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Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Coronavirus: update on 2021/22 academic year

student working on a desk
UAL Creative Computing Institute students, photo by Alys Tomlinson

Over the past year, the global pandemic has disrupted lives all over the world. At UAL, our staff and students have constantly adapted to the changing circumstances. Our community has been nothing short of amazing.

As we prepare for the start of the 2021/2022 academic year, our message is simple – UAL IS OPEN! It is our intention to welcome students onto campus for the autumn term. Our approach will allow courses to be delivered in person and with online teaching elements. We are planning for libraries, workshops, studios, classrooms, study spaces and other resources to be available.

We know from experience that things can change very rapidly, so we have plans in place just in case we have to adapt to further restrictions or other events.

If there are further lockdowns, we will move our teaching online, as we have done over the last year. We will continue to update all students if there are any significant changes to the delivery of their course.

Travel restrictions and individual circumstances

We recognise that because of continuing coronavirus travel restrictions in some countries, including quarantine requirements when arriving in the UK, it might be impossible for some of you to join us in London at the start of term.

If this affects you, we will support you as best we can to commence your studies online for a short period of time until you are able to join us in person. These support arrangements will vary across courses and programmes.

We believe participating fully in the course provides the richest possible experience. However, we also understand that some students may find themselves unable to join us on-campus for the start of the autumn term. We will support you until you join us but please understand as you are missing on-campus teaching and, depending on your course, it may not be possible to replicate this with an online alternative.

The requirement is that students will attend on site as soon as they are able so they can take full advantage of all the learning opportunities of their course.

Travelling to England

If you’re travelling to England, what you need to do depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive. If you have been in a country or territory on the:

  • green list - you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2
  • amber list - you must quarantine in the place you’re staying and take 2 COVID-19 tests
  • red list - you must quarantine in a hotel and take 2 COVID-19 tests

It is vital you review the UK government guidance and book the required tests before you travel to England.

Read the UK government's guide to COVID-19 vaccinations for international students.

If you cannot join us in London for the start of term

If you find yourself unable to join us on site in the UK at the beginning of the autumn term for a Covid-19 related reason, you should still enrol on time using our remote system.

You can then apply for Covid-Related Authorised Absence using your UAL Student Portal. You’ll be expected to take part in the virtual elements of your course until you’re able to join us in person. Covid-Related Authorised Absence may last all the autumn term if necessary.


All students granted Covid-Related Authorised Absence are expected to attend on site from the start of spring term 2022 at the latest.

If you’re unable to join us on site for the start of spring term, you may be required to take formal ‘time out’ until you can attend in person. Your Course Leader can discuss your options with you if needed. Read our Student guide to taking time out (PDF 250KB) for further details.

Covid-Related Authorised Absence

We know Covid-19 is impacting our students in a number of ways and we want to support everyone as best we can.

If you can’t join us on site anytime during the autumn term for any reason related to Covid-19, you must notify us you’ll be taking Covid-Related Authorised Absence. Reasons for this absence include (but aren’t limited to):

  • travel restrictions
  • anxiety about coming to London
  • having and recovering from Covid-19
  • caring responsibilities
  • bereavement

You can only notify us you need Covid-Related Authorised Absence once you’ve enrolled (or you’re conditionally enrolled).

Once enrolled, you’ll see the option to take Covid-Related Authorised Absence on the homepage of your UAL Student Portal.

We won’t ask you to evidence your need for Covid-Related Authorised Absence - you’ll self-declare your eligibility. We’ll send you an email confirming we’ve received your absence notification. When you’re ready to join us on site, contact your Course Leader to plan your return.

Remember, when studying under Covid-Related Authorised Absence you must take part in the virtual elements of your course. During this authorised absence you may miss on site teaching and, depending on your course, it may not be possible to replicate this with an online alternative.

If once you’ve begun your course you feel your authorised absence is affecting your ability to meet an assessment deadline or the level of your performance at assessment, you must talk to your Course Leader as soon as you can. You may be able to make an Extenuating Circumstances claim. If your claim is successful, the Exam Board will take your circumstances into account when making assessment decisions.

All students granted Covid-Related Authorised Absence are expected to attend on site from the start of spring term 2022 at the latest.

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students

We’re waiting for further guidance from the course regulator, Ofqual, about how much online learning we can provide.

This means if you can’t join us in person at the start of term, you may not be allowed the option to begin your studies online instead.

Contact our Further Education team to discuss your options: feoffice@arts.ac.uk.

Study Abroad students 

If you’re an Integrated Study Abroad student or a Semester Study Abroad student you must participate in your programme from within the UK (unless your programme is fully online).

A person sits on the floor surrounded by colourful material
Rochelle Saunders in the studio, photo by Alys Tomlinson

Teaching and learning

We know it’s important to know what your teaching experience will look like next year.

Our aim is to provide learning experiences which are a rich mix of online and on-site learning according to what works best for students.

Over the past year, an enormous amount of work has taken place in designing the delivery of your course to give you the best possible learning opportunities. We’ve learnt what works best in different situations for different courses and different groups of students and we have developed innovative ways of doing things.

Engaging with the full mix of on-campus and online learning, will mean you have a great student experience at UAL.

Safety and wellbeing

We have developed a very clear framework for how we will operate our buildings safely so we can keep you safe.

Our aim is to provide a full blended learning experience with a mix of online and on-campus sessions for most courses delivered in a Covid-safe environment.

We will give you a health and safety briefing at the start of term which will reflect the latest guidance from the UK government, including on the wearing of face-coverings. You will also see signage which directs you around buildings safely and highlights social distancing measures.

This is a top priority for our entire community and we all need to take personal responsibility. Have a look at our COVID-19 Community Pledge webpage to see what our students and staff pledge to do to keep themselves and others safe.

A student looking at fabric samples and materials in the library
Fabric samples and materials in the library, photo by Alys Tomlinson

Access to facilities

It is our intention to ensure our facilities are open and available to you – always operating within health and safety guidelines, of course.

At UAL, we pride ourselves on the variety and quality of our facilities, from state-of-the-art design suites to traditional print studios. Students can access the libraries, Learning Zones, cafes, shops and galleries at UAL’s sites. You can find out more about our spaces, studios and workshops at each College location.

Accommodation and halls of residence

Our Accommodation Services team is really looking forward to welcoming many of you into halls of residence in the autumn term.

Take a look at our Keeping you safe in halls video and also visit Halls Life to see all the different facilities which are available to you.

And if you need to choose somewhere to live in London, we can help you find room in halls, or provide advice on private accommodation.

Call us on +44(0)207 514 6240, email accommodation@arts.ac.uk or Tweet us at @UAL_Halls.

Contact us

If you have a query that is not answered here, you can:

  • Students having a discussion

    Information for applicants

    How to apply to study at UAL

  • Academic Support session. Image by G Barton, 2017
    Academic support

    Take advantage of tutorials, workshops and online resources to boost your studies.

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    English language skills

    Use our online tutorials, online resources, guides and take a progress test.