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Coronavirus impact: information for students

Last reviewed Friday 10 July 2020, 10am

This page outlines advice for students dealing with disruption caused by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to update this regularly.
If you can’t find an answer on this page, contact our dedicated University Help Centre.


  • The campus is closed. Visit the main coronavirus advice page for details.
  • Information about assessments and exams can be found in the assessments and exams section below.
  • It is our intention that campus will be open for the 2020-21 academic year
  • Enrolment will take place online from 8 September 2020.
  • Term will start on 28 September 2020 for the majority of students, with a mixture of face-to-face campus-based and online teaching.
  • A range of support for students is available online and remotely, including advice on wellbeing.
  • University-related international travel is suspended.

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assessments and exams • students abroad • international studentsfeesaccommodation • academic year 2020-21

Assessments and exams

Our priority is to ensure that learning, assessments, and results are not adversely affected as a result of COVID-19. Below are the measures we have put in place to support students studying at the University in Sheffield; students studying for a SHU award at a partner institution will be informed by the partner of any changes to assessments and examinations.

In making these decisions we have taken several things into account.

  • We do not want any student to be disadvantaged.
  • We want to be able to respond to individual circumstances.
  • We want to ensure that you are able to progress in your studies.

Level 5, Level 6, and Level 7 and Higher Degree Apprenticeship (all levels) students

Postgraduate Research students

We have shared a package of financial support for our Doctoral students to move through the Covid-19 period. 

As we begin to reopen our campus facilities we will communicate guidance on the opening of limited spaces and facilities for our PGR students. 

We are working towards providing bookable spaces in Charles Street from July.

For overseas Postgraduate Researchers, new guidance is expected shortly. 

Full versions of the procedures for face-to-face working will be lodged in the CORONAVIRUS folder on the Research Degrees Blackboard site.

Assessment requirements

You are expected to complete your assessments where possible. If you believe you will be unable to do so, contact Hallam Help at or on 0114 225 2222.

Outstanding Level 4 modules

If you are a Level 5 student and you are trailing any failed Level 4 modules from last year, you do not need to complete assessments for the Level 4 modules (unless there are Professional Body requirements or you are an apprentice). Level 4 modules will be recorded as passed.

Assessment marking

We want to reassure you that there will be no detriment to your assessment as a result of our actions to respond to COVID-19. Department Assessment Boards will take into account the overall performance of your course year group and your individual profile. 

The process for ensuring no detriment will involve

  • Comparing whole module mark sets against previous years’ marks. If this year’s mark set is out of line with these, we will make adjustments to increase all marks in the module (scaling) to bring them in line with previous years.
  • Reviewing the profile of each student to look out for lower marks in semester two modules than would otherwise have been anticipated. This will cover the marks across all of the modules taken this year, and in previous years if this is helpful. If we see any evidence of lower than expected marks, we will be able to increase students’ marks as appropriate.

Throughout this process we will involve those who chair the department assessment boards and our external examiners to ensure fair outcomes for our students.

Results schedules

We will try to keep to results publication schedules, adjusted for extensions to submission deadlines. If there are delays, your department will let you know.

As your marks and feedback become available via Grade Centre, please remember that these are provisional and will not be confirmed until your Departmental Assessment Board. As a result of the no detriment measures, these marks may be subject to change. Your official results can only be accessed via the Results page of My Student Record. There is no need to take any further action until these official results are made available. Further information and guidance will be released alongside these results.

Retaking assessments

If you have passed a task which was undertaken when Covid-19 measures were put in place but are dissatisfied with the assessment outcome (specifically, if you believe you have not achieved to your best ability despite other university measures in relation to no-detriment) you can request to take the assessment or examination again during the reassessment period for your course . Your mark will not be capped and your highest mark will stand. Support will be available for you, but you will not have access to extra formal teaching. 

Instructions to request a no-detriment retake

Retaking modules in 2020–21

You would only retake a module in 2020–21 if you do not pass the module through standard assessment or a compensated pass.

Professional body requirements

If there are assessment requirements from a professional body – including health and teaching bodies – this will have been communicated to you personally. 

We are working with professional bodies to ensure that our arrangements meet their requirements and that your eligibility to join a profession is not put at risk.

