Content last updated: 8 September 2020

Information for our prospective students arriving in 2020

We have a support team dedicated to assisting you with any questions you may have. This team will either be able to help you directly or put you in touch with the appropriate specialist support or an academic from your chosen course. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with them at: study@cranfield.ac.uk.

You may also want to join us at our next Open Day on 2 September.  You’ll have the opportunity to hear from Alison Whaley, our Director of Student Experience, talk to your course team and ask questions. We will also be running a session for prospective research students with Professor Tom Stephenson, our Pro-Vice-Chancellor – Research.

We have also produced answers to some key questions below. We will continue to update these pages with relevant information, so please do continue to check them.

From all of us at Cranfield, we hope you and your family are safe and well. We very much look forward to welcoming you to Cranfield and making our contribution to your future success.

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Our courses in 2020/21
English tests
Arrivals and registration
On-campus accommodation
Living in off-campus accommodation
Visas and ATAS certificate

Our courses in 2020/21

What will Cranfield's education look like in the academic year 2020/21?

For the vast majority of our courses, we aim to offer as much of our learning as possible face-to-face physically on site.

At Cranfield, we have a huge breadth and depth of experience of providing education through a multitude of different methods, including many innovative approaches that are unique to our University. Read more on our Welcome page.

Social distancing restrictions mean that those learning and assessment activities that would normally be done in large groups such as lectures and exams will not be possible in the usual way at the start of your studies. Face-to-face learning will take place in small groups where social distancing is possible. Lectures that involve numbers that are too large to sufficiently social distance will be delivered via live interactive webinars supported by subsequently available video recordings. We will use this approach for other large group activities such as computer practicals and some exams.

We will ensure that face-to-face interaction with academics, technicians and academic-support staff takes place in safe, socially-distanced ways. A small number of Cranfield’s courses will be fully online in 2020-21, either because that is the format best suited to the learners (part-time learners who are working) or to offer an alternative learning mode for students who cannot or prefer not to do a campus-based course. Fully online courses will use a blend of live online, recorded material and guided independent study.

If you are a research student, you will be expected to meet regularly with your two research supervisors. This can be face-to-face, while following social distancing guidelines, if you feel comfortable to, as well as virtually via Zoom or Teams.

Can you give me more information on how my specific course will be taught in 2020-21?

We have made a commitment to all full-time MSc applicants and offer holders due to study on the Cranfield campus that at least 70% of the hours that would normally be face-to-face over the duration of their course will remain face-to-face.

Our pre-registration site on Canvas, our virtual learning environment, is full of information specific to your course, as well as how to prepare for your arrival and details of the services available to you during your studies, including library, careers and IT.

My course will be delivered by a blend of face-to-face and online teaching – what does this mean?

Your course has been re-designed to maximise the amount of face-to-face teaching possible while adhering to social distancing requirements to ensure a safe and hygienic campus experience.

Face-to-face teaching will be done in small socially-distanced groups. Where face-to-face sessions are not possible, they will delivered by live webinar (e.g. using Zoom or Microsoft Teams).

Cranfield is a relatively small, specialist postgraduate university and we are experts in small group teaching. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are adapting our courses to emphasise learning in small group settings. You can be assured that you will be learning in a hygienic and safe environment, and will be getting the highest possible engagement and interaction with your lecturers, our business and industry partners and our learning support staff.

Large group learning will still be a part of the learning mix, but will be delivered by webinar through videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Since the beginning of the COVID crisis, we have developed our live online approach very rapidly to ensure that we retain an interactive approach between the teacher and student and can encourage peer-to-peer learning through the use of breakout groups and student-led activities such as group presentations. Our live online approach ensures strong engagement with academics and the active participation of students in their learning.

Face-to-face and live online learning will be complemented by self-paced study. We are using our new virtual learning environment (Canvas) to create a structured environment to guide and support you through your independent study.

When do I have to pay my deposit?

As we are approaching the start of the 2020/21 academic year, we will be returning to standard acceptance and deposit payment deadlines for courses starting in October:

  • If you receive an offer between 1 August and 16 August, payment is due within one month.
  • If you receive an offer between 17 August and 31 August, payment is due within one week.
  • If you receive an offer from 1 September onwards, payment is due within two days.

Earlier deadlines may apply if you receive an offer for a course starting in September, this will be confirmed in the offer letter. If you have any queries or concerns about paying your deposit please speak to our Admissions Team, we’re here to help.

Please note, if you are studying for a research degree on the Cranfield campus (PhD, Executive DBA, EngD, MPhil, MSc by research), you are not required to pay a deposit. If you are a research student based at the Shrivenham site, you will need to pay a deposit.

