Foundation Pathways: Frequently Asked Questions


Will I have on-campus tuition? Is it safe?

We are planning for every eventuality given the uncertainties, and we know you will be trying to make your plans too. We very much hope the situation allows as many of you as possible to join us on campus so that you can access as many aspects of the wider student experience as possible. 

Find out more about getting here and getting started 

There are a few steps you should take before your arrival at University to help you keep healthy and safe. Take some time to think ahead so that you feel prepared. 

Read the health checklist 

Your wellbeing is our top priority and we are working on a range of measures to ensure you stay safe, happy and healthy whilst at University. Understand what is expected of you and make sure you know the guidelines you should follow. 

Read more about safety on campus 

Can I study online?

We know that for many of you it is not possible to travel to the UK for the start of your studies but we hope you can join us on campus at some point during the year. Due to the global situation of Covid-19, your teaching-learning experience is likely to be a mixture of online classes and face-to-face tuition. You will be taught online using the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); Canvas. Canvas will be the main source of academic information throughout your Foundation programme. 

How do I access Canvas?

You will be automatically enrolled onto a Foundation course and your modules' Canvas courses, which includes your teaching and learning timetable, your assignments and any quizzes or announcements from your tutor. You will also be able to access your module study guide and e-textbooks. 

Find out about Canvas 

Visit Canvas 

What equipment do I need?

You will need access to a computer that runs Windows 10 or Apple Catalina. To ensure that you can participate in the live sessions you will need a minimum of 0.5 Mbits/sec bandwidth, please check your internet speed and bandwidth: you can use online tools for this or contact your provider. 

You will also need a microphone and speakers: most computers have these built in. However, we recommend that you use a separate headphone with a built-in microphone that has a USB connection. 

We do not recommend using smartphones for taking part in live classes.  

What should I do if my internet connection is slow?

If you have a slower internet connection then please check with your provider to see if they can increase your bandwidth. Furthermore, you can also decrease your use by making sure you switch off all other internet dependent devices, you do not have any applications running on your computer and that you only use the webcam when necessary. 

Will I be able to access the teaching and learning materials in my country?

We have checked access to the materials in different countries and are confident that you should not have any accessibility issues. If you are delayed in joining a session due to technical issues, please consult the IT support pages or contact the lecturer. We will address any issues you may have and give each student full support to ensure that learning continues. 

What time of day will you teach?

Timetabled sessions will take into account the needs of students studying in different time zones for students studying online, live teaching will be scheduled between 09:00 - 14:00 UK time; teaching events will appear on your online timetable. You must arrive on time for teaching sessions, if you are delayed in joining a session due to technical issues please consult the IT support pages or contact the lecturer. All teaching sessions begin on the hour and finish 10 minutes before the hour to allow for breaks between sessions. If you arrive over 5 minutes late for a session you will be recorded as late. 

Will I receive textbooks?

To ensure that students studying on Campus and Online have equal access to learning materials your core reading material is being provided in eBook format. They will be provided by our book partner John Smith Book Store on your own personalised Kortext account. These eBooks have been carefully selected by your module leaders to ensure you have the learning resources required to give you a great start to your studies on the Foundation Programme and, best of all, it’s free and funded by the University! 

How do I access ebooks?

You will receive your unique username and password details via email to use at . The email will contain information on how to access your books, links to their App, support contacts and advice on how to change your password after your first login. 

If you do not receive your email by the end of the first week of teaching please contact the Foundation Team via email. 


What is the teaching schedule like? Will I receive an academic timetable?

Students are able to access personalised timetables for all modules via your my.bham. log in using your username and password. 

Make sure you check your timetable regularly in case of any changes to your lectures/seminars/tutorial. Also check your University email and Canvas at least twice a day as the Foundation team will contact you via these mediums.

Which modules will I study?

You will be registered for your modules based on the destination degree you are hoping to progress to following your Foundation Programme - this means for most students modules are compulsory. For those of you on the Arts, Business, Social Sciences and Law pathway starting in September you will be asked which optional modules you would like to study, in addition to any compulsory modules you must study. 

