Popular UK universities for international students: COVID-19 September 2020 Intake Guide

Popular UK universities for international students: COVID-19 September 2020 Intake Guide

popular uk universities for international students coronavirus - Intake Guide: International Students in Class

UK Academic year 2020/21

It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us in several ways and as we try to cope with the crisis, we need to face it by moving forward with caution. In this unsettling time, students are left speculating on the changes that will be imposed by the schools for their safety and well-being. One of the pressing concerns for students right now is the start date of the academic year 2020-2021. So what are the popular UK universities for international students in times of COVID-19 doing about the September 2020 intake?

As the UK government continues to monitor the evolving situation, the start of the academic year in September is fast approaching. The measures to be taken at the start of the school year will be dependent on several factors including but not limited to the number of new infections and possible new waves of the novel coronavirus as the government eases the quarantine restrictions.

Although it is a bit early to release fixed measures for the start of the school year, a number of colleges and universities have released information on what we can anticipate this September. The popular UK universities for international students coronavirus plans are being put in place

As the schools are busy making plans for the next term following the guidance from the UK government, here is the information we have gathered across UK universities and colleges.

popular uk universities for international students coronavirus - University of Cambridge
popular uk universities for international students COVID-19 preparation for September intake - Cambridge university.

University of Cambridge

According to the latest update from the Vice-Chancellor “Cambridge will be open for education and research for the start of the next academic year. We must all be realistic, however, about the world-wide challenges posed by the pandemic. We are committed to doing all we can to protect your health and safety. University life here, as everywhere, will need to adapt.”

Update as of 18/06/2020: The Collegiate University sets out below its principles for delivering education in the academic year 2020/21.

  1. Cambridge will be open to students next academic year. We will do all we reasonably can to accommodate the needs of students whose individual circumstances mean that they cannot attend any in-person teaching.
  2. The academic year will start as normal and term dates will not be changed. Michaelmas Term will start on Tuesday 6 October and end on Friday 4 December, although some postgraduate courses may start earlier as previously advertised. New and returning undergraduate and postgraduate students are advised to be flexible in their travel plans at this stage
  3. Teaching will be delivered by a blend of in-person and online teaching, and we will adapt our timetables, teaching methods, course content and locations for delivery of teaching to achieve this.
  4. Research and learning facilities: it is the university’s aim that all students who require it for their studies will have sufficient and suitable access to research laboratories, libraries, museums and other facilities, subject to the restrictions of social distancing.
  5. Minimising risk: All University and College buildings will be risk assessed and managed on an ongoing basis, following government guidelines and advice. We will promote health and infection control measures across the entire University, and communicate and implement changes to any of these measures resulting from local-lockdown requirements as required.
  6. Accommodation: As many students as possible will be given accommodation in their own College.
  7. Support: Colleges offer a home environment and pastoral support to their students

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is intending to welcome students on all levels for the next academic year in October 2020. The measures they will set are subject to the prevailing conditions at the time of opening considering the health and safety of the students and staff.

Update 18/06/2020: Plans for 2020/21 academic year

Teaching and learning

Focus on face-to-face, small-group teaching: The University is committed to maintaining their focus on personalised teaching and supervision, with a strong focus on tutorials and other types of small-group learning such as masters’ seminar groups. Larger group teaching, lectures and most exams will be offered online at least for the first term.

Digital support: Face-to-face activities will be supplemented by engaging online activities that draw on the rich resources available through our colleges, libraries and collections. The University’s virtual learning environment [email protected] will be universally available – acting as a single-entry point for most students.

World-class facilities and resources: Laboratories and research facilities will be available to students – although they will operate at reduced capacity, for the safety of our students and staff.

College life:  The school has confirmed that all our colleges will be open from the start of the academic year, and that they will have accommodation available for students.

The health and safety is the highest priority: The school is now working on detailed plans for measures we will put in place to minimise the risks to staff and students. These will include:

– A University testing service that will be open to all staff and students

– Support for students who need to self-isolate

– Effective and consistent use of face coverings and other hygiene measures

– Arrangements to maintain social distancing in teaching and research spaces

Travel: The school recognises that arriving for the start of the Michaelmas (autumn) term may not be possible for some students thus they will have access to online resources and support. However, we expect that all students will be in residence by January 2021. If international students are required to self-isolate on arriving or returning to the UK, we will support them doing so.

