Advice for prospective students

The following information is for prospective University students who may have concerns about the novel coronavirus (also known as Covid-19).

We understand that our prospective students and offer holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Please be reassured that the health and wellbeing of our students is our absolute priority and the University is working on preparing contingency plans to manage any precautions we all may have to take as the situation evolves. We're continuing to work hard on finding solutions to areas of concern for prospective students and offer holders.

We've prepared the following frequently asked questions. If you have further questions, please contact study@sheffield.ac.uk. Due to the high volume of enquiries we are currently receiving there may be a delay to our response.

We'll continue to issue any further advice and guidance as it becomes available, so we encourage everyone to read the information contained here carefully and regularly, and to follow the instructions given.

Additional sources of information

The following websites are regularly updated with advice and information:

Please also refer to the latest advice on the main coronavirus homepage.


Frequently asked questions - for prospective students

The questions and answers below are relevant to prospective students. Other information is available on our advice pages:

Frequently asked questions - general

Information for all applicants

My teaching and assessment have been disrupted by coronavirus. What should I do?

We're aware that education systems in the UK and around the world have been disrupted and we're monitoring the situation. We'll be as flexible as we can where applicants aren't able to meet the conditions of their offers in the way they expected, or at the time they expected.

Many exam boards are intending to award qualifications to applicants even if their coursework has been interrupted or their exams cancelled. Where final grades are awarded by the exam boards, we expect to be able to accept these qualifications and grades.

Exam boards and other agencies are updating us about their plans, so you don’t need to alert us to your circumstances at this stage. We’ll contact you if we need you to do anything.

More information on this question for undergraduate and international applicants is available in the dedicated sections below.

I'm due to register at the University, or collect my BRP card, how do I do this?

Student registration will be done remotely. New students expecting to register in the coming days should follow instructions given by their academic department or school.

If you are an international student expecting to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the Student Administration Service, this may not be possible during this period.

Please read this web page about your BRP card in the first instance. You can also contact the Student Registration Team if the web page doesn't answer your question. If you have other queries relating to the BRP collection process, for instance you may have returned home before collecting your BRP from the University, please contact International Student Support.

I booked a place to come on a University of Sheffield applicant or offer-holder event. Should I still come?

All of our open days and on campus events have now been cancelled until the end of July. We will contact you with more details if you have made a booking and will keep updating this page with further information.

Should I book my university accommodation for 2020-2021 and what happens if I can’t move in due to government restrictions?

We recommend that you book your accommodation as normal online via your MUSE account once you have accepted your place at The University of Sheffield.

We will be offering a release from contract if you have applied and accepted a residence contract and then do not come to Sheffield due to travel restrictions, visa issues, you are taking a leave of absence or are deferring for a year.

If there is a need for you to arrive early or later than the start of your University Accommodation Contract, accommodation will be available and payment plans can be arranged to assist with managing your finances and flexible start dates as needed.

Residences Life are currently working hard on a full programme of events and activities both online and in person to ensure you meet new friends and live as a community where you are guaranteed to be with other University of Sheffield students.

If you have not already done so then you can apply now if you are a UG, PG or Erasmus student as long as you have a confirmed place of study and have chosen Sheffield as your first choice university.  
For more details contact accommodationoffice@sheffield.ac.uk

My course has a placement. What will be the arrangements for me in 2020-21?

For a few of our accredited courses, students have placements, for example clinical or teaching placements. We're currently in discussions with the relevant professional bodies to agree arrangements for these courses for the 2020-21 academic year. We'll update this page with more information when we have it.

I need my qualifications documents verified by the Admissions Service when I register. What should I do? As part of the registration process, we ask some new students to bring their original paper certificates/transcripts for verification by the Admission Service. If this applies to you, we’ll let you know.

The Admissions Service are currently working remotely. This means that if you're starting your course over the spring or summer, we won't be able to verify your qualifications when you register. Please don't worry about this. We'll still be able to provisionally register you at the University, and you'll still be able to start your course. We'll let you know when the Admissions Service office reopens and we're able to review your documents, and after that we'll upgrade your registration to fully registered.

Are you still accepting applications for September 2020?

We are still accepting applications for September 2020 entry. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update these FAQs as more information becomes available. Our advice is that you check back with us regularly for the University’s latest advice and guidance.

I want to study at Sheffield on exchange in 2020/21, can I still do so?

