New and returning students September 2020

A unique welcome

Whether you’re starting an exciting new chapter or returning back to campus during this time of change, our priority is to ensure that you can enjoy a safe and successful student experience.

We want you to feel comfortable, knowing what to expect and how to prepare for university life in Plymouth.

Find out how to complete online enrolment, access course induction information and more through University induction.

Your study


We’ve used this opportunity to reimagine our teaching to provide you with an academically rewarding student experience:

  • we’re building on pre-existing online and virtual technologies to deliver high-quality blended learning, which aims to strike the right balance between physical and digital environments
  • the majority of your assessments will take place online, and resources have been developed to help you prepare
  • you will also have face-to-face assessments where needed and where it is safe to do so
  • we are committed to keeping you safe through social distancing and creative delivery of accessible course content 
  • it is our aim to make you feel at ease, whether you are with us in person or working through online platforms
  • we recognise that all courses will experience changes, but they will be delivered safely and tailored to your needs.

Safety measures on campus

Measures are in place to ensure the safety of all students, staff and visitors, and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19): 

  • phased arrivals into University halls
  • one-way systems to reduce risks in high-traffic areas
  • regular deep cleans with antiviral disinfectant in high-traffic common areas
  • increased hand sanitiser points and antiviral sprays
  • course-specific health and safety instructions
  • encouragement to wear face coverings where social distancing cannot be achieved
  • personalised support for those with medical conditions
  • following the latest government guidelines at all times.

Full guidance and further details will be made available before you arrive.


Staying social while social distancing

We know that student life will be different to previous years. It will be a new welcome experience for our first-year students and we are continuing to work with the Students’ Union to make sure you feel supported by us and each other. Through online and safely conducted on-campus activities, you’ll be able to connect with others, have new experiences and build important social relationships. 

We want you to have the best possible time at University.


Life in halls

University-managed accommodation guidance encourages residents to be safe and responsible in halls. Every shared flat will be considered a household and individuals will, therefore, follow government guidelines as a collective.

We have taken extra measures to reduce risks during arrivals and to support those who may need to quarantine. Our accommodation teams will be there to help students overcome any issues that may arise.

Supporting your wellbeing

Your wellbeing is always a priority for us and we know there are extra challenges to manage at this time.

Through extra steps taken to adapt our services, such as our virtual queuing system, student support services are accessible no matter where you are.

In addition to our helpful advice and guidance, our Covid Wellbeing Team can provide support should you need to self-isolate, experience symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19.

Plans for September 2020

Will my course be online or on campus in September?

Your learning will be delivered as a mix of face-to-face on-campus learning and remote and online learning. This will include live sessions, as well as recorded material and additional resources provided on your digital learning platform. This mix of teaching styles is called blended learning.

How will my programme be delivered?

Every programme has been designed to get the most from your sessions, and will be specific to needs of the students on that programme.


Large teaching sessions
, such as lectures, will be online in a mix of live and recorded formats. This will allow you to access your learning in a flexible way that suits you.

Smaller group sessions will be held both face-to-face on campus and online, and are being designed to support discussion and collaborative learning, whatever the format.

Practical learning such as laboratory based, performance, clinical skills, and studio based will take place on campus where needed, and we are working hard to make sure we can deliver this safely in smaller groups and larger spaces.


Your academic staff will also be available to support you throughout the year as normal, both in person and online.

What will my assessments look like?

The majority of your semester 1 assessments will take place online, and resources have been developed to support you to prepare for these. You will also have face-to-face assessments where needed and where it is safe to do so.

What is online enrolment?

Online enrolment is an essential first step to being officially part of the University of Plymouth and should be completed as soon as possible.

Completing online enrolment will enable you to gain access to your course timetable for the first time, engage with your academic induction programme or activate your student loan (if you have one).

To complete enrolment, you are required to complete a number of steps:

  • completing online enrolment
  • uploading your photo
  • providing confirmation of your identity
  • and if you are an international student there will be additional steps related to compliance with the Tier 4 immigration permissions.

What do I need to know before I enrol?

Where there have been substantial changes to programmes to ensure your safety and enable you to meet programme learning outcomes, specific information will be published about the changes. In all other areas, we are committed to ensuring that your experience at Plymouth is a fantastic one, that you engage in exceptional learning and teaching in all formats, and that you are supported to achieve your goals and ambitions. 

