Information for Students
Ways of learning
We keep our teaching delivery under review, in line with NI Executive guidance.
Whether you are returning to your studies with us, or joining us for the first time, visit our student guide to learn more about University life and your campus learning experience, as further details are confirmed for our 2021/22 academic year.
Return to Campus Semester One 2021
In May the University outlined its two planning assumptions for the approach to Semester One: either a return to broadly normal on-campus teaching or a continuation of remote operations. And on 12 August, the Northern Ireland Executive announced that all FE and HE would resume with face-to-face teaching on campus.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not ended, but the vaccine continues to diminish the link between the virus and severe illness and as a consequence, restrictions are gradually easing and society is reopening. Nevertheless, there remains a degree of uncertainty and we know that some staff and students may feel a little apprehensive about returning to campus.
We have to be realistic and acknowledge that there will almost certainly be some disruption to teaching during the semester, however a comprehensive set of measures is in place to support a safe, phased return to campus.
We ask that all staff and students act responsibly, follow all the guidance that is issued and play their part to make campuses a safe and comfortable place to work and study.
NI Executive regulations require social distancing is adhered to in the workplace. We ask all students to respect that this is a workplace for all our dedicated staff who are providing their on-campus experience and to keep their distance from staff at all times.
Rest assured that we will be fully flexible, agile and responsive to the demands of the very latest NI Executive Guidance and the most up to date information for our University community will always be available on these UU COVID web pages.
A message from Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Bartholomew
Staying safe on campus
What measures are in place on campus to keep us safe?
We have a wide range of health and safety measures in place on campus and are committed to providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming campus.
- Face coverings are required on campus.
- Perspex screens are in place at reception areas.
- Limits on numbers in lifts will be retained
- Keep left, passing places and queuing markers will remain to support the safe and comfortable movement of staff and students around campus.
- Helpful COVID signage will remain in place reminding students of our COVID-secure measures.
- Whilst in line with NI Executive guidance, social distancing is no longer required in classrooms and teaching spaces, we do ask that staff and students try to keep their distance when moving around campus. We ask students to respect that this is a workplace for 2500 dedicated staff and remind them that 1m+ social distancing is required in the workplace.
- Enhanced cleaning continues, using a highly protective and persistent decontamination system.
- Hand sanitiser stations remain at the entrances to campus buildings, and we remind staff and students to wash or sanitise their hands well and often.
- Mechanical and natural ventilation of indoor spaces will be maximised across campus to help reduce the spread of the virus, building on continuous improvements over the past year in both new buildings and older teaching spaces. In mechanically ventilated spaces, this includes air purifier units to supplement ventilation where this is of benefit. Installed CO2 monitoring will be tracked through building management
What are the requirements for social distancing?
Whilst social distancing is no longer strictly required in classrooms and teaching spaces, NI Executive require that social distancing of 1m+ remains for workplaces and should be adhered to.
- We ask all students to respect that Ulster University is a workplace for over 2500 dedicated staff members and to keep their distance from staff.
Everyone should continue to keep their distance at all times and when moving around campus.
- In the spaces on our campuses that students normally have access to (i.e., not staff offices etc), they will not be required to socially distance from one another at all. (For the purposes of clarity this includes the library and other learning spaces e.g., study spaces and labs used by PhD Researchers).
- Staff are required to keep a social distance of 1m+ from other staff members and students (For the purposes of clarity this includes offices)
- Where the keeping of 1m social distance between students and staff is not possible (during a practical demonstration for example) then appropriate mitigations, e.g., PPE, should be used.
- Separate arrangements exist for Catering outlets and Sports Centres
Will students be required to wear face coverings on campus?
Students and Staff will be required to wear face-coverings both on campus and during classes. It is important that everyone follows this guidance in order that we can create a safe university community for all.
We recognise that there are circumstances, including medical conditions that may make it difficult for students and staff to wear face-coverings. We are committed to building and maintaining an inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.
It is important to remember that it is not always obvious why a person may not be wearing a face-covering. That does not mean that they do not have a legitimate reason and so we ask staff and students to be mindful of this and respectful of one another.