Module handbooks will be posted onto Canvas for you to access when you need to. You should refer to these so that you are fully aware of what is expected of you during your course for each module that you study. 

When will I be assessed?

In-course tests and examinations may take place throughout semesters 1 & 2, as well as in the examination period starting in May 2021. 

You must make sure that you are available to complete online assessments during the year. For this year all exams and assessments will be held online.

During the examination periods, examinations may take place on Saturdays, as well as Monday to Friday. 

You must not arrange to do other things during the Supplementary (re-sit) Exam period in August 2021 until you are sure that you have passed and progressed and will not need to take any reassessments. 

When can I register with the University?

To register online you will need your University username and password. You will receive your username, password and programme title by email. 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. You will need to have your passport and visa (if applicable) checked upon arrival and will then be provided with a student identification card. 


Will I get a student ID?

You will need to request an ID card from Student Services - they can arrange to send the card to you via the postal system or you can arrange an appointment to pick the card up on campus. Click here to request an ID card.

Remember, you can use your student ID number to sign up for an NUS extra card and make the most of the student discounts that come along with it.  

When should I apply for my visa if I delay my arrival to my UK?

If you are studying with us online for the first semester, you do not need a UK student visa. If you are living, or are planning to live in the UK, the University will need to check that you have the Right to Study via your residency status. If this applies to you, you will need to carry out a Right to Study (RTS) check with us before you start your course. 

How do I complete my RTS check?

Completing an RTS check is very easy: simply visit the My Right To Study webpage, where you will find all the information needed to upload your documents and complete your RTS check online. We recommend that you start the process of uploading these documents as soon as you receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you have any questions whilst completing the RTS check, please refer to the relevant online guide at My Right To Study or contact us via Student Help . 

As part of our sponsorship duties we are required to support all immigration control which means ensuring that every student at the institution who is subject to immigration control has permission to study in the UK, this is not limited to those students that we sponsor for a student visa (formerly known as a Tier 4 visa). 

Students who don’t have a student visa will normally hold a different BRP such as Dependant or Tier 2, (UK/EU nationals will also be contacted if they are ‘overseas for fees’) they still need to upload immigration documents and should refer to the relevant guide on the My RTS site. Most non-student route categories will fall under the ‘Other’ guide so visit the following webpage for more information.

If you are unsure what you need to upload please the International Student Team and they will be able to discuss what is required based on your current immigration status.

View International Student Team  

How do I access welfare support?

The BIA Wellbeing Officer and the International Student Support Coordinator can both provide support and advice throughout your studies. 

Our International Student Support Coordinator has a specific focus on students under the age of 18.  The BIA Wellbeing Officer can offer Skype/Zoom (video / phone) or telephone appointments. 

As a student of the University, there is a wide range of online resources available to you throughout your studies.  You can find out more about this as well as Frequently Asked Questions on wellbeing support

Who can I talk to if I have a question about student visas?

Please contact the University’s International Student Team (IST) for all visa advice relating to your studies. The IST are the only University staff members who are authorised to give immigration advice and guidance. 

How can I connect with other students at the University?  

Throughout your time as a student at the University, our student intranet will be a source of information about the University, services and support, and campus life. 

Visit the student intranet 

As a student at the University of Birmingham, you are automatically a member of the Guild of Students, your students' union. The Guild provides a range of support and social opportunities for students, including over 250 student groups and societies for you to join. 

Guild of Students 

How can I find out more about the course?

We are here to help you - ask for help if you need it or have any questions. You can view our frequently asked questions or contact us by email or telephone. Virtual drop-in sessions will be held weekly when you can ask the administration team any questions you have. More information on the day and time you can attend a drop-in session can be found via your Canvas course. 

Please note that in person contact is limited due to Covid-19 and if students who are on campus want to see us face-to-face they should email to arrange an appointment. 


t: +44 (0)121 415 1098