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Moving to another country as an international student is a big move and we appreciate you want to know exactly what plans we are putting in place to support your arrival this year. These are, of course, unprecedented times that we are all living in, but we want you to know that we are planning an academic experience for you in 2020/21 that will ensure your learning and cultural experience will not only be safe, but also highly rewarding and valuable for your future career. It may initially look a little different, but we are taking as much as we can from the traditional experience and adding some new and exciting elements.

University ranked second-best for international students in the UK

We are delighted to announce that following more than 41,000 student reviews across 150 UK Universities, on July 8th 2020, the University of Chester finished second in the best for international students' category at the 2020 WhatUni? Student Choice Awards. This national recognition, voted for by our current international students, is testament to our University’s commitment to providing international students with the very best experience and support we can throughout their time with us. Thanks to all our current international students who voted for us!

This coming year more than any other, it’s important that international students select a supportive, communicative and flexible university. Doing so will allow you to focus on what’s important, your studies and your new life in the UK!

In the table below, you will find information about all stages of our plan for September.

Applications for the 2020/21 academic year

We are delighted that you are considering the University of Chester as your preferred overseas study destination. More international students have applied to study with us in 2020/21 than ever before, so join us and become part of our diverse and vibrant international community next year.

Applications remain open as normal and we have pushed back the deadlines for receipt of new applications to accommodate students affected by the coronavirus outbreak for the 2020/21 academic year. We therefore encourage you to apply.

For guidance on how to apply as an international student please visit the How to Apply page. Our staff are temporarily working from home at present and expect to return to office-based employment in August. More details on this will be provided in due course, but our timescale for processing applications is not significantly different from previous years. 

Important: We are aware that many offer holders are currently unable to take English language tests such as IELTS in order to satisfy the English language condition of their offer. We are pleased to inform you that the University of Chester has its own in-house online English language test, which offer holders can take online and for free. The UoCELT test assesses all four areas of English language proficiency, and is recognised for visa purposes for entry to the University.

CAS and Visa arrangements

Updated July 14th, 2020: Most international students will need to apply for a student visa before travelling to the UK to start their studies. We currently expect that our new international students will be able to join their programmes as planned in September 2020 and onwards, depending on the individual start dates of their programmes.

The International Centre will begin to issue CAS as normal in the coming days to offer holders who have satisfied all entry conditions and who have paid either a minimum financial deposit of £3,000, have confirmed student loans or have demonstrated financial sponsorship to the University to secure their place. We expect offer holders who are in possession of a University of Chester CAS to apply for their Tier-4 student visa at the earliest opportunity.

More UK Visa Application Centres (VAC) are resuming activities overseas where local restrictions allow. We will prioritise CAS for students whose programmes start earliest, and where VAC centres have either re-opened or are about to re-open. For updates to the status of VACs in each country you should access the appropriate commercial partner website:

Starting your studies

Updated July 14th, 2020: We expect and are planning to welcome international students to the UK and at the University for the start of the University’s 2020/21 academic year from mid-September onwards, joining the University’s blended approach to teaching and learning in the 2020/21 academic year (more information on our blended approach can be found below).

For those students who have been issued a CAS and who have been granted a student visa to study at the University of Chester in 2020/21, we do expect them to travel to the UK at the earliest opportunity.  However, we also understand that travelling to the UK may not be possible at the very start of the academic year for some students, due to delays in visa applications, travel restrictions that may be temporarily in place, or other administrative reasons.

As a result, the University can support students starting online across the vast majority of its programmes* and is able to effectively integrate students when they are able to travel to the UK.  Please note, students will be unable to study for the entire 2020/21 academic year in a wholly online capacity, and therefore students must have firm plans and a clear commitment to studying in-person in a blended capacity at the University of Chester and travel to Chester as soon as circumstances permit. Should students be unable to transition from an online start to in-person blended learning at the University, they will have the option to defer/suspend to the next available intake or request a refund.

* Restrictions apply to some programmes, and we will contact offer holders by email if they may be affected by this.

Engaging with your studies

All applicants and students of the University of Chester must be aware and remember that the University expects all students, regardless of their location, to fully engage with all University requirements regarding the Induction and Enrolment process, payment of fees and fully engaging with teaching and learning activities, whether these activities are face to face or online.

