now due to take place in July

We will be working closely with these organisations, taking guidance and advice on how best we can accept qualifications for those students affected.

For other qualifications we are awaiting the outcome of local decisions as to whether exams are cancelled or delayed, and what any alternative arrangements may be.  Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to minimise the impact of the situation on you coming to University.

We will also be running a live chat facility on our website at key times in lieu of staff availability on campus to take phone calls.

I’m a postgraduate offer holder and need to submit verified documents, how can I do this?

Given the exceptional circumstances this year, we will accept scanned or photographed copies of documentation (certificate and transcripts) to confirm your academic results, rather than you having to provide original copies to confirm your place. You will need to provide original copies once you arrive on campus, but scanned or photographed versions will be accepted through the postgraduate admissions portal to allow you to take up your place.

If for any reason your University results and degree certification is delayed we will accept your final transcript and a letter from your institution confirming successful completion of your studies.

I am a postgraduate offer-holder, due to start in September; what will happen with my course?UPDATED - 10 June 2020, 11:30

We realise that, as a student coming to the UK to study, there are a range of factors which mean you may not be able to join us at the start of the autumn term.

We are considering a number of options to ensure that you have every opportunity to study with us, whether that means a delayed start or a combination of campus and online teaching.

We will provide more detailed information within the next few weeks.

How can I meet my English language requirements? UPDATED - 28 April, 13:50

For 2020 our pre-sessional English programmes will run online. You can find out more information and apply for the programme on our Presessional English pages.

For those joining us for 2020 we will accept the following additional tests as evidence of English language proficiency:

  • TOEFL “At Home” Test
  • Duolingo English Test
  • Password English (more information on how to register for this test will be updated soon)
  • Chinese College English Test (CET-6) (please note that this must be accompanied by at least a 6 week Pre-sessional English programme)
  • IELTs Indicator (entry requirements match standard IELTs requirements listed on our English Language requirements pages)

You can find out more detail about the above on our English Language requirements pages.

I have further questions – how can I find out more information?

If you have specific questions which aren’t addressed in these FAQs, please join one of our regular live chat sessions where you will be able to connect with a member of our staff. You can find more details of these sessions on our Live Chats page.

Can I defer or amend the start date for my programme? UPDATED - 6 May, 16:30

We will be able to consider deferral requests after 1 August 2020, at which point the national and international situation will be clearer. If you do decide that you would like to defer your offer at this point, please contact our Undergraduate Admissions Team at ugadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk or Postgraduate Admissions Team at pgadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Can I still apply for a place for 2020? UPDATED - 9 April, 15:40

We are accepting applications for students who wish to start in 2020. Find out more about how to apply.

Will accommodation be available? UPDATED - 11 May, 17:30

At the moment we are planning for our accommodation to be available for a September start and are monitoring the situation carefully. Any changes will be communicated to our applicants and be published on our COVID-19 FAQs page as soon as there is an update.

You can still apply to us, and be assured that you are not committed to the contract or costs of the accommodation until you have firmly accepted your offer, met all conditions and have paid your Advance Rent Payment, which you pay to secure your accommodation (like a deposit). 

You can find out further information on the Accommodation section of our website

Will my programme begin in September?  UPDATED - 11 June, 18:00

We plan for our campus to be open in September and to be able to welcome the majority of students, delivering a mixture of on-campus and online teaching. However, we do appreciate that there are a range of factors which mean you may not be able to join us in September and so, rather than miss out on the opportunity to study with us, are considering the possibility for some programmes to begin in January 2021.  You will have received an email from us if this relates to you, and will confirm no later than 31 July when your programme will be starting.

Pathways to Birmingham and Outreach programmes

Access to Birmingham (A2B)

Why will A2B offer holders not be completing the academic assignment this year? UPDATED - 5 June, 18:15

The University remains totally committed to our pioneering Access to Birmingham (A2B) programme and to ensuring that students from less advantaged backgrounds and non-selective state schools can attend a prestigious Russell Group university, such as Birmingham. To say otherwise is simply inaccurate.

