We are looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial College and the PG Cert Reproductive and Developmental Biology programme 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. Lectures and didactic content 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. 

Institutional guarantees 

General 

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 against COVID-19. 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. 

In the event that there is an escalation of the pandemic, then, in line with public health advice from the UK Government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. In the event of suspension of on-campus activity, 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 the programme cannot be delivered within the advertised timeframe. 

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 (blended), the balance of which will be reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. This means you will be required to attend the College in-person from the start of your programme in October, 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 be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities which you might miss wherever possible, however this programme will unfortunately not be in a position to offer you a remote alternative to all the sessions you may miss, such as the practical class scheduled for Autumn term. You should contact reproductive.biologymsc@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. 

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 and where possible, reschedule activities which cannot be delivered online later in the 2021-22 academic year. The programme has been designed to ensure all of the learning outcomes can be delivered within the 2021-22 academic year in the event that on-campus activity is suspended. 

Assessment 

The PG Cert Reproductive and Developmental Biology programme does not feature any timed written assessments. However, for assessments that take place in the Autumn Term, or at the start of the Spring Term of the 2021/22 academic year (for example poster presentations) we hope to deliver these in person, but these will be assessed remotely in the event that on-campus teaching is suspended. 

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 authority. These may vary over the academic year but are likely to include a requirement to undertake regular testing and reporting the results of this testing to the College, and an expectation of ensuring that you have been vaccinated. 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. 

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 

Departmental induction 

The core departmental induction activities for your programme will feature a blend of on-campus and 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 multi-mode format. 

Scheduling 

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 labs, group project work with a notable in person component, and assessment-related activities in person and on campus. Small seminar-type classes may also be delivered on campus to build on learning delivered online (outlined below). Depending on guidance at the time regarding social distancing and room capacities we may require reduced in person attendance on alternate or pre-scheduled days. 

The following activities will be delivered online: 

Some didactic lecture-type content will be delivered online, along with supplementary learning activities such as reading exercises and self-assessment quizzes. Some small-group tutorial activities will also be delivered online. 

In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered in person: 

Practical activities will be delivered in person wherever possible, and if possible, we will endeavour to deliver small-group project activities on campus where permitted. 

In the event of a partial lockdown, the following activities will be delivered online: 

All teaching and pastoral activities will be delivered online, and remote research-related activities will be provided in place of practical elements if access to labs is restricted. 

Length of the programme 

We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised. 

Location 

In-person activities will still be delivered at the Hammersmith 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. 

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. 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 online

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.