We're still hoping to begin the 2020-21 academic year in September. Exchange partners have been sent details of how to nominate students; if you have been nominated already, you should complete your application as normal. If you would like to change your nomination from the autumn (fall) semester to the spring semester, please contact your home university to make this request.

If your home university does not have an active exchange agreement with the University of Sheffield you can apply as a non-exchange student.

Can I defer my offer to 2021 entry?

We recognise that individual applicant circumstances change, so for many of our courses we may be able to consider deferring your entry until September 2021.

Undergraduate applicants wishing to request this consideration should email us at study@sheffield.ac.uk.

Postgraduate applicants can request consideration via their online application. Postgraduate applicants who have applied through our staged admissions process (outlined in your application acknowledgement email) cannot currently request to defer.

I have been offered a scholarship for 2020 entry. Can I defer it to 2021?

We’re committed to supporting students in these challenging times and want to be sure that those joining us in 2020 are financially supported. Therefore we won't be able to defer scholarship awards to 2021. More scholarships will be available for 2021 entry, but these won’t be confirmed until the autumn.

Additional information for applicants to undergraduate courses

My exams have been cancelled. How can I meet the conditions of my offer?

Governments in the UK have all cancelled final examinations and assessments for students taking qualifications this year. Governments and awarding bodies are developing guidance on how marks will be awarded to people taking a range of different qualifications used to apply to university, and have confirmed they expect grades to be released over the summer, so that students can progress to higher education as planned. We understand that students may also, if they wish, have an opportunity to sit examinations at the earlier opportunity thereafter. We’ll update our advice with more details as soon as we have them.

You can find more information about the process for A Level students in the latest update from the UK government. We understand that A Level results will be released as scheduled, on Thursday 13 August.

Information is also available for students taking the following qualifications:

Access to HE
Cambridge International qualifications
Vocational and technical qualifications

You can also find information on the UCAS pages for each country:

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Island

At the moment, there's no action you need to take. UCAS have also extended the deadline for Home (UK and EU) students to accept their offers from 5 May to 18 June. More information is available on the UCAS web pages.

Accepting your offer will let us know that you're hoping to join us next academic year, and ensure you get all the latest communications as the situation develops.

If you're an international student, we'll be able to apply the same flexibility where your exams or teaching have been disrupted or cancelled. We're waiting for further information and will update you soon. UCAS also has information that you may find helpful on its information pages.

On 4 May the UK government also released guidance on arrangements for admission to universities in 2020.

I have a Conditional offer to start in September 2020. If my summer 2020 results don't meet the conditions and I appeal, will I still be able to start this year?

We don’t know the details of the appeals process for results this year, but we would expect exam boards to be mindful of University start dates and to consider appeals quickly.

Where an appeal decision comes through late we’ll be as flexible as we can, and it’s normally possible to start a course a few days late if absolutely necessary. There does come a point where it’s too late to catch up, and in those circumstances it would be in your best interests to defer until September 2021.

I'm studying my qualifications as a private/external student and I don't have predicted grades. How can I meet the conditions of my offer?

For the majority of students in this position, we still expect grades to be awarded.

In England and Wales schools and colleges, as 'assessment centres', have been asked to recommend grades for those independent students with whom they have a relationship, wherever the centre has enough information to do so. If a centre doesn't have enough information to recommend a grade for you, you may be able to transfer to another one. More information is available in the Ofqual press release of 5 May.

Further details are available on the UCAS website: Independent applicants – predicted grades and references

I'm studying my qualifications as a private/external student and I’ve been told I won’t be given a grade in the summer. What will happen to my Conditional offer?

We need to be confident that all our students are sufficiently prepared to begin their degrees at Sheffield. Grades awarded by exam boards are how we usually assess this, but we recognise that not all our applicants will be in a position to present grades to us this summer. If no assessment centre is able to recommend calculated grades for you, we'll use a range of evidence of achievement, for example predicted grades and previous performance, to assess whether we might still be able to accept you.

If you're studying as a private student and know you won't be awarded calculated grades, please let us know by emailing access@sheffield.ac.uk. We'll get in touch with you to discuss your application.

Will my application to the UK Student Loans Company be affected by this situation?

No, UK and EU applicants to courses starting in September 2020 can apply for student finance online as normal. More information is available in this government press release.

