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Teaching and learning

Autumn term 2020

Campus is reopening for teaching in the autumn term, and classes are expected to start in the week of October 5 2020. We will be offering a blend of face-to-face and online learning.

Our approach to blended learning and teaching for the year ahead will ensure that you have consistent and high quality learning experience, whether virtual or face-to-face on campus.

If you're a new student, you will have an induction before you begin study in October.

General information 2020-21


Your academic department is currently working hard to restructure its teaching plans for the next academic year. We should be giving you new details in the next few weeks about our teaching approach.

For both new and current students, we’re looking to provide an intensive week-long series of face-to-face and online activities to get you up to speed for the academic year. These will include a summary of key learning from the previous year and digital social engagement activities.

There’ll also be opportunity for you to complete the Warwick Online Learning Certificate if you haven’t already done so. This programme is designed to prepare you for the requirements of online learning.


Following the communication issued to current and prospective students directly on 19 May, academic departments will be providing additional levels of detail to all prospective and returning students in June 2020. There is a lot of working going on at the moment to restructure teaching plans for the next academic year. This work will take several months, but your department will be able to give you an initial update by the end of June.


Teaching and assessment 2020-21


We aim to provide you with seminars, workshops and tutorials in person. We’re currently adapting our classroom spaces, so we can deliver these small group activities in line with UK government and Public Health England guidance on social distancing restrictions.

In Term One we expect that our lectures take place online. This means any session which features a class size above 25 will be delivered digitally. We're looking at the different ways this can achieved. You'll find that much of your assessment will take place online. There may also be occasions where you'll be viewing live streamed lectures, or engaged in other online group activity.

We'll also be prepared if circumstances significantly change. So, if there are periods when access to campus is restricted to protect your health and safety, we'll have plans in place to switch to wholly online teaching if necessary.

And, whatever online teaching you receive, we'll be there to support you.


You’ll take part in structured small group practical sessions in our teaching laboratories as the academic year progresses.

Our classroom and laboratory spaces are in the process of being adapted for face-to-face teaching, so we can deliver these small group activities in line with UK government and Public Health England guidance on social distancing restrictions.

Digital learning will support this: you’ll be taught research design and laboratory methods through a combination of pre-lab work online, virtual and computer-based practicals.


Will my different departments do things in the same way?

Our commitment to a blended learning approach across Warwick is designed to ensure that you will have a consistent experience across departments.


We believe the best possible university experience for our students comes from excellent face-to-face engagement, which is supported by online learning as well as personal contact.

This is what we intend to do - provided we can do so safely and effectively.

The approach we propose will allow our students to further develop their digital capabilities, enabling you to excel in your studies, and become more prepared for the complex, diverse environment you will encounter after graduation.

However, throughout the changing circumstances associated with the pandemic, we have prioritised the safety and wellbeing of our University community.

We are exploring a full range of options to protect our community and we are committed to providing more guidance as soon as this becomes available.


Whatever online teaching you receive, we'll be there to support you. We have a team dedicated to ensuring all our students are aware of a variety of skills, resources and techniques to help learn online. We're making sure our blended learning approach is inclusive and accessible, and will keep it this way by taking onboard your concerns and feedback. Our library services will also be on-hand to support, and you can be reassured that all essential and recommended reading will be available electronically.


Your department will still be finalising these plans and will let you know as soon as possible.


Undergraduates (Current academic year 2019-20)


Your course

Some courses are accredited by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies and require us to meet their specific requirements about the design of our course. We are committed to protecting the accreditation of our courses and therefore, we may need to take a different approach to some of the measures we are taking in response to Covid-19.

If you are a first-year student, we may have to run some of the most crucial first-year teaching and exams at a later point in your course so that you can still meet certain standards required for the profession.

There are some accredited courses where there are external restrictions which prevent us from applying all aspects of our safety net approach (such as the Graduation Benchmark). Where this is the case we are working with the professional bodies to determine the best approach so that our intermediate-year and finalist students are able to enter the profession.

Your department has identified where this is the case and they will let you know if any assessments or modules will be delayed rather than cancelled. If you have concerns you should contact your department who will be able to advise you.


We are committed to ensuring your qualification rightly reflects the skills, knowledge and abilities you have developed as part of your course. Your degree certificate will state your name, your degree and the classification (e.g. First Class). Only the final classification will appear on the certificate, regardless of whether it was based on the usual calculation approach for awards or if it is based on the Graduation Benchmark which we are going to use for finalists and intermediate students because of Covid-19.

Your HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report) will record the actual marks awarded for each module along with the final degree classification awarded.

Find out more about the HEAR.


If you're currently studying or working abroad as part of your course, please see our guidance for students on mobility placements during the coronavirus outbreak.


Assessment

You may well find that your personal circumstances are severely impacted by the current pandemic in a way that limits your ability to complete your studies and assessment.

If you are concerned that you may be unable to participate in exams – this may be because you are unwell or self-isolating in accordance with PHE advice, or if you have concerns that your performance may be affected, then you can use the University’s mitigating circumstances procedure.