The role of our academic community in A2B is to set and mark assignments, providing an element of feedback to students during the process. This is one part of a comprehensive programme of activities that we offer to students. We are committed to enabling these students to join us, and in light of the challenges these students face we have decided that this year they will not have to complete the academic assignment in order to benefit from the A2B alternative offer. A2B students will continue to be supported through peer-to-peer mentoring and extensive online academic resources which aid their transition to university. We are strongly encouraging all A2B students to complete a written reflective task and the online study skills module Skills4Uni.

Like many other universities, we are working hard to adapt our programmes to the new COVID-19 reality. We surveyed our A2B students to establish what would work for them and of those that responded found that over 300 students only had access to shared IT facilities, 23 could not access internet from home, 159 had no quiet place to work and 115 were caring for siblings.

We were one of the first universities to set up a fair access scheme for local students in 2000 and are proud to be able to offer prospective applicants the support of our A2B scheme if they are studying at one of our partner institutions. In the past twelve months we’ve expanded the range of programmes available under the “Pathways to Birmingham” banner, meaning that more students can access support and are eligible for a reduced offer at Birmingham. Recognising the impact of COVID-19 we are working on a programme of support for year 12 students to ensure that they are also not unfairly disadvantaged.

How do I complete A2B during COVID-19?

A2B students who are currently on the programme should visit the A2B University Transition Canvas Course for full information about the A2B scheme this year.

As an A2B eligible student this year you will not have to complete the academic assignment in order to benefit from the A2B alternative offer. By selecting Birmingham as your firm choice on UCAS you will be admitted to the course you have applied for if the grades you are awarded at least meet the terms of your A2B offer.

A2B students are eligible for financial support, the details of which can be found on the canvas course linked to above. 

In line with previous guidance you've been given about the A2B programme, these benefits only apply to students who are holding firm offers from the University of Birmingham. Therefore if you would like to benefit from your A2B offer and gain the A2B funding, please remember to select Birmingham as your firm choice institution by the UCAS deadline.

Reflective Activity and Skills4Uni Quiz

We strongly encourage all A2B students to complete two tasks:

  • a written reflective task focusing on your preparation for University
  • a multiple choice quiz based on the online study skills module Skills4Uni

Both the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz will aid your preparation for university and help you develop some of the skills that will make you a successful student, meaning they are very useful to complete.  

While these activities are not compulsory for completion, we may be able to give extra consideration to students who have completed the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz but who have narrowly missed out on being awarded the grades needed to achieve a place on their chosen course. Whilst places for students who have not met the terms of their offer cannot be guaranteed we hope to recognise the commitment that students who have completed these two task have made wherever possible.

Accessing the reflective assignment, Skills4Uni and other transitional support

We understand that this is a challenging time for all of our A2B students and we have not been able to support your entry to university in the usual way by inviting you to attend events on campus. As a result, we have now launched the A2B University Transition Course which is hosted on our virtual learning environment Canvas. To enable everyone to access it easily, the course is currently accessible without requiring you to log in to the system – just follow the link below to visit the course. We recommend you save the link to the page as a bookmark or to your favourites so you can find it again easily. From 18 June 2020, you will need to log in to access the course as this will enable you to complete the Skills4Uni quiz and the A2B reflective assignment. We will provide you with log in details at this time.

The course contains a lot of useful information about the benefits of being an A2B student, including your offer and financial support, as well as more general information about what it’s like to be a university student and how to prepare yourself for this step.

We will be adding new content to this course when it becomes available, including subject-specific resources and transitional activities, so do make sure you check back regularly for these updates. 

Answering your questions

On the dates listed below, the A2B Team will take over the offer holder live chat, so if you have any questions about the information above please contact us there and we will be able to answer them for you. Please note that the offer holder live chat is available every day and is usually staffed by the Admissions Team; so while they can help with general admissions queries, they are unlikely to have information about the A2B scheme specifically.

  • Monday 8 June 2020, 1-4pm
  • Friday 19 June 2020, 1-4pm
  • Wednesday 8 July 2020, 1-4pm
  • Tuesday 14 July 2020, 1-4pm

Will you provide regular updates on what I need to do to complete the scheme?