Under UKVI rules such engagement will be monitored by the University.  Failure to engage will result in a withdrawal of the University CAS/Tier4 visa or a refusal by the University to issue a CAS to a student who intends to transition to in-person study having already started their studies online.

This guidance and our arrangements for the next academic year will remain under constant review as Government restrictions ease or tighten, ensuring that the health, wellbeing and safety of our students and staff is at the forefront of our decision making.

Tuition fees 2020/21 -  Payments

Updated July 14th, 2020: The University has amended its financial terms and conditions to provide as much flexibility for new international students as possible this coming year, in particular for those students who begin their studies wholly online.

Under normal circumstances, new international students are required to pay at least 50% of the remaining post-deposit tuition fee balance in order to formally enrol at the University. This payment is in addition to the £3,000 minimum tuition fee deposit students pay to the University in order to secure a place and satisfy all entry conditions during the admissions process.

In 2020/21, the above payment schedule will still apply to all new students, regardless of whether they travel to the UK and enrol on their programme during the normal arrival window for their programme, or if they enrol and begin their formal teaching and learning online.

Tuition fees 2020/21 -  Refunds

Updated July 22nd, 2020:The University has amended its refund policy for new international students planning to join during the 2020/21 academic year, reflecting the various circumstances in which students may find themselves.  The important aspects to note are:

  • Offer holders are eligible for a full tuition fee deposit refund at any point of the admissions process if they have not received a CAS from the University and have not yet enrolled for either online or in-person studies.
  • Students who are granted a student visa, and who travel to the UK and enrol on their programme during the normal arrival window for their programme, will adhere to the University’s standard policy relating to payments and refunds, which can be found here.
  • Students who begin their formal teaching and learning online will receive a full refund of any tuition fee payments made to the University (less a £150 administration fee) if they are unable to transition to the UK to continue their studies, but only in the following circumstances:
    • Where a student's visa application was unsuccessful on any grounds, except where fraudulent documentation was given as a reason for the refusal by the Home Office; or
    • Where a student is unable to physically travel to the UK for reasons outside their control, for example as a result of travelling restrictions in place either in the UK or in their home country;
  • Students who are granted a student visa but subsequently do not travel to the UK to enrol, no deposit shall be refunded.
Social and academic integration before travelling to the UK

You will have the opportunity to get a taste of Chester and the chance to network with your new friends and classmates before you even arrive in the UK. Our pre-arrivals activities will include interactive Q&As, social and cultural activities, virtual campus tours and more.

You will be given the opportunity to be matched with one of our Peer Mentors before you arrive, who can help welcome you to the University, share their experiences, and answer queries about University life during your first year. A meeting with your Personal Academic Tutor will also be arranged.

Finally, you will be invited to international starters groups on Facebook and live chat events to further engage with fellow international students and interact with members of staff from the International Centre.

Travelling to the UK - The Chester meet and greet service

Updated July 8th, 2020: The University is currently developing its plans for the physical arrival of international students to the UK and at the University. We are therefore working towards providing an airport arrival meet and greet service for all students, which is both effective and safe for arriving students and staff involved. Confirmation of this service and more details will be provided on this page in due course, and will also be sent directly to students’ personal email addresses, as provided in their application.   

Please be aware that the UK Government has established a mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival for nationals of some countries, which may affect your travel plans as well as your integration during your first two weeks in the UK and at the University.

Quarantine, Induction and formative teaching and learning

The University is also developing plans to support new international students during quarantine, if necessary, the induction period, as well as the formative weeks of teaching and learning.

Induction in 2020/21 and the first few weeks of the academic year will be different to our traditional induction experience, and will vary for students depending on their individual circumstances:

  • For those students who travel to the University during the normal arrival window for their programme, and who will not be required to quarantine for a two-week period, induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.
  • For those students who travel to the University during the normal arrival window for their programme, and who will be required by the UK Government to quarantine for a two-week period, all induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be wholly online for that two-week period.

The University is currently developing its plans for supporting students in quarantine during the two-week period. The University will also be mindful of your overall integration into the University of Chester community. Additional details on this will be provided in due course.

Following the two-week quarantine period, students will transition to a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.