The mitigating circumstances has been adapted to deal with the pressures of COVID-19.

Mitigating Circumstances are unforeseen circumstances which are outside your control and have a detrimental effect on your studies. We understand that this is a difficult time for all members of our community and encourage you to keep in touch with your Personal or Senior Tutor in your department who are able to support you through the mitigating circumstances process.

We have made new changes to our Mitigating Circumstances portal, mitigation and self-certification due to coronavirus.

We have adapted the Mitigating Circumstances portal for coronavirus related mitigations. Warwick Business School has also developed myWBS.

We recognise that you may not necessarily be able to visit doctors, counsellors or hospitals to obtain evidence for non-coronavirus related mitigation. We have therefore relaxed the evidence requirement for both coronavirus and non-coronavirus related mitigations.

We have introduced a policy on Self-Certification which allows an automatic 5 university working day extension on eligible assessed work without the need for evidence. Students can self-certify twice from now until the end of the academic year.

Find out more about our mitigating circumstances procedure during COVID-19.


We understand students are worried about the impact of Covid-19 and we are committed to supporting our students. Our safety net approach is a package of measures which we have put in place to ensure undergraduate students are not disadvantaged. We have also created wherever possible, new types of alternative assessments to take the place of the onsite exams which can no longer be held.

Some of these measures include:

An automatic two week deadline extension that we applied for all assessments that were initiated before 13 March 2020.

The right to self-certify twice (from 13 March 2020) for extensions to assessment deadlines of 5 university working days each, without the need for evidence.

We also recognise that Covid-19 will have affected our students in different ways and not all personal circumstances will be the same. That is why as part of our approach we have also updated our mitigating circumstances procedures and relaxed the evidence requirements

because we recognise that right now, getting evidence to support your submission may not be possible.

Find out more about our safety net approach and the full list of measures. These measures are available to you as you work through your remaining assessments for this year.


If you have been affected by Covid-19 we would encourage you to talk to your Personal Tutor so that they can support you.

In summary our safety net approach features a range of measures which we have put in place to support you. For some of these measures you will not have to do anything, for example we have automatically applied the two-week extensions to all assessments that were initiated before 13 March 2020. If you are a finalist student we will also automatically calculate the Graduation Benchmark if you are eligible and write to you with the outcome for your final classification award. You will not need to apply for these measures.

However for other measures, you will still need to apply to access them. Such as the right to self-certify and submit mitigating circumstances, as well request extensions from your department.

Find out more about our safety net approach and the full list of measures.


There will be no impact. For most degree courses, marks from the first year do not contribute to the overall classification of the degree (e.g. first-class, upper second-class). Where there are courses where marks from the first year do contribute, the University will typically change this for your year group so that it no longer contributes, or where that is not possible, we will ensure that the cancelled exams do not negatively impact on your classification.

Where any first year term three teaching has been cancelled, course learning outcomes that have not been achieved and are not covered elsewhere in your course will be addressed in future years of your study.


If you are worried about your studies you should talk to your Personal Tutor who will be able to support you and provide more detail. We recognise that this will be an anxious time for our students and we are here to help. The options available will depend on your year of study and whether your course is professionally accredited.


No. It is very important that you complete the assessments that your department have asked you to submit. These assessments will help you to prepare for further study and will inform your department about your potential to meet the course learning outcomes.

We are committed to ensuring our students are supported as we respond to the impact of Covid-19. We have decided to relax our first year progression requirements so that the majority of students are able to progress to their next year of study. This policy relies on students having completed the assessments that they have been asked to submit. Progression is not guaranteed. We will first consider your marks from assessments already completed throughout the year and any remaining assignments that you are completing now. This means if you have passed the assessments that you have completed over the year and, if we have not already communicated serious concerns about your attendance or engagement through the year, you will progress into the second year of your course.

If you do not submit your assessments or if you have missing assessments from previous work, and you do not have mitigating circumstances, your department may have a cause for concern which could affect your progression to the next year of study and may either require you to resit, restart or withdraw. If you have concerns about your work or if you are struggling to meet your deadlines, we would encourage you to talk to your Personal Tutor who will be able to give you advice and support.


We recognise that you will want to know if you are progressing to your next year of study as soon as possible.

We have relaxed our usual criteria for progression and envisage that this will mean the vast majority of our first-year students will progress to the next year of study. In practical terms this means that if you have passed the assessments that you have completed over the year and if we have not already communicated serious concerns about your attendance or engagement through the year, you will likely progress into the second year of your course. After the first-year Board of Examiners have met, we will write to you on or shortly after July 9th to tell you about your progression and what you need to do next.

If you have concerns please do remember that support is available to you and we would encourage you to talk to your department or contact our Wellbeing Support Services for advice and guidance.


There will be no impact. For most degree courses, marks from the first year do not contribute to the overall classification of the degree (e.g. first-class, upper second-class). Where there are courses where marks from the first year do contribute, the University will typically change this for your year group so that it no longer contributes, or where that is not possible, we will ensure that the cancelled exams do not negatively impact on your classification.