Yes, all A2B students will be informed of any decisions as soon as they are confirmed. We will continue to communicate with our A2B students by email as our primary mode of communication, so please ensure you are checking your emails and read any communications from us carefully and in full. If you wish to change your primary email address for our communications please email the A2B team at a2b@contacts.bham.ac.uk

When will we know our A2B result and whether we have successfully completed the programme?

As an A2B eligible student the terms of your A2B offer remain unchanged. This year you will not have to complete the academic assignment in order to benefit from being part of the A2B programme. By selecting Birmingham as your firm choice on UCAS we commit to admitting you if the grades you are awarded at least meet the terms of your A2B offer.

As such, we will not be releasing results to you. However, we want to encourage all A2B students to complete two tasks for which you receive feedback to support your learning and development:

  • a written reflective task focusing on your preparation for University
  • a multiple choice quiz based on the online study skills module Skills4Uni

Both the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz will aid your preparation for university and help you develop some of the skills that will make you a successful student, meaning they are very useful to complete.  

In addition, we may be able to give extra consideration to students who have completed the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz but who have narrowly missed out on being awarded the grades needed to achieve a place on their chosen course. Whilst places for students who have not met the terms of their offer cannot be guaranteed we hope to recognise the commitment that students who have completed these two task have made wherever possible.

Full details of both activities are available on the A2B University Transition Canvas Course.

Will we still receive a bursary/scholarship through the A2B scheme?

As an A2B eligible student the terms of your A2B offer remain unchanged. This year you will not have to complete the academic assignment in order to benefit from being part of the A2B programme. By selecting Birmingham as your firm choice on UCAS we commit to admitting you if the grades you are awarded at least meet the terms of your A2B offer.

You will also be eligible for A2B funding depending on the grades you are awarded. If your grades meet or exceed those of your standard offer you will be awarded the A2B Scholarship which is worth £1500 per year of study. If your grades meet or exceed those of your A2B offer you will be awarded the A2B Bursary worth £1000 in the first year of study. A2B students are also considered for the Chamberlain Award worth up to £2000 per year of study and based on household income. A2B students are eligible for the Chamberlain Award worth £2000 per year of study if household income is below £60,000. Please note you must be classed as a Home student for fees purposes to benefit from this financial support. 

For the Chamberlain Award, we encourage you to review the criteria for the award on the webpageIn order to be considered for the Chamberlain Award, you need to get means tested for financial support from the Student Loans Company. Please note that this does not mean that you are required to take out a maintenance loan. Once you have applied for means tested support, please fill in this form with your name, University student ID number as stated on your offer letter, and Student Support Number (SSN)/Customer Reference Number (CRN) as given to you by the Student Loans Company.

These benefits only apply to students who are holding firm offers from the University of Birmingham. Therefore if you would like to benefit from your A2B offer and gain the A2B funding please remember to select Birmingham as your firm choice institution by the UCAS deadline.

Will there be any support given for transition from Year 13 to university?

Yes. The A2B Team have been working hard to put together an online resource to support your transition to university. We are pleased to announce this resource is now ready for you to use.

The A2B University Transition Course is hosted on our virtual learning environment Canvas. To enable everyone to access it easily, the course is currently accessible without requiring you to log in to the system – just follow the link below to visit the course. We recommend you save the link to the page as a bookmark or to your favourites so you can find it again easily. From 18 June 2020, you will need to log in to access the course as this will enable you to complete the Skills4Uni quiz and the A2B reflective assignment (more on this below).

The course contains a lot of useful information about the benefits of being an A2B student, including your offer and financial support, as well as more general information about what it’s like to be a university student and how to prepare yourself for this step.

We will be adding new content to this course when it becomes available, including subject-specific resources and transitional activities, so do make sure you check back regularly for these updates. 

We strongly encourage you to engage with this content where possible to support you with your academic and personal transition to university life and study, when this is made available to you. When this content is available, we will email all our A2B students with details of how to access it and where they can get additional support.

