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 (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.   

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. 

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. 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-19or 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. 

Ithere is an escalation of the pandemic, then, in line with guidance from the UK government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. If this happens, in-person activities will be delivered to all students online, or as an online alternative, that delivers the same approved learning outcomes. No additional fees will be charged if your programme cannot be delivered within the advertised timeframe. 

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 plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online activities (multi-mode),. i 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. You should contact statsmsc@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.  

If you are unable to join us on-campus during the academic year 2021-22 you will still be able to follow the MSc through the Global MSc in Statistics route. The activities of the Global MSc will follow the on-campus activities of the MSc remotely. Subject to approval from the Course Director you will be able to switch between the two degrees during the academic year. Whether you join the MSc in Statistics or the Global MSc in Statistics you will receive the same outstanding training in Statistics.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 programme may retain some of these approaches in the new academic year to enhance your overall experience on campus, and these are detailed in this letter. 

In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the pandemic, we will deliver some content online. 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, and an 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 any reporting requirements 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 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, considering current and potential future restrictions, is set out on our website.  

Delivery of your Programme of Study 

Departmental induction 

The core departmental induction activities for the MSc wil be delivered through a combination of on-campus and online activities. The induction week will focus on introducing the programme degree and good academic practices. Training workshops on R (programming language) and Latex (type-setting environment) that you will be using throughout the course will be offered. Training courses and group activities on R and Latex will be delivered through a multi-mode format. Different College services, including library, careers, enterprise, will be introduced during the induction week. Training courses on different tools, including the virtual learning environment (Blackboard) of the College and Microsoft (MS) Teams will run, enabling you an effective participation in the degree.   

The induction week will focus on building relationships amongst the students and academics of the programme through on-campus and remote social events and meetings, amongst other events. The aim is to create strong cohort bonds from the outset.   

Further details will be provided nearer to the start of theprogramme. 

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 multi-mode format. 

There are some small changes to the lists of elective modules offered as part of the MSc degree during the academic year 2021-22: 

  • Two new elective modules are introduced: Non-parametric Statistics and Stochastic Processes 

  • The Graphical Models and Algorithmic Trading and Machine Learning elective modules will not be available  

Some changes to the module selection for the following specialisation stream are also introduced: 

  • Statistical Finance: Students need to complete the three modules: Introduction to Statistical Finance, Advanced Statistical Finance and Stochastic Processes. The remaining 15-17.5 ECTS can be completed by taking any other elective modules.  

A comprehensive list of the core and elective modules of the MSc can be found on the programme webpages: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mathematics/postgraduate/msc/statistics/prospective/ 

Scheduling  

We are not anticipating changing the term of when modules will be taught or assessed. 

The four core modules of the MSc will be delivered in the Autumn term and the elective modules will be delivered in the Spring term, except the undergraduate elective module Time Series that runs in the Autumn term.  

Programme Delivery 2021-22 

Continuing with the success of the academic year 2020-21 the MSc in Statistics has obtained approval to be delivered through a multi-mode (blended) delivery in the future. The blended delivery of the MSc includes both asynchronous and synchronous (on-campus and remote) sessions for delivering the course content coupled with a range of other activities including computing exercises, on-line quizzes, office hours and discussion forums.  

In more detail, the content of each module will be delivered through high-quality, pre-recorded videos that will be available for the students to watch at their own time and pace. These videos will be accompanied by Live Sessions (synchronous) in the form of group tutorials, problem classes, computing sessions, and Q&A sessions that will provide an interactive environment to apply and consolidate understanding of the module’s material. The live sessions will be run by module lecturers with the help of graduate teaching assistants.  

Most of the live sessions will be conducted in person on-campus, although some of them will be delivered online. More applied and computational modules might have fewer live sessions on campus as they will include remote computing sessions. Live sessions run on-campus will be live streamed online enabling students to follow them remotely in the case that they cannot join the on-campus sessions. Both on-campus and remote live sessions will be recorded and be available to watch afterwards. 

Each one of the four 7.5 ECTS core modules of the Autumn term will have on average 1.5 hours of live sessions each week. The number of hours of live sessions for the 5 ECTS MSc modules ranges from 7.5 to 10 total hours over the full five weeks that each elective module runs.  Modules will also be supported through office hours and monitored discussion forums.  

