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Coronavirus information

Coronavirus (covid-19) status at Birkbeck - 23 April 2020

We understand that this is an anxious time for the Birkbeck student community. Our primary concern is for our students and staff, and to keep you and your loved ones safe. Academic and professional services staff are doing all they can to support our taught and research students to complete their studies.

All face-to-face teaching ceased from Monday 16 March until further notice.

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, we have implemented a 'no detriment policy' for assessment submissions and developed new student guidance. We have adapted our mitigated circumstances processes and created a new online mitigating circumstances form. These are key adaptations made to support students during these difficult times.

We are continuing to monitor developments, and are working with national guidance from the Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency to ensure that teaching quality and standards are maintained, and to mitigate the impact of the situation on your studies and assessments.

Our?Summer Term teaching will be online. Face-to-face examinations for the remainder of the academic year have been cancelled, and alternative assessments will be provided.

Many Birkbeck students have multiple responsibilities in addition to their studies, including parenting, carer roles and work. We are determined to support all our students.

We are following all UK Government and?Public Health England?(PHE) guidance and are basing our decisions on this, alongside the impact of the current situation on our students, staff and visitors. We are ready to respond swiftly to government advice as it is updated. We are also consulting with the Birkbeck Students' Union, who students can also contact for support.

For details on what to do if you need medical attention, follow the advice on the?NHS website?and log an?ASK query?if you are advised to isolate or are treated for the coronavirus.

My studies

  • While there will be no face-to-face classes at Birkbeck until further notice, we will continue to support your studies in the following ways:
    • Material from cancelled classes will be uploaded to your Moodle modules.
    • We are delivering our Summer Term?teaching online.
    • If you have a study-related question for a lecturer, please email them. If your question is for an administrator, please use the ASK system to get in touch.
    • Departmental administrative teams are offering support online, and are not available for face-to-face or phone enquiries at this time.
    • Please continue to use the?wellbeing self-help resources available?on our student services website.
    • We recommend that you use our Studiosity service, located in?My Birkbeck,?to support your assignment submission preparations.
    • We encourage you to continue with your studies. The no detriment policy will ensure that your mark is not lowered due to completing an exam during this period.
  • If you are concerned about the impact of absence on your studies, please contact your personal tutor or lecturer. You can find the details of your personal tutor by logging in to My Birkbeck and selecting 'Academic Support'.
  • If you decide that the logistical challenges of continuing your studies are too great, you can take a break in studies due to compelling personal reasons. Before you do, please talk to your personal tutor or lecturer.
  • Keep checking your email,?My Birkbeck?and online calendars for information about your classes.
  • If you feel unsatisfied with your experience, please raise your concerns with the department in the first instance to see if they can help resolve your concerns. If you are still dissatisfied, you can lodge a formal complaint by following our student complaints policy and form on our policies page.

My exams and assessments

  • The College has developed alternative assessments to replace traditional exams for the remainder of the academic year.
  • The College has tried to make alternative assessments as accessible and inclusive as possible. If you have a study support plan or personal exam provision and need to discuss your adjustments, please email the??or the?.
  • Please continue to work on any coursework that has been set. You should submit this in accordance with the instructions and deadlines provided by your department.
  • Many courses will require you to submit your assignment, exam or alternative assessment electronically via Moodle. A typed essay will be easy to submit from a laptop or PC, but if you don't have a laptop or PC at home, you can scan handwritten documents using your phone's camera and an app such as OneDrive. This is also a useful way to capture mathematical workings, drawings and graphs for inclusion in 'electronic' exam papers. More information about these methods of assessment will be provided soon in the Learning Online area of Moodle.
  • Dissertations and research projects: If your research involves participant interaction, it is essential that either the participant interaction is made remote or that the research is paused or changed immediately. You must discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible and your supervisor must approve any change. The College expects that most undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will use approaches that do not need remote participant involvement. You will not be penalised for changing your methodological approach. See full details of the change to research project regulations.
  • We encourage you to complete your dissertation if you can. You are almost at the end of your programme of study and if you are able to complete your dissertation you will have achieved your University of London award this year. This then keeps you on track for the next stage in your career or personal development plans. In terms of fees, we will ensure you are not penalised as a result of disruption by COVID-19.

No detriment policy and mitigating circumstances

  • No detriment policy: All exams scheduled for next term will take place as alternative assessments online. We would encourage you to complete these if at all possible. The details of your alternative assessments will be communicated to you by your department. The College has approved a no detriment policy to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged for attempting an assessment during this period.
  • The widespread stress and disruption will be taken into account throughout the whole of our assessment and examining process in 2020. The details of how this will work are outlined in the no detriment policy.
  • Mitigating circumstances: As the COVID-19 outbreak is having an impact on everyone, the no detriment policy will be applied automatically to all students who attempt an assessment and submit on time this year. If you are unable to submit an assessment or you consider that your performance suffered as a direct result of significant personal or family illness, bereavement or serious personal, emotional or financial challenges either related or unrelated to the outbreak of COVID-19, then you should submit a mitigating circumstances claim using our new online form.
  • Please click on the links below and read the information carefully:

Parents and carers

  • Many students are parents of school-aged children and have had to take on home schooling while also juggling work and study.
  • The closure of schools has made it difficult to study in the same way as you have done previously. Please take the time to read our 'no detriment policy', which we've created to support you. Many parents have also completed our new mitigating circumstances form to explain why they feel unable to submit assessments.
  • The Mental Health Foundation have advice on parenting during lockdown.