We also want to encourage all A2B students to complete two tasks, both of which will be completed through the Canvas course linked to above:

  • a written reflective task focusing on your preparation for University
  • a multiple choice quiz based on the online study skills module Skills4Uni

Both the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz will aid your preparation for university and help you develop some of the skills that will make you a successful student, meaning they are very useful to complete.  

In addition, we may be able to give extra consideration to students who have completed the reflective task and Skills4Uni quiz but who have narrowly missed out on being awarded the grades needed to achieve a place on their chosen course. Whilst places for students who have not met the terms of their offer cannot be guaranteed we hope to recognise the commitment that students who have completed these two task have made wherever possible.

I don't have the technology or wifi to be able to complete the activities, what should I do?

We recognise that some of our students may not have reliable access to the internet or a computing device (including a smart mobile phone). If you are in this position and are concerned about your ability to complete these tasks, we have set up a special phone line for you to contact the A2B Team to let us know about your situation. We will then look into what alternative arrangements we may be able to make for you. The phone numbers to call, along with the times they will be available are listed below. Please note, this phone line is strictly to be used only by students who need to let us know they do not have the technology needed to complete these activities and cannot contact us by email. Any other queries should be sent to us by email or during the live chat mentioned above. 

Dedicated phone lines for students without internet access:

  • 07990794533
  • 07970459373

Both phone lines will be available every weekday from Monday 8 June onwards, between 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm. If you cannot get through to one phone line, please try the other. Please note these phone lines will be switched off outside these hours.

How will A2B support me throughout my years at university?

We know that making the transition to university can be worrying for all students and that this year the disruption to your Year 13 studies and exams might make you feel more anxious than usual. However we want to reassure you that if you come to Birmingham through one of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes you will join our ‘Birmingham Scholar’ community.

Being a Birmingham Scholar means you will have access to a range of bespoke support in addition to that which the University and academic departments offer to all students. Being a Birmingham Scholar means that you will:

  • be given a named contact to support you throughout your time at the University
  • have the opportunity to access a peer mentor/buddy to support transition
  • gain access to additional  bespoke academic support
  • join the targeted Pathways to Careers programme, which includes early communications and promotions about employability events, personal and professional development workshops, networking and an insight into West Midlands region employers and business visits, and priority access to a range of other employment related opportunities

We hope this support means you can make a flying start to your studies and reach your full potential during your time at the University of Birmingham and beyond. We will be hosting an online launch event for Birmingham Scholar students before the University term begins. At this event you will meet the staff who will work with you on these programmes during your Welcome to the University and throughout your degree. The event will provide you with further information about how these support opportunities will operate and you will be able to ask any questions that you may have.

Do I still have my A2B offer, even though the programme is no longer going ahead?

Yes. We understand that this is a difficult time for students in Year 13, but please be reassured that your A2B status still stands and is protected. By selecting Birmingham as your firm choice on UCAS you will be admitted to the course you have applied for if the grades you are awarded at least meet the terms of your A2B offer.

Why haven't I received my A2B offer yet?

Sometimes there is a delay with the application of your A2B offer. If you email the A2B team at a2b@contacts.bham.ac.uk with your UCAS Personal ID and full name, we will be able to follow this up for you with the relevant admissions team.

If I make the University of Birmingham my firm and insurance choice on UCAS, would I get to keep my A2B offers on both?

No, your A2B offer only applies to the course you put down as your firm choice on UCAS. If you make an offer from the University of Birmingham your insurance choice, this offer will be conditional upon the standard offer grades.

If I apply through clearing or adjustment, will my A2B status count?

If you have successfully completed the A2B scheme, the admissions team are notified of this in advance of the offer confirmation process so they can take this into account when confirming places based on your achieved grades.

If you wish to apply for a course which is available during clearing and adjustment, you follow the usual process of contacting universities. You can then inform them that you have successfully completed A2B and they may be able to take this into consideration when checking your eligibility for an offer. Please note, there is no guarantee of you being made an offer through adjustment or clearing and it is important to be aware that only a limited number of subjects are usually available through this method as most courses will be filled through the initial confirmation process by students who achieved the grades of their offer.

