MSc Optics and Photonics
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your programme of study can be delivered safely, we will be making some amendments to your programme. Your programme would normally be delivered in-person on campus. In 2020-21, we plan to deliver it in multi-mode for the Autumn term in the first instance. If you are unable to travel to campus for the Autumn term multi-mode means that you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience over the course of your programme. We plan to offer aspects of your programme in-person on campus during the Easter and Summer Terms in 2021, and this means that your attendance at our campus will be required. We have contingency plans in place in case of further disruption as a result of COVID19 and associated restrictions. However, these plans assume that you will be in London during 2021, and you may not be able to complete the requirements of your programme if you are not.
All on campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current Public Health advice from the UK Government, College guidelines on social distancing and any additional health and safety measures. If there is an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme, then we may be forced to suspend on-campus activity. This will be in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government and may be a consequence of national and/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 remotely to all students.
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 departmental induction activities for your programme will take place online, but these will be supplemented with some in-person induction activities which you may choose to attend. Further details will provided nearer to the start of the programme.
Content of the programme
The College has reviewed the learning outcomes for your programme to ensure these can be taught and assessed in a multi-mode format. Following the development of the multi-mode programme no changes to the module learning outcomes have been made. Some modules’ (or parts of modules’) teaching and/or assessment(s) may be rescheduled to be delivered in a different term than originally advertised.
If you are able to come to campus in the Autumn term, your experience will be a mix of in-person and online tuition with the balance driven by boundaries set by social distancing and compliance with governmental guidelines.
Lectures will be provided asynchronously in such a way that students access material online, with structured guidance from the Department. This framework will be complemented by extensive opportunities for real-time interaction with lecturers through drop-in sessions, and problem solving that directly map onto the lectures. Where health and safety considerations permit problem solving activities will be a mixture of face to face and online sessions.
Some laboratory and practical sessions will be available in person, and we are aiming to welcome students into our teaching laboratories for face to face laboratory sessions in the Autumn term. We expect that at least 50 hours of lab/practical hours will be possible in-person in the Autumn term. In the event of lockdown conditions tightening significantly, our practical work has sufficient built-in flexibility/contingencies so that content may be delivered remotely to an increased extent but with Intended Learning Outcomes still being met.
If you are unable to come to campus in the Autumn term, tutorials and non-lab/practical activities will be delivered remotely, and you will also be given a remote alternative to the laboratory and practical sessions that delivers the same learning outcomes. In addition to practical sessions there will be drop-in clinics to provide individual support that will be enhanced through the personal tutorial framework.
From January 2021 your attendance at our campus is required. In order to assist with social distancing, some content will continue to be delivered remotely for all students on your programme, but there will be elements of your programme requiring in-person attendance. In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity at this time due to an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19, then we will deliver some content remotely and seek to re-schedule lab/practical activities to later in the year. Depending on the length and severity of any such outbreak, then we may not be able to schedule the necessary activities during the 2020-21 Academic Year.
Some project options on this programme are software and/or simulation based, and can be completed remotely. Others require in-person work in our laboratories or other specialist spaces. If your project requires in-person work to be undertaken, then you will be required to attend our campus from January 2021.
If further restrictions mean that we cannot schedule all the activities required for you to complete your project or your full programme of study, you will be offered the following options:
i. switch to an alternative project capable of being completed remotely (depending on how much of your project has already been completed),
ii. exit the programme. You will be provided with a transcript of credits achieved.
iii. or extend your registration and complete your project or programme 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, and the College is unable to guarantee providing you with accommodation beyond your original completion date (if you are living in College provided accommodation).
Please note: If you are an international student and require a Tier 4 / Student visa in order to study in the UK, you will be responsible for any visa application fees which may be incurred should your programme length be extended. Full support and guidance on visa and immigration issues is provided by our International Student Support Team.
Support for remote learning
To access the content of the programme remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer, reliable internet connection 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 the ICT website. Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules.
The College has agreed that the default alternative arrangement for any on-campus formal written examinations is to provide a timed remote assessment. For other types of assessment, the method may be amended to accommodate the multi-mode arrangements. All students participating in a piece of assessment will do this in the same way, whether they choose to come to campus or study remotely. For the Autumn term 2020-21 all assessment will be completed in a remote format. Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Programme Handbook.
Length of the programme
We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.
To study remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer 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.
On site in-person teaching will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus, or in accommodation within the South Kensington neighbourhood.
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.
We very much hope that you will join our amazing optics and photonics community in October this year.