Autumn term 2020

If you’re returning to Sussex for studies in the autumn 2020 term, see this information to guide you through the Covid-19 situation.

Returning students

If you’re coming back to Sussex to continue your degree, you’re a returning student. This information is for you.

If you have chosen Sussex and you’re waiting to start with us in September, see our new students information.

If you’re still deciding the right university for you, check our applicant hub for advice.

Welcoming you in September

We are looking forward to welcoming students to our campus during Welcome Weekend in September.

This year we are, of course, making additional preparations. Although we need to wait for any new UK government advice over the coming weeks, we’re busy getting our beautiful campus ready for the new academic year. For example, we are currently creating new walkways and navigation aids, to ensure safely-spaced movement around campus.

All the important dates

Our dates for the start of term remain unchanged:

  • Welcome Weekend is Saturday and Sunday 19 and 20 September 2020
  • Term starts at Sussex on Monday 21 September 2020
  • Teaching starts on Monday 28 September 2020.

Take a look at our full term dates.

Your teaching and learning

Once you get here, there will be a mix of classroom (and laboratory-based) and remote learning.

During the autumn term, you can expect a minimum of 11 hours of live interactive learning, either in the classroom or online, per module, across the semester. This will enable you to engage with your tutors and fellow students alongside a range of other types of online learning plus some classroom (campus-based) teaching.

Our first priority is to make sure that our Sussex campus will be a safe place to live and study. If social distancing rules still apply in September, we will have set up all the safety measures that we need. So, whether you are attending classes in person, staying in student residences or moving about campus, our amazing Estates and Student Support teams have thought of everything. As a campus University that’s close to the coast and countryside, there’s no shortage of open space and fresh air to enjoy.

Some commonly asked questions

We will update these as our plans for autumn 2020 develop in line with UK government advice and guidance.

When will I know how much teaching is online or in person for my course?

Teaching will be a mix of classroom (and laboratory-based) and remote learning. We will be putting in place all the required health and safety measures so you can get an in-person experience, particularly in relation to small group work, seminars and tutorials. We will share more information on this at the earliest opportunity.

I’m concerned I can’t get to campus in September. Can I learn remotely?

If the Covid-19 situation means your arrival to campus in the autumn will be delayed and you cannot arrive at Sussex for the start of term, we will explore alternative remote study and housing arrangements for you. You don’t need to let us know this just yet, but please don’t worry if this does apply to you. We’ll share information on who you need to inform very soon.

How will students travel safely to campus?

We would encourage as many students as possible to consider active travel options that enable social distancing, such as walking and cycling. If you don’t own a bike, you can hire one from one of the two BTN BikeShare docking stations on campus.

We appreciate that some students will prefer to take public transport and we are liaising with Brighton & Hove Buses as well as Southern Rail to discuss how this can be achieved safely.

Will students coming from abroad have to quarantine? Will the University support me during this period?

We are closely following the UK government’s advice about any quarantine requirements for individuals entering the UK to study, so that we understand any impact they may have on our new and returning students by September 2020.

If quarantine arrangements are required and you need to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK, we are working hard to ensure we can support you during this time and make it as easy for you as possible.

If I’m travelling from outside the UK, how can I get to campus safely when I arrive in the UK?

Our campus has really good train links to Gatwick Airport, which is only about 30 minutes away. If you are arriving at another airport, our Student Support teams can help you make the best decision about how to get here, and you will be safe. Public transport systems are open in the UK, you just need to wear a face covering.

Entering and returning to the UK

There are new rules for entering or returning to the UK. These rules may or may not still be in place in September. We will keep you updated.

You will:

  • need to provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not be allowed to leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK except in very limited situations (known as ‘self-isolating’).

Will I experience any unfriendly behaviour because of my nationality?

We care passionately that the University of Sussex environment, both online and on campus, is a warm and welcoming place where everyone feels safe, supported and included, and that all our students are treated with dignity and respect.

At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, before lockdown measures were introduced and the campus was full, the support for everyone in our community was extremely strong – especially those students who had recently travelled from other parts of the world.

We will continue to emphasise the need to show respect, kindness and compassion for all during this uncertain time. We will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour or harassment of any kind and ask that this is reported to our Student Life Centre without delay – and action will be taken, as well as support offered to anyone who has concerns.

Our community understand that some students prefer to always wear face masks and we welcome students to do what feels best for them.

What will the University be doing to protect my health and wellbeing?

We will be closely following guidance from the UK government and Public Health England. We are taking comprehensive steps to make sure our campus remains a safe and welcoming place for you to live, work and study.

Our commitment to your health, safety and wellbeing means that we are putting in place a range of measures for the start of the new academic year, which will include (but will not be limited to) the following:

  • Welcome programme and induction for all new students in September 2020
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning regimes for campus buildings and spaces
  • Physical distancing on campus
  • Use of face coverings on public transport
  • Covid-19 reporting
  • Use of communal areas on campus
  • Student support.

Welcome programme and student induction

  • As part of our welcome and induction activities, we will provide you with clear guidance on how our teaching spaces, library, study spaces and labs will operate to ensure everyone’s safety. There will also be many opportunities to meet new people and have fun! We’ll make sure you have information on the huge programme of activity.

Personal hygiene

  • Hand sanitiser stations across campus will be clearly labelled.
  • All members of the Sussex community will need to follow the clear guidelines relating to personal hygiene and the way they interact with others.


  • Extensive and thorough cleaning and sterilising regimes will apply in all spaces on campus used by students and staff.

Physical distancing on campus

  • We will use rooms across campus to support face-to-face teaching in small groups.
  • To help manage numbers in high-traffic areas, we will operate one-way systems in the corridors of buildings on campus.
  • To avoid congestion, we will limit the numbers of people allowed in each building or room.
  • Special rules will apply in confined spaces, such as cafes and toilets, to make physical distancing as easy as possible.
  • To reduce congestion on campus, many staff will continue to work mostly from home.

Face coverings

  • You will be required by UK law to wear a face covering when you travel to or from campus on public transport (i.e. by bus or train).
  • We will be supportive of any students who choose to wear face coverings on campus.

Covid-19 reporting

  • According to UK law, anyone who is showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be asked to undertake a test and may have to self-isolate; those who have been in contact with them will be identified and will also be asked to take a test.

Communal areas

  • Some facilities (for example, sadly, social areas in the Students’ Union building and some sports facilities) will remain closed for the time being. We will let our community know when these will be re-opening.

Student support

  • Our Student Life Centre team will be offering a mixture of online, telephone and face-to-face services, which will be tailored to reflect the current circumstances and to meet your needs.

Finding a property for the next academic year

If you haven’t yet found accommodation for September 2020, don’t panic. There is currently still a good supply of properties in the city, and we anticipate that numerous properties will still be available over the coming months.

View a property in person, where possible and if safe to do so following government guidance and social distancing practices, before signing a tenancy agreement. See more about private sector housing.

We recommend you keep up to date with Government guidance about moving home. Contact our Housing team for advice.