If you are a new student, you will have access to induction materials before you begin your study in September. These resources will be published on the website and available from mid-August as soon as your place is confirmed. Once you have enrolled, you will be able to access more detailed programme information through your Digital Learning Environment (DLE). Returning students will receive an induction at programme level and will be able to access this information through the DLE from the end of August.

The term dates have been extended for Stage 2 or 3 students on a limited number of programmes to ensure that you are able to meet your learning outcomes and access fieldwork. If you are a student on one of these programmes you will have been contacted directly by your School or Programme team. No term dates have been changed for any new students.

Though things may look a little different this year, your experience will still be of high quality and sustainable education and research, grounded in community engagement, and we can’t wait for you to join us.

When will more detailed information about my programme be available?

Staff across the University are currently working hard to design blended learning programmes and produce a timetable of activities for all students.

Your timetable will be published on Friday 28 August, and further information about your programme will be available before you start your studies in September.

Can I start or continue my studies remotely?

We have put measures in place to protect staff and students and have designed a mixed approach to learning in both remote and face-to-face formats to support social distancing, whilst maximising learning opportunities. We understand that there will be multiple reasons why students may not be able to return to study on campus in September, or who may need to learn remotely for a period of time this semester.

We are committed to helping our students to access their learning. Where it is possible, we will support you to learn remotely, through a wide variety of formats, including remote access to live sessions, alternative online resources, recorded teaching sessions, and virtual tutor meetings.

There are some programmes where face-to-face contact is essential, and it will not be possible to continue your studies at a distance, and we have alternative mechanisms in place to support you. There is normally no fee reduction available for studying remotely as you will still be supported to access your learning and support services will be available to you whether you are on campus or at a distance.

If you are a new student, please contact the admissions team for more information about your specific case. If you are a returning student, contact your programme team for more information.

There may be additional visa requirements if you are an international student, so please check this first.

Do I need a laptop and is there technical support from the University?

We recommend that all students have access to their own technology to access their programme in 2020 and 2021, including the right hardware (for example, a laptop), software and connectivity (for example, broadband).

If you’re purchasing a laptop, you should review the specifications listed below although, if you’re unsure about the requirements for your course, make sure to ask your programme team before you buy anything.


Minimum specification for machines
 (enabling use of University web-based systems and general purpose applications such as Office365):

  • Intel Core i3
  • 8GB RAM
  • SSD Storage
  • Full HD Display or equivalent
  • Windows 10.


Recommended specification for students intending to run a variety of software applications:

  • Intel Core i5
  • 16GB RAM
  • SSD Storage
  • Full HD Display or equivalent
  • Windows 10.


Specialist – if your programme requires the use of applications that are computing or graphics intensive
(for example, CAD, gaming, film or design) you may need a higher specification computer. In this case please contact your programme team for advice.


The University provides a remote desktop access service to PCs on campus. This enables students to access the full suite of University software, from their own device without travelling to campus.

For more information about how you can study remotely and making the best use of university resources, visit our student online learning information.

If you find that obtaining the right technology is difficult because of financial reasons, the university might be able to support you. Have a look at our bursaries and other funding options.

What's it going to be like on campus in September?

We have a range of carefully considered well-developed plans to ensure that students do not miss out on the friendly, community welcome students have come to expect at Plymouth. Students can still expect to have a fun, social experience and those returning to the University will see that many of the existing clubs and societies are still running events, many of them online or socially distanced to ensure that they can have a campus experience that is both safe and energising with a buzzy campus atmosphere.

As well as the extra-curricular activities, there will also be personal contact with academics. Personal tutors, as always, ensure you have a helping hand with any individual questions or concerns you have about your academic studies.

For new students, you will receive all the information and induction you need to get to know your university and make new friends. Our Freshers welcome activities will be run by our superb Students' Union, who will be holding a large-scale virtual fair for clubs and societies complemented by safe, face-to-face activity on campus. Our aim is that, rather than feeling social distancing restricts your university welcome experience, you feel the benefits of everything Plymouth usually offers plus the alternative ways now available, for you to get to know us and for us to get to know you.  

How will I make friends?

We know that socialising at University can be a big part of your journey and student life this year will definitely be different. For our first-year students your ‘welcome’ will be a new experience and we are working closely with the Students' Union to make sure you feel supported by us and each other.

