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Student Update: Next Academic Year, Progression (Modules, Timetables & Student Finance) & Graduation


Student Update:  Next Academic Year, Progression (Modules, Timetables & Student Finance) and Graduation

Following the recent government announcement outlining its three phase strategy for gradually lifting the current lockdown restrictions, I want to update you on what plans the University is putting in place over the coming months for the next stages of your studies and to prepare for the next academic year.  For those of you who will be completing your studies this summer, there are details about the changes to graduation ceremonies and about our graduate job search resources.

Academic Year 20/21

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have an effect on universities over the coming months; as the Prime Minister recently acknowledged  “life will be different, at least for the foreseeable future.”  This means that whilst we are planning for the next academic year to start on 28 September 2020 (with Welcome Week for new students being the week commencing 21 September) we do not expect, on the basis of current government guidance, for this to be with a full return to campus at that point.  

Our priority remains the safety of students and our staff.   Given the likelihood of only a gradual lifting of social distancing restrictions and the possibility of a second or third wave of the virus over the coming months, the start to our next academic year is likely to be very different from any we have experienced previously.

At present we expect that when we do return to campus we will need to put in place significant social distancing measures limiting the numbers of people who can be on site or in a room at any one time.   This will have implications for how we deliver learning, teaching and student support and we currently envisage that this will require a mixture of on-site and on-line delivery.    

We are working hard on mapping out what this may look like programme by programme, planning for a range of different scenarios.  We will endeavour to keep you updated on our planning with regular communications over the summer.  Nevertheless, you should be aware that these plans will be subject to change at any time in light of new announcements of government requirements or guidance.  I appreciate that the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on your studies and I am sorry that I am unable to give you further clarity at this stage.  Please be assured that in everything we are doing we are putting the student interest at the forefront of our planning for next academic year.

Progressing Students

For those students who are progressing onto the next stage of study you will be completing your assessments and finalising any outstanding work that needs to be submitted.  Whilst it has been a very challenging end to the academic year, I hope that you have found the range of support we have on offer to have been helpful over the past few months.

  • Choosing Your Modules

Considering the exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves, we have spent time over the past few weeks revising and refining our module structure so that it fits a blended online/traditional learning model in the event that social distancing is not relaxed significantly to allow us to return to campus in the next few months. From July, and where you are progressing to your next level, you will be asked to select your modules for next year. You will do this as part of the usual re-enrolment task through e:Vision. There will be further information on this to follow.

  • Timetables 

Currently the team are, as always, working hard to pull together the teaching timetable for the next semester in the midst of uncertainty about the shape of the next academic year. With this in mind the team are contingency planning for various iterations of the academic calendar whilst the primary focus remains coordination of all of the teaching requirements for when we are partially or fully back on campus, so we are ready for face to face teaching as soon as it is safe.

  • Applying for Finance

Please ensure that you re-apply for funding through Student Finance England as soon as possible to ensure you can be fully assessed and approved, ready for the next academic year. You will need to re-apply using this link:

Before you start the process please ensure you have your unique Customer Reference Number (CRN) and you know your secret answer and password as you will need this information to access your account.

Graduating Students

For those of you who are completing your studies, I want to reassure you that the University fully intends to celebrate your success  with you, through holding graduation ceremonies in the future when it is safe to do so. As you are aware we have had to postpone the September 2020 ceremonies until summer 2021. As soon as we have confirmed the dates we will let you know.

As some of you are entering the world of work in uncertain economic times, please make use of the Careers, Enterprise and The Workplace services we have on offer to help you. We also have support available for those of you who may want to start a business. You will be receiving information soon on a special package of support, Class of 2020, which is being designed specifically to help and support final year students as you make the transition from University to your chosen career.

If you want to continue studying with us, there is a 20% discount on offer for all of our graduating students if you think you might want to pursue a postgraduate degree.  Please see the range of benefits and offers on our Alumni webpage and do keep in touch with us when you leave.

National Student Survey Winners

The National Student Survey (NSS) closed on 30 April. We had 2,208 respondents which is an overall response rate of 71.53%. In these difficult circumstances I would like to thank all students who took the time to provide feedback. In doing so, you shape the future for students to come.

All entrants were entered into a free prize draw to win one of ten £50 Amazon vouchers. The winners have now been contacted via their university email. Please look for an email titled ‘You are our NSS 2020 prize draw winner!’ to see if you’ve won and for instructions on how to claim your prize.

The UK Engagement Survey (UKES) and Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) are both open until 15 June. Completers are entered into a free prize draw to win one of ten £20 Amazon vouchers. Take the survey from e:Vision.

Find out more about student surveys at  

Dedicated webpage and FAQs

You will find our dedicated web page here: along with Frequently Asked Questions on a range of topics which are regularly updated.  If you cannot find the answer here then please do email us at

Whether you are finishing your studies with us and looking forward to a graduation ceremony sometime in the future, whether you are moving into your next year of study or whether you’re currently abroad, living outside of the UK, and hoping to continue with your learning, I do appreciate that we are all living, still, in uncertain times and our priority must be to ensure that all of our students stay safe and well whilst at the same time continuing to be successful in your studies or in your chosen career path.

Professor Julia Clarke

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience)

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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