We are looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial this Autumn. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your degree programme can be safely delivered, we are writing to update you on how the College is planning to support a safe return to study and on how we intend to deliver your programme in 2021-22. 

We will require you to be in London from the start of the autumn term and for the whole of the 2021-22 academic year in order that you can attend on-campus activities. We plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online teaching activities (multi-mode), with a strong emphasis on prioritising your time on our campuses.  

We are planning for the most crucial and engaging learning opportunities to be delivered in-person and without social distancing in place. We anticipate UK government guidelines will support this decision by the time you arrive for the new academic year.  Lectures may be hosted online when this method is considered to be educationally beneficial to students, and when it is clear that online mode will reduce the risk of sustained COVID-19 transmission as our community emerges from the pandemic. We will use our experience of our past academic year when deciding how best to timetable your teaching. 

It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of next academic year, the balance of on-campus and online teaching may be subject to change. However, we share students’ hopes that we will be able to offer on-campus learning activities consistently throughout the coming year. 

Further details on the mix of on-campus and online activities and support available to you in your department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter. 

Institutional guarantees 

General 

Our priority is for you to experience everything our campuses and London has to offer.  However, you will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place for the College.  This may include requirements to undertake regular testing and to report the outcome of this testing to the College and strong expectations to have been vaccinated.  The completion of the required safety measures will ensure that we can keep the College community safe and satisfy the UK government and UK Public Health Authorities that we can continue with in-person on-campus activities, wherever possible. 

In the event that there is an escalation of the pandemic, then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. No additional fees will be charged if the programme cannot be delivered within the advertised timeframe. 

Details for your programme are set out in this communication. 

Attendance and Delivery of Teaching 

As you can appreciate, it is not entirely clear what circumstances we will be working with for the coming academic year, but we are planning the delivery of your programme on the assumption of a phased return to substantial amounts of on-campus teaching over the 2021-22 academic year. To accommodate this, we may plan to deliver your programme initially through a combination of on-campus and online activities (multi-mode), the balance of which will be reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. This means you will be required to attend the College in-person from the start of your programmeunless you can demonstrate that you have been impacted by exceptional COVID-19 related circumstances. 

In these circumstances you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities (except fieldwork*) which you might miss. You should contact Rebecca Smith (rebecca.smith2@imperial.ac.uk) if you anticipate not being able to travel to London for the start of term and would like to discuss your options with us. 

As a community, we have learnt a lot from this past year. Our combination of cutting-edge technology and academic excellence resulted in some new and creative ways of learning and engaging with each other on campus and remotely.   Many of the changes made to the learning experience have worked well, and therefore your department may retain some of these approaches in the new academic year to enhance your overall experience on campus, and these are specified in this communication. 

In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the pandemic, we will deliver some content online and, if necessary, reschedule activities which cannot be delivered online later in the 2021-22 academic year. Depending on the length and severity of any such scenario, if we are unable to deliver content remotely or re-schedule activities requiring in-person attendance [e.g. labs/practicals/etc] within the 2021-22 academic year to meet the learning outcomes of the programme, we may have to extend the length of your programme, with no extra fees being charged.  You will also be given the option to exit the programme and provided with a transcript of the credits achieved together with an exit award, where appropriate. 

*Please refer to the Programme Delivery section for further details. 

Assessment 

For assessments that take place in the Autumn Term, or at the start of the Spring Term of the 2021/22 academic year, where there was to be an in-person on-campus written examination, these will be assessed by timed remote assessments, irrespective of whether there are restrictions in place or not.  We may continue to deliver examinations by timed remote assessments where these are deemed the most appropriate method of assessment 

Safety 

You will be required to follow the safety requirements put in place on campus and in all College buildings (including halls) to ensure we keep the campuses and the Imperial community safe and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in our ability to deliver your degree programme and to offer you a full student experience.   

There will be requirements and expectations placed on you and other members of the College community to follow the safety measures put in place by the UK government and national and local public health authorities. You can view our current guidance for our community on our website. This may vary once we begin the academic year, but is likely to include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the results of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against COVID-19or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home countryFailure to follow the safety measures and any reporting requirements may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your research degree programme and on your access to the wider student experience.  

Student Experience 

Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of COVID-19, Imperial has been working with your Students’ Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience in all eventualities.  We identified key pillars of the wider student experience:  academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities.  Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services, considering current and potential future restrictions, are set out on our website. 