The familiar Sunflower Lanyard scheme discreetly indicates hidden disabilities, and in the context of the pandemic, some people are opting to wear this to explain that they are not able to wear a face covering.
What should I do if I forget or misplace my face-covering before a face-to-face teaching session?
For the safety and wellbeing of everyone, you will be reminded at the start of on-campus classes to wear your face covering.
If you forget or misplace your face-covering, you can collect a disposable face-covering from campus reception.
What does mechanical and natural ventilation mean for me and what do I need to do?
One of the many health and safety mitigations that we will have in place on campus for 21/22 is enhanced mechanical and natural ventilation protocols.
We are optimising mechanical and natural ventilation across campus to help reduce the spread of the virus, building on continuous improvements over the past year in both new buildings and older teaching spaces.
This may make the ambient temperatures in teaching and communal spaces cooler than usual, and we encourage you to consider this when deciding what to wear on campus.
Which courses are returning to face-to-face on campus delivery?
In August, the NI Executive confirmed that universities and colleges would resume face-to-face teaching. In line with this guidance, all Ulster University courses that were previously delivered face-to-face will be resuming on campus.
We are looking forward to being able to deliver an on-campus learning experience on all programmes for this academic year. We keep our teaching delivery under review in line with NI Executive guidance.
What sort of disruption might we expect?
In the context of the ongoing global pandemic, it is important that we are realistic and acknowledge that there will almost certainly be some disruption to teaching during the semester.
This might take the form of members of staff being unable to teach due to illness or the rescheduling of classes to online delivery where a member of staff needs to isolate.
If a teaching session needs to be moved online or rescheduled, the course director will contact you.
Please do check your emails regularly to stay up to date with any adjustments that may be necessary and potentially at short notice.
How will I know if a member of staff is unwell or isolating due to Covid-19?
If it becomes necessary to vary the delivery of classes due to staff illness or isolation you will be notified through the virtual learning environment and by email.
It is therefore important that you regularly check announcements on the VLE and your email for the most up to date information.
If you have provided your mobile phone number to the University, you may also receive text notifications.
Will my course have blended or online learning?
Building on many of our shared experiences and successes, we will continue to make full use of the innovation and opportunity that online and blended delivery brought to us all over the past year.
We are working to retain the benefits of these methods where we believe this will enhance student learning and complement our on-campus teaching delivery.
Decisions about course content delivery are taken by the relevant subject experts with a view to providing a high-quality learning experience.
Will Ulster University adapt current courses to reflect the impact on our economy and future careers?
We know that many sectors have already changed in response to the impact of the global pandemic, re-imagining their business for the future.
At Ulster University we are committed to ensuring that the learning experience also supports you to adapt in your chosen career path.
We will continue to adjust and refresh our programmes to match emerging market needs and opportunities as our economy and society begins the journey to recovery.
We have worked closely with the Department for the Economy to deliver a range of bespoke skills programmes to support career development, post-pandemic recovery for individuals, sectors and the local economy.
I was supposed to be on my placement year this year, but I am not sure what the arrangements will be?
We continue to operate our popular placement programmes and are keeping in regular contact with employers to develop high quality placement opportunities.
If you were considering a placement year, we encourage you to continue to find a placement opportunity, as this experience is invaluable in preparing you for a successful future and career.
Placements may be required to be undertaken ‘off site’ through remote working, or by undertaking a series of virtual projects or internships, either individually or as a group.
The University will provide ongoing support to help you to navigate this new way of working and ensure you are aware of all health and safety requirements expected of you and your employer.
Since any adjustments to placement opportunities with individual employers in the incoming year may vary, we are offering enhanced flexibility for placement employers, with placements able to start up to January 2022.
Keep in touch with your placement tutor who will update you and discuss any alternatives or adjustments that may arise.
I would prefer to continue to learn online for now rather than come onto campus, is that possible?
In line with the NI Executive announcement on 12 August, all Ulster University courses that were previously face-to-face will be resuming on campus delivery.
