The challenges brought by COVID-19 have been unprecedented for all of us, and the priority for the University of Reading and Henley Business School has always been the safety of its students and staff, while ensuring that we deliver the high quality student experience that people have come to expect from a triple accredited business school. Below is an update on plans for the Autumn term for prospective full-time Masters students commencing their studies in 2020.

When will my Henley course start?

Henley Business School Masters programmes will start on Monday 12 October 2020 (the University of Reading term will commence on 28 September).

Why does Henley have a later start date?

We have postponed the start of your programme by two weeks to 12 October. This is to provide our international students with additional time to meet English language test requirements and other conditions, including obtaining student visas where necessary, all of which have been impacted by COVID-19.

Will this affect the amount of teaching on my programme?

This later start date will not impact the teaching provision. Exactly the same amount of teaching hours will be delivered as before by utilising the mid-term break week for teaching and timetabling a slightly higher number of teaching hours in one other week.

Will I have a Welcome Week?

Yes. Welcome and orientation activities will take place online on 12 and 13 October with teaching expected to commence on 14 October

What is the latest I can enrol?

Enrolment to our programmes will be possible up to 4 November for those that need more time to meet entry conditions.

When will the Whiteknights campus be open?

Our campus, buildings and accommodations will be open when your programme starts on Monday 12 October 2020 and we look forward to welcoming those of you who able to join us in Reading, subject to travel restrictions and government advice.

What health and safety measures will be in place?

Measures are being put in place to protect the safety of our students and staff, based on UK government advice. This will include the provision of clear safety advice and guidance, social distancing on campus and an extensive building cleansing programme.

We are preparing to implement a range of mitigation measures to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19 as follows:

  • Directing all students and colleagues to stay away from campus if they have symptoms of the virus or are required to self-isolate
  • Providing students and colleagues with an induction to ensure safe and appropriate behaviour in the relevant spaces
  • Providing hand hygiene opportunities across campus
  • Recommending students and colleagues to wear face coverings inside buildings and in areas on campus where it is not possible to maintain a 2 metre distance

The University will be taking steps to protect the safety of the University community, while reducing as much as possible any negative impact on your study and experience. However, it is also important to be aware that the University’s plans are subject to the wider national and international situation and evolving government advice.

What if I cannot travel to Reading for the start of term?

We recognise that some students, particularly those from overseas, might not be able to travel to the campus and may instead choose to commence their studies online with the view to joining in person later when government advice and travel restrictions allow them to do so.

How will Autumn Term be taught?

To support all our students, whether they are on campus or studying remotely, we will be delivering the full array of learning activities online, with both online and face to face teaching of seminars and workshops for those students on campus. We hope it will be possible to resume all face-to-face teaching activities on campus later in the academic year, but this would be always subject to government advice. If government advice and/or travel restrictions do not allow us to do so, then we intend to deliver teaching remotely as set out below. Our intention is to ensure that the learning journey for those commencing their studies from home is carefully crafted to match the learning experience of those on campus.

Will there be face-to-face learning activities?

Where possible subject to social distancing guidelines, Henley will deliver face-to-face learning activities for those of you who join us on campus, including seminars and practical workshops and access to our specialist study space and trading rooms.

What will be available online?

To support our students, whether they are based on campus or are studying remotely, we have designed and developed a balanced and interactive flexible learning experience. This will include delivering online lectures which will be available to watch at any time to allow students to view from different time-zones. Also seminars, workshops and other development opportunities will be online to allow for group work and interaction. There will also be weekly timetabled interactive drop-in sessions with our faculty where you will be able to raise questions. Individual online appointments will be available on demand, and for some modules we will also be utilising social media and virtual collaboration rooms for additional interaction.

Does Henley have experience in delivering flexibly with both online and face-to-face teaching?

The quality of Henley’s programmes is well established and we have an excellent reputation for delivering flexible teaching and learning. For example, our flagship Executive MBA programme which we have run for over 50 years is ranked among the top 30 in the world, and its success is based on its balance of online, flexible learning complemented with a highly interactive student experience. The flexible delivery of our highly ranked Masters programmes has been designed based on similar principles, aiming to replicate as closely as possible, the attributes of the face-to-face Henley student experience.

