Coronavirus: Advice for applicants

We understand this is a complex time for anyone who is looking to progress their University of Sussex application. We are here to support you however we can and we hope the following answers to some common questions will help you.

Updated 26 May

We cannot know yet what the situation in the UK will be in September. We are hopeful that there will be a return to a new normality. But there may still be some government restrictions in place, and we are preparing for that along with all other UK universities.

All of our teaching is currently being delivered online. And if necessary that can continue. Whatever the situation is in the Autumn, we look forward to welcoming you to the University of Sussex community, and to a better and brighter future for all.

We are here to support you however we can and we hope the following answers to some common questions will help you. To kick us off, John, who works in our recruiment team, has answered our Instagram followers' top five questions in this short video.

  • Video transcript

    Hello everybody! My name is John Giannini. I'm a member of the recruitment team here at the University of Sussex.

    This is my follow-up video to the Instagram Live that I did the other day asking for your questions.

    Now just a quick reminder, any questions that are from current students, I won't be answering because this is specifically for prospective students.

    If you have any questions that are specific to your own situation, don't forget that you can drop us an email at study@sussex.ac.uk

    Let's get going! Here's my top five questions

    Question number one. Will the September 2020 term start like normal?

    Now, the situation with coronavirus is constantly changing at a very fast pace. The situation looks incredibly different now, than it did two weeks ago.

    The September 2020 term is currently expected to start like normal, however it is five months away, so the University, and universities everywhere, are going to be constantly making changes to keep themselves updated with what's going on at that time.

    I'd very much encourage anyone who's worried, to do their best to keep an eye on all of the feeds, and keep checking the coronavirus advice page on our website to make sure they are as up to date as possible, so that when the September term starts, they know exactly what's going on.

    Question number two. I have an offer, but I'm concerned about moving away from home because of the pandemic. What can I do?

    So, first things first. A lot of students are considering deferral in relation to the pandemic, and what I would really advise is not deferring until right before teaching is due to start.

    You can defer just before the September 2020 term starts, and then you'll be much better prepared to make a sensible decision about whether or not to come to university without missing out because you decided too soon.

    Otherwise, I would recommend checking out my student life talk. In that talk, I've got some really great information about managing the distance to and from University and home, and looking at things ahead of time, like considering transport links, the cost of transport links, and how long that journey to and from home is going to be.

    Question number three. How do I apply for Student Finance, and fund my time at University?

    Now, ahead of time Student Finance seems really intimidating. I know when I went I was really intimidated. But, the actual practicalities of applying for Student Finance are much more straightforward than you might think.

    It is a lot of information though, so I can't do it in this video. What I'd recommend is going and looking at my Student Finance talk.

    That's going to cover all things Student Finance related, and break it down including tuition fee loans, maintenance fee loans, and also applying for scholarships and bursaries.

    We also have a specific fees and funding page on the University of Sussex website, and that gives lots of great advice to both undergraduate and postgraduate students about how you can go about funding at your studies.

    Question number four. How long does it take students to settle into university?

    It definitely takes every single person a completely different amount of time to settle into university. It's a very individual thing, and that's absolutely fine.

    Some people arrive, and they're ready to go. Other people take a little bit more time to get used to it, and get used to living on their own. The number one thing to remember is that there's lots of things going on on the campus to help with that.

    First of all we've got Welcome Week, run by the Student Union, and that's the same at every university.

    On top of that, we've got multiple platforms for support. We've got residential advisors to help with any housing questions.

    We've got academic advisors to help with any academic queries, in relation to your course and your studies.

    We've also got a Student Life Center on campus which is your first port of call should you have any questions regarding pretty much anything else.

    So everything is covered.

    But, just remember that you're not the only one going through it either. You're going to be surrounded by other first-year students, who are also trying to settle in, which makes the whole process much easier.

    And… question number five . What fun things are there to do at university?

    There's loads and loads of fun things to do at university! University has got to be fun right?!

    So first of all, the Student Union will be running events throughout the entire year, and that also goes for their societies and sports teams, so constant activities to keep you busy.

    There's lots of great nightlife and lots of great restaurants. There’s lots of really fun things to do, particularly in May when all the festivals kick off here.

    Thank you very much everyone, for sending those questions over.

    If you didn't get your question answered, please don't worry I did read them all so you haven't been ignored.

    Hopefully you're going to see my face pop up again sometime soon. So keep your eyes on our social media channels.

  • More information on student life, finance and UCAS applications

    Please note you may have to download additional software to view these talks depending on your system setup.

    Find out more about student finance on our fees and funding hub.

Follow us on Instagram for more updates from John.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m thinking of applying or have applied and am waiting for a decision

  • 1. Are you still accepting applications for September?

    Yes, we’re still open for applications for September.

    If you are applying for an undergraduate degree then you apply via UCAS. You should do so as soon as possible, but their final deadline for applications is 30 June 2020.

    Find more information about how to apply for an undergraduate degree at Sussex.

    If you are applying for a Masters degree, another postgraduate taught course or a research (PhD) degree, then you normally apply direct to the University via our own postgraduate application system.

    Find full details about how to apply for a masters course or how to apply for a PhD.

