FAQs for future students

Page last updated: Friday 3 September 2021

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 sure our incoming students will be safe, healthy and happy when they arrive. You can find out all about what we're doing to prepare for September 2021 on our dedicated website using the button below.

Preparing for September 2021 at the University of Birmingham 

This page contains information for:


I’m worried about my place at university for September 2021 – 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 update our September 2021 webpages, so do keep checking these throughout the summer.

How can I find out what will happen on A level results day this year and how my results will be considered?

You will find all of the information you need for Results Day 2021, including information about how grades are being considered, on our dedicated Admissions Information page.

When does term start for me?

Semester One will begin on 20 September 2021. You can find Key Dates including vacation periods on our Term Dates page.

For further infomation about Welcome Week and induction activties take a look at the Your Birmingham Experience page.

Can I defer my place at Birmingham?

Only those who have met, or exceeded, in full the conditions of their offer, can defer entry from September 2021 to September 2022. (Note that this does not apply to medicine, which does not accept deferrals except in exceptional circumstances.) If you have met the terms of your standard offer you can apply to defer by filling out our deferral request form.

Applicants who have not met in full the conditions of their offer and still wish to defer, will normally be required to apply again and be considered alongside new applicants for 2022 entry.

Offer holders who have previously indicated a desire to defer to 2022 entry but now wish to enter in 2021 should contact the Admissions Office using contact details provided in their offer contract. We will not be able to consider such requests where there are no vacancies remaining on your chosen course.

Can I still apply for student finance for 2021 entry?

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.

I have applied for a course with a year abroad for September 2021 – how will Covid-19 affect my year abroad?

We are working with 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 2023 for those who start university in September 2021).

I’m a private candidate – what does this year's situation mean for me?

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. 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 page as more information becomes available.

You can view the latest guidance from OfQUAL for students hoping to progress to University.

I am due to attend an offer-holder visit day or an open day – is this still going ahead?

Our designated offer-holder events for 2021 have now finished. However, students looking to join us for 2021 can register their interest to book a campus tour and visit our edgbaston campus in person. 

If you are looking to study at the University from September 2022 and beyond, our next Undergraduate Open Days are due to take place on campus 11 September and 16 October 2021 (subject to government guidance).  

The best thing to do is register for an event  so that we can keep you up-to-date with our latest plans.

You can also chat to academics and current students at any time through Unibuddy.


I have submitted an application to the University for September 2021 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. 

Can I defer or amend the start date for my programme

Postgraduate Taught Programmes

If you wish to defer your entry to 2022 you will normally need to have met the academic conditions specified in your offer.  Conditional offers may be deferred if other conditions, such as English Language proficiency, are yet to be met.

Please note that if there is a significant change in the academic requirements for your programme for entry next year your application will be re-considered against the revised requirements.

Requests to defer must be made through your applicant portal no later than 17 September 2021.  We cannot guarantee to consider deferral requests received after this date.

To request deferral please log into the applicant portal and click on the ‘Deferral Request’ button found at the bottom of your application details. The deferral request option will be available to eligible postgraduate taught applicants from 1 July 2021.

Where a deposit is required, this is to be paid (or proof of scholarship provided) no later than 30 September 2021, and this must be received prior to any new offer being made for 2022 entry.

The admissions team will process deferral requests as soon as possible after the closing date of 17 September.

If you encounter difficulties in accessing your applicant portal please contact the DAAS System team. If you do not have access to the Deferral Request option in the applicant portal please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team  with your request.

Postgraduate Research Programmes

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 with your request.

Will my programme begin in September? 

All of our taught programmes will begin in September. 

Our plan is to be able to offer you a full campus-based and in-person teaching experience that provides full access to our world class teaching and learning facilities. This may change if there are changes to government regulations or guidance but we have reasons to feel optimistic and are very much looking forward to welcoming you in September.

What if I feel that my research will be significantly impacted by the measures put in place on campus?

We hope that your research and studies will not be impacted significantly by COVID-19. However, if, when you start at Birmingham, you are unable to complete essential research tasks as a result of COVID-19, you will be advised to log the extent of the problem with your supervisor and may be able to apply for either a Leave of Absence (LOA) or extension to your studies. 


Will study be permitted online in September? 

Wherever possible, we encourage you to be here on campus in September. We recognise that if you’re travelling from a red or amber country, you’ll face some additional challenges and we have support in place to help you. We are really excited to welcome you to our beautiful campus. However, if you aren’t able to arrive for the start of term, whilst we would encourage you to travel as soon as is possible you can start your programmes online*. Visa flexibility means that you could travel any time up until 6 April 2022.  If you are expecting to start your studies online, there’s nothing you need to do yet, but we’ll be in touch later in the summer asking you to confirm if you are joining us on campus, or if you’ll be starting remotely.