Accommodation: We aim to offer as much student accommodation as possible, in line with government health advice. Your college will inform you of the process of allocating rooms and will confirm more detailed arrangements in the near future.

Health and Safety arrangement The University is gradually re-opening University buildings over the Long Vacation, in line with government guidelines. New and returning students will be briefed fully on the safe working procedures and given information about what they need to do to minimise risks to health. We expect that all students and staff will wear face coverings when in teaching environments

Imperial College London

As published on their official website they are open for the next academic year and to expect changes and updates will be provided once information becomes available. 

Update 18/06/2020: Academic Year 20/21 will begin on schedule in the Autumn and plans to reopen our campuses to students.


For Undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught students, your  teaching  will be a ‘multi-mode’ delivery. This is a combination of on-campus (in-person) and remote learning (online). If you are a student unable to travel to campus for Autumn term your teaching will be entirely remote, but it will be engaging and of a high-quality.

Health and Safety:

Upon arrival at Imperial for the Autumn term, you will receive a welcome pack that will include three washable cotton face coverings, hand sanitiser and anti-viral wipes. 

The College is implementing good infection control procedures, f frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly. Around the campus including halls of residence there will be hand sanitisers and multi-surface cleaning wipes as well as plenty of hand-washing facilities. Everyone is encouraged to wear a face covering in multi-occupancy locations

Access to testing:

The College has access to testing through the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and is exploring the options for testing staff and students as a matter of routine. A local contact-tracing procedure at the College will be introduced which will interface with the NHS’s Test and Trace service as well as a routine temperature check.

University of Edinburgh

Their official website states “We intend to be ready to teach despite any travel restrictions, wherever our students are in the world. As we adapt to this Covid-19 pandemic we are shaping our delivery to ensure that all students – whether here in Edinburgh with us, or elsewhere in the world and joining us a little later in the academic year when circumstances allow – will be fully part of our community.”

An update will be provided at the end of May 2020.

King’s College London

The management is planning to open the academic year in September 2020 however no set measures have been put in place. They are planning for on-campus teaching and the possibility of online instruction. Update on new arrangements will be provided on the college website.

University of Manchester

The University of Manchester has confirmed that the academic year will start in September for new and returning undergraduate students and early October for most of the postgraduate students. In line with the social distancing measures, the management has decided to conduct lectures online at least for the coming semester. Despite this measure, they are keen to continue face-to-face activities in small groups. 

University of Bristol

As posted on the University of Bristol website, the school has planned to open in September welcoming new and returning students. There is an on-going discussion on the measures to be put in place. Topics included in the discussion are online learning if travel is not advisable, delayed start date, and additional intakes later in the school year.

More information will be posted so you can check the official website for updates.

University of Warwick

As announced on the University of Warwick page the start of the next term will be on 5 October 2020. This is will be a combination of face-to-face and online learning. They further stated “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve prioritised the safety and wellbeing of our University community, focusing on our students, our staff, and on supporting the wider community. Therefore, between now and the proposed physical reopening of our campus, we will be closely following UK government guidance and any action taken will be made with our community’s safety in mind. Plans are in place to ensure we can support you towards your desired learning outcomes, whatever the circumstances.” 

University College of London

According to the school website they have no fixed date when to open for the next academic year however they are committed to reopening as soon as it is safe and in line with the government guidelines. New arrangements will be updated on the site.

University of Aberdeen

The university had initially planned to open on the 7th of September but has been delayed for two weeks. The university management has announced that “The University Senate has approved a delay of two weeks to the start of the 2020/2021 academic session, and this will provide some time for all of us to adapt to our new environment and to prepare for the new session”. In the event that a face to face instruction on campus is not possible then they are prepared to deliver classes online which can be transitioned to on-campus instruction once the situation has improved.

As schools plan on new measures to mitigate the infections within the campus for the incoming academic year 2020/21, it is clear that schools will open as scheduled. Students should be prepared for online lectures which will eventually transition to face-to-face interactions. The popular uk universities for international students coronavirus plans are constantly being updated to take into account of the changing landscape.

For more guidance and help and advice on choosing a UK university or help as an international student to secure your student placement, or obtain your Tier 4 Student visa, get in touch with IaM.

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