Are sources of funding still available for the 2020/21 academic year?

Yes. Information on the many different types of funding can be found on our funding page, including details of Student Finance England Master's and Doctoral loans. Please be aware that many of the scholarship schemes have application deadlines during June 2020.

Will I still be able to access specialist software needed for my course?

Yes. There will be arrangements in place for you to be able to access the software you need during your course.

What IT equipment should I bring with me?

Most students arrive at Cranfield with their own PC or laptop. In exceptional circumstances where you are not able to bring your own device, we have a small stock of laptops which may be available.

If you are purchasing a laptop, we recommend that it is a Windows 10 device with 4GB RAM (no more than six years old) or MacBook, iMac, Mac running OSX Catalina minimum. We also recommend that it has inbuilt video camera/audio functions or you have an external webcam/headset.

What will happen if stricter restrictions are re-imposed in the UK?

The COVID-19 epidemic in the UK is progressively improving and a gradual lifting of restrictions is expected. The UK Government has put in place plans to reduce the chances of further national disruption. As such we expect to offer the majority of our courses physically from our sites with as much face-to-face tuition as possible in the autumn of 2020.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our number one priority and so we are taking precautions to protect our students in the event of a temporary re-imposition of restrictions. We are committed to supporting our students in these uncertain times.

What would happen if there is a future lockdown in the UK?

If a further lockdown is imposed by the UK Government during your course, we will adapt our arrangements for teaching and assessment to ensure that you are able to complete your course in a timely way. This may mean some face-to-face teaching being replaced by online delivery.

What steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of students on site?

Your safety and that of our staff is our number one priority. We have implemented stringent measures, informed by UK Government guidance, to ensure our sites continue to be safe for you to study with us.

We have developed new systems, protocols and cleaning regimes and are following strict social distancing and health guidelines. For example:

  • Lectures that would normally involve larger groups of students will be delivered online or in small socially distanced groups;
  • Research laboratories will be accessible for students’ use and they will be managed to accommodate social distancing and hygiene measures;
  • Welcome Week will be a mix of small, socially distanced, face-to-face registration sessions and online orientation;
  • We have made physical changes to our sites to ensure social distancing guidance is easy to implement for students and staff. These include one-way systems, designated entry and exit points, increased signage, and hand sanitiser stations;
  • We have introduced more frequent deep cleaning schedules for our facilities. 

Do I need to wear a face covering while being taught face-to-face?

Yes, a face covering is expected to be worn for all face-to-face teaching until further notice.

English tests

I'm having trouble accessing English tests such as IELTS, what can I do?

We understand many of you are experiencing difficulties taking IELTS or other Secure English Language Tests (SELTs). We are now also able to accept the English tests listed below - some of these are available online. We may also require you to undertake an informal online interview with a member of Cranfield staff to validate your test score.

Arrivals and registration

How will I be kept up-to date with details about my course and coming to Cranfield?

After you receive an offer to study at Cranfield, you will be given access to the pre-registration area on our virtual learning environment, Canvas. You will receive a communication from your course team once this is available to you. You will receive updates through the pre-registration area on Canvas and also from your course team.

The pre-registration area will also help you to familiarise yourself with the University and Canvas (if you haven’t used it previously) and will include details of any IT requirements, pre-reading or online tutorials to help start your Cranfield journey, such as preparing to study at Cranfield and a variety of study skills.

When do I register?

Registration is an important step in becoming a Cranfield University student and takes places in two stages.

Stage one – this takes place online. You will receive an email from our Registry team inviting you to log onto EVE and complete a variety of tasks. Once complete, you will be able to download your registration form which you will need to sign and return to our Registry team via email, along with any other requested documentation.

Stage two – this takes place in person and is when you will collect your ID card and other materials. We have published the dates that each course will compete their registration below. On the Cranfield campus, this starts week commencing 28 September 2020. Please see below for your actual date.

If you are studying on a visa, you will be asked to show your passport and visa to our Student Immigration team on a separate date and this will be communicated to you in due course.

When is my course due to start?

The start date of your course will be confirmed to you in your offer letter. The majority of courses start on 5 October 2020 for Cranfield campus courses, or 7 September 2020 for courses on the Shrivenham site. Some courses may start on different dates, as confirmed in your offer letter.

If you are a research student, registration begins on 28 September, or 5 October on the Shrivenham site.

How will induction be conducted?

To help you familiarise yourself with life at Cranfield University and your journey ahead, induction is in two parts - the University-level induction will be online, while your course-level induction will be a mix of small, socially-distanced, face-to-face sessions.