If you have not been successful in achieving a place on the course you originally applied for, you will not be offered a place on this course through clearing even if it is available in clearing and adjustment. Usually clearing and adjustment opens on results day, but this year there may be a slight delay. We will keep you informed about how this process will work nearer to the time.

Will I have to reapply to A2B if I decide to take my exams in the autumn?

Students who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam as soon as is reasonably possible after the beginning of the new academic year. The Government's aim is for results to be awarded before Christmas, and Ofqual is working with exam boards to work out how this could be delivered. Universities will be as flexible as possible in their admissions.

As this process is still under development, any student wanting to understand the implications on university admission of taking these autumn exams should contact the University after receiving their calculated grade in the summer, by which point we expect to have further clarity from the government about how these exams will be delivered.

If I take the exam in September and achieve the standard grades, will I get the A2B scholarship?

Students who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam as soon as is reasonably possible after the beginning of the new academic year. The Government's aim is for results to be awarded before Christmas, and Ofqual is working with exam boards to work out how this could be delivered. Universities will be as flexible as possible in their admissions.

As this process is still under development, any student wanting to understand the implications on university admission of taking these autumn exams should contact the University after receiving their calculated grade in the summer, by which point we expect to have further clarity from the government about how these exams will be delivered.

If you have successfully completed A2B and meet the other eligibility criteria for the financial support, you will be able to receive this in the same way when you start your course at the University regardless of whether your grades have come from your final assigned grade on results day in August, or a grade from exams taken the following autumn. Whichever grade is higher is the one which will be taken as your final grade for determining eligibility for the financial support awards, including the Chamberlain Award, A2B Bursary, and A2B Scholarship.

Inspired@Birmingham

Can I complete Inspired@Birmingham this year?

If you have attended a minimum of one of the event days we hosted on campus before the closure of campus and cancellation of events, you are able to complete Inspired@Birmingham this year in order to maintain your eligibility for the benefits of the scheme. You will have received an email informing you of this. As a reminder, the benefits are:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)
  • A guaranteed interview if you apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Nursing

In order to complete the scheme, you need to:

  • Pass the Skills4Uni quiz on Canvas by 17:00 on 30 June 2020
  • Submit a reflective assignment by 17:00 on 31 July 2020
  • Attend a minimum of three webinars online during the week of 29 June 2020
  • Complete a post-programme questionnaire

Full details about all of these elements have been emailed out to students and are available on the Inspired@Birmingham Canvas course.

What happens if I cannot complete any aspect of the programme?

Students who are unable to complete any aspect of the Inspired@Birmingham programme as detailed above, will unfortunately not be able to pass the programme. 

In order to provide you with another opportunity to access the benefits of a Pathways to Birmingham programme, you will be able to apply for the A2B scheme next year. 

When will I find out whether I have successfully completed the programme?

After the deadline for the reflective assignment on 31 July 2020, we will work hard to mark all submissions and provide you with your result by the end of August. 

I did not attend any of the events on campus before closure, what happens to me?

If you did not attend either of the two events we hosted on campus before the closure of campus, it has been decided that you will be unable to continue with the programme at this stage.

Instead, if you wish to receive the benefits of participating a Pathways to Birmingham (PTB) scheme, you are welcome and indeed encouraged to apply for the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme next year. Completion of A2B results in the following benefits:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)

Will there be any additional support for us?

We know that as we have not been able to run our event days in the usual way, you are missing out on the insights and activities they provide. As a result, we are working hard to develop content and resources to make available to you on the Canvas course which will cover all sorts of topics from student finance to accommodation and student life. We will be in touch to let you know when this is available and we strongly encourage you to engage with the material we provide there as it will be the basis of your reflective assignment. 

Routes to the Professions (R2P)

How do I complete Routes to the Professions (R2P)?

If you have attended a minimum of one event day on campus (launch or student shadow) or can demonstrate regular communication with your R2P Mentor, you are able to complete R2P this year in order to maintain your eligibility for the benefits of the scheme. As a reminder, the benefits are:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)
  • A guaranteed interview if you apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Nursing

In order to complete the scheme, you need to:

  • Pass the Skills4Uni quiz on Canvas by 17:00 on 31 July 2020
  • Submit a reflective assignment by 17:00 on 31 July 2020
  • Attend a compulsory virtual event (date to be confirmed)
  • Complete a post-programme questionnaire

Full details will be sent to students by email and will be made available on the R2P Canvas Course.