    In line with Government advice, all teaching is now online and most staff, including those in Admissions, are working remotely. We are still processing applications, but working remotely may result in some delays. We are doing all we can to maintain our usual applicant services, but thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

    Please do contact us if you have any questions.

  • 2. I’ve already applied to Sussex, but am waiting for a decision. Are you still processing applications?

    Yes, we are still processing applications. However, in line with Government advice, all teaching is now online and most staff, including those in Admissions, are working remotely.

    We are doing all we can to maintain our usual applicant services, but working remotely may result in some delays. If you have questions about your application, please contact the Admissions Office.

    We are aiming to operate our phone lines from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and are also responding to emails. The contact details are as follows. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding if there is a delay in responding to your application and any enquiries.

    Undergraduate Admissions: phone +44 (0)1273 678416 or email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

    Masters and other Postgraduate Taught Admissions: phone +44 (0)1273 877773 or email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

    PhD Admissions: phone +44 (0)1273 877773 or email phd.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

I’ve got a conditional offer from Sussex

  • 3. I’m trying to decide whether to accept my offer from Sussex. Can I still visit?

    In line with Government advice, we’re afraid it’s not possible to visit the University at the moment and the University has had to cancel the remaining Applicant Visit Days for undergraduate offer holders.

    However, we’ve created the Applicant Hub to provide you with an array of information about Sussex. Explore a virtual tour of campus, watch subject-specific videos and presentations, and read up on guides to student life, including accommodation, funding and life in Brighton.

  • 4. I’m worried because my exams have been cancelled.

    We understand that you have been working towards your academic qualifications so you can continue your education at university.

    Following the UK, and many other countries’ decisions to close schools, colleges and universities, we realise many of you will have disrupted studies and your final exams and assessments may have been cancelled. We want to reassure you that in these very uncertain times, our Admissions policies (both Undergraduate and Postgraduate) will reflect the challenging situations that you may be experiencing.

    Applicants across the world are experiencing similar circumstances due to the Coronavirus pandemic and we will, of course, be applying understanding and fair admission policies to all our applicants.

    For most qualifications, we are still expecting students to receive a final award (even if the way it is assessed may be different to normal). If you are still expecting to receive the qualification required in the conditions of your offer then we will consider these results.

    However, if you know that your qualification will no longer be awarded (or if you results will be delayed beyond the end of August), please do contact our Admissions Office so that we can advise further:

    Undergraduate applicants should email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1273 678416.

    Postgraduate applicants should email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1273 877773.

    In this rapidly evolving situation we will update this page with the latest decisions the University makes to ensure your hard work to date is evaluated fairly. So please do bookmark this page.

  • 5. Now that A-levels are cancelled, will you just make all the offers unconditional?

    No. As A-level students will still be awarded with grades this summer, we are expecting the Confirmation (and Clearing) process to operate broadly as normal. If you’ve received a conditional offer, we will await details of your A-level results from the examination boards later in the summer. You’ve worked hard on your studies and it’s important that we recognise this and still assess your application based on the results that are awarded.

    Obviously, we realise that the way in which the grade is awarded will be very different. We want to reassure you that we will look closely again at all applications when results are published should you miss the conditions of your offer. Our normal practice is to look carefully at anyone who narrowly misses, but this will be especially true this year given the challenges everyone has been facing. We look to take as many students as we can into their chosen degree and, where students have missed the requirements by too much, we also have our integrated foundation years which provide a different route into the University.

    You might also want to see our general advice about how the process of confirming your place works.

  • 6. I’m sitting (or resitting) my A-levels as a private candidate, so may not get a grade. What do I do?

    If you’re taking your A-levels as a private candidate (because you’re studying independently, resitting one or more A-levels outside school or college, or because you’ve been home-schooled), we realise you may be anxious about how (or if) you’ll be awarded a grade under the new exam board arrangements. We know Ofqual have been exploring options and, obviously, we hope that you will still be provided with a grade. However, if you have already heard that you won’t be given a grade or you’re worried about your situation, please do contact us and we can review your individual case.

    We will do all we can to support students in their progression to University this year. Our integrated foundation years may provide an option for some students who are no longer able to get resit grades this summer or there may be other ways for us to assess your application. It very much depends on your individual circumstances.

    Please do contact our Admissions Office by emailing ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1273 678416.

  • 7. I’m worried that my exam results will be late.

    We realise that Coronavirus is causing all sorts of challenges for students completing qualifications or taking English language tests. We are happy to accept results as late as 31 August 2020, and will work with you if it looks as though your result will be later than this. We are also preparing for a situation where applicants are unable to take their exams at all (please see point 4 above), and we will be developing admissions arrangements for those who do not have results, so there is no need for concern.

    If it gets to late August and you know your results will be late, please contact our Admissions Office who will be able to help. For undergraduate students, email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk and for postgraduate students, email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

  • 8. I can’t get a place on an IELTS test or other English language test?