Student services and library

  • We are continuing to support our students online.
  • Library:
    • The Birkbeck Library is offering wholly online services, including a chat and email enquiry service, with email support from Subject Librarians and the Disability and Dyslexia team. All loans have been automatically renewed until the Library reopens, and all fined have been waived.
  • Accommodation:
  • Careers Service:
    • You can access your online careers portal in?My Birkbeck?to:
      • upload CVs
      • book new one-to-one phone/online appointments
      • access live chat with careers advisers during drop-in hours (Monday-Thursday 4-6pm and Friday 3-5pm)
      • CV upload and checking via CV360 (via the 'Tools' tab).
    • Pre-booked one-to-one appointments will take place over the phone or online. We will contact you to confirm.
  • Talent:
    • You can access your online Talent portal to upload your CV and apply for roles via My Birkbeck.
    • Pre-booked one-to-one appointments will take place over the phone or online. We will contact you with details.
    • Alumni careers clinics may take place remotely where possible. We will contact you to confirm.
  • Study skills:
    • You can access writing feedback and online tutoring via Studiosity in My Birkbeck,?and we strongly encourage you to use this.
    • You can access study skills workshops, activities, links and one-to-one online appointments in the Study Skills?Moodle module.
  • Student Advice Service:
    • Our face-to-face services are closed, but we are still available to answer your queries online or on the phone.
    • Please use our ASK system, or check Instagram or Twitter for updates.
    • If you need to submit funding application documents, please .
  • Mental Health Advisory Service:
    • We are offering a limited service via email. Please email your adviser direct, or
    • In emergency, please speak to your GP, your local A&E or the?NHS mental health services.
  • Disability and Dyslexia Service:
    • Contact your specialist adviser for email, phone or video advice.
    • Please complete the online assessment set by your department. If your adjustments are not in place, please contact your department to make alternative arrangements.
    • To submit a Disabled Students' Allowance application form and/or medical evidence, email
  • Counselling Service:
    • We are offering a telephone appointment service for study stress during working hours. We also recommend our self-help resources.
    • In emergency, please speak to your GP, your local A&E, the Samaritans (116 123), or the NHS mental health services.
  • Fees and financial support:
    • Birkbeck offers a range of financial support options to students. we can take IT-related costs into account when assessing your financial support application.
    • Although you are not currently able to pay your fees in person or over the phone, you can still pay online via My Birkbeck. Monthly direct debits will be collected as normal. If you are having problems paying your fees, contact the Income team.

Research students and supervisors

  • Guidance specifically for PhD students and supervisors will be highlighted on the BGRS Moodle site.
  • Research students should keep in touch with their supervisors and check the?BGRS website?for information.

Offer holders and applicants?

Birkbeck students currently studying abroad

  • Due to the rapidly changing situation, if you are studying abroad or are on a field trip we recommend you return home as soon as possible. You may become stranded if you stay in your current location.
  • Circumstances can vary significantly depending on the country you are studying in, so you should consult Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance and your travel insurance company before deciding to stay or leave the country.
  • If you do decide to return from your studies abroad early due to the coronavirus situation, Birkbeck will try to minimise the impact on your studies and ensure that you are not penalised academically as a result of cutting short your time abroad.

International students

  • We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time to be away from home and Birkbeck is putting in place systems to allow you to continue your studies in the UK in the coming weeks. However, we are aware that you may be considering returning to your home country. If so, Birkbeck will be supportive of your decision and you are advised to discuss the effect this will have on your studies with your academic department before departing.
  • If you do leave the UK, you may be able to continue studying using the online resources that are being put in place by Birkbeck or, if that is not possible, you can take a break in studies and return to your programme at a future date. You can request a break in studies using My Birkbeck.
  • Birkbeck is an inclusive learning community and we treat any reports of harassment or intimidation in the name of the coronavirus very seriously. If you feel that you have experienced harassment within the?College?please get in touch and we will investigate using College policy and procedure.
  • UK Visas and Immigration have issued guidance for international students who cannot return home to extend their visa. If you have a visa that is due to expire between 24 January and 31 May 2020, your visa will be extended automatically to 31 May 2020. You will need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your records.

Tier 4 students

  • The College is working to make online resources available for you to continue your studies.? Once they are in?place,?we will move to a system of confirming your engagement with these online resources to meet Tier 4 requirements, which will replace attendance at?academic?events.
  • Those who have exams scheduled in the coming weeks will receive further information on how to proceed as soon as possible. Students’ Tier 4 status will not be?affected?and the College will continue to sponsor students on Tier 4 visas during this period.
  • If you are currently outside the UK and are due to return from a period of off-campus study within the next two months, please notify us using?ASK.
  • As a Tier 4 international student, if you are intending to return to your home country, please discuss this with your academic department. If you decide to go ahead, contact us using?ASK?so that we can log your case. You will then be contacted by International Student Administration and asked to complete an online Authorised Absence form.

Coronavirus symptoms and preventative measures

  • Based on current evidence, coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including:
    • a high temperature
    • a new continuous cough.
  • You can find further details about symptoms on the?Public Health England website.
  • If you have coronavirus symptoms, visit the?NHS's online coronavirus service, which?will tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do next.
  • You should inform the College via an ASK query.
  • To find out more about what you can do to help stop viruses like the coronavirus spreading,?visit the?NHS website.


Being respectful of others

  • The coronavirus is an international health issue and transcends ethnicity and nationality.
  • Where a member of the student community is harassed or intimidated in the name of the coronavirus, or indeed in any other issue, the College will treat any reports of harassment seriously and will investigate using College policy and procedure.
  • We are an inclusive learning community and in times of external challenge it is a time to support one another.

Contact information

  • If you are concerned about a student or member of staff, you can contact the?College by logging a query on?ASK.
  • If you are a student living in?a University of London?halls of residence, contact?
  • If you have a clear medical concern about yourself or someone else, use?the?NHS 111 online service.

Staying up to date

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