As such, it will not be possible for you to continue your studies at Ulster University fully online. A safe, thriving, and vibrant campus experience is at the heart of Ulster University. We are looking forward to welcoming students back onto campus, with a wide range of protective measures in place for your safety, comfort and wellbeing. as we deliver a high-quality inclusive learning experience.
If there are medical reasons why you are unable to attend campus, such as a disability or long-term medical condition, you may be able to access reasonable adjustments to support you during this time if the learning outcomes of your course can still be met. It is important that you contact Student Wellbeing to discuss your situation.
If you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, you are encouraged to make us aware of this at enrolment so that we can best support your individual circumstances and put in place adjustments that could support you to progress in your studies.
- Get more information about how we will support you if you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.
Students who do not have a certified medical reason confirming they cannot be present on campus will be expected to attend scheduled teaching sessions as online alternatives will not be routinely available.
Will there be formal on-campus examinations on campus in 21/22?
Course teams will use a wide variety of means, appropriate to your subject area and which have been quality approved, to assess students and support your learning progression.
In most cases, course teams will provide alternative assessments in modules that would normally contain examinations, and your Module Team will ensure that you have full details of these.
Formal on-campus examinations will be used only in certain circumstances, such as when required by Professional Bodies that accredit your programme of study.
What should I do if my studies are affected because of my own Covid illness and or long Covid?
If your studies are affected by COVID-19, any other illness, or indeed any other personal circumstances, you should inform your Studies Advisor and Course Director, and complete an Extenuating Circumstances form.
This will allow your Course Team to consider how they can best support your personal circumstances. Self-Certification can be accepted and in light of the ongoing pandemic, the self-certification period for Extenuating Circumstances remains extended to 10 working days.
If you have a diagnosis of long COVID and you can provide medical evidence of this, you may be able to access reasonable adjustment recommendations to support any additional study needs caused by your condition and you may also be eligible to funded support through the Disabled Students’ Allowance such as assistive technology equipment and software.
What happens if we have to go back into lockdown?What happens if we have to go back into lockdown?
If the public health situation deteriorates or it becomes necessary to comply with social distancing measures that would be impossible to operationalise without significantly compromising the student on-campus learning experience, we are agile, ready and able to pivot teaching and support services back to online delivery.
When will I receive my timetable for Semester 1 2021?
One of the many mitigations that we have in place to ensure that we provide the safest campus experience possible for students and staff, is the delivery of some lectures online, where it enhances your learning experience and complements on-campus opportunities.
All new and returning students have now received a copy of their timetable. This may have been sent via their Course Director or through the provision of a link to the timetable on Blackboard™ for example.
Given the ongoing public health context it is very important that all students check their emails every day and always before they leave for campus to ensure that they are aware of any changes to the timetable that are the result of staff illness/isolation or moving a class into a larger room.
The new digital timetable system will be available from the second semester.
As you prepare for the 21/22 academic year, keep up to date with Timetabling on our New Chapter webpages.
Sustainable travel between Jordanstown and Belfast
For our students at Belfast and Jordanstown, make use of the sustainable travel between campuses by Bus, Rail and Bicycle.
In Semester 1, free bus and rail transport is available for all students who are impacted by the dual campus operations in semester 1. This free travel is via a prepaid Translink iLink card.
This pre-paid iLink card is renewable monthly and will facilitate free travel on all Metro and Glider services in Belfast, on the Uni-Link 163a Ulsterbus service (between Belfast and Jordanstown) and on NI Railways train services between Belfast and Jordanstown. It can also be used for unlimited journeys throughout Translink Zone 1, which is the greater Belfast area, for a full 7 days a week.
If your term-time address is in the Greater Belfast area (BT1-BT17) and, you are studying in either Belfast or Jordanstown you are eligible to apply for an iLink card by completing an online application form which will be available on the Student Guide to Ulster from 13h September. iLink cards will then be available for collection from the Belfast campus.
iLink cards will then be available for collection from the Belfast campus.
