You may still have questions about how you take up your place at Birmingham this year – from delayed qualifications or cancelled exams, through to how you arrive on campus if you’re travelling from outside the UK. In this section we aim to answer all these questions, and let you know who you can speak to if you have further questions.
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.
There are a number of options available to you to ensure that you have every opportunity to study with us, whether that means a combination of campus and online teaching, starting online, or a delayed start. We have emailed our current offer-holders about our plans for September, and have informed of any potential delayed start dates for specific programmes as well as our flexible plans for the 2020 academic year.
Flexibility for the 2020 academic year
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. However, we are also extending our welcome period for new students – so that whenever you are able to get to us, you can be sure of a warm Birmingham welcome.
For new and returning students, the options you have for the first semester are:
- Arrive at the start of the semester as originally planned
- Start online and arrive on campus at any time during the first semester to suit you
- Or study the first semester all online.
Whatever you choose you can be reassured that we are planning to support you to begin your studies wherever you are, whenever you can get to us, and whatever happens with the pandemic.
If I want to start online what do I do next? Who do I need to tell?
You will receive an email inviting you to register, and once complete you are fully registered for your programme of study. At this stage, that’s all you need to do and this allows you to begin at the start of term on campus or online.
What does this mean for my CAS?
For further information on the CAS process please check the information further down this page. If you intend to start your studies online and arrive in Birmingham after the start of term, you can make your visa application when you know your UK arrival date, but please bear in mind typical visa processing times. Please visit our International Student Team pages for further information on visas. If you have any questions or concerns about your CAS please contact the Admissions Office.
What does this mean for accommodation?
If you’ve already applied for University accommodation we will be in touch with you in the next couple of days with further information on your contract for the next academic year. If you have applied for private accommodation and have an idea of your arrival date, please contact the accommodation provider directly to discuss your options.
Admissions to your programme
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.
Meeting your English Language requirements
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 more information on English language requirements from our dedicated webpages.
Receiving your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and applying for your visa
Once you have met all the terms of your offer and your status changes to unconditional accept, we will issue your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) within five days. Once you have received your CAS you will have what you need from us to be able to apply for your visa. However, the situation in your home country may affect your ability to apply for your visa due to Visa Application Centre (VAC) closures. Please check the UK Government website for the status of VACs in your country.
As you begin to prepare your visa application to come and study in the UK, we have collated some useful information:
- To study a course which is longer than six months in duration you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
- The International Student Team (IST) have a dedicated visa page which explains in detail how to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa, the documents you need for your visa application, what you can and cannot do on this visa and what to do if your visa is refused.
- The earliest you can submit your application is three months before your course starts, but you can start planning straightaway by ensuring you have the correct documents and enough funding in your bank account.
- To apply for your Tier 4 (General) visa please visit the UK Government website.
- If you are studying a course of less than six months you can apply for a short-term study visa.
As a student who requires a visa to be in the UK, you will need to carry out a Right to Study (RTS) check with us before you start your course. 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.
If you need any support with your visa application, the International Student Team (IST) offer lots of advice and guidance.
Deferring your place
Postgraduate Taught Programmes
We will be able to consider deferral requests after 1 August 2020. 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. Please be aware that a non-refundable deposit of £1,500 will be payable to secure your place for September 2021. The admissions team will process deferral requests in due course (after the current academic session applications have been processed).
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.
Our International Recruitment team will be inviting all offer holders due to start with us in September to pre-departure briefings from late July through to the end of August. These briefings will go through a range of topics, including;
- What it is like living in the UK and in our home, the city of Birmingham
- Advice on travelling to the UK
- Visa information and guidance
- The latest updates on what we have done to ensure your safety for your arrival onto campus
In addition, our team will also give you some tips on things to pack and things not to pack based on their experience of advising students over the years.
Look out for an invitation to one of these pre-departure briefings, which we will be sending out by email from mid-July onwards.
Can't find an answer? Try our detailed FAQs below:
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? REVIEWED - 13 August, 10:00
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.
How will the pandemic affect the University's relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company? REVIEWED - 07 July, 15:00
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I feel that my research will be significantly impacted by the measures put in place on campus?UPDATED - 08 July, 11:00
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.
I have further questions – how can I find out more information? REVIEWED - 13 August, 10:00
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.
Initial Teacher Education (ITE) 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 only task that we are asking you to complete is to engage with our open access pre-course online learning programme. By undertaking some pre-course tasks and reviewing your learning you will help us to plan carefully for you all in the year ahead. It is not possible to fail this task in any way.
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.