Apprenticeship assessments and exams

Course leaders will be in touch to update you on arrangements for your areas. For information on exams, see the examinations section above.

If you are studying an apprenticeship at the University and have been furloughed by your employer, please contact your Work Based Coach who can help you with any enquiries about your study.

On 4 April the Government updated its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance to say that apprentices can continue to train while furloughed.

If you have any further questions about apprenticeships, please email

Foundation Year and Level 4 students

Automatic progression

Foundation Year and Level 4 students will progress automatically onto the next level of study.

This means you don’t need to complete assessments or reassessments for this academic year, unless your course includes requirements from a professional body. This approach also excludes apprentices studying at Level 4 due to the unique nature of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

Professional body requirements

We are working with professional bodies to ensure that our arrangements meet their requirements and that your eligibility to join a profession is not put at risk.

For students studying certain modules, existing assessment arrangements will stand, because of professional body requirements. Your course team will contact you directly to confirm which assessments you need to complete. If you aren't sure whether you need to engage with assessment, contact your course team for advice.

Your student transcript

Any confirmed marks will be stated on your 2019–20 transcript. All your modules will be listed and shown as passed.

Students on study breaks

If you were taking a study break and were due to return in September 2020, you will return to the same level as planned when you began your break. For example, if you took a break during Level 4, you will return to Level 4.

Students with no module passes

If you don’t yet have passes for this year, we will contact you to discuss options for the next academic year. We will review your progress and engagement with studies based on all the data and information we have.

Retaking the year

Student Support Advisers will be in contact with students who may benefit from repeating the year. 

Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE)

If you leave Level 4 under these arrangements, you will not receive a CertHE. These arrangements only allow you to progress to Level 5.

Further support

If you are feeling anxious, your Student Support Adviser can help. Contact them through Hallam Help at or on 0114 225 2222.

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Students abroad

For all travel advice, please refer to government guidance here.

The University has cancelled all University-related international travel. 

Return travel costs

For students who were on an international placement or semester abroad before lockdown, you will be able to claim your return travel costs under the University Insurance. Please email


In cases where a student has met the minimum duration for their Erasmus funding (two months for a work placement, three months for a study exchange) but has been repatriated early, students may be entitled to keep a larger share of the grant because of other costs which they may have incurred (typically travel and accommodation payments) or their specific personal circumstances.

In cases where students haven’t met the required minimum duration, students may also be entitled to keep a share of their grant (subject to approval by Erasmus+).

In cases where a student’s mobility is interrupted owing to university or host organisation closures, the Erasmus grant is still available for the duration of this closure.

Impact on assessment

On your return to the University, please contact your International Mobility Academic Co-ordinator or Placement Academic Lead to discuss alternative arrangements so you can meet the learning outcomes of your programme.

No student will be disadvantaged academically by taking a decision to cut short their stay abroad and return home due to the coronavirus. 

Staying overseas

If you decided to stay overseas, please email to inform the University of your decision. Check your University email address regularly. The situation is changing rapidly, and we may send you further guidance.

Keep up to date with the FCO guidance, and make sure you are aware of how to seek medical assistance if the need arises. The University Insurance includes emergency medical care cover. If you need this, please call +44 207 173 7796. Support is available 24/7.

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Tier 4 visas

If you continued to engage with your course online your Tier 4 visa will not be affected.

The latest government guidance for UK visa holders.

Accessing online materials from your home country

The University will endeavour to provide online teaching in accessible formats. It is the responsibility of the individual students to ensure that you have the technical capacity (e.g. robust internet connection, sufficient speed and bandwidth) to be able to access the teaching materials and online lectures from your home country. Students can continue to contact Academic Advisers and Module Tutors through their advertised office hours if they have any queries or concerns in relation to teaching material. If you are choosing to leave the UK, please ensure you have comparable technical capacity to access teaching materials.

Difficulties studying online

If you can’t continue studying, you need to take a Break in Study and return to Sheffield when advised to do so by the University. Please note that your current visa will be curtailed, and you will need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa before you can return to the UK. If you wish to take a Break in Study instead of continuing to study online, please contact your Student Support Adviser via as soon as possible.

