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Postgraduate Admissions

We hope you and your loved ones are well in these extraordinary times. The University and Colleges of Cambridge are preparing to welcome our new postgraduate students to Cambridge for the academic year 2020/21 and this statement is to update you on some important principles and arrangements for the coming academic year.

Cambridge has welcomed and nurtured students for hundreds of years and continues to do so. We remain committed to excellence in education, learning and research and want to support you to live and work in this beautiful city and to offer you the fullest possible experience of being here. The Collegiate University provides a deep-rooted sense of community and rich opportunities for learning. Small group teaching – supervisions, seminars or individual tuition – is at the heart of our educational provision and will continue in person as far as possible or via real-time face-to-face technology where not.

The Collegiate University sets out below its principles for delivering education in the academic year 2020-21. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic we will seek to mitigate risks to health by applying social distancing and other government guidelines and continuing to respond to the changing public health situation through appropriate changes to our courses, services and facilities. Where official guidance or concerns for the health of students and staff demand it, we will review our approach.

  1. We will be welcoming students next academic year: We will also do all we reasonably can to meet 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. You are advised to be flexible in your travel plans at this stage and more advice about arrangements for the start of term will follow in July.
  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. The balance of the blend will depend on the stringency of social distancing and other regulations in force at the time. Where possible, teaching by seminars, practicals and supervisions will be delivered in person, and it may be possible for lectures to smaller groups to be given on this basis. All lectures will be recorded and made available online. If large-scale lecturing in person becomes permissible, the university will reintroduce it as soon as possible.
  4. Research and learning facilities: It is our aim that all students who need them for their studies and research 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. This may involve managing how we all enter and leave buildings to allow for social distancing, reducing numbers of people allowed into a building or area, appropriate cleaning regimes, altered timings of events and any other measures considered appropriate to mitigate risk of exposure to Covid-19. We will promote health and infection control measures across the whole 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. The Colleges and the University are working closely together to help all our students find accommodation within the University or in Cambridge.
  7. Support: Colleges offer you a home environment and pastoral support in many forms; the University additionally provides centralised student support, including the Student Counselling Service, Disability Resource Centre, Careers Service, support for mature students, student parents and care leavers. These services will continue to be provided, either in person or via real time face-to-face technology. For more information on our welfare support, see https://www.studentwellbeing.admin.cam.ac.uk/ and your own College’s website.

Colleges are looking forward to welcoming new students into residence and are busy making preparations for a range of educational, welfare, social and other cultural activities during the year ahead. Every College remains proud to be their students’ Cambridge home, and is working with student representatives to ensure that induction and welcome events in the autumn give you the information and support you will need as you join the College community.

By the end of July the University will issue a further statement; this will confirm if any particular changes are intended to be made to any courses. Any such changes will be notified to you through our established processes for making changes to our courses as set out in our Terms of Admission. Your College will also provide more detailed guidance about coming to Cambridge and the practicalities of student life in the autumn.

We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge soon and wish you the very best for any results you are waiting for this summer.

Professor Graham Virgo

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)