COVID-19 Applicant FAQs
Guidance for applicants and offer-holders
We have put a variety of measures in place to minimise the risks posed by Covid-19 for our students. We understand that some of you will be concerned and we want to offer you every reassurance about starting your studies with us.
We will continue to provide you with updated information on this page. If you have an immediate concern or question please contact our friendly Admissions team, who are here to help:
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820227 Email: email@example.com
Can I still visit the campus?
Unfortunately, we are not running any campus tours at the moment.
Please continue to check our Open Day page for further information. To find out more about life at Buckingham, you can take a look at our videos about campus life, student resources, accommodation and much more.
Can I still talk to current students about studying at your University?
Yes. When you visit our website you will see a pop-up box in the right hand corner of the screen. Click on this box to start a conversation with one of our current students using the secure Unibuddy system..
Should I still apply even if I can’t arrive on time?
You are encouraged to apply to us even if you are unable to travel to us and meet usual timelines. We continue to welcome applications from home and international students for our programmes commencing in January 2021. Buckingham is one of the few universities in the UK that offer a genuine January entry point for most of our courses (as well as the standard September entry point).
At the present time, we are supporting any students who can’t join us on campus due to Covid-19 related reasons with high-quality online learning. Our preference though is to be able to teach you face to face and we have made adjustments across our campus to help protect our students and staff. We are monitoring government guidance and will update you as the situation changes; we expect everyone to attend their courses in-person as soon as it’s safe and possible to do so.
If you are successful in securing a place to study with us, we will be in touch regarding the next steps leading up to registration. We will continue to follow public health guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements be required.
I recently submitted an application to study at the University of Buckingham. Will it still be assessed?
Yes. We are continuing to process applications and send out offers as normal, so you will hear from us shortly. If you have any immediate questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I defer my place?
We are continuing to process new applications and are preparing to welcome new students in January 2021. However, we also offer a September entry point for our degree programmes. If you have been accepted to commence your studies with us and are no longer wanting to start January 2021, you will be offered a September 2021 start if your course is eligible.
If you wish to defer your entry until September 2021, please contact your Admissions Officer (email@example.com).
Is my degree the same if I defer to start in September 2021?
Yes. You’ll study the same course content in the same timeframe as the students who start in January. No matter which entry point you choose, you will be part of a whole new student cohort.
If you apply or defer to September 2021 now, we can guarantee your place on a course so you can relax knowing your study future is secure.
If I pay a deposit but can’t commence my studies with you due to Covid-19 related reasons, will I get a full refund?
Yes. We’ve changed our usual policy in this regard, as we know the next few months still hold a lot of uncertainty. If you can’t begin your studies with us in January 2021 due to the pandemic, then let us know (outlining the reasons why the situation has impacted your ability to commence your course) and, providing you have a valid reason, we will refund any money you have paid.
What will happen if I am unable to take my final exams?
If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will review each case on an individual basis, but rest assured we will work with you to identify a suitable solution.
What if I can’t provide all of the documentation you require to support my application?
We appreciate that delays in obtaining some of your supporting documentation may be unavoidable and we will be as flexible as possible. Should you need extra time to gather requested information, just let your Admissions Officer know so that we are aware there will be a delay. We strongly advise you to send documents electronically wherever possible. Letters and other documents that are submitted by post may take some time to reach their destination.
I am having problems being able to take the English Language test that is a condition of my offer, what should I do?
At the moment, many IELTS testing centres are closed. Below is a list of alternative assessments / qualifications that we can accept:
- IELTS Indicator Test: https://www.ieltsindicator.com/
- TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/toefl/at-home/
- TOEFL ITP Plus test online – for Chinese applicants: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/toefl/institutions/itp-plus-china/
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): https://pearsonpte.com/
- PASSWORD: https://englishlanguagetesting.co.uk
Should you be unable to access any of these testing options, please contact your Admissions Officer (email@example.com) as we may be able to arrange for you to take an in-house English Language test.
What about my Student visa application?
The government is working to ensure that existing processes are as flexible as possible, so that international students who are planning to study in the UK can do so.
Any international students who are considering studying in the UK will be able to apply for, and will receive, their Student visas in good time before commencing their programme of study.
Despite some COVID-19 disruptions to visa processes and exam timetables, you can still get started with the process. For example, you can familiarise yourself with UK visa requirements and talk to your chosen universities about evidence you may need to supply for a visa application. We continue to monitor worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions and are resuming normal services as soon as we are able. Some Visa Application Centres have reopened, with more to follow over the coming weeks. The UK recognises the importance of international students, and as local restrictions lift, and application centres begin to reopen we will look to process applications as quickly as possible.
Can I work in the UK after I’ve completed my studies? The new Graduate Route (also known as the post-study work visa) will be available to international students who successfully complete their degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance by summer 2021, or after.
International students who present in the UK before 6 April 2021 will still be eligible for the two year Graduate Route, if you meet the other requirements, even if you begin your course online before travelling to the UK in person. More information can be found on the government website. While studying at Buckingham you will also have access to our Careers and Employability Hub who are dedicated to helping you prepare for the workplace and find the right career for you.
Your Student Experience
What will happen if I start in January?
In line with the UK government national lockdown restrictions, we ask that all students (with some exceptions, as seen below) do not come to campus until advised. If you have accepted your place with us, you will have received email communications from us with further details in relation to your specific School arrangements.
All courses at Buckingham will be offered online from the beginning of term in January, for all students, including commuter students.
The exceptions to this guidance, as set out in a letter from the Minister for Universities, include:
- International students, including those who have remained in the UK and those who have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation
- Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation
- Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the winter break
- Those requiring additional support, including those with mental health issues
It is now anticipated by the UK government that Higher Education provisions will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses. As soon as we receive further guidance regarding a return to face-to-face teaching we will be in touch.
To minimise uncertainty, all our courses will be offered online for the entirety of the Winter Term 2021, in case some or all students are unable to return to campus.
I’m coming to campus, do I need to be tested?
We will be offering lateral flow testing (LFT) to all students and staff who are living on-campus in January. Please find more details on our testing page. This testing is only open to those living or working on campus; please do not book a test unless this applies.
The UK government announced on 8 January that passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken up to 72 hours before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally. Prior to departure, passengers will need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test result to carriers, as well as their passenger locator form. Passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result. More information can be found here.
How will online teaching and learning work?
Lecturers will be uploaded online with an opportunity for you to ask questions and to view the lecture segments flexibly in your own time. Small group tutorials will also be available online and virtual one-on-one sessions will be able to take place between you and your lecturers and personal tutors.
What resources will be available?
Our library staff are still hard at work supporting our students.
The team has made sure that the majority of core textbooks are available as e-books for our students. Students are also able to take advantage of the online databases and ebook resources such as Cambridge University Press, JSTOR, Proquest, EBSECO, IEEE, Project Muse, Vitalsource, Sage Journals, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Bates Visual Guide and LWW Health Library, Springer Nature and Bloomsbury.
The library will also continue to offer a postal service if you require books.
Software, like Microsoft Office, will also be provided for free.
Will any campus facilities be open?
Due to the new restrictions, the majority of our buildings and facilities are required to close during the lockdown period. Only students living on-campus are eligible to use the open facilities. Please do not commute to campus, even if you are living in private accommodation within the local area unless you come under the exceptions listed by the Minister for Universities as detailed in our answer to, ‘What will happen if I start in January?’.
In Buckingham, the Vinson Building will remain open for private study, including the first floor seminar rooms. The building will be open until 10pm each day, seven days a week. Here you will also find vending facilities where you may purchase hot drinks and snacks.
In Crewe, the Wellness Centre are offering one-to-one outdoor training sessions. You can book these by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Booth Hall residents are welcome to use the open study space on the ground floor.
No takeaway catering will be available on either campus; but there are many great local establishments offering takeaway meals in Buckingham and Crewe that we encourage you to support if you would like and are able to. You can find some of these by using Just Eat.
Please note, if you would like to use the spaces that are open on campus, you are required to have attended both of your lateral flow test appointments before use.
How will you help me to feel part of the University?
We are home to students from over 100 different countries, and one of the reasons why many of our students enjoy studying at Buckingham is because they are able to experience lots of cultures and to make friends from all over the world. There are still lots of ways to get involved, even if Covid-19 safety measures are in place.
The Students’ Union has been working with societies to host lots of different virtual events such as Netflix parties, TikTok competitions, language lessons, quizzes and fitness challenges. Take a look at what’s been happening on the SU Instagram (bucks_su) and Facebook pages. You can also see what’s coming up on the SU website.
There are also daily drop-in sessions held on Microsoft Teams at 11am where you can all get together virtually and safely.
The student welfare team, Students First, will be available if you need their support. The team provides personalised support and can help you with university life, mental fitness and wellbeing. Throughout the pandemic students have even been logging in to say a quick virtual hello to our therapy dogs, Millie and Darcie. If you are living on-campus in Buckingham, you are welcome to meet a member of the Students First or support staff team for a one-to-one walk (available with or without our therapy dogs!). Please contact Students First to arrange.
Campus Safety and Healthcare
Is the UK safe?
The UK cares immensely about the health and wellbeing of all its students, and ensuring they are safe is our number one priority. We would like to reassure you that all governments across the UK are adhering closely to the most up to date scientific advice and guidance, which is available publicly online.
As this changes, our advice has, and will continue to change to match the level of the threat of the virus.
What safety measures are in place?
Our cleaning teams are regularly attending to student accommodation and University buildings throughout the week and deep cleaning spaces to ensure a hygienic environment.
Once travel is permitted and/or face-to-face teaching resumes, there is free car parking across our Buckingham campus, including four dedicated University car parks, so you don’t need to take public transport. Many of our students choose to live locally and find it easy to walk or cycle to campus. All our University accommodation is either on campus, or within walking distance. Booth Hall in Crewe is also within a short walking distance of campus.
In line with government guidelines, to keep all students and staff as safe as possible, the wearing of face coverings is currently mandatory when walking through all buildings where it is not possible to keep a 2-metre distance from others (e.g. corridors and staircases), so please carry a face covering or face mask at all times. Coverings or masks can be removed where social distancing measure are in place and 2 meters distance can be achieved.
We ask that you also show respect to one another and remember that there are some individuals who are unable to wear a mask or covering due to medical reasons. A limited supply of disposable face masks are available through the University.
Will I need to self-isolate on arrival?
The national lockdown restrictions ask individuals to ‘Stay at Home’. We would encourage you not to travel to campus unless necessary.
Before arranging to travel please ensure you have visited the government website for the latest details on entering the UK.
Should you need to self-isolate have chosen to live in a University owned property, you will be provided with a designated room within our student accommodation facilities on arrival. It is likely that this room will be based on your personal choices and will be the one you will live in for the duration of your time in accommodation. There is however, a small chance you may be required to change room after your self-isolation period. Our estates team will be on-hand to help you move into your room when you arrive and will assist with any relocation if needed.
Those who are not required to self-isolate (e.g. anyone travelling from within a UK government approved travel corridor) are welcome to visit stores, pharmacies and other establishments on arrival.
There are four main supermarkets in Buckingham; Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Waitrose. There are also smaller grocery stores, banks, and essentials stores around the town, which you can find details for on the University website.
If you would prefer, or need to order your groceries online, the local Tesco and Waitrose offer an online service as do others such as Sainsbury’s. Please visit their websites to find out more. You may be required to order and pay for your items using a UK bank account. Save the Student have a helpful guide on how to set up an account ahead of your arrival in the UK.
Please note, only those who are legally required to self-isolate and have been requested to do so by the UK government guidelines or health advisors will be contacted before arrival with further details.
What is the Test to Release scheme?
Please visit the government website for up-to-date information about the Test to Release scheme. If you have been somewhere that is not on the travel corridor list in the last 10 days, you must self-isolate when you arrive in England.The Test to Release for International Travel scheme is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England.
Under the scheme, you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is five full days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. For most international arrivals, this will be on your fifth full day of self-isolation. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.
To take part in the scheme you need to:
- book a test with a private test provider – a list of private test providers will be published on gov.uk soon
- choose to opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form
You should book your test before you travel to England. This is so you can enter details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form.
If you test negative
If the test result is negative you can stop self-isolating as soon as you receive the result.
If you test positive for COVID-19
If the test result is positive you must continue to self-isolate. You must self-isolate for a further 10 days starting from the day you took the test.
People you live with in the UK, or people you are staying with, must also then self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your positive test.
If test is not conclusive
If the result from your COVID-19 test is inconclusive you must continue to self-isolate. You can choose to take another privately provided test.
You may be fined if you do not self-isolate. The fine is £1,000 for the first time, up to £10,000 for further breaches.
More information on this scheme is available on gov.uk
Please note, this scheme is different to the NHS Test and Trace scheme which ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents. The scheme also helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus. Find out how it works on gov.uk
What extra hygiene measures should I be taking on-campus?
We are asking that all students sanitise their study areas and equipment. We will be providing sanitisation equipment, so please wipe down your seats and desk areas before and after use. Another good practice is to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
Can I be tested for Covid-19?
If you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 while you are studying with us please self-isolate straight away and let your tutor and household know immediately. You and your household will all need to self-isolate.
The NHS are offering free swab tests for those who meet the criteria. You can get a test online or arrange to visit a testing centre on the government website. There is a dedicated page to help you with understanding your test result.
What if I need healthcare?
The UK is immensely proud of its amazing National Health Service (NHS). NHS services are available to both domestic and international students. International students will always be able to access treatment that clinicians consider is immediately necessary or urgent at no upfront cost. No charges apply to testing for coronavirus, and as an international student in the UK, you will also be able to access specific Covid-19 advice through a new Covid-19 online service www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Can I still apply for University accommodation?
Yes, you are welcome to apply for accommodation as normal after you have received an offer to study.
Buckingham is unique: unlike most universities, we own and manage all of our student accommodation. So when we offer you a room, you can rest easy knowing it is guaranteed. All of our University accommodation is close to town and either on campus or no more than a 20 minute walk away.
We guarantee student accommodation for all first-year students (application deadlines apply).
We know it is a stressful time for many of you right now, so our friendly Admissions team are happy to talk through your options with you. You can phone them on: +44 (0)1280 820227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our current students are available around the clock via live chat on our website. You can ask them a question at buckingham.ac.uk/ask-a-student/