Additional information for postgraduate applicants

I want to apply for a postgraduate course, but because of the lockdown I can't obtain a transcript of results for my current degree. What should I do?

To make a decision, we need to know which institution you’re studying at, which modules you’re studying, and what grades you’ve achieved so far, but we'll be able to consider your application with an unofficial record. This might be a copy of an email from your university, or a screengrab of your student record on your university website. If we need a more formal document to confirm your place, we’ll let you know.

Additional information for international applicants

I have applied, or was about to apply, for a Tier 4 visa to study at the University. What happens now?

New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but who have been unable to travel to the UK to start their course are allowed to undertake distance learning where this is possible. In these cases, our sponsorship of your visa can continue. Academic departments will contact you with guidance on whether and how you'll be able to start your learning remotely.

New international students who haven't yet applied for a visa but are able to commence a course by distance learning don't need to travel to the UK, and therefore don't require sponsorship under Tier 4. If you're due to start at the University in June, July or August, please contact your academic department to discuss whether distance learning will be possible in your case. We'll contact students due to start in September with more information when it becomes available.

Please contact the International Student Support Team if you have any questions. You can find more information on the UK government website.

Do I still need to pay my tuition fee deposit?

If you're an International applicant and we asked you to pay a tuition fee deposit in your offer letter, you should still pay by any deadline indicated in the letter. If there's no deadline, please be aware you must pay your deposit first, in order for us to arrange the CAS number you'll need for your visa.

You can find more information about tuition fee deposits, including our refunds policy, on our webpages:

Postgraduate taught course tuition fee deposits

We've recently updated the refunds policy to confirm that we'll refund the deposits of applicants who are unable to take up their place for reasons relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

More information about visa arrangements is available on our International Student Support webpages.

What's your tuition fee deposit refund policy?

You can find information about tuition fee deposits, including our refunds policy, on our webpages:

Postgraduate taught course tuition fee deposits

We've recently updated the refunds policy to confirm that we'll refund the deposits of applicants who are unable to take up their place for reasons relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

Will you be holding pre-sessional English language courses online?

As a result of the global coronavirus outbreak we will teach our Summer 2020 Pre-sessional English courses online.

You can join the course from your home country and will not need a visa for the online course if you are studying from your home country.

You do not need UKVI IELTS, but you must have an approved English Language Test.

If you have already applied for our pre-sessional course we will contact you to confirm or cancel your place. You do not need to apply again. You can find more information on our English Language Teaching Centre website.

I'm due to start a degree course in September 2020 and will be studying an online pre-sessional English language course in summer 2020. If I defer the start of my degree course until September 2021, will I have to complete a new pre-sessional course?

No. If you arrange to defer the start of your degree course until September 2021, you can still use your 2020 pre-sessional course, providing:

  1. You fully participate in the pre-sessional course, and pass the online assessments

  2. The degree course you start in September 2021 is the same course you were due to start in September 2020

How and when do I pay for the pre-sessional English language course?

You must arrange payment before joining or during the first week of your course. If you don't pay by this time, you will not be allowed to continue your studies.

You may pay by:

  • Credit/debit card

  • Western Union bank transfer

We are unable to accept any tuition fee payment in cash.

We can also accept payments from sponsors. Acceptable sponsors include:

  • universities

  • government agencies

  • charitable organisations

  • registered international companies

You'll need to provide a letter confirming your sponsorship before we can issue you with any visa documentation.

If you cancel your place before starting the course we'll refund any fees you have paid in advance, minus any fees or bank charges incurred.

I am unable to take an IELTS exam. What alternative English language qualifications will you accept?

We accept a wide range of English language qualifications. Full lists are available on our webpages:

English language requirements for undergraduate applicants
English language requirements for postgraduate applicants

We've recently added three new qualifications to these lists. From April 2020, we accept the following:

  • TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

  • NCUK English Language Test

  • LanguageCert International ESOL 

If you're holding an offer with an IELTS condition, and have completed one of these qualifications and achieved the level required by your course, please email us at study@sheffield.ac.uk so we can review your offer.

Information about the University of Sheffield International College pre-masters programme or foundation year

Visit the University of Sheffield International College website.

Can I apply for an International Merit Scholarship as a conditional offer holder?

Yes, you can apply for a scholarship if you meet the eligibility criteria. Visit our scholarship pages to find out more.