What happens if I cannot complete any aspects of the programme?

Students who are unable to complete any aspect of the R2P programme as detailed above, will unfortunately not be able to pass the programme. 

In order to provide you with another opportunity to access the benefits of a Pathways to Birmingham programme, you will be able to apply for the A2B scheme next year. 

When will I find out if I have successfully completed the programme?

After the deadline for the reflective assignment on 31 July 2020, we will work hard to mark all submissions and provide you with your result by the end of August. 

I have not attended any events on campus before closure or maintained regular communication with my R2P Mentor; what happens to me?

If you did not attend either the launch event or student shadow and have not maintained regular communication with your R2P Mentor before the closure of campus, it has been decided that you will be unable to continue with the programme at this stage.

Instead, if you wish to receive the benefits of participating a Pathways to Birmingham (PTB) scheme, you are welcome and indeed encouraged to apply for the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme next year. Completion of A2B results in the following benefits:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)

Will there be any additional support for us?

We know that as we have not been able to run our event days in the usual way, you are missing out on the insights and activities they provide. As a result, we are working hard to develop content and resources to make available to you on the Canvas course. You will also continue to have the support of your R2P Mentor until December 2020 through Canvas. We will be in touch to let you know when this is available and we strongly encourage you to engage with the material we provide there as it will be the basis of your reflective assignment.

How can R2P medicine completers benefit from the UKWPMED Scheme?

R2P medicine completers will gain extra consideration from the following UK medical schools as part of the UKWPMED partnership:

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • Hull York Medical School
  • Keele School of Medicine
  • Manchester Medical School
  • Peninsula Medical School

Please visit UKWPMED Scheme for more information on this opportunity. 

Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP)

When will I hear whether my application has been successful?

Applications closed on 6 May 2020. The team will be in touch with you and your coordinator to inform you of the outcome of your application in the next few weeks. Please note, it usually takes the team roughly four weeks to process all applications, so you should not expect to hear from us until this time has passed. It is possible there may be an additional delay due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, but please be assured you will receive notification of the outcome either way. 

How will the AEP summer school take place?

In response to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the University has made the decision to cancel all events on campus until 1 September at the earliest. 

As a result, we will not be able to host the summer school on campus in the usual way. However, we are currently planning a series of virtual events and activities which will give you similar insights into university life and study. As soon as the details of the replacement activity has been confirmed we will communicate this to the students who have been selected to take part in the programme. 

How will I complete AEP?

In order to complete AEP and maintain your eligibility for the benefits of the scheme, you will need to:

  • Pass a multiple choice quiz based on the online study skills module Skills4Uni
  • Submit a reflective assignment
  • Attend a minimum number of virtual events

The details of all these elements are currently being developed and will be communicated to students on the programme as soon as they are available.

As a reminder, the benefits of completing AEP are:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain award of £2,000 per year of study)
  • A guaranteed interview if you apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Nursing

What happens if I cannot complete any aspect of the programme?

Students who are unable to complete any aspect of the AEP programme as detailed above, will unfortunately not be able to pass the programme. 

In order to provide you with another opportunity to access the benefits of a Pathways to Birmingham programme, you will be able to apply for the A2B scheme next year. Completion of A2B results in the following benefits:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)

National Access Summer School (NASS)

When will I hear whether my application has been successful?

Applications closed on 6 May 2020. The team will be in touch with you and your coordinator to inform you of the outcome of your application in the next few weeks. Please note, it usually takes the team roughly four weeks to process all applications so you should not expect to hear from us until this time has passed. It is possible there may be an additional delay due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, but please be assured you will receieve notification of the outcome either way. 

How will the NASS residential take place?

In response to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the University has made the decision to cancel all events on campus until 1 September 2020 at the earliest. 

As a result, we will not be able to host the summer school on campus in the usual way. However, we are currently planning a series of virtual and online events and activities which will give you similar insights into university life and study. As soon as the details of the replacement activity has been confirmed we will communicate this to the students who have been selected to take part in the programme.