  • For those students who start their studies entirely online prior to travelling to the UK, and who will not be required to quarantine for a two-week period on arrival in the UK, all induction and formative teaching and learning arrangements at the beginning of the academic year will be wholly online.

Additional induction and integration provision will be provided to students who arrive after the start of their programmes. Once students travel to the UK, they will be able to join the blended approach to teaching and learning immediately.

  • For those students who start their studies entirely online, but who then must quarantine for a two-week period on arrival in the UK, their teaching and learning experience during those two-weeks in quarantine will continue to be wholly online. The University is currently developing its plans for supporting students in quarantine during the two-week period. The University will also be mindful of your overall integration into the University of Chester community. Additional details on this will be provided in due course.

Following the two-week quarantine period, students will transition to a blended experience of both online and in-person activities and experiences. Additional details on this provision will be provided in due course.

The above plans will remain under constant review over the coming weeks, and we will update our guidance should anything change.

Enrolment

As an international student, guidance on how to complete your enrolment will be emailed to you from applyinternational@chester.ac.uk prior to the start date of your course. There are several stages involved in the enrolment process.  

The first stage of enrolment is to complete your online enrolment. This must be completed before you arrive in the UK and before your course start date. This can be done by either downloading the University of Chester app or by logging on to our pre-arrival site PASS.   

For those who have to start their studies entirely online prior to travelling to the UK, you must pay 50% of the remaining balance of your tuition fees in order to enrol and begin your online studies. This can be done the same way you made your initial deposit (or can be done using one of the alternative methods included in the finance instructions you received with your offer letter). This payment must be made before the start of your course.  Once you have completed your online enrolment and you have paid 50% of the remaining balance of your fees you will then be able to commence your studies online. You must then continue to keep us updated on your arrival date to the UK.  Once you arrive in the UK you must book an appointment with the International Centre to collect and/or present your BRP card and/or passport to the International Centre staff.   

For those who are able to travel to the UK prior to/in time for the start of their course, you must ensure you keep the International Centre informed of your arrival date. You must then pay 50% of the remaining balance of your tuition fees. This can be done the same way you made your initial deposit (or can be done using one of the alternative methods included in the finance instructions you received with your offer letter). We strongly advise this payment is made before you travel to the UK. Once you arrive in the UK you must book an appointment with the International Centre to collect and/or present your BRP card and/or passport to the International Centre staff.  

If you are studying in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) visa, please be aware that once you have arrived in the UK you will need to collect your BRP card within a certain time frame (details will be included on your visa outcome letter issued by the UKVI). Failure to complete this process within the stated time frame will result in the sponsorship of your visa being withdrawn.  

For all international students, once you have travelled to the UK to must ensure you have completed all the stages of your enrolment by any specified dates communicated to you. Failure to do so will result in you being withdrawn from your studies at the University of Chester. If you are studying on a Tier 4 (General) visa, the sponsorship of your visa will also be withdrawn.   

We would recommend downloading the University of Chester app. Not only will this help you with the enrolment process, but it will also help you stay informed, view your timetable and explore the wide range of support and activities available to students studying at the University of Chester.    

Mark the date in your calendar

Our official start dates for international students varies by programme, with significant arrival dates on Sunday 13th September for bachelor's degree students, and Sunday 4th October for many master's programmes. However, please check your offer letter or this page for your specific start date, as they do vary by programme. Our International Arrivals Team is working alongside Chester Students’ Union to create new and innovative ways for you to meet other students. This includes a range of general and international-specific virtual social events that will take place as part of Welcome Week. You will receive further information by email of our plans for Welcome Week in late August or early September.

Student accommodation

We understand that some international students may have to begin their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year, and will therefore arrive at the University later than originally planned.  In order to best support students in this situation, the University is offering more flexible accommodation contract start-dates for students intending to live in university owned or partnership residential accommodation in 2020/21.

If you have paid your tuition fee deposit or made us firm on UCAS, you will be able to apply for accommodation and we recommend you do this as soon as possible.

We have a range of accommodation types available to choose from, including self and semi catered properties and studio flats. We also have a brand-new partnership for 2020/21, comprising self-catered en-suite accommodation at Tudor Place which is opening in September 2020, just two minutes’ walk from our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester. Best of all, we are able to guarantee accommodation for international students, that’s one less thing to worry about!

