Studying and research – your academic experience

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.

Page last updated: Wednesday 21 July 2021

Our key information

  • Your programme will begin in September and will be delivered in-person, on campus
  • To ensure you’re supported during your studies, you will have individual, 1-to-1 tutorials with your personal academic tutor and weekly tutorial groups, or monthly supervisor meetings if you're a researcher
  • Our study spaces, including the Main Library, will be open with access to computer clusters and quiet places to study
  • Our range of student support services will be available for all students throughout your programme

What will it be like 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. 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.

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.

Your learning experience

Following the latest Government and Department for Education guidance, we can confirm our plans for in-person, on-campus teaching and accompanying online support.

We have taken into account a range of different COVID- related scenarios and are confident we will be able   to deliver education successfully, regardless of restrictions imposed or lifted throughout the year.

Our Adaptable Teaching Model for 2021-22 has five main elements:

All core teaching content will be pre-recorded and made available online 

These recordings will be as preparation for the in-person, large group interactive lectures that follow.

This year, our students reported that they found the availability of preparatory content online very helpful in supporting their learning. This is particularly the case for students with a disability, caring responsibilities, or English as a second language. This also means that you continue to access core teaching content even if you are required to self-isolate, are unable to travel, or if staff are required to isolate.

In-person, large group interactive lectures will go ahead in the normal way 

These lectures will typically be run in the normal way, unless the Government requires us to introduce COVID-related restrictions that make this impossible.

The interactive lectures will reinforce and extend the core content that is available online and your tutor will focus on explanation, clarification, examples and interactive learning. These sessions will be recorded (where appropriate) so they are available to you even if you are self-isolating or unable to travel.

For international studentswho may face travel restrictions for extended periods of time, we are also preparing to make live, remote access available to many of the large group lectures.

Small group teaching such as seminars, labs and skills sessions will go ahead in-person 

These teaching and practical sessions will happen in the usual way, unless we are required to introduce COVID-related restrictions.

If we do need to restrict access at any point in the year, we will introduce the ‘1 metre +’ socially distanced schedule in which we operated this academic year. We will run additional online sessions if you are unable to attend, and/or run hybrid sessions in which you can access the sessions simultaneously in person and online.


You will have a Personal Academic Tutor and  regular academic support with our Online Group Tutorials

To ensure you’re supported throughout your studies, you will be assigned to an online academic tutor group with students on your course, where you will meet with a designated personal tutor regularly.

In addition to the opportunity to meet with your tutor individually to discuss assessment feedback and other issues, these group sessions are designed to build your confidence, help you get to know and learn from other students, and provide a strong link to an academic tutor who will support your progress through your studies. 

Based on our experience of running online group tutorials this year, students reported that the online format was convenient and accessible, and the group format helped them to connect with their peers.

Assessments will take a range of formats, including different types of examination and coursework

Based on our success in delivering inclusive online assessments this year, we will be retaining online assessments where they are appropriate to the specific requirements and learning outcomes of the programme.

We can also introduce online assessments for all programmes if the Government imposes COVID-related restrictions.  

However, there are programmes with specific practical and professional requirements where on-campus, in-person teaching and assessments will be required at some point in order to progress. Your School will advise if this applies to you.


Study spaces and academic support

Our study spaces, including the Main Library, will be open from the start of term to provide you with space to study in an airy, safe environment. As well as bookable computers across campus, our high-speed Wi-Fi is available in all study spaces and University and partner accommodation.

We have enhanced our extensive online collection of resources, books and journals that you can access through the Library from anywhere in the world, and we have increased the range of software that is available online, including free access to Office365.

Access the Academic Skills Centre

The Academic Skills Centre will help to remind you, or show you for the first time, the academic and library skills to help you achieve the best possible results in your postgraduate degree. With events and workshops covering a range of skills, our staff can guide you through themes including academic writing and techniques for effective learning. We also offer bookable, one-to-one appointments with our skills advisors to help you develop personal strategies for improving your writing and academic skills, sharing small excerpts of your written work.

If you've been out of education for a period of time, you might worry about your ability to return to academic study; this is normal. If you would like to refresh your academic skills, our Academic Skills Gateway (ASG) can help.

The ASG provides resources to equip and help you prepare; from guides on writing, referencing, researching and reflecting all your findings, to short online Canvas courses on transitioning to postgraduate study. Postgraduate study is more challenging but also more independent, and this gateway gives you access to a range of opportunities to practise, develop and improve. Once you register with us, you’ll have access to this suite of resources through your student account.

The University Graduate School (UGS)

The UGS supports our postgraduate community, at both taught and research level. The team works closely with the other University support services to ensure our postgraduates have access to a high quality postgraduate experience. Their events offer opportunities for development and academic skills but, as importantly, for wellbeing and socialising to ensure you feel part of the postgraduate community.

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. 

Explore the University Graduate School

Support for researchers

Our Research Skills Team supports postgraduate research students to become more effective researchers, now and throughout their careers, and our staff can guide you through those first few weeks as you develop your personal approach to your research. We offer a range of online resources on topics such as thesis guidance, research methods and communicating your research, preparing you for each step in your doctoral research journey.

With events and workshops also available, you can access research skills training in a variety of formats. We also acknowledge the broad range of disciplines and interdisciplinary research being conducted, so our staff adopt a coaching approach, encouraging you to develop transferable skills linked to career progression within and outside academia.


High quality student support services 

We are committed to supporting you from before you arrive right through to your graduation and beyond to ensure that you get the most out of your university experience. Everyone is different and our range of support services are tailored to your personal needs.

From support for your mental health and wellbeing, through to supporting you with your finances, housing, employment, a disability or with your future career, we have professionals who are vastly experienced whatever your needs may be.