Have English language test requirements changed?

Given the challenges with IELTS testing around the world, we have allowed for alternative English language tests (including Duolingo and Pearson PTE) for direct entry into our MSc programmes, or for admission to one of our pre-sessional English courses, which are now delivered fully online.

How will I access textbooks and learning resources?

Access to learning materials will be made available online and specialised software for your course will be made available via our virtual platform Appsanywhere and other online platforms. Textbooks will be available on campus or in e-book format where possible and reading lists will be fully accessible online via the library.

How will I be assessed?

There will be a variety of coursework formats such as essays, reports, presentations, videos and posters all of which will be submitted and marked electronically. You will receive personalised and timely feedback on your work. Exams and tests will also be online until physical exam sittings are permitted.

Will I still have access to career development activities and support?

We will be delivering the full Henley careers development programme online, including employer facing and guest speaker events online, careers fairs and recruitment days, career workshops and unlimited individual career coaching sessions with our specialised careers consultants.

Will the University’s support services be open?

The University’s specialist support services (including Careers, Financial Support, Disability Advisory Service, International Visa and Immigration Advice, Study 3 Advice, and more) will continue to offer help and advice face-to-face with appropriate social distancing measures, and we will continue to make these services available virtually for those who need them. We are also developing plans to ensure all students can continue to safely access our library and study resources.

What is happening with University accommodation?

It is the University’s intention for its Halls of Residences to be open in September, subject to any government restrictions, and we look forward to welcoming a new community of residents. The University is working closely with its accommodation providers to put the necessary social distancing and cleaning arrangements in place, as well as to support students who need to shield or quarantine in halls.

Will I have to pay for accommodation if I am not on campus?

The university will be issuing further advice on the situation regarding accommodation. This will be available on the University website at https://www.reading.ac.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-information- applicants.aspx The University will also by contacting applicants and offer holders with information on this and other matters in due course.

What will be the impact on student life?

Life at university is about more than just your course. Although University planning so far has focussed on your learning, we are also doing our best to ensure that you benefit from everything that the University has to offer in terms of facilities, development and social opportunities. The University is actively working on plans for what this will look like on its campuses in the autumn term and will be in touch with applicants and offer holders with more detailed information.

Can I still choose or change my modules?

You are still able to choose and change modules as you would normally. Our admissions teams will be in touch closer to the time to give you all your module information.

Will there be any reduction in tuition fees for 2020/21 as a result of the blended approach to teaching?

We are taking every reasonable step to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your university experience. We will support you to continue to work towards your academic goals as planned and provide you with a quality learning experience, while putting the necessary measures in place to protect your health and well being. Therefore, we will not be offering a reduction in tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year.

Our blended learning environment for autumn 2020 has been carefully designed to combine face-to-face interactive sessions and online core course content. All students will continue to be closely supported through regular Academic Tutor meetings and our wider network of specialist support services, in-person and online. We are confident that this flexible approach will enable you to continue your studies with minimal disruption, whether you are on campus or need to study at a distance temporarily.

Please rest assured that we are committed to ensuring you have access to high quality course content, alongside interactive sessions to develop and apply your knowledge and understanding with academic staff and your peers.

We are working hard to make adjustments to our campus services and facilities, in line with government advice. For the autumn term, we anticipate that our Library, Halls of Residence, SportsPark and many of our catering outlets will be open, with appropriate social distancing in place. We are also working closely with the Reading University Students Union (RUSU), who are planning to offer a range of events and activities to enhance your student experience.

If you have any outstanding concerns about your provision from the University during the autumn 2020 term, there will be a dedicated complaints process for you to report this which will be published soon.

How can I find out more and ask questions?

Henley colleagues will be delivering a number of webinars about our MSc programmes, which we hope you will be able to join.

Is there further information available online?

You can also continue to check Me@Reading Applicant and the University’s dedicated COVID-19 webpages for the latest advice (See links below).

Information for prospective students and applicants

More information for prospective students and applicants can be found here.

General advice

All of what you need to know can be found here.

Advice for current students

Student support and advice can be found here.