MRes Biomedical Research Offer Holders
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 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 (blended), 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.
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.
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 (blended), the balance of which will be reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. This means you will be expected to attend the College in-person from the start of your programme, unless you can demonstrate that you have been impacted by exceptional COVID-19 related circumstances.
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, you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities which you might miss. You should contact the MRes Programme Administrator, Noelia Moreno (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 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. 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.
The MRes is assessed by a thesis, oral and practical mark for each of the two projects. Project theses will be submitted and marked electronically. Practical marks are submitted by supervisors electronically. According to current advice, we are planning for oral assessments (poster presentation for project 1 in March 2022 and conference talk for project 2 in September 2022, plus the final viva also in September 2022) to be conducted online. However, if regulations allow, we may be able to complete these in person. We will let you know in good time if this is the case.
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.
Delivery of your Programme of Study
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
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 blended 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:
We are aiming at delivering practical elements such as lab-based research in person. Depending on guidance at the time regarding social distancing and lab capacities individual groups may operate a rota or other system to limit numbers to safe levels. As long as guidance allows it, we expect it to be possible for meetings with project supervisors to take place in person. We also expect most small group teaching on the core programme (Wednesday mornings) to take place in person.
The following activities will be delivered online:
All teaching sessions involving large student numbers (e.g. the whole cohort, or multiple streams) will be delivered online. Some teaching sessions may also be delivered online where it is more effective and convenient (e.g. lectures by guest speakers).
In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered in person:
We expect lab-based research projects to be possible, potentially with reduced access, even in the event of partial lockdown. Supervisors are preparing back up plans which will allow research projects to be completed successfully even if no on-campus work is possible.
In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered online:
All core programme teaching and remote (data analysis or literature based) projects will be conducted online.
Length of the programme
We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.
In-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus
Support for online learning
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; see https://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA7-6811ENUC), 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 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.
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 choose to study remotely.
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 at http://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/international- students/visas-and-immigration/covid-19-and-your-immigration-status/
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 email@example.com . It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.
Answering your questions
Should you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to address your queries or concerns. We would also encourage you to attend or watch the video of the Applicant Information Meeting held on 25th June which can be accessed from the programme web page.
Thank you for choosing Imperial as the institution to undertake your postgraduate studies. We are enthusiastic about you joining our outstanding student body and look forward to welcoming you very soon.
With kindest regards,
Dr Tim Ebbels Programme Director
Dr Elizabeth Want Deputy Programme Director
MRes in Biomedical Research
Imperial College London