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 expect 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.  Large group teaching 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 the balance of on-campus and online teaching may be subject to change, depending on official government guidance during the coming year. 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 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 have to offer.  However, you will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place for the College.  These may include requirements to undertake regular testing and to report the outcome of this testing to the College, and a strong expectation that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home country.  Adherence to the required safety measures will ensure that we can keep the College community safe and satisfy the UK government and UK Public Health Authorities so that we can continue with in-person on-campus activities, wherever possible. 

If there is a further escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, then, in line with Public Health advice from the UK Government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. In the event of suspension of on-campus activity, in-person activities will be delivered to all students online, or as an online alternative, that delivers the same approved learning outcomes.  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 programme, with no delayed arrival permitted. 

We understand there are some reasons you may be prevented from being able to travel to London for the start of the academic year.  In these circumstances the programme will unfortunately not be in a position to offer you a remote alternative to any on-campus activities which you might miss.  

You should contact the Faculty Education Office (feo-admissions-interviews@imperial.ac.ukif 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 we 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. 

Assessment 

The BMB programme is assessed through a mix of written and practical examinations and in-course assessments.  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 if this is 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 country. Failure to follow the safety measures and report them to College may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your 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 coronavirus (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 and College-wide induction arrangements, considering current social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our COVID 19 pages 

Whilst the Student Union activities may not be quite the same as normal, the dedicated Imperial College School of Medicine Students’ Union (ICSMSU) will still be active and here for you for the years ahead.  ICSMSU is looking forward to your arrival at Imperial and is busy preparing for the Autumn term.  We are making plans for an enjoyable Welcome Week to make sure you feel part of the community at Imperial. 

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 on the School of Medicine Induction Hub (a portal to support your transition from offer holder to enrolled student). 

Content of the programme 

As a BMB student at ICSM, we will support you to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to tackle challenges facing human health today.  This may include researching pandemics like the one we face now, but it could also include researching cancer, working in laboratories, or pursuing science in other areas. 

Biomedical scientists are leading the fight against COVID-19, and there has never been a better time to pursue an education in this field. Whether you’re interested in studying infectious diseases and immunology, cancer, neurobiology or other areas in this field, your studies will equip you with skills to change the world and to make a difference. 

Your programme is designed to be digitally led, and we will deliver it as a multi-mode experience. This means that your learning will be a combination of on-campus and online learning. 

The theoretical modules are taught through digital materials and classroom-based teaching.  Our interactive classroom teaching will be delivered in a hybrid way, so that some of you will join the teaching team on campus and others will join the session online.  In each module, we will rotate students between online and on-campus attendance so that you have a mixture of both.  Whether you are attending a teaching session on campus or joining online, you will have access to the same teaching and learning resources.  We expect that all students will be on campus for theoretical teaching once or twice per week.  However, we will adapt the amount of on-campus and online delivery in line with Government restrictions and College health and safety guidance. 

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. 

Should there be further disruption because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that some staff within the Faculty of Medicine may be temporarily unavailable due to their professional or clinical responsibilities.  We will make alternative arrangements if this directly affects your teaching. 

Scheduling

In the Autumn term, you will study your core theoretical modules of Chemistry of Biological Interactions (CBI), Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and Statistics (STAT).  In the Spring and Summer terms you will complete Integrative Body Systems (INTS) and your Lab Pod 1 modules. 

Programme Delivery 2021-22 

The following activities will be delivered in person:  

  • All practical teaching, particularly Lab Pod 1 teaching. 

  • Theoretical modules will be delivered partially in person, partially online. 

The following activities will be delivered online:  

  • Most large-group teaching will be delivered online 

In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered in person:  

  • As much Lab Pod teaching as possible will continue to be delivered in person.  

In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered online:  

  • All theoretical teaching and pastoral activities will be delivered online. Some practical elements may need to be deferred to later in the programme. 

Academic and welfare support 

In the School of Medicine, we support your wellbeing from the very beginning. We will provide you with resources to support your progression from secondary education into university through an online transition module and preparatory academic materials, which will be made available to you closer to the beginning of term. Additionally, you will be allocated an Academic Tutor in your first week who will support your academic achievement and your wellbeing. Your tutor will help you to develop a growth mindset, and lifelong learning skillsets to help you work efficiently and effectively. Your tutor will also be paramount in supporting your health and wellbeing insights.  

We know that sometimes things happen in life that can affect your health and wellbeing. In these circumstances, the School of Medicine’s team of Senior Tutors are on hand to support students. The Senior Tutor and the School of Medicine Welfare team ensure that appropriate additional wellbeing/welfare adjustments are offered, including the option to apply for mitigating circumstances.   

We have updated the Student Support Zone specifically in response to the pandemic, and we hope it will be helpful for you as a resource for ensuring your success at university. You can find support for careers, mental health, and disability services, along with study and wellbeing support, and the College chaplaincy.   

We also have a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) website where updates and guidance are regularly posted.   

Support for online learning 

We will provide you with an Apple iPad to support your academic studies. Should further local or national restrictions be implemented, the distribution of iPads on campus may need to be postponed until such a time as this is feasible again.   

In addition, to access the content of the programme online you will be expected to have access to a computer (comparable to the laptop we offer for loan; HP EliteBook 840 G7, i5-10310U processor, 16Gb RAM, 256Gb solid state disk, 14” HD screen, Windows 10 Pro 64, webcam), reliable internet connection with a minimum of sustained 10 MBps down/upload speed  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 on our ICT webpages.  Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

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. Eligible students may apply for financial support from the Student Support FundThere are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme. 

Location 

In-person activities will still primarily be delivered at the South Kensington and Hammersmith campuses. 

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. 

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.  

Next steps 

We are looking forward to welcoming you on campus for 2021-22.  

If, in considering these changes, you no longer wish to undertake this course of study at Imperial College London, please contact the central Medicine Admissions team at medicine.ug.admissions@imperial.ac.uk for guidance.  
 

Professor Alison McGregor and Dr Niamh Martin 

Head of BSc Medical Biosciences (BMB) and Head of BMB Year 1