After you receive an offer to study at Cranfield, you will be given access to the pre-registration area on our virtual learning environment, Canvas. You will receive a communication from your course team once this is available to you. It will help you to familiarise yourself with the University and Canvas (if you haven’t used it previously) and will include details of any pre-reading or online tutorials such as preparing to study at Cranfield and a variety of other study skills.

If you are a research student, you will have the opportunity to join a face-to-face induction with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, Director of Student Experience and Director of Research, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This will be in addition to a live online session. At your local induction, you will get to meet your supervisory team and learn more about our doctoral network, the research community you have joined and the opportunities available to develop your personal and professional skills through our research core development programme.

Are there any welcome events planned so that I can meet other students?

We'll be running a number of welcome events, starting on Monday 28 September and running throughout October, to help you settle in, meet your fellow students and course team.

Ensuring your health and safety is our priority. Some of our orientation and team-building events will be online and others will be in face-to-face groups enabling everyone to observe social distancing. 

We want you to:

  • get to know each other and our University, including your course team
  • find out more about how we support your health and wellbeing
  • get to know about the range of services available to support your studies.

We know that international travel is difficult at the moment and if you're not able to join the face-to-face events week commencing 28 September, please don't worry. There will be plenty of online events for you to join in with, no matter where you are in the world.

Our welcome events and activities will continue up until Friday 23 October 2020, which is the latest date that you can arrive to start your course.

This is a new experience for all of us and we will be doing our very best to give you a warm Cranfield welcome.

Please regularly check your emails and Canvas, our virtual learning environment, for details of what we have planned.

What support is available to me if I have learning support needs or medical/mental health conditions?

Help and support is always close at hand at Cranfield University and we encourage you to draw on this support as and when you may need it. Read more about our support services on our web page.

What happens if I have to self-quarantine for 14 days and this falls during registration and the start of my course?

If this were to be the case, we encourage you to speak to your SAS Lead so that they can make alternative arrangements for registering on your course and to discuss how we can support you.

While in self-quarantine, you will still be able to participate in the online Welcome Week events/activities that we have planned and get to meet others on your course and across Cranfield. Our University-level induction will also be online. You will have access to Canvas, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, where you’ll be able to complete any pre-reading or online tutorials to help start your Cranfield journey, such as preparing to study at Cranfield and a variety of study skills.

What happens if I’m not able to arrive on time to start my course?

Most courses at Shrivenham start on 7 September. On the Cranfield campus most courses start on 5 October 2020.

We do, however, understand that in some circumstances this may not be possible, so the latest date you can arrive to begin your course if you are studying at Shrivenham is 25 September.

If you are studying a taught course on the Cranfield campus, it is Friday 23 October 2020. If you need to quarantine for 14 days before this date, your latest arrival date will be Friday 9 October 2020.

Will there be any charter flights to help students with their travel plans to the UK?

The University recognises that there are currently some challenges in international travel and therefore has agreed the latest date you can arrive should be extended to Friday 23 October for taught courses. If you need to quarantine for 14 days before this date, your latest arrival date will be Friday 9 October 2020.

If you know that you are going to be arriving late, please talk to your SAS team so that they can discuss arrangements with you.

The University will not be providing charter flights. We are committed to do all we can to support you during these unique times.

How do I book the airport meeting service?

If you are an international student from outside the EU, you can take advantage of our free airport pick-up service. You can book this through EVE, our student portal, when completing your pre-registration tasks that our Registry team will be in touch with you about.  

Living on campus

I have applied for accommodation on the Cranfield campus – when will I hear back?

Our accommodation team is focused on working through all applications as quickly as possible. You should hear back from them very soon.

What steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of students while living in accommodation on the Cranfield campus?

As well as all of the other health and safety measures in place on our COVID-secure site (see question: 'What steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of students on site?'), we have enhanced our normal cleaning regimes in our accommodation, and are regularly cleaning entrances, door plates, staircases and other repeat ‘touch points’ with anti-viral spray. Sanitising units are also positioned in the entrances to all accommodation blocks. The kitchens are also temporarily closed to students whenever they are being cleaned to help protect students and our cleaning staff.

Will I need to self-quarantine?

If you are arriving from one of the countries that the UK Government has said is exempt from the 14-day quarantine period (as announced on 3 July), you will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless you have been in or travelled through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days. Further information on the exempt countries has been published on the UK Government website.

How will I be supported if I arrive from outside the UK, am living on campus and have to self-quarantine for 14 days? How will I get food and resolve any IT set up/internet connection issues in my room?

If the 14-day quarantine guidelines remain in place, we will provide food for the period that you self-quarantine (there will be a charge for this) and will make arrangements to enable your IT.

Can I arrive earlier if I have to self-isolate, so as not to miss the start of the academic year?

