You currently hold an offer from Imperial College London to commence study on the MSc Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare. We are really looking forward to welcoming you to the programme at the start of the new academic year in October 2020. We are contacting you today with the plans for your MSc programme during the year ahead. The COVID pandemic means that we have had to make some adjustments to your programme, to ensure we can deliver an excellent learning experience. This is especially the case because your programme is focused on healthcare and taught by academic but also clinical staff. 

Institutional guarantees 

All on campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current Public Health advice from the UK Government, Imperial College London guidelines on social distancing and any additional health and safety measures. In the event that there is an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme, then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be forced to suspend on-campus activity. This may be in connection with either national or local requirements. Since we will already be delivering the taught elements of your programme remotely to some students as part of the multi-mode format, we will continue to be able to deliver these elements to all students remotely. 

The College will deliver your programme to ensure the approved learning outcomes are met and will take steps to make alternative arrangements in any extreme circumstances where this is not possible. The College is also developing community building activities to support the multi-mode experience for students. 

College-wide induction and enrolment activities will operate in a remote format at the start of the academic year and there will be no requirement to visit the campus in-person to begin your studies. 

The NHLI induction for all Masters programmes in the institute will take place online on 8 October 2020 and further details will be provided nearer to the start of the programme. 

Getting to know your tutors and fellow students 

The programme will start in the first week of October 2020. The first two weeks will include online induction sessions. These will enable you to meet the faculty who will be teaching you as well as your fellow students on the programme. We always love meeting our new students and finding out more about what you want to get out of the programme. We hope you will take full advantage of these interactive sessions, which will include a one-to-one meeting with the team. 

The induction sessions are also an opportunity for you to familiarise yourselves with the online platforms and tools you will be using during your studies plus other key academic resources such as the Imperial Library, which is an outstanding resource with hundreds of research journals and papers. You will also 

learn about other aspects of the Graduate School, including the professional courses you can take free of charge to prepare you for the next stage in your career. 

Together we will explore your expectations of the programme, explain the online/on campus learning and review your teaching needs. Throughout the year, we will continue with these opportunities to interact with your MSc cohort and take full advantage of all Imperial has to offer. 

Computer Requirements 

Teaching in the Autumn term will be through a combination of on campus and online delivery, while teaching in the Spring and Summer teams will be delivered predominantly on-campus. The online teaching will consist of interactive, face-to-face sessions, or guided learning, which can be undertaken at any time (we call this asynchronous teaching). This type of learning will require you to have access to a computer (with camera and microphone) and a reliable internet signal for most days of the term. Your computer should have the latest version of either Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge web browsers installed. Your computer should allow software to be downloaded and updated from the internet and allow media to be played such as Vimeo or YouTube videos. We will be using the following software and programs: Microsoft Office 365 and its suite of features including Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Learn, Panopto, Turnitin, Zoom. If you would like more computer support, please visit the Imperial College IT department where you will find details of academic discounts. There is also information on funding support schemes to help purchase equipment

Please note that the COVID pandemic means that many computer models have a longer delivery time so please plan ahead and order your computer in good time if you are thinking of buying a new machine. 

Teaching in the Autumn Term 

Your MSc Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare consists of 4 core modules and 3 elective modules (from a choice of 5), plus your research project. All these modules are taught by experts from the College and we hope you will enjoy meeting them. In the Autumn term you will study two core modules: 

  • Foundations of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Science (15 credits): October – December 

The Foundations module will use multi-mode teaching in the Autumn term. The on-campus teaching will occur during two weeks in November. Specifically, this will include situational learning e.g. in the cardiac catheterisation lab and the pathology museum. Additionally, there will be data collection sessions in the physiology laboratories at our White City campus. Here, you will plan and conduct experiments in, for example, exercise physiology and collect data for use in your assessment. A highlight of this module will be attending the British Thoracic Society’s Winter meeting in London, where you will have the opportunity to meet world experts in your field of interest. This winter, the conference will be in February 2021 and is currently being planned as a hybrid event. We will provide you of details about the conference as soon as possible. 

As highlighted above, please note that any on campus teaching and/or situational learning will be subject to the requirements of the current UK Public Health guidance and College guidelines on social distancing and any health and safety measures. 

For those of you who cannot attend the on-campus teaching in the Autumn, you will have access to all online teaching, so you will not miss teaching content. Or, if there is College suspension of on campus activity, all teaching will be delivered remotely and we will reschedule any field trips for later in the year if possible. 

  • Study Design (7.5 credits): November – March 

Study Design spans both the Autumn and Spring terms with teaching in November through to March. Teaching will be delivered wholly online with 8 full days comprising live remote teaching (synchronous) in the morning and practical statistical training in the afternoon (asynchronous e-learning activities). 

Teaching in the Spring and Summer Terms 

In the Spring term (January to March) you will continue your core module Study Design and you will also begin your elective modules, plus the third core module, Reflection and Evaluation of Clinical Practice. In the Summer term (April to June), you will begin the fourth core module: Quality in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare. 

We are currently planning for these modules to be delivered on campus starting in January 2021. However, should access to campus be limited or suspended in the Spring term, the modules will be delivered using multi-mode teaching or fully online, depending on the current UK Government guidance in place. 

  • Research Project (30 credits): April - August 

It is difficult to say what changes we will face during the Summer term when you will be focused on your Research Project. Specifically, your project will take place over 17 weeks and typically starts in April and finishes in August. We will offer you a choice of clinical projects, laboratory projects and background research projects. These will include both data collection and analyses of data already collected, systematic reviews, service evaluations. 

If you choose a clinical or laboratory-based project which requires in-person presence on campus and there is suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19, you will be offered the following options: 

i. switch to an alternative project capable of being completed remotely. We will provide choices of other research projects that do not include working on campus. 

ii. exit the programme with an alternative exit award (e.g. Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma), subject to meeting the required number of credits for that award. 

iii. extend your registration and complete your project on-campus at a later date. The College will not charge any additional tuition fee in respect of completion at a later date, but you will be responsible for your own living costs. 

Assessments 

All the assignments and assessments for this MSc can be delivered online (i.e. written coursework, oral presentations, poster presentations etc); as such there are no on-campus formal written examinations. Therefore, we do not anticipate any changes to your assessments. The exception is Respiratory Failure and Respiratory Support, where the assessment is a practical exam. This is scheduled for March and we will adapt this for remote delivery, should access to campus be suspended. 

Programme length and location 

Any scheduled on site teaching will be delivered at our Royal Brompton, Charing Cross and White City campus. We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised. 

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 Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience under 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 social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our website

How we can answer your questions 

If you have any questions, please do contact us and we will be delighted to talk to you and clarify anything that remains unclear. Please contact us on cardioresphealth@imperial.ac.uk 

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 in the Autumn term. 

Prof Edwin R. Chilvers, Head, NHLI 

Prof Mary Morrell, Programme Director, MSc Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare