Your course 2020/21

Learning is through a blend of in-person and online teaching throughout this academic year. Find out more about how you will be taught.

Stay safe

  1. Stay in your living circle (if you are in halls) or household and,
  2. Follow social distancing when outside your group.

If you do, you can:

  • Enjoy face-to-face teaching
  • Keep our community safe
  • Make the most of your student experience

Meet people and make connections at virtual events hosted by the Students' Union and on our events hub.

Teaching for the year

We have adapted our teaching to include more online delivery, so we can keep everyone as safe as possible. We call this blended learning. We will be offering as many in-person teaching opportunities as safely possible. Blended learning includes:

  • in-person learning, following the social distancing guidelines in place at the time
  • live online learning, using a range of software
  • online learning using recordings teachers have prepared for you to watch in your own time, with associated activities
  • self-study tasks eg reading or structured problems for you to work on.

You will have regular contact with your lecturers and fellow students, and tasks may include group work. The mix of learning methods will be different for each subject.

Your school will let you know about any individual requirements for your course.

You can access a wide range of study support.

How lectures work

All lectures are online for the whole 2020/21 academic year. This is because of large group sizes and the difficulty of lecturing in a safe, socially-distanced way.

Lecturers may include interactive quizzes or break-out rooms for you to discuss topics with other students. You may also be able to ask questions and talk or send messages to the lecturer. 

How tutorials, seminars, small groups, practicals, labs and field trips work

  • Individual and some small group tutorials are live, either in person or online.
  • Seminars and teaching in small groups are a mixture of in-person and live online.
  • We are making arrangements to ensure that practicals in subjects like theatre, music, science and engineering can operate safely for students and staff.
  • We are currently planning how best to manage field trips, which will need to follow the government guidance at the time around travel and social distancing.

We recognise the importance of in-person learning and are doing our best to make sure this can happen as much as possible, while keeping students and staff safe.

Your school will let you know about the specific plans for your course in September.

How research-based courses work

If you are a research student, your supervisor or your school will contact you to talk through the approach that best suits your research needs and identify how your research can be undertaken safely. Find out more advice for postgraduate research students.

Teaching week: extended hours

To make sure we can offer as much in-person teaching as possible, we are extending our teaching hours.

Teaching during teaching block 1 (October 2020 - January 2021) takes place at the following times:

  • Monday 9 am to 8 pm
  • Tuesday 9 am to 8 pm
  • Wednesday 9 am to 2 pm (potentially to 6 pm for some teaching in specialist spaces eg. laboratories)
  • Thursday 9 am to 8 pm
  • Friday 9 am to 6 pm

Increasing the number hours allows us to spread out teaching across the week so we can offer more in-person teaching and greater access to our specialist facilities in line with social distancing guidelines.

We will review these hours for the second half of the academic year, when we know what the social-distancing rules are at that time.

If you are unable to attend teaching scheduled during extended hours

We know that some students may have have commitments or find it difficult to attend teaching in the evenings.

If you are unable to attend teaching scheduled during these hours, you will be able to engage with online learning as part of our blended offer.

Equipment and IT support for online learning

As much of our teaching will be online, you need access to a computer and internet connectivity to fully engage in your studies. Although there are computers available in study spaces across campus, due to occupancy restrictions needed to keep you safe, you are unlikely to be able to access these whenever you need them. We strongly recommend you bring your own computer (eg laptop). You also need internet connectivity from your accommodation or usual place of study. Wifi connectivity is provided automatically in University accommodation.

We provide access to the software you need for online learning and support with how to use it. We are committed to ensuring that no student will be disadvantaged by online teaching and assessment, and to making our teaching accessible. Find out what IT support and guidance is available

If you need help with the costs of IT equipment or connectivity find out what financial support is available.

Problems accessing online teaching and resources

We are very aware that some students will have issues with connectivity and technology, and that online teaching poses different challenges for different people. 

If you cannot participate in teaching activities, let your school office know. You must tell them once in any 7-day period.

If you are struggling to access online resources, contact your school office for support. They will direct you to suitable technical support or put alternative arrangements in place.

If you have questions about using assistive software, contact Disability Services.

What happens if you are unable to come to Bristol

We understand that some of you will not be able to come to Bristol due to circumstances beyond your control.

If you need to study online only, complete the Location of study form to tell us so we can support you in the right way.

Courses that require you to be on-campus

Some courses cannot be taken online only and require you to be on-campus. Look at our on-campus course list to find out if you are required to be on campus for learning.

Adapting teaching during the academic year

Blended learning will be in place for the whole academic year as we will be delivering all lectures online.

Safety for our students and staff is our top priority. We are planning for a range of scenarios over the coming months so we can either:

  • increase the in-person components during the year if the pandemic resolves more quickly than expected, or
  • increase the online components if subsequent waves occur and lead to further restrictions.

We are constantly reviewing this approach in line with the evolving public health situation and advice from government and our own scientists.

What your course will look like

Content of course

The content of most courses will not change significantly. We will only make changes if we cannot deliver content in a blended way. If your course content changes significantly, we will let you know what is changing.

We are working with professional bodies to ensure accreditation is not impacted on our professional courses. 

Intended awards (eg. BA, MSc, BEng, MEng) will not change  - though in a few cases the precise title may be amended if a placement component is no longer available. 

Length of course

The length of most courses will not change.

Term dates

Find out our term dates for 2020/21.

The academic dates may vary for some programmes of study, in particular postgraduate or professional programmes. You can view all non-standard start dates.

Cost of course

The cost of courses will not change.

Examinations and assessments

The next examination period is January 2021. Examinations will be online.

Some practical assessments may still be in person.

We expect you to hand in your assessments on time. If you are having difficulties, speak to your school.

Find out more about examinations and assessments during the 2020/21 academic year

Suspending your studies

Find out what you need to consider before you make the decision and what you need to do if you decide to suspend.


Your transcript is a record of the unit marks you achieved and your award. It is not intended to provide a narrative of how your award was classified, or a commentary on your particular circumstances.

Libraries and study spaces

We have adapted our libraries and study spaces in line with social distancing guidelines and so you can still make use of these facilities safely. 


If you have any questions about your course or teaching methods, or if you are unable to access online teaching and assessments, email your school office.

For other questions, email:

Further information

We have made every effort to ensure all details are correct.

However, since this information is subject to change, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students are advised to check the University's Unit and Programmes Catalogue for the latest course updates and these advice pages for all other updates. Postgraduate research students need to contact their research supervisor.

Unit teaching and assessment details, and other information published here, is indicative and may be altered due to changes imposed due to the current coronavirus.

Digital Induction

Try a range of activities and resources to get you ready to start your studies.

Wellbeing support

If you are struggling, contact our student wellbeing service. 

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