*Some students may need to be on campus by a certain date to complete compulsory course elements or to meet accreditation standards. If this applies to you, we will be in touch directly to confirm the date you need to be on campus. 

Will the University cover the cost of quarantine for those arriving from 'red list' countries? 

We know that you may have concerns about travelling to the UK for your studies especially given the increased challenges and costs you may face if you are arriving from a country on the UK Government’s red list.

We want to make sure that these concerns don’t get in the way of your decision making and are therefore pleased to announce that we will cover the costs of the required period of hotel quarantine for any self-financing students that are travelling to the UK directly from a country currently on the ‘red list’. This will be covered by reducing your tuition fees by up to  £2,285*

For more information on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel, please visit the Government website.

For more information on this support, please see our terms and conditions.

*This excludes students whose fees and living costs are covered by a sponsor and applies only to countries on the ‘red list’ as of 03/09/2021, or countries previously on the red list which have subsequently been removed. Countries added to the red list after this date will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

I have already arrived in the UK from a red list country; can I still claim the cost of my quarantine?

The University are able to cover the cost of quarantine for those travelling from red list countries* to attend campus for the 2021-22 academic year. We appreciate that some of you may want to arrive before the start of semester so will be offering this support for anyone arriving from a red list country from Monday 5 July 2021 who will be studying with us in the next academic year. We are unable to consider costs incurred in the previous academic year. 

*As listed by the UK Government, as of 03/09/2021, or countries previously on the red list which have subsequently been removed. Countries added to the red list after this date will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

What support will the University provide for students arriving from a country which is on the UK government’s 'amber list'?

We are aware that you may be concerned about travelling to the UK if you are arriving from a country on the UK Government’s 'amber list' and the additional costs that may be involved. 

We want to assure you that we are offering as much support as possible and are pleased to be able to offer free accommodation for up to 10 days for international students who will arrive from countries on the UK Government’s 'amber list'. Students who are domiciled in a country on the 'amber list' who have booked University or partner accommodation will be eligible for this support from 9 September. The period between 9 September and the original contract start date of 20 September, will be completely free of charge.

If you’re in university or partner accommodation, and to ensure that you’re fully supported over this period, you’ll also receive a free Welcome package which will include:

  • A bedding pack for all bedding needs.
  • A dining starter pack including cutlery and crockery.
  • Shared use of a kitchen pack within the flat kitchen including pots and pans.
  • A food box providing food and basic essential items to support them through the 10-day period.
  • A ‘Welcome Box’ of gifts/ freebies.
  • Regular calls from staff/students to check on your wellbeing and how you’re settling in.
  • A range of activities to keep students engaged (for example, virtual opportunities to meet others isolating, online exercise classes and virtual English language courses).

If you’ve chosen to live in private rented accommodation please speak with your provider as they can supply information to help support students arriving from amber-list countries. Closer to the start of term we’ll also provide you with more information on supermarkets and other services who deliver if you have to isolate in private accommodation when you arrive.

*Countries on the amber list as of 06/07/2021. Countries added to the amber list after this date will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

If I do travel to the UK, will my teaching all be face to face?

Our plan is to be able to offer you a full campus-based and in-person teaching experience from September. In addition, we recognise that many of our students have found enhanced digital material helpful in supporting their learning, so we will be using our extensive expertise in online and digital learning to supplement and enhance your teaching experience whilst you’re on campus. We can also use online learning as a back-up option for any students that are unable to access campus due, for example, to travel restrictions.

If you do start online, you’ll experience live remote access sessions, and also benefit from all core teaching being pre-recorded so you can watch at the most convenient time for you. You’ll have regular meetings with your Personal Academic Tutor and take part in online group tutorials, and where appropriate, assessments may be completed online as well. Our online provision has been developed and enhanced continually over the past 18 months, so you can be assured that however you start your course, you’ll be getting an outstanding Birmingham experience. To find out more about what you can expect teaching to be like in September, whether you study on campus or online, please visit our preparing for 2021 webpages.

If I can't get to the UK, but lab teaching is all face to face will I be missing out against students in the face to face classes?

Please be aware that some accredited programmes require you to complete learning outcomes for which you will need to be present on campus at some point during the next academic year; and some programmes involve lab-based and other forms of practical work that cannot be done online. You may also have such activities from this year that will need to completed. We will be in contact with you closer to the start of next academic year if that is the case for you.

I don't know when I will get my final results. What should I do?

 We’re aware that you may experience in a delay in receiving your results this year. If you are still due to receive your results, please let us know when you expect this will be. As far as we possibly can we will be flexible with our deadlines and with our requirements.

