Study abroad programmes and coronavirus

Some aspects of the 2020/21 study abroad/exchange programme will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation is fast-moving and dynamic and may require adjustments at short notice. We’re working hard to keep you updated with planned changes to the programme, and updates will be made to this page continuously throughout this period.  

Semester 1 (September 2020-January 2021)


In addition to the standard ‘Welcome/Orientation’ week that runs from 21 September, there will be an additional ‘Induction/Transition’ week from 28 September, to help students adjust to a different kind of campus experience. Most sessions will be online, although we hope to run some smaller sessions face-to-face if possible.

Teaching and learning

Teaching will commence from 5 October 2020. There will be a blended approach to teaching and learning, with all large lectures delivered online. Small group sessions (such as seminars/tutorials) will be face-to-face from as early as is safe and possible within social distancing guidelines. Semester 1 assessments will be conducted online (with only a small number of local exceptions, such as practical tests which can't be delivered online).

Remote study

It will be possible for Study Abroad/Exchange students to study online with us from their home country for the whole of Semester 1 if they choose, meaning that they will not need to travel to Manchester at any point to study/receive academic credit.

Please note, however, that the current intention is that most course units will contain at least some synchronous teaching (delivered only during the UK study day) which may mean that, depending on time zone differences, students may need to prepare for some odd hours of engagement with this option. Our usual caveats around timetabling and the ability to take certain combinations of course units will also apply. This option is also only currently expected to apply in Semester 1, so any students who are applying for study for the full academic year should expect that they must be physically in Manchester for the spring semester should they opt for remote study in Semester 1.


The University will provide each student with two washable facemasks upon arrival, as well as clear guidance on how our teaching spaces, libraries, study spaces and labs will operate.


University accommodation contract terms are being adjusted to provide maximum flexibility for any further disruption that may occur during the time that students may be living in Halls. Our accommodation guarantee means that students can apply for a place in Halls with the reassurance that their Advance Licence Fee Payment is fully refundable should they be unable to travel to Manchester.

International students who have booked University Halls of Residence, and who are required by the UK government to quarantine on arrival, will be able to arrive two weeks in advance of their accommodation contract start date with no additional charge for that two week period.

Semester 2 (January-June 2021)

Start date

Semester 2 (January-June 2021) will now start one week later than originally planned, in order to build in a one-week break between the end of the first semester and the start of the second.


We're happy to consider any students who originally intended to study with us in Semester 1 (Sept-Jan) in Semester 2 (Jan-June) instead. We recommend early application as course units are expected to fill up quickly. If you have already submitted an application for Semester 1 there is no need to reapply – you can simply email to confirm your deferral. You can send a revised Proposed Study Plan, with Semester 2 course unit choices, to the same email address. If you wish to defer to the 2021/22 academic year and have already submitted an application for 2020/21, we may ask you to submit a new application in 2021.

Accepted English language tests

In response to ongoing IELTS/TOEFL test centre closures, the University is actively considering alternative English language tests. To date, the following additional English language tests will be considered acceptable for entry in light of disruption caused by COVID-19. These tests will be accepted as a temporary concession and are currently not planned to be utilised beyond the 2020-21 cycle.

  • TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition – acceptable as long as it is offered due to TOEFL test centre closures.
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator / C1 Expert – applicants must sit both the writing and speaking exams which will assess the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.

We will update this site with further information regarding Semester 2 as arrangements are confirmed.