The two UG modules available to the MSc, Time Series and Survival Analysis, will also be delivered through a multi-mode format with weekly live session that you will be able to join in-person on-campus every other week. For the remaining weeks you will be joining the live sessions remotely. More information for all the modules will be given at the start of the term that they are delivered.  

In the event of a partial lockdown, we expect occupancy limits on our teaching spaces will be reduced. This means that students will take turns joining teaching activities in-person, while others join online. For example, if occupancy for a particular activity were reduced by 50%, each student would be able to join every-other session. If occupancy were reduced further, each student would be able to join in-person less often. In the case of significant restrictions, live sessions for large modules may be conducted entirely online 

In case a lecturer is required to self-isolate, or is otherwise unable to teach in person where possible, we will arrange a substitute member of staff to run their live session on-campus. In some cases, teaching activities may be moved online if no appropriate substitute is available. 

Other activities of the MSc include: 

  • Personal Tutor meetings focus on discussing how your studies are going, module and project selection, future career aspirations and well-being. There will be a mixture of individual personal tutor meetings and meetings with a small group of other MSc students 

  • Project Supervisor meetings focus on discussing the scope of your project and other related discussions. These meetings usually start after the end of the Summer term examinations and run through the summer months.   

  • Peer-led Tutorials are offered by former MSc students (current PhD students) during the Autumn term, where advice and help on the core modules and the MSc degree in general will be offered in a friendly informal environment.  

Subject to government advice, College guidance on social distancing and access to campus, individual meetings with personal tutors and project supervisors will be conducted on-campus if this is convenient for all relevant parties, otherwise they will be conducted remotely. Personal tutor group meetings will be conducted remotely. Peer-led tutorials and office hours will be conducted online. In the case of a partial lockdown all these activities will be delivered online.  

Suspension of on-campus activity 

In the event of suspension of on-campus activity (full lockdown), all in-person activities outlined above will be delivered to all students online.  

Programme Assessment 

The MSc modules will be assessed through a combination of open book timed remote assessments, oral examinations, group assessments, courseworks and quizzes. The assessments are designed to be suitable for both online and on-campus delivery of the MSc. All students participating in a piece of assessment will complete it in the same way, whether they choose to come to campus or study remotely. The Statistics Research Project will be assessed via a thesis(90%) and an oral presentation (10%).  Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Programme Handbook.    

Student Experience at the Department of Mathematics 

Study spaces in the Department will be open but may be subject to reduced occupancy limits.  Configuration of rooms will also be adjusted. Access may be limited to the days you are expected on campus for problems classes/tutorials to allow all students to have fair access. 

In addition to your academic studies, the departmental student community will continue to be enlivened by the range of extra-curricular activities offered. These include, for example, student-led activities run by groups such as the UG Colloquium, Women in Maths and MathSoc, as well as careers and other supplementary events and talks from our own lecturers and external speakers.  While the form of these events may be impacted by the availability of suitable space, much effort is going into finding innovative ways for students to engage that are safe and efficient in their use of space.  We very much encourage you to take full part in the College community and make the most of all that your surroundings in London have to offer you. 

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. 

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. A separate headset/ microphone is desirable, but not essential. Students will also require equipment for digital writing and annotation, such as a graphics tablet and stylus. This equipment will be required both for on-campus and remote sessions. Coursework and remote examinations will need to be scanned (using a scanner, document camera or smartphone). There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme during a period in which you may be studying remotely. 

Professional accreditation 

The accreditation of the MSc by the Royal Statistical Society continues for the academic year 2021-22 

Location 

In-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus.  

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.   

Whether you will be joining the MSc in Statistics or the Global MSc in Statistics, I want to assure you that you will benefit from Imperial’s world class tuition and be part of Imperial’s amazing community. We are looking forward to you joining our community of passionate, dedicated and friendly staff and students. We want you to succeed and to make the most of the unique opportunities that Imperial offers. By joining the MSc, you will receive outstanding training in both theoretical and applied statistics by the internationally renowned researchers of the Statistics Section that will be teaching the MSc. The variety of elective modules offered in the Spring term will allow you to develop your own specialist interests, by exposing you to a diverse range of statistical applications and methods.  

I wish all the best to you and your family. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us at statsmsc@imperial.ac.uk 

 

Marina Evangelou 

Director of MSc Programme in Statistics