As you prepare to resume or start your studies, stay up to date on our NEW CHAPTER webpages, visit our Travel and Transport QAs, or for further details on metro and rail timetables please visit the Translink website and download the journey planner App.
On-campus services and facilities
What facilities will be open on campus for students whose programmes will be delivered on campus from September?
New and returning students can look forward to a vibrant campus experience and can be reassured that University facilities on campus will operate in line with the appropriate public health guidance and restrictions.
We are maintaining robust cleaning and sanitisation across all services.
At Ulster, we aim to create active campus communities by providing opportunities for more of us, to be more active, more often through the delivery of high-quality services, facilities and innovative programmes.
Our Sports Centres are open and operating to the highest standards and public health guidelines, to ensure your safety in our gyms, popular live and on-demand classes and throughout our facilities, allowing you to train with confidence.
Find out more about our full range of sports services.
A range of popular catering outlets will be open on campus in line with NI Executive guidance for indoor hospitality.
From the grab n’ go The Link on Belfast campus offering fresh breakfast and lunch options, to the relaxed UEat café in Jordanstown, the exciting dishes from around the world at Flow & Co in Coleraine and the vibrant Rock Road Social café bar at Magee, there’s plenty to choose from across our campuses to suit all tastes.
You can find out more about our catering outlets and menus from early September.
Student health, wellbeing and support
I am anxious about the easing of restrictions and the return to campus; where can I go for support?
With life gradually returning to something more recognisable for us all, we understand that this will be an anxious time for some in our University community, particularly after such a prolonged period of restrictions.
It is natural to feel apprehensive, but you can be assured that the University has robust health and safety measures in place to mitigate the risks associated with a return to campus. We must all however, play our part in reducing the risk of Covid-19 by wearing a face-covering, following handwashing and sanitising protocols and following the guidelines that the university provides to students.
The Student Wellbeing team is available to support you both now and throughout your time at UU. There is plenty of help available for you, academically and personally, to ensure that you can make the most of all that University life has to offer.
If you are a new or existing student in crisis or distress or alternatively if you are worried about someone else, you can contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.
Our extensive support services are wide ranging, and students will be able to access telephone, video and face to face appointments with the Student Wellbeing team in the new academic year. The Student Wellbeing team has qualified Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisors to support students with a broad range of wellbeing concerns as well as AccessAbility Advisers to provide robust support to students who have a disability or additional study needs.
We also have Student Money Coordinators to provide money management and budgeting advice as well as some financial support for students in financial hardship. The Student Wellbeing team can also refer you to our counselling provider for therapeutic counselling sessions if appropriate.
Our student led mental health initiative ‘Mind Your Mood’ will host regular events and training workshops, both on campus and online to remove the stigma of mental health and enhance our students’ mental fitness and resilience and from mid-October Student Wellbeing will also host a fortnightly ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ webinar.
For the incoming year, we are also providing further academic, study skills and pastoral student wellbeing interventions. Look out for the introduction of a student peer mentoring service, alongside Students’ Union initiatives such as the ‘Here for You’ online wellbeing hub and a student wellbeing hotline that will proactively reach out to students to ensure they are accessing any services they may need.
Your Students’ Union (UUSU) will also be investing in the University’s Quiet Rooms, supporting safe spaces on campus for specific needs, investing in the Mind Your Mood student-led mental health programme, and implementing skills training for student representatives right across the University’s four campuses to provide peer support in times of need.
I am Clinically Extremely Vulnerable/ live with someone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable/ have medical issues that may prevent me attending face to face teaching, what should I do?
Our priority is to support students to progress with confidence in their studies. Please talk to your course director in you have any concerns, or circumstances that it would be helpful for us to know about, in order to best support your learning.
When you enrol online as a new or a returning student you will be asked whether you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or live with someone during term time who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.
Students will have the option not to disclose this information however, we strongly encourage students to share this information at enrolment.
If you are a student who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable you should contact the Student Wellbeing team via 028 9536 7000 or email@example.com to discuss how you can access reasonable adjustment recommendations to support your additional study needs.
