Medicine (MBBS) phase 1b
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.
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. This may include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the outcome 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. By following the latest guidance we can all support the College community to stay safe and satisfy the UK government 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 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.
We plan to use a mixture of on-campus and online assessments in 2021-22 and we will provide you 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 as in Phase 1a you will also have in-class, case-based and formative assessments from the start of the academic year.
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.
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 welcoming you back to Imperial and is busy preparing for the autumn term.
Delivery of your Programme of Study
Your term will begin on Monday 04 October 2021. Some of the core 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
Phase 1b will use a combination of on-campus and online learning. On-campus provision, including face-to-face teaching, will be subject to the requirements of the current 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 and other guided online learning that can be undertaken in your own time. The on-campus learning will typically be between one and three days per week. Should any further restrictions be implemented, where a module would be expected to be delivered on campus, this may be amended to an online delivery or moved to a later date.
During Phase 1b, you will continue with your primary care placements. In the Autumn Term, they will be in two full days, with a further three days in the Spring Term. In addition, there will be clinical placements in secondary care in the Autumn and Spring terms. All our placements will be delivered in our unique range of affiliated hospitals, primary care providers and community services situated across Greater London and surrounding areas. More information about the clinical placements will be provided in due course.
You should still attend your hospital/GP placement site in person, even if the clinic you are attending is virtual. There may be occasions where you may be able to access some clinics and meetings online, but this will require the agreement of your placement lead. A reminder of the guidance for students taking part in virtual clinical activity can be downloaded by clicking here [pdf].
If national or local guidance changes, then the site where we deliver on-campus teaching or placements may change. We will let you know in advance if this is the case. You will be expected to engage with on-campus and online teaching in Phase 1b from Week 1 and your attendance will be required each term, throughout the academic year. We have contingency plans in place in case of further disruption because of COVID-19 and associated restrictions.
We expect CRI (Clinical Research & Innovation) to take place in the summer term as usual and this module will still include three-week Research Experiences. However, as you will appreciate, the situation with COVID-19 is continually evolving and we may be required to adjust this module to adhere to local or national guidance in place at the time.
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.
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:
- All 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 and placements 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 and placements may need to be deferred to later in the programme.
Academic and welfare support
The School will continue to support you academically as you move through Phase 1b. Your Academic Tutor will be available to you throughout this year, alongside the Phase 1 Director of Academic Tutoring, Dr Chris Harvey, and the MBBS Study Skills team. Your Tutors, your year group’s Senior Tutor, and the FEO Welfare team will continue to be available to you in the year ahead and you can contact them at any time with any concerns or if you need extra support. You can also get in touch with FEO Welfare, or via your Academic Tutor. All our welfare and support information is always available on MedLearn here.
We know that sometimes things happen in life that can affect your health and wellbeing. In these circumstances, the Senior Tutor will support students going through these more complex stages. Your Senior Tutor will remain as Dr Anabel Varela-Carver who, together with the School of Medicine Welfare team, will ensure that appropriate additional wellbeing/welfare adjustments are offered, including the option to apply for mitigating circumstances.
You can also get in touch with FEO welfare or via your Academic Tutor. All our welfare and support information is always available on MedLearn here.
We have updated the Student Support Zone specifically in response to the pandemic, and we hope it will be helpful for you if you need extra resources during this time or in future. There you can find support for careers, mental health, and disability services, along with study and wellbeing support, and the College chaplaincy.
For those who find themselves in financial difficulties, the School of Medicine Hardship Fund is available. All students are welcome to apply multiple times as circumstances require. You can contact FEO Welfare (email@example.com) directly or find all the information on this via the Your Finances section on MedLearn.
Support for online learning
You will still have access to your College-issued Apple iPad to support your academic studies.
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.
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.
On-site teaching will primarily be delivered at the South Kensington and Charing Cross campuses as well as our partner NHS Trust/Primary Care locations, assuming national guidance at the time does not prevent this.
Students are expected to fund their travel to placement sites as normal. Should changes to your accommodation or to the location of teaching to a campus or placement site not listed here occur as a result of future changes to local or national guidance, this may impact on travel costs. If changes to campus or placement site are necessary, we will advise you in advance.
All of our placements will be delivered in our unique range of affiliated hospitals, primary care providers and community services situated across Greater London and surrounding areas.
For those who find themselves in financial difficulties, the School of Medicine Hardship Fund is available. All students are welcome to apply multiple times as circumstances require. You can contact FEO Welfare (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly regarding this financial support.
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. For those who find themselves in financial difficulties, the School of Medicine Hardship Fund is available. All students are welcome to apply multiple times as circumstances require. You can contact FEO Welfare (email@example.com) directly or find all the information on this via the Your Finances section on MedLearn.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus for 2021-22.
If you are unable to travel to London due to travel/government restrictions, please contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
If any of your health circumstances have changed, please contact us so we can support you and ensure that an individual risk assessment is undertaken if necessary. There are a range of options for supporting you and we will work with you, Occupational Health, and placement providers to reduce the risk of returning to your studies for you and your household wherever possible.
Throughout Phase 1b, you will continue to receive a weekly bulletin every Monday, directly to your College email address. Please ensure you read your bulletins carefully as this is how vital information from the School will be communicated. Email will remain the School’s primary mode of communication with you.
Professor Amir Sam & Professor Mary Morrell
Head of Imperial College School of Medicine & Director of MBBS Phase