Your welfare will be supported by the Student Wellbeing Advisor, your Personal Tutor and your Senior Tutor. You will be able to liaise with module coordinators directly about any aspect of your learning, and/or communicate through your elected student representatives (departmental reps, academic year reps and academic wellbeing reps). You will continue to have access to the departmental student clubs (the IC Geology Society, the Geophysics Society, and Geology for Global Development) as well as the constituent Union, the RSMU. Club presidents will keep you updated about upcoming events, which will primarily be in-person. You will be able to attend departmental seminars and other ad-hoc events (e.g. careers talks), either in-person or remotely if appropriate.  

Delivery of your Programme of Study 

Departmental induction 

The core departmental induction activities for your programme will take place on-campus. These activities will be supplemented by some online activities. 

Further details will be provided nearer to the start of your programme. 

Content of the programme 

We have reviewed the learning outcomes for your programme to ensure these can be taught and assessed in a multi-mode format.  

No changes to the programme or module learning outcomes have been made as a consequence of moving to a multi-mode format. 

Scheduling  

We are not anticipating changing the term of when modules will be taught or assessed. 

Programme Delivery 2021-22 

The following activities will be delivered in person:  

Practical/interactive teaching sessions*1 

Fieldtrips 

Some personal and academic tutorials*2 

Some lectures and briefings*3 

Welfare support 

*The vast majority of sessions will be delivered in person, but in some cases timetabling and room capacity issues under Covid restrictions may mean that students cannot attend every session in person; in these cases students will attend certain sessions in person, and the remainder online. 

*Personal and academic tutorial delivery is devolved to individual staff, some of whom may not be able to deliver sessions face to face. 

*3 Lectures will variously be delivered as (a) pre-recorded, (b) live-streamed with some students physically present and others remote, or (c) face to face to the whole class. The mode chosen will consider factors such as class size, room capacity under Covid restrictions, pedagogical considerations, timetabling constraints, and Covid safety. 

The following activities will be delivered online:  

During periods when one or more student is absent from campus due exceptional COVID-19 related circumstances allowed by college policy, all activities will be delivered online in addition to face-to-face. An exception is field-trip modules taking place in 2022; we do not anticipate offering these in mixed-mode format, only in person. Students unable to attend for reasons relating to Covid may be set alternative work, or have the option of taking an interruption of studies, and/or to transferring to a non-accredited degree scheme. 

   

Online lectures will be a mixture of real-time and self-paced content. 

Practical/Interactive sessions will be real-time 

Personal and academic tutorials will be real-time 

Welfare support will be provided online in addition to in person 

Briefings will be real-time  

Online fieldtrips will be real-time 

In the event of a partial lockdown, selected activities will be moved to remote-only. Selection will be determined by the particular regulations and strictures imposed by any such lockdown. 

Support for online learning 

To access the content of the programme online you will be expected to have access to a computer. This must have a 64-bit Windows 10 or Mac OSX operating system, and at least 4Gb (preferably 8Gb) of RAM. You will also be expected to have access to a reliable internet connection and a webcam and microphone, and be able to use Microsoft Teams. Your College IT account will provide you with free access to the Office365 suite of tools, and further information about how to use Microsoft Teams is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/admin-services/ict/self-service/connect-communicate/office-365/apps/microsoft-teams/ . 

Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

Pastoral support during online learning will continue to be provided by the Student Wellbeing Advisor, Personal Tutors and the Senior Tutor. 

Length of the programme 

We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.  

Additional costs 

You will be expected to have access to a computer, webcam, microphone and to a reliable internet connection, and you will need to cover any associated costs for these. There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme if you have to study remotely. 

Field trips 

Some planned field trips may be cancelled, postponed, rescheduled or amended, or replaced with an online alternative that delivers the same learning outcomes. 

Year abroad programmes  

Your year abroad (or partial year abroad) may be cancelled or rescheduled.  The College will need to adhere to partner institutions requirements as well as to UK travel advice during the period of your year abroad. You will be entitled to transfer to the version of your programme without the year abroad option. 

Professional accreditation 

Professional accreditation for this programme remains in place even if it is being delivered in multi-mode format for 2021-22. 

Location 

In-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus.  

Visas and Immigration  

If you require a visa to study in the UK, it is important that you have read the guidance provided by the International Student Support Team at the College online.  

Imperial has a team of specialist immigration advisers who can provide specific advice on your immigration situation and on the best options for you. They can be reached by email on international@imperial.ac.uk . It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.