You may also be eligible for additional funded disability support if you have not previously engaged with disability support from the Student Wellbeing team.
These recommendations will be made based on your individual needs and will require you to provide medical evidence to the Student Wellbeing team as part of this process.
Whilst the University will make every effort to put in place reasonable adjustments for those students who have certificated medical reasons for being unable to attend face to face teaching sessions on campus, there may be elements of a course which cannot be delivered online and for which campus attendance will be mandatory.
In some instances, this may be linked to the need to satisfy the accreditation requirements of professional or statutory bodies and will be integral to the achievement of the programme level learning outcomes.
It is anticipated that only a small number of students will be affected by these circumstances, and if your course is one which mandates face-to-face teaching the Student Wellbeing Team will be able to advise. In this situation, you may be asked to take a period of Leave of Absence until the public health situation improves sufficiently to enable their safe return to on-campus learning.
Get more detailed information on the process and nature of support that can be offered to students who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, who live with someone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or students that are pregnant.
What should I do if my health has deteriorated since I was last on campus or if my disability status has changed?
We recognised that the global pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on those with pre-existing health conditions and those with disabilities. It may be the case that since you were last on campus you have developed a health condition, experienced a deterioration in your health, experienced a change in disability status.
We strongly encourage all students in any of these situations to contact Student Wellbeing before you return to campus to disclose your disability or medical condition for the first time, or to declare a change in circumstances or new diagnosis if you have previously sought disability support and reasonable adjustments through the Student Wellbeing team.
You will be asked to provide some background information about support you may have accessed before, and you will also be asked to provide medical evidence of your condition. An explanation on what is required can be found in the Disability section of the Student Wellbeing website.
Covid vaccination, testing and symptoms
Do I need to be vaccinated to attend face-to-face on campus teaching and events? Do I need to be vaccinated to move into UU student accommodation?
We continue to actively and strongly encourage all UU students and staff to take the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated is by far the best way to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and the wider NI community. It is the best pathway towards full campus operations and ensuring that we can maintain this on a stable and permanent basis.
The pop-up vaccination centres and ongoing Asymptomatic Lateral Flow (LFD) testing available on campus, continue to make it straightforward and convenient to take these steps that are vitally important to a safe campus community.
It couldn’t be easier to arrange to take a free Lateral Flow test regularly. Students and staff without symptoms can book an on-campus LFD test or arrange to collect a home test kit.
- Free lateral flow tests are also available to order online
What should I do if I have Covid-19 symptoms or if I test positive for Covid?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID, please follow the current government guidelines and the steps to take.
Are there isolation rooms on each campus and how will these be used?
Isolation rooms are available on each campus. If you become unwell on campus, you are advised to leave for home straight away if you can do so safely.
If you are unable to leave campus immediately, the isolation room provides privacy until you can travel home.
How will I know if I have been in close contact with someone at university who has tested positive for Covid-19?
Anyone who tests positive in our University community is required to complete and submit our online notification form, and provide details of UU contacts. This enables us to notify others that they are a close contact.
Confirmed close contacts within the University community will then be contacted by the University’s COVID Response Team with advice on what to do next.
- If you are double vaccinated you do not need to self-isolate, but you will be asked to take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8.
- If you are not double vaccinated, you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days.
Details of the original positive case will not be shared as this information remains confidential.
Stay in touch with the steps to take if you have symptoms or test positive.
Student Wellbeing and support
Across study, retail, hospitality, leisure and so many aspects of life, we understand that this may still be an anxious and unsettling time for some in our University community.
As always, our Student Wellbeing team is on hand with support as you return to your studies or join us for the first time.
You can be reassured there is plenty of help available for you, academically and personally to ensure that you make the most of all that University life has to offer.
Since March 2020, we’ve introduced protective measures and requirements in our student accommodation so that our residents are safe and comfortable in our residences.
Comprehensive guidance is available at the Residents Life webpage and we take care to make sure that all students are warmly welcomed, fully supported and well settled in your home from home.
Department for the Economy Financial Support Package
- Find out more about the Financial Support Package