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, 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 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 strong expectations that you will have been vaccinated. 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.

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. 

As medical students, 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 this 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.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 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

We plan to use both on-campus and online assessments in 2021-22 and we will provide more information about the types and formats of assessments when you arrive. You will undertake both formative (which do not count towards your final year grade) and summative (which do count towards your final year grade) assessments throughout the academic year. The main summative written assessments occur at the start of the summer term (at the end of April, and in May), but you will also have in-class, case-based and formative assessments from the start of the academic year.

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-19, or 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. We are working hard alongside the Imperial College Union (ICU) and ICSMSU to give you the best possible welcome to the College via a multi-mode approach. 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

The School of Medicine’s MBBS/BSc curriculum has been designed to meet the evolving demands on healthcare systems and the changing pattern of evidence-based medical education.

You will develop your knowledge, skills, values and behaviours through learning on campus, online and in healthcare settings. You will be learning within a diverse community across our unique range of affiliated hospitals, primary care providers and community services situated across Greater London and surrounding areas. 

During the first three years of the MBBS/BSc programme (which we call Phase 1a, 1b and 1c, respectively), we teach an integrated model of biomedical science and clinical medicine, with a strong scientific focus underpinned by our world-class research. Your education will be based on local and national health needs, addressing our social responsibility, and preparing you to meet global health challenges.

Phase 1
Phase 1aPhase 1bPhase 1c
 Year 1  Year 2  Year 3
Foundational training
Summary of the table's contents
Phase 2
Phase 2
 Year 4
Intercalated BSc
Summary of the table's contents
Phase 3
Phase 3aPhase 3b
 Year 5  Year 6
Preparation for practice
Summary of the table's contents

In Terms 1 and 2, you will focus both on the scientific basis of health and disease and the professional skills, values and behaviours needed to be a doctor. You will also have early clinical exposure in a primary care (General Practice) setting during the ‘Patients, Communities and Healthcare’ module. In Term 3, you will explore the role of lifestyle on healthy living and disease prevention. Term 3 also includes a clinical placement in one of our partner hospitals. We will use a combination of on-campus and online learning. On-campus provision, including face-to-face teaching, will be subject to the latest public health guidance and College guidelines on social distancing and any additional health and safety measures.

Online learning will include preparatory work for face-to-face teaching, as well as other guided learning that can be completed in your own time. Face-to-face, on-campus learning, which includes clinical skills teaching, anatomy, clinical placements, laboratory teaching and some tutorials, will average between one and two days per week. 

Your faculty will be available to teaching and support you both online and on-campus, where guidance allows. It is possible that some of your teachers may be temporarily unavailable due to their professional or clinical responsibilities. In those circumstances, we will make adjustments to minimise the direct impact on students.

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:

  • All practical teaching, including skills teaching.
  • Clinical placements.
  • Some small group teaching.

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 many of the practical activities 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. As you move through Phases 2 & 3 (Years 4, 5 and 6) of the curriculum, the type of tutor you need will change, so we ensure that your tutors are the most suitable for where you are on the course. 

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 Fund. There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme.

Professional accreditation

Professional accreditation with the General Medical Council for this programme remains in place even though it is being delivered in multi-mode format for next year.  We will not change how your degree is awarded. Medicine will continue to be a pass/fail course.

Location

In-person activities will still primarily be delivered at the South Kensington and Charing Cross campuses, and our partner NHS Trusts/Primary Care locations.

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 Amir Sam & Professor Mary Morrell
Head of Imperial College School of Medicine & Director of MBBS Phase 1