What will happen if I am unable to submit my transcripts to meet the condition of my offer under current circumstances?

 If you won’t be issued with a formal transcript by our deadline you may be able to obtain a letter confirming your results and provided this is on letter headed paper and confirms the grades you have received we will accept this (you can upload this via our application system).

What is the latest date for submitting documents?

For undergraduate students, the latest date for submitting documents for meeting conditions of entry is August 31st. For postgraduate students, it is the 3rd September but we would recommend you submit prior to this date.

Will the University extend document deadlines to allow for later submission based on late exam results? How late?

Where we can provide flexibility around our deadlines and requirements we will do. Please do note that we will not be able to provide you with a CAS in support of your Student Route visa application until you have an unconditional offer.

What is the latest arrival date on the CAS?

The latest arrival date on your CAS will be 1 November (for courses starting at the end of September). However, if you're unable to arrive by this date you should contact the Admissions Office who may be able to reissue your CAS. 

Will my tuition fees be lower if I undertake any or all of my course by distance learning?

Our response to the current crisis, and circumstances that are outside of our control, has been to prioritise the wellbeing and progression for all students. In advance of the University campus entering restricted operations we had plans in place to move quickly to provide online teaching and learning content so that students can continue their studies.  Our staff are continuing to work remotely in support of students and are continuing to set and mark assessments so that students can complete the academic year.  While physical spaces, including the Library, are unavailable, students can continue to access our significant online content and collections.  Many of our other services, where we can, continue to be available online. It is different, and it is not what we expected to deliver for the remainder of the academic year.  However, and similar to other Universities in the UK and around the world, we are committed to ensuring that students continue to receive tuition and support online. In these extraordinary circumstances, and having considered this carefully, the University is not anticipating offering any tuition fee refund, or general financial compensation related to this global event.

Will I be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination when I arrive in the UK? Will having a vaccination be compulsory?

As with students currently in the UK, all international students arriving from September will be eligible for a vaccination. Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. More information is available from the NHS website, including information on which vaccine you may receive. 

The University does not require you to be fully vaccinated before you arrive in the UK, but we strongly encourage you to register with a GP, and follow the guidance provided by the NHS to get vaccinated if you are eligible. 

Should I accept my accommodation offer if I’m an international student?

If you plan to arrive on campus between 9 September and 1 November, you should accept your offer of accommodation from us. To help make travelling to your new home as stress-free as possible, you can move into your University or Partner accommodation up to 10 days before the beginning of your contract (from 9 September), at no extra cost. Your contract will begin on 20 September, and you will receive support from the Living team and a free Welcome package to help you settle in. 

At Birmingham, we’ll also support you if you’re unable to travel to campus during your first semester or choose to postpone your travel arrangements. If this is the case, please get in touch with the Living team and do not accept your offer. We will send you another accommodation offer closer to your arrival date.

We only encourage you to accept your offer of accommodation if you know you will arrive in the UK by 1 November at the latest. 

What if I can’t arrive by 1 November?

We understand that travelling is more challenging this year, which is why we offer you the flexibility to join us on campus whenever you’re able.

If you know that you won’t be able to arrive here by 1 November, please contact the Living team at info@living.bham.ac.uk and do not accept your offer. We’ll then send you a new accommodation offer within seven days, ensuring that you have the widest range of options available to you. 

Will I still have the same accommodation options if I arrive after 1 November?

We expect to have the full range of accommodation options available; however, these will be subject to availability at the time of your expected arrival. Rest assured though that we’ll match you to the accommodation that best suits your needs and be here to support you every step of the way.

What if my flight is cancelled and I can’t travel?

If your flight is cancelled, and your new flight is after 1 November, please let the Living team know as soon as possible (and include any evidence). We will cancel your original offer of accommodation and send you a new one closer to the date of your arrival. You will not be penalised for the cancellation if you inform the Living team before 1 November 2021.

I like my offer but will be arriving after 1 November. Can I keep my booking but pay less?

No, we strongly advise you to decline your offer. We ask you to inform us as soon as you know your arrival date in Birmingham so we can arrange a new offer for you. We expect to be able to offer a similarly attractive option to you, matching you with the accommodation that best suits your needs.

If you accept your booking, you will be liable for the full accommodation costs which are charged from 20 September 2021 onwards.

If you have any questions or know that you won’t be able to join us by 1 November, get in touch with us at info@living.bham.ac.uk. Our friendly team will work hard to ensure you receive the best accommodation for your needs and requirements.

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

If you have specific questions which aren’t addressed in these FAQs, please visit our preparing for 2021 webpages or 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.