Dear student,

Welcome to the College. As Imperial’s Provost, responsible for leading our academic mission in teaching, research and innovation, I am delighted that you have chosen to join us. I hope that you will find the College to be an intellectually and socially exciting and vibrant community, and that your time here will be stimulating, productive and enjoyable.


Over the coming days and weeks, you will be taking part in a variety of induction activities, all of which aim to give you a warm welcome to the College. I hope you will find this an exciting start to your journey here with us at Imperial.

It is of course a very different world for you than for last year’s class. Campus might feel a little unusual, but our community is as strong as ever.

Covid-19 restrictions

In these uncertain times I must also pause and ask that you take your personal responsibility to each other, our staff, and your local community especially seriously.

You have seen the result of virus outbreaks in other universities across the UK. I request that you follow the rules and limit your social gatherings to six people or less. Any parties or social events which break these limits will lead to significant disruption, including a 14-day isolation period. Please socialise responsibly and consider the impact on your wider household and class of social gatherings.

Staff at the College are all sympathetic to the fact that you have had a challenging summer with few opportunities to socialise. We understand that you will want to forge friendships as soon as possible, and that you might feel you are missing out by not joining in with others who may choose to disregard safety guidelines. However, we must work together as a community to protect each other - by following our behaviour guidelines, you will help us to avoid further restrictions or more lockdowns.

You will however have many opportunities to make friends via your programme and student clubs and societies once you have settled into your new life at Imperial. You can also get involved in our month-long Welcome Season of events or book a table for groups of six or less at your Student Union venues.

We are committed to keeping you safe and we continue to be guided by the latest official government guidance. In these fast-changing times you should anticipate hearing from the College again throughout the year regarding local or national government guidance alterations. This is not a cause for alarm but a reminder that together we all have a role in supporting each other to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. I must ask that you keep yourself informed by closely reading the information we share with you by email, social media, and our website.

You can find the College’s own guidelines on our website. Three of the simplest actions you can take to reduce transmission are to wear a face covering, observe the two- metre rule, and wash your hands.

We are also providing testing and contact tracing, and the same webpages also tell you what you must do if you are experiencing symptoms, have tested positive, or have been told to self-isolate.


There is a great deal of support here at Imperial if ever you require it: your teachers and tutors in your Department, the Graduate School, the Students’ Union, and our central support services.

You will have received a Welcome Pack from the College upon joining. There is also a wealth of resources online, for example, our Student Support Zone contains advice to help you live well and thrive at Imperial, and for academic guidance we have the Success Guide which features hints and tips, study skills and more, to make sure you have all the information you need to succeed in your studies.

You can also find out about the other support services and resources available to you via your Welcome to Imperial app.

Imperial and Postgraduates

Many of you will have seen how Imperial has been at the forefront of the international fight against COVID-19, from the ground-breaking research which informed the government’s decision to enter lockdown in March through to developing a vaccine which is currently in its human trial phase. You are joining a rich and diverse community making real-world change.

Our multi-modal approach to teaching may have been stimulated by the pandemic, but it has certainly enabled us to consider new ways to educate. We are building on cutting-edge digital learning concepts that will support safety as a priority and at the same time allow new ways of interacting with colleagues from around the world.

Postgraduates here at Imperial make up well over a third of the student population. Each of you has worked hard to get here, supported along the way by your mentors, work colleagues, and your families and friends. Your talent and your enthusiasm will stand you in good stead in your time here.

Your value to each other is immeasurable, not just as a support and friendship group, but also as colleagues to discuss ideas with. One thing you will get more of a sense of, as you pursue your studies, is how important it is to have knowledge of and understanding of academic disciplines outside your own. The College’s world-leading researchers, creative and committed educators, and adventurous innovators provide an environment in which you will have all the support you need to flourish.

You will all know from your undergraduate degrees how fast time flies as a student. I have no doubt that the same will be true for your postgraduate degrees, savour every minute of your time here and make the most of the opportunities we provide.

One of those opportunities is the amazing diversity of our student community. At Imperial we are committed to diversity and inclusion. Diversity enriches the educational experience and equips us with the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly complex society. Familiarise yourself with your representatives in the Student Union and take part in the activities they and your Faculty provide.

Building networks and communities in this new and unanticipated external environment is challenging, but you will of course find ways to be connected to the wider Imperial community that fit your needs.

My message to you is to grasp every opportunity to develop your skills, both within and outside your course. This is the start of a very great journey for all of you, I wish you every success in your time with us and beyond.

Best wishes,