Yes, you will be able to arrive early should the 14-day quarantine guidelines remain in place. So that we can ensure your room is ready for your arrival, we ask that you provide us with as much notice as you can of your intention to arrive early.

What if I cannot arrive early to self-isolate? Will I still be able to start my course?

Yes, we will support you and identify the best solution for you depending upon your circumstances and the specific nature of your course.

Will rooms with shared bathrooms be available – if so, will there be additional cleaning?

Where there are shared bathroom facilities these will be within what is considered a 'household'. We have enhanced cleaning regimes in place.

What is your policy on shared kitchens?

We continue to offer shared kitchen facilities in line with the latest Government advice. Our shared kitchens are within what is considered a ‘household’. This applies once quarantine periods have been completed.

Living in off-campus accommodation

Will I need to self-quarantine?

If you are arriving from one of the countries that the UK Government has said is exempt from the 14-day quarantine period (as announced on 3 July), you will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless you have been in or travelled through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days. Further information on the exempt countries has been published on the UK Government website.

What should I do if I’m arriving from outside the UK and have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

If the 14-day quarantine guidelines affect you, we recommend that you talk to your landlord about the possibility of arriving earlier. You may also wish to make arrangements for any internet connections to be set up so that you can connect when you arrive.

The UK Government has published information on how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK and the exceptions to this.

How can I buy groceries if I have to self-quarantine?

Many supermarkets in the UK offer a contactless home delivery service, enabling you to purchase groceries that you may need while isolating. You may also want to talk to your landlord about whether they might be able to support you by arranging for some basic supplies ready for your arrival. NHS Volunteer Responders are also available if you need help collecting shopping, medication or would like a telephone ‘check-in and chat’. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support. You can arrange one-off support, or schedule more regular help while you are self-isolating.

The UK Government has published information on the support available to help you should you need to self-isolate.

If I have to self-quarantine, how do I travel to my accommodation?

The UK Government advice is that you can use public transport but only if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay two metres apart from other people. Pack a face covering or scarf to cover your nose and mouth before you travel.

If I’m living off campus, can I travel to the campus using public transport?

Yes you can but you should not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms. You will also need to wear a face covering when using public transport.  

There is an Uno bus service which travels to and from the University from surrounding towns and villages. There is further information on the Uno website about the additional precautions being taken to keep passengers safe.

The UK Government has published further information about using public transport on its website.

Visas and ATAS certificate

I have received my visa (3 month or 30 day vignette) but cannot travel to the UK because of the travel ban, how does this affect my course registration and arrival in the UK?

It may be possible to register on your course and attend remotely if your supervisor or course director approves. Once the travel ban has been lifted you can then travel to the UK if your visa is still valid. If your 3 month vignette (the UKVI are now issuing vignette's with a 3 month validity. Visa's issued before or in the early period of the Covid-19 pandemic may have a 30 day validity) has expired then you should apply for a replacement (another vignette) to travel to the UK.

Our student immigration team are here to help you with any issues you may have - you can find their details on our Visas page.

I have applied for a visa from outside the UK and I am unable to obtain my passport because the Visa Application Centre is closed, how does this affect my course registration and arrival in the UK?

It may be possible to register on your course and attend remotely if your supervisor or course director approves. Once the Visa Application Centre is open and you receive your visa you can then travel to the UK if your visa is still valid. If your 3 month vignette has expired then you should apply for replacement (another vignette) to travel to the UK.

Our student immigration team are here to help you with any issues you may have - you can find their details on our Visas page.

Will I benefit from the immigration reforms announced by the UK Government on 1 July?

On 1 July, the UK Government announced reforms to the immigration process for international students from 2021 as part of their new research and development roadmap. Existing students and those who start their courses in autumn 2020 will benefit from these changes, once they have been introduced in 2021.

The key changes laid out in the new roadmap include:

  • Under the new graduate route PhD students will be able to stay in the UK for up to three years after they complete their studies; while students who complete a master’s degree will be able to stay for two years.
  • The new student route will provide greater flexibility, including the ability to switch visa types from within the UK, a longer application window for students to submit their visa application, and removing study time limits at postgraduate level.

Further information is available on the UKCISA website.

What healthcare services are available to me in the UK if I’m from overseas?

As part of your visa application, you may be required to pay the immigration health surcharge. This payment means that you will be able to receive free health services from the National Health Service (NHS) should you become unwell while in the UK. It entitles you to the same access as a UK citizen.

You can use the Home Office Immigration Health Surcharge checker to check if you need to make this payment and how much it will cost.

Further information about the surcharge including how and when to pay, can be found on the UK Government website.