Visa expiry

It is very likely that the Home Office will put special arrangements in place for people whose visas are due to expire. Please schedule a Skype appointment with an International Experience Adviser to discuss further, if you are worried.

We are running a series of sessions with advice and guidance on working in the UK during and after your studies.

Staying in Sheffield

Please consider the financial and visa implications of making this choice.  It is highly likely that no casual paid work will be available at this time and in the aftermath. Therefore, please consider carefully if you have enough funds to support all your living costs for the foreseeable future (at least for the next six months) without having to rely on any paid work.

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Tuition fees

If you are concerned about paying fees, contact

The University is committed to delivering all teaching activities online and/or through remote access to materials.

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Rent payments

Some landlords are choosing to release students from their tenancy responsibilities. These decisions are at the landlord or provider’s discretion. 

If your landlord has not contacted you about this, you should continue to abide by the terms of your tenancy agreement to the best of your ability.

If you have any queries about your tenancy agreement or final rent instalment, contact your landlord or site management team for further information.

Maintenance loans

Student maintenance loans are continuing as normal. If you are facing financial difficulties contact Hallam Help at, or on 0114 225 2222. 

Collection of possessions if you have left your accommodation

If you have returned home, you should contact your landlord or site management team so that they can update their records. Please contact your landlord or site management team directly if you have any questions about your accommodation. 

Please do not return to your accommodation until you have been contacted by your landlord or site management team, to advise you of the system that has been implemented to manage this process. Once you have been contacted and booked an appointment to return, you are advised to follow government guidance around staying safe outside your home. 

Remaining in halls 

We will continue to support students who are unable to return home or wish to stay in accommodation.

Academic year 2020-21

Term dates

It is our intention that campus will be open for the 2020-21 academic year. Term will start on 28 September 2020 for the majority of students. We will be in touch with those students who have different start dates.

Campus-based and online-teaching

We are planning a mixture of face-to-face campus-based and online teaching. 

Your on-campus and online learning will be timetabled.

You will continue to have access to your academic, support and employability advisers.

Face-to-face learning 

All students will have ‘live’, real-time, timetabled sessions every week, including group work, seminars, workshops and studio sessions, on-campus and online. 

Timetables will be adjusted in line with government advice to limit the number of students on campus at any one time.

Students who are not able to attend campus sessions for Covid-19 related circumstances, for example if you are in a vulnerable group, shielding or have caring responsibilities related to Covid-19, will have the opportunity to engage with the learning opportunities online, and materials will be made available to you.

Engaging online and digital learning 

Our virtual learning platform Blackboard provides you with 24/7 access to all your learning materials. 

Most lectures will be delivered as short, pre-recorded videos, which will be available online to view in your own time. 

You will have opportunities to ask questions about the lecture material through interactive engagement. 

Developing your study skills 

To help you prepare, we will provide training and support in the use of digital learning tools and study skills.

We have lots of online resources and support available through The Skills Centre

For students who do not have access to the technology to allow them to learn online, we will provide help and support. 

A safe campus

Our plans for campus are being developed alongside the latest government guidance. This  includes the easing of the 2m social distancing rules and advice for public settings.

• Limiting the numbers of students and staff on campus to help us maintain social distancing  
• New controls at building entrances and exits to help us manage those inside buildings 
• An enhanced cleaning programme to ensure the highest standards of hygiene 
• Hand sanitiser stations located around campus 
• The provision and use of face coverings, especially in areas where social distancing is more difficult 
• Temperature monitoring at building entrances 
• Protective screens in customer service and other appropriate settings 
• Clear guidance to students, staff and visitors which will be regularly updated and easy to use
• It's also extremely important that we all continue to regularly wash our hands and adhere to the guidelines for social distancing to protect ourselves and others.

We know that some students with protected characteristics are associated with greater vulnerability to Covid-19, including in relation to race, age, gender, pregnancy and underlying health conditions. 

We are putting plans in place to ensure that students’ individual circumstances are discussed and appropriate support is available. 

There will be access on campus to meet with friends. We aim to have a range of food and drink outlets open, together with safe and bookable social and group learning spaces.