If you accept an accommodation offer for September/October start, but are unable to arrive until later in the academic year, the University reserves the right to reallocate your accommodation.  However, please be assured that the University will still guarantee accommodation on your arrival, although it may not be the same preferred accommodation type as previously arranged. Please be aware, the later in the academic year you arrive at the University, the greater the risk of your preferred accommodation being reallocated.  

Safety first

Student safety is our highest priority. We have arrangements in place to ensure that social distancing and COVID-secure personal hygiene practices are established and maintained, while this is necessary, across all our sites. This includes all of our owned and partnership residential accommodation.

Our campus-based catering outlets will have social distancing provisions in place for your safety. We will also be introducing our own click and collect service, should you wish to take your food out. 

The Chester Blended Approach to 2020/21

What is ‘The Chester Blended Approach’? It is our teaching philosophy for the next academic year (2020/21) and beyond; a blended learning experience that puts as much emphasis on face-to-face teaching as it does on online teaching. From speaking to our students, we understand the value they place on face-to-face teaching, so we are planning as much social learning in small groups as is safely possible, alongside online lectures that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own room.

However, we have not done this just out of necessity. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the University was already considering ways of adopting new technologies for the delivery of a more flexible learning experience, so recent events have simply advanced these plans. Of course, this approach will initially be dictated by any social distancing measures in place, but we will be looking to take a more flexible approach as the restrictions are lowered. Regardless of the situation, you can be assured of the same high-quality teaching as always.

Keeping active

Sport and physical activity will look somewhat different, but we have already come up with a variety of sports and physical activities that can be undertaken with social distancing in mind, yet keeping the fun intact. ‘Chester Rules’ are customised games that can be played and enjoyed without the worry of close contact. ‘Chester Rules’ is going to be BIG in 2020 and we have all the major sports, as well as personal training sessions, Couch to 5k and social walking groups covered, so look out for more information.

The perfect locations

Chester: Ideally located in the North West of England, Chester is a modern and compact city which is also rich in history and culture! University campuses and student accommodation are located within walking distance of the city centre so it’s easy for you to get around. Chester is also less than an hour from Manchester and Liverpool, just a two-hour direct train journey to London and close to both the beautiful Welsh coast and mountains.

Shrewsbury: Nestled on the banks of the River Severn in glorious Shropshire, the medieval market town of Shrewsbury is famous for its criss-crossing cobbled passages, timber-framed black-and white buildings and curiously named streets. Everything you need can be reached on foot with the town centre, student accommodation and main teaching facilities all just a stone’s throw away from each other. Shrewsbury is also on the doorstep of the Shropshire Hills; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Warrington: Located in the heart of North West England, Warrington is a vibrant town, rich in arts and culture.  The campus offers a range of accommodation options, along with on campus dining room, bar and student union.  Warrington is also very accessible from surrounding areas and students can commute from Chester, Liverpool and Manchester in less than one hour.

Virtual work placements and your e-portfolio 

Alongside your studies, Chester already offers you a range of distinctive opportunities to help you develop new skills and grow in confidence; these are still a significant part of our experience. Our volunteering and work-based learning programmes now both offer virtual alternatives, ensuring that our graduates continue to be challenged and inspired while working remotely. All evidence of both academic and personal development can be logged in your e-portfolio which will stay with you throughout your university journey and, we hope, beyond. It’s initiatives like this, and the University’s location in Cheshire, the second highest performing economy in England outside of London, that demonstrates how the University is well placed to enhance its students’ employability.

Here for you

We are committed to helping and nurturing every international student at the University. Every student at Chester is allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) in order to ensure our students maximise their potential. As such, the PAT’s role is to help you with your personal development by engaging with you on a one-to-one basis, acting somewhat like a personal coach. We also have a Wellbeing and Mental Health team that spans across all our campuses ensuring that our students settle in, get the most out of their university experience and feel safe and at home in Chester.

Finally, how could we forget our fantastic team from the International Centre? Our staff are on-hand to support students at every step during their journey in Chester.

We will continue to update all of the above information as our planning develops, so please visit this page on a regular basis. We will highlight areas where information has been updated recently so that it is easier for you to identify. If you have any questions, please contact the International Centre