    We realise that registering for an IELTS or other English language test is difficult at the moment (and impossible in some countries). We do recognise a range of English language qualifications at Sussex and have recently approved the use of the Duolingo English test. Please check the pages below to see details of the full range of English language evidence we recognise:

    We’ve already agreed that we’ll accept the IELTS General Training test this year as well as IELTS Academic and we know IELTS and other English testing services are doing all they can to provide test spaces. We are continually reviewing options so bookmark this page for latest news.

    If you think you have other evidence of English language, please send evidence to our Admissions Office. For undergraduate students, email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk and for postgraduate students, email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

  • 9. What’s the deadline for submitting my results and certificates to admissions?

    You should send through your results as soon as you receive them. We are happy to accept results as late as 31 August 2020 and we will work with you if it looks as though your result will be later than this.

    If it gets to late August and you know your results will be late please contact our Admissions Office and they will help you. For undergraduate students, email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk and for postgraduate students, email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

  • 10. I’ve missed examinations because of the Coronavirus Covid-19 /I’ve had to self-isolate so this has impacted on my studies, what do I do?

    If you’ve faced any sort of challenge in the run up to or during your examinations and you think this will impact on your results, please let us know. We’ll then make sure we add information to your application record so that this can be taken into account when we receive your results. Obviously, the current global situation is impacting on many of our applicants so we are very aware of the difficulties being faced. But if you want to provide us with details of your situation, we’ll make sure this is added to your record.

    We are also expecting that many of our applicants will not have been able to take their examinations at all, and will be adapting our admissions policies accordingly – please see point 4 above.

    If you need to contact our Admissions Office, undergraduate students should email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk and postgraduate students should email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

  • 11. What happens if I miss the conditions of my offer?

    We will always carefully review applications again if you miss the conditions of the offer. This will be particularly true this year given all the difficulties and challenges people are facing all over the world. Please rest assured we will carefully review all cases if you miss your conditions.

    For undergraduate students, we have integrated foundations for those who don’t achieve the grades for entry direct into the 1st year. We will automatically consider you for these foundations, but we’ll first reconsider your application to see if we can still offer Year 1 entry.

    For Masters applicants, we will again carefully review results if you have missed the conditions of your offer, so it’s important that you do send in your results as soon as you receive them – even if they are below the conditions of your original offer.

  • 12. My offer is to start in September 2021, will I be treated the same as students with offers to start in September 2020?

    Yes. We adopt the same policy for anyone applying in the 2020 admissions cycle, regardless of whether they are planning to start this September or in September 2021 (after a gap year).

I’ve got an unconditional offer from Sussex

  • 13. I’ve got an unconditional offer, but is this still ok for September?

    Yes, your unconditional offer at Sussex still stands.

  • 14. I’m worried that I’ll be late arriving in September because of Coronavirus travel restrictions

    Whilst we still hope most students will still arrive in time for Welcome Week, from Monday 21 September 2020, or the start of teaching, on Monday 28 September 2020, we do recognise that some students may be unavoidably delayed. If this happens, you will still be able to join Sussex as late as the end of our third week of teaching (on Friday 16 October 2020). What will be important will be to stay in touch with the University and to arrive as soon as you can.

    If you need to contact our Admissions Office, undergraduate students should email ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk and postgraduate students should email pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk.

  • 15. What happens if I pay my postgraduate tuition fee deposit and then cannot attend?

    We’ll refund the tuition fee deposit if you cannot attend because of Coronavirus Covid-19. Although self-funding international postgraduate taught students are required to pay a £2,000 tuition fee deposit before you can get your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for your Tier 4 General Student visa application, we fully understand that students may find that they cannot attend because of problems connected to Coronavirus. If this happens, we’ll refund the deposit.

  • 16. I’m due to start in September. Can I defer my place? And, if so, how?

    Yes, it’s normally possible to defer your place once. However, if your reason for deferring is linked to the current global pandemic, we’d encourage you to hold onto your offer for now.

    If, closer to the start of term, you are unable to attend (or are worried about moving to the University), we’ll help with any request to defer your place.

    We automatically allow one deferral at Sussex (except for the MA in Development Studies in the Institute for Development Studies). You can defer right up until the start of term. Deferring is only not possible in the unlikely situation that your chosen course isn’t running in 2021.

    So we strongly recommend that you hold off deferring for the time being. If you do eventually decide to defer, please just email your request to the Admissions Office, including your full name and application number, to ug.applicants@sussex.ac.uk for undergraduate students and pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk for postgraduate students.

Questions for everyone

Update from the Summer Programmes team

After careful consideration by the University, the Undergraduate Summer School 2020 programme has been cancelled. This decision is disappointing for everybody involved both the University and our applicants, but the wellbeing of our students and staff will always be our number one priority.

The Undergraduate Summer School will of course return in 2021 and we hope you will join us then. Further information and details of our 2021 courses will be available on our Summer School pages in autumn.

Please contact our Summer Programmes team if you have any questions on summer@sussex.ac.uk.

Stay safe and we hope to see you next summer!

Pre-sessional English Course Online

In response to the global coronavirus outbreak, we have developed an 8-week online pre-sessional English course.

The course has been created with the expertise of our Technology Enhanced Learning specialists to ensure that you receive the same high level of flexible, tailored English learning support that you would receive in-person.

Find out more and apply to our online Pre-sessional English Course

Useful links