We want you to be able to connect with other students and find a community, which makes you feel at home. We have invested in new ways which move your unique university experience online, helping you to meet other students and make the most of University life where ever you may be, as well as ensuring you can socialise safely on campus.

We are really looking forward to welcoming new and returning students and making it the best possible time at university.

What measures are in place to keep us safe in University-managed halls?

As usual, we have every intention for our student accommodation to offer you a home from home but this year is likely to be a little different and we understand that some of you might be feeling uncertain about how you will live in halls whilst managing the health, safety and wellbeing for everybody living there.

We are working hard with our accommodation providers to ensure that all plans that will be implemented, will be in line with the most up-to-date Government guidance to keep you safe and well. You can find detailed questions and answers on our Accommodation FAQs page.

What student support services will be available from September?

Your wellbeing – physically, mentally and financially – is at the heart of everything we do and we consider your personal life equally as important as your academic life which is why our Student Hub offering student support and wellbeing services is here to support you and allow you to make the most of your time at university.

All of our services are available online via email, video conference and over the phone and from September, in-person, at the Student Hub based in the library. You can use the Hub to ask questions and find out information about dyslexia and disability support, funding, mental health, writing and academic support, visas and other support for international students – in fact anything about your student life!

We encourage all students to find out about our support and wellbeing services – this isn’t because we expect all our students to struggle – on the contrary – university is where many people thrive, but we all have times where we can need a little bit of help and making contact with someone who can help and support us in whatever difficulties we are having, is really important. Your success is our goal, so let us help you make the most of university and cope after any bumps in the road.

Our friendly, confidential and impartial Student Hub team will be pleased to help you and no issue is too big and no question is too small.  You can email our Student Services Team or call them on +44(0)1752 587676 or drop-in and see them from September.

The wellbeing team have also created a bank of self-help online resources, allowing you to take some simple and direct actions to support your mental health at University, whatever your circumstance may be. 

Don’t forget also our University Medical Centre is open on the main Plymouth campus. New and returning students should register with The Medical Centre so that they can help with all your health needs, physical and mental, including arranging repeat prescriptions and booking an appointment for you to see a GP or nurse.

In addition to the wellbeing services, The Charles Seale-Hayne Library will reopen on Monday 17 August with a reduced capacity to support 2m social distancing. In order to use the library, Open Access PCs or study spaces/rooms you will need to book a limited time slot. You will also be able to return books and request books though our reserve and collect service. We are already offering these services in the Level 0 Learning Space (Room 003) at the Library and this is currently available Tuesday to Thursday, 10:00 until 16:00. Updates and library opening hours will be advertised on the website together with our existing digital services.

The Library at Peninsula Allied Health centre (PAHC) will reopen from Monday 21 September. In order to use the library, Open Access PCs or study rooms you will need to book a limited time slot. You will also be able to return books and request books though our reserve and collect service. Updates and library opening hours will be advertised on the website together with our existing digital services.

What are my options if I want to put my study on hold this academic year?

We are working hard across the University to make your experience this year as safe and enjoyable as possible. If for any reason you do not wish to take up your place this year, as a new student you have the option to defer your place to the next academic year. We have a process in place for those wishing to defer and you should contact the student recruitment Admissions Team for more information.

If you are a current student, the option to interrupt your studies can be made at any time though such decisions need to be carefully considered and further advice can found on our withdrawing or suspending study page, including policies regarding fees. Before making your final decision, please contact your School or Faculty Office to talk through the considerations as they will be able to help you make a decision that will best support you in your personal circumstances.

Where can I find information about the last academic year?

All of the information and FAQs relating to the last academic year have been published on an internal site and you will need to log in to view it: Student FAQs Academic Year 2019-20

Will arrangements be the same if I am studying at a partner institution?

As with on-campus students, the priority will be to ensure you can enjoy a safe and successful student experience. Please contact your programme leader at your institution for specific guidance on how you will be studying.

What can I expect on arriving in the UK as an International student?

In 2020, we aim to welcome International students to the University through online and face-to-face events, where possible. We also offer help with travelling from the airport to Plymouth, improving your English language skills, and other aspects of settling into student life. 

Please see our International student welcome details for more help and information on what to expect when you arrive in the UK.