Where any first year term three teaching has been cancelled, course learning outcomes that have not been achieved and are not covered elsewhere in your course will be addressed in future years of your study.


The safety net approach is a package of measures which we have put in place to reflect our commitment to ensure undergraduate students are not disadvantaged by our changes to assessment methods in Term Three as a result of Covid-19. One of these measures, the Graduation Benchmark, has been developed to inform how Exam Boards will determine the classification of degrees so that neither our finalist students, nor our intermediate-year students, are disadvantaged. Whilst our safety net package reflects the approaches that are typically being taken by other Russell Group universities, it particularly takes account of the different structures of Warwick degrees.

The Graduation Benchmark is a calculation of your degree mark up to 13/03/2020, which we will use to determine a provisional degree classification. We will then calculate your overall average mark and degree classification as usual at the end of the academic year for the Exam Board, taking into account the marks from your assessments in Term 3 that are replacing your final year exams, or in the case of intermediate-year students your Term Three 2019/20 alternative assessments. We will use whichever of the two calculations is higher (the graduation benchmark or the usual calculation of all marks) to determine the final classification of your degree. This means that where you are eligible for a graduation benchmark, your degree classification cannot be negatively impacted based on your Term 3 assessments this year.

We have published guidance on our safety net approach and detailed guidance on how the Graduation Benchmark will apply for current finalist students and for current intermediate year students.


We have said that in order to be eligible you will need:

  • To have passed enough modules to achieve the required amount of credit for your degree. This is a standard requirement for achieving a Warwick degree, which still applies.
  • To have not been found guilty of cheating or plagiarism in your Term Three assessments. Your department will inform you if this is suspected and give you opportunity to make submissions.

If you meet these criteria, we will automatically calculate your graduate benchmark at your final year exam board. You do not need to apply for the graduation benchmark to be taken into account. You can read the detailed guidance on how the Graduation Benchmark will apply for current finalist students and for current intermediate year students, and your department will be able to inform you of how this will apply to your degree course.


See more


Postgraduates (current academic year 2019-20)


We appreciate that this might be a worrying time for you, but the Doctoral College team are working to minimise the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on your work, in particular with relation to exams and scholarships.

See the Doctoral team's FAQs

We will update these as things change, but if you have any other questions, please contact us at doctoralcollege at warwick dot ac dot uk.


If you have concerns about your studies, your dissertation, or research project because of Covid-19 you should contact your Senior Tutor or your Personal Tutor as soon as possible so that they can provide further support.

Remember that you can also:

  • self-certify for extensions of up to five university working days without needing to provide evidence. If you need an extension for longer than five university working days you can apply for this through the normal processes in your department. Find out more about how to self-certify.
  • submit mitigating circumstances. We have amended our Mitigating Circumstanced Policy because we recognise that during the pandemic it may be difficult to obtain the evidence you need as part of your mitigating circumstances submission. Find out more about the mitigating circumstances policy.

On Tuesday 28 April 2020, we also announced that we would be automatically adding a two week extension for all assignments already underway in late March when the lockdown was announced and due to be submitted before the end of July.


Reflecting our commitment to our current postgraduate students, we are going to calculate the award of merit and distinction for our postgraduate taught degrees differently (e.g. MA, MSc, MBA, LLM, PGDip). For most of our master’s courses, students will complete typically 180 credits in total. Ordinarily we would calculate the classification of merit and distinction based on the weighted average across all of those modules (180 credits) but we will instead base the classification on the best 120 credits achieved rather than the weighted average. The calculation will be based on whole modules where you have achieved the highest marks. This approach recognises that a proportion of your studies is likely to have been affected by Covid-19 but the timing and nature of that impact may vary depending on your circumstances and location. You will still need to meet the requirements of the qualification to pass; this means that you will still need to pass the modules required.

We are taking the same approach for postgraduate diplomas where the classification of merit and distinction will be based on your best 90 credits instead of the weighted average typically across 120 credits.

If you are a current part-time PGT student we will use this approach at the point of determining your classification for graduation too.


Previously there would have been a limit to the number of modules that you could re-sit assessments for. Recognising that the coronavirus pandemic may have had an impact on your studies, we have decided to permit current students one opportunity to re-sit assessments for all failed modules. There may be some exceptions to this for courses that carry professional, statutory and regulatory accreditation (e.g. professional practice modules in health and social care related courses).

Where you are eligible to re-sit an assessment (e.g. for a non-professionally accredited course or module) there will be no minimum mark requirement that you will need to reach in order to be awarded a qualification. Under our normal rules, even when postgraduate taught students have passed the minimum modules to be awarded a qualification, it has been a requirement that they achieve at least 40% on any failed modules. We have decided to change this requirement for current PGT students.

You will still need to pass the required modules to pass your degree and you will still need to pass all modules to gain a merit or distinction. You can read about the additional rules that will continue to apply for resits under Section 3 (b-g) of the requirements for taught postgraduate awards.

See more