How will I complete NASS?

In order to complete NASS and maintain your eligibility for the benefits of the scheme, you will need to:

  • Pass a multiple choice quiz based on the online study skills module Skills4Uni
  • Submit a reflective assignment
  • Attend a minimum number of virtual events

The details of all these elements are currently being developed and will be communicated to students on the programme as soon as they are available.

As a reminder, the benefits of completing AEP are:

  • Gaining an alternate offer (typically two grades below the standard offer) when you apply to a degree programme at Birmingham
  • Eligibility to gain enhanced financial assistance if you study at the University of Birmingham (including the Pathways to Birmingham Scholarship of £1,500 per year of study if you meet the terms of your standard offer and consideration for the Chamberlain Award of £2,000 per year of study)
  • A guaranteed interview if you apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Nursing

What happens if I cannot complete any aspect of the programme?

We will do everything we can to enable all selected students to complete the programme and will put provision in place for those with limited access to computers and reliable internet access. If you believe you are likely to have trouble accessing online activities and materials which will affect your ability to complete the programme, you should contact the NASS team at nass@contacts.bham.ac.uk so we can discuss alternative arrangements for you.

 

Initial Teacher Education programmes

Will ITE programmes still go ahead next year? What if placement schools are operating part time or do not open or cannot host students?

Our 2020 ITE programmes are all going ahead.  Please be assured that the University of Birmingham is planning our 20-21 ITE programmes with great care so that we can offer you an excellent preparation for a career in teaching.  We are ready to respond swiftly to national decisions about schools opening, and are preparing for our programmes to run in a range of scenarios. We are working closely with our partnership schools as we plan and our school based mentors are looking forward to meeting their students as soon as this is possible.

In recent weeks, we have seen some amazing work going on in schools across the country as our committed, talented, resilient and imaginative workforce rise to the enormous challenge of ensuring their pupils are safe, that their basic needs are met and that their education continues. Please do seriously consider a career in teaching - you are joining a wonderful profession.

How will the application and interview process work while the University campus is closed?

You should apply as usual via UCAS Teacher Training. Our tutors will review your application and invite you to interview if you are selected. Interviews are taking place over Skype, and we will send you plenty of advice beforehand about how to prepare. One or more University tutors, school based mentors and teachers from our School Direct lead schools will be involved in your virtual interview. ITE tutors and school partners are really enjoying meeting enthusiastic applicants – in their front rooms and kitchens! - and will put you at your ease in this unusual situation. 

What opportunities will there be to meet tutors and find out more about the programme before I start?

We are keen to get to know you all and to ensure you can also meet your peers. Once you accept an offer on one of our ITE programmes, we will invite you to join our dedicated Facebook group. You will find a number of short films where tutors introduce themselves and you are most welcome to post questions and comments for the whole team. In addition, there will be Welcome Day events online in late June and early July where we will introduce all the tutors, give you information about the programme, give you some pre-course reading and activities to engage in and ensure you have a chance to meet your subject or phase tutor group too. 

I am worried about being able to meet GCSE or degree conditions, what should I do?

We do not anticipate issues with degree awards at this stage. You do not need to have attended a graduation ceremony, but you will need the transcript or other formal communication from your university to say that you have been successful. If you need a GCSE in mathematics, English of science, please look out for further information from www.equivalencytesting.com about their online exams this summer. 

I have been asked to complete School of Education tasks before I begin. I am concerned that if I fail these I will not be able to start (and I may have resigned my job).

Please do not worry. The tasks that we will ask you to complete are important for us so that we can plan work carefully for each of you. For primary students, for example, the mathematics and English tasks that we will set you give us important information about any additional study you will need to do alongside the programme. You cannot ‘fail’ these tasks.

What happens if I cannot attend the University to complete the DBS process? Will this delay my start?

Applicants who firmly accept an offer of a place will be contacted via email with further information about completing the DBS process.  Please do not send any documentation through the post or visit the campus to present your documentation, as our staff will not be available to receive these.

Read the University's latest statement on COVID-19