University is a personal experience and is made special by the people around you. Find out more below about our plans for your arrival, the social aspects of university life, and how you can make the most out of your time here.
We are committed to making sure that you get the full university experience when you join us here at Birmingham. We are working in close partnership with our students' union, the Guild of Students, to make sure that from the day you arrive, you have the opportunity to take part, to make friends, and to make Birmingham your home.
When you arrive (Welcome)
Our infamous Birmingham ‘Welcome’ awaits you and this year it will be extended so that you can make the most of the range of exciting activities we have to offer and so that you receive a warm Birmingham welcome whenever you arrive.
We’ll be making the best use of our beautiful outdoor spaces for events and activities on campus. If you've been to an open day, you'll know what we mean! We’ll be offering an extensive and exciting programme of activity delivered on-campus and virtually. We’ll make sure that your arrival process is smooth, and where you’re moving into accommodation you’ll be able to book your own timeslot to arrive.
We expect that some social distancing measures will still be in effect and that’s where our brilliant campus comes into its own. As much as possible, we’ll be using open air sheltered zones and activities will include introductory campus tours, small group activities, wellbeing events, musical performances, information stands, and a place to pick up your Welcome goodies.
Social activities, community building and making friends are so important at Welcome, and to the positive experience our students have on campus each year. You will have various opportunities to meet new friends, course mates and housemates, both in-person and virtually. The University and the Guild of Students are working in collaboration to organise a range of co-ordinated events and activities on campus to help you settle in, make new friends and find your way around. Examples of the types of activities we’re currently planning include outdoor cinemas, treasure hunts, mini golf, outdoor yoga, online quizzes, and activities that students can do with others in their accommodation such as decorating or cooking. We’re also proud to have our own fine art gallery on campus, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, who will be offering a series of creative online events and workshops on topics including creative writing, dance and illustration.
As a member of our postgraduate student community you are invited to fully engage with all that Welcome offers, and we also understand that specific and tailored activity is important for you. Postgraduate taught students will benefit from additional and bespoke activities including a virtual Postgraduate Welcome Address, and PGT Essentials, which brings new and recent postgraduate taught students together to share useful tips about postgraduate life at the University of Birmingham.
Our postgraduate researchers will be able to access postgraduate researcher-specific events and activities including the virtual Welcome Address, a series of PG Taskmaster events (one-day virtual team working projects), PhD chat, and Insider Secrets. All postgraduates will also be able to take part in a range of postgraduate-specific wellbeing activities including mindfulness and yoga.
Your Welcome timetable
Over the coming weeks we’ll be in regular communication with you on our latest plans, and you’ll be able to build your own programme of Welcome activity through our programme builder that we’ll share with you before you arrive. You can also be assured that our comprehensive range of tailored induction events, course briefings and Q&A sessions will be in place for your academic programme, as well as further information on our personal tutor system and the support available to you as a student here.
Meeting the postgraduate community
We have a diverse student body at Birmingham, from all walks of life and from different backgrounds.
Our Guild of Students is home to more than 400 student clubs and societies, so whether you are interested in baking, skydiving, singing, sports, politics or food - you are sure to find the perfect group for you. You can join a student group at any point in the year and each group will host its own calendar of events and activities. Our Multi-Faith Chaplaincy also offers an inclusive space for prayer, meditation, relaxation and more. All students are welcome, whether you consider yourself to be religious or not.
University Graduate School
The University Graduate School provides dedicated support and opportunities for all postgraduates. The University Graduate School website is a gateway to information, support, and community for postgraduate students. Once you begin your studies at the university, you will receive a monthly newsletter from the University Graduate School to help keep you informed about opportunities available to you during your time here.
Enjoying your city
Lockdown is slowly lifting across the UK, and as it does some locations across Birmingham and the West Midlands are starting to open up too. Shops, restaurants, bars and pubs are opening when it is safe for them to do so, as the city and the world starts to get back on its feet. Birmingham has a range of wonderful attractions where you can meet up with friends, and acres of green spaces waiting to be explored. Our campus is a green space, and just a mile away is Cannon Hill Park. Birmingham has more than 500 parks, so why not use the Find A Park tool here to see what we have on offer. As a city with hundreds of independent businesses, many have adapted swiftly to the current situation and as well as reopening their businesses, they are developing new ways of working to suit everyone's needs - so you'll still find street food stalls, arts markets, cocktails and more throughout the city.
Whilst you're waiting to explore the city, Visit Birmingham have put together a useful web page containing virtual tours, videos and more, to give you a taster of the things in the West Midlands that you'll soon be able to explore in-person. You can also explore our own city website content, including what our students think of the city and their hidden gems.
Sport and fitness is a great way to get more out of your experience at Birmingham. With two fitness facilities, our Sport & Fitness centre on campus and Tiverton Gym in Selly Oak, there’s a range of different memberships to suit everyone, whether you want to swim, play squash, try a new sport, or use the gym. Our team at Sport & Fitness are putting plans in place to adhere to social distancing guidelines to ensure you can work out safely, and achieve your fitness goals in a comfortable environment. Keep an eye on the Sport & Fitness website for the latest details and news on when memberships go on sale.
For those who prefer to workout from home, for the first time we will be offering a Virtual Sport & Fitness membership option. Whilst we are working hard on getting this up and running, in the meantime you can visit our Virtual Sport & Fitness club Facebook page
. Here, all you have to do is answer a few questions to be added to the group, and you’ll have access to live and pre-recorded classes such as Body Pump, Pilates and Body Attack, workouts from our expert instructors, blogs, recipes, and more - so you can be part of the Sport & Fitness community wherever you’re working out.
We have 56 sports clubs at Birmingham, so you can discover a new sport or develop your skills in one you love. For those who have embraced outdoor exercise recently, we have an Athletics club, a social running club called ‘Cool Runnings’, Cycling, Triathlon, and Football, and although not all sports may be able to train and compete as usual straight away, clubs will be organising appropriate training sessions to enable teams to get back together. Check out the student club pages on the Sport & Fitness website for information about each sport, and stay tuned for details on how to join a club during Welcome.
For those who don’t want to play competitive sport, UoB Sport & Fitness offers opportunities to discover a new sport in Just Play, and coached sessions through Social Sport and Try A Sport. You may also want to take part in a recreational, friendly league in Campus League. Whilst some sports like Netball and Basketball might not be able to kick off the autumn term as they normally would, a range of socially-distanced sessions - where you can meet new people and do relevant drills and training – will be available.
Each academic year, University Music provides music-making opportunities for up 2,000 students and members of the local community through a variety of ensembles and projects for choirs, orchestras, instrumental ensembles, jazz groups and those wishing to explore music creatively. For those starting in September 2020, students will continue making music together and can become virtual members of the Music Society, joining online for a number of virtual performances, workshops, and social events. Chamber music - both classical and with small jazz bands - will be the focus of the autumn term, with an enhanced level of professional coaching. As we approach spring and summer there will be a gradual increase in the size and scale of our ensembles as guidance around social distancing for musicians changes. This June, University Music’s annual Summer Festival of Music took place online, with students working work together and reaching audiences of over 8,000. Creative student projects will be at the heart of our music activity, and events will be designed to maintain our sense of community and to enable students to continue to inspire each other.