Getting here and getting started

We know that you’ll be looking forward to starting your studies in the UK next year, but that you may have questions about how we are planning to adapt our teaching should there be ongoing challenges related to the pandemic.

Find out more about travelling to the UK

Flexibility for the 2021 academic year

We have a number of reasons to be more optimistic about next year. In particular, the UK vaccination programme is progressing well and the plan is to have it fully rolled out by the autumn. At the same time, we recognise that uncertainties remain and no-one can accurately predict the future progress of the pandemic. We are, therefore, planning for all possible scenarios. 

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our learning community on campus at the start of the next academic year. Of course, we also understand that for some students, circumstances might mean that physical travel is not possible. If this is the case for you, we will ensure there are online resources available so you can progress with your studies throughout Semester 1 until you are able to join us on campus.

These resources will include a wide range of online learning material as appropriate to your programme including: digital/online resources to prepare for lectures, high-quality recordings of lectures and other teaching, regular face-to-face tutorial sessions, group-work sessions (subject to timetables/time zones), and online discussion forums. You will be supported to access and make the most of other learning and support resources online.

Our pre-sessional English courses are also available to be taken on campus, or fully online and you can find more information on their duration and how to sign up on our pre-sessional webpages

Please be aware that there are some accredited programmes that will require you to be present on campus at some point during the academic year, and we will be in contact with you closer to the time if that is the case. 

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops over the next few months. Meanwhile, we look forward to welcoming you to our University of Birmingham community.

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 2021 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 2021 we will accept the following additional tests as evidence of English language proficiency:

  • TOEFL “At Home” Test
  • Password English (more information on how to register for this test will be updated soon)
  • IELTs Indicator (entry requirements match standard IELTs requirements listed on our English Language requirements pages)
  • Duolingo English test (for pre-sessional English programmes only)

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 student route visa
  • The International Student Team (IST) have a dedicated visa page which explains in detail how to apply for a student route 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 six months before your course starts, and you can start planning straightaway by ensuring you have the correct documents and enough funding in your bank account. 
  • To apply for your student route 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 2021. 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 2022. 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.

Pre-departure briefings

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.