Welcome Week 21 - 25 September

Keep an eye on the Student Unions’ website for more information

You will have the opportunity to attend a wide range of online and face to face activities.

For returning students 

Returning students will be able to enrol online as in previous years. You will be contacted by email in early September.

Your libraries and campus online

We are prioritising efforts to reopen the Adsetts and Collegiate libraries.

From Monday 20th July, your new Click and Collect service will be available at Adsetts Library, and at Collegiate Library the following week (from Monday 27th July). Click and Collect will allow you to request the print books you need to support your studies from Library Search and collect them from your library at a time you choose. When your request is ready for collection you will be able to book a slot to visit campus where measures will be in place to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. Guidance on how to use your new Click and Collect service will be published before the service launches.

We are continuing to increase and enhance the availability of digital reading lists and the books, journals and other resources.

Visit the Library Gateway  

Welfare and support

You have access to our full range of support and wellbeing services and they are all accessible online over the Summer. A new Live Chat service will be available in the mornings over Summer and into the Autumn

In the Autumn, our enquiry service Hallam Help will continue to be online. We plan to open physical Hallam Help points at each campus location.

Disabled students can access the full range of support online including support with assistive technology. We will also continue to provide support to our international students and those who have additional requirements.

The Students’ Union will also continue to provide a range of support and advice services.

Disabled Student Support 

 If you are eligible for a student loan and have:
·   Autism or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
·   sensory or physical impairment.
·   or a medical or mental health condition that impacts on your daily life.

Apply for Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) as soon as possible to get the support you are entitled to. If you have applied and have confirmation, book an assessment at Sheffield Regional Assessment Centre or call 0114 225 3623.

Hallam Hardship Fund 

If you have experienced unforeseen financial difficulties the Hallam Hardship Fund remains open. The Hallam Hardship Fund is available to provide financial support for students who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties. The fund is available for small, one-off payments to students in financial crisis that might impact on your participation at University.

University Accommodation

If you book your accommodation through us, you’ll be offered a number of measures to provide additional reassurance, including flexible start dates, deferred contracts and amended booking policies, so you’re not penalised if travel or government restrictions prevent you from starting your course on time.

We will follow government guidance to give you a safe and comfortable home. Our accommodation partners will provide regular and thorough cleaning of communal areas and your room before you arrive, hand sanitiser stations, clear signage and one-way systems where appropriate. Communal spaces will be arranged to ensure social distancing can be managed and there will be dedicated support and services to help you self-isolate if you become unwell.

If you’re still looking for accommodation for 2020/21 you can apply here.

Social activities and sport

We are working with the Students’ Union to provide social activities for the start of term.

We will be organising physical activity in our gyms or Sheffield’s many parks and green spaces.

The BUCS season is set to start in January 2021. We are working with Sports Clubs to create a team experience within the guidance.


Our campus will be open to apprentices in the Autumn. We are working closely with our employer partners to assess the best approach for our apprenticeship students. We will update both apprentices and employers in the coming weeks.

If you have any further questions about apprenticeships, please email

Placements and work experience

We are working closely with employers to ensure you can still gain these invaluable experiences. 

How we design and deliver placements is being adapted to offer more flexibility. 

Your course team or the Student Placement website will be able to provide you with details.

International travel and exchanges 

We have taken the difficult decision to suspend all student overseas travel, including for inbound and outbound student exchange, international work placements, field trips and study-related visits for Semester 1 of the 2020/21 academic year (September start). 

This decision has been made in consideration of the uncertainties and risks caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic.

International students 

Work continues to look how we best support prospective and returning international students in our plans for Autumn 2020.

For new students unable to join us in September 2020 there is an expanded portfolio of courses (UG level 6 top-up and PGT) which will run from January 2021.

Class of 2020

For students graduating this year, we have a package of support available including careers advice, mentoring from alumni, and access to the student hardship fund.

Students can also take advantage of a discounted fee of £5,000 for many of our masters courses for Home/EU students or an equivalent of £3000 for international students.

Graduation 2020

Thank you to all those graduating students who completed the recent survey about Graduation ceremonies. We had over 5,000 responses. The responses will be used to inform our plans and we will be in touch again soon. 

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