FAQs about the 2020 Academic Year

We know that planning for your education in the midst of a pandemic is worrying and that you will have lots of questions. We would like to reassure you that the IMSISS consortium and our universities and partners are committed to ensuring that the degree programme will operate with minimal disruption and that in addition to ensuring your safety and well-being, the quality and value of your learning experience will remain our priority.

We have put together some FAQs in response to your main questions. Please click the links below to read the answers.

If you have any further questions you can email us at IMSISS@glasgow.ac.uk

When will the 2020 IMSISS programme start?

The IMSISS programme will commence as planned in September 2020, with an induction and orientation week beginning Monday 14thSeptember, and classes beginning at the University of Glasgow in the week beginning 21st September.

An additional International Orientation Programme should take place from Monday 7th September. The International Student Support team will be delivering an excellent welcoming experience for students and are working on an Arriving in the UK guide to assist students travelling to Glasgow. Further information on the events planed will be available on the International Student Orientation & Welcome website. 

All orientation and induction events will be blended with some online orientation activity with on-campus activities.

Further practical information on the first mobility period, including on accommodation and visa options, will be emailed to applicants in the coming weeks.

If you hold a conditional offer for a place on the programme we encourage you to submit any outstanding documentation to allow an unconditional firm offer to be made. This will allow us to issue a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) to international students who require one. CAS are issued on a rolling basis, from three months prior to your start date, upon meeting conditions to become an unconditional firm offer holder.

If, due to exceptional circumstances, you are unable to complete programme registration and commence study by the start date, the latest possible start is Monday 12 October 2020.

What will teaching in the 1st semester at the University of Glasgow look like?

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, classes will operate as a combination of remotely delivered teaching using our Virtual Learning Environment and other online tools, as well as some on-campus teaching, supported by use of on-campus study spaces. Online teaching will build on learning activities and guided reading, as would always be the case for the IMSISS programme, as well as live interactive teaching sessions such as tutorials and seminars, with small group discussion and active learning activities involving your lecturers and student peers.

Students should expect around 20 hours of teaching time for each 10 ECTS course module, supplemented with independent study time. Students should attend around 8 to 10 contact hours per week, including teaching and any additional programme activities. 

How much on-campus access will we have?

We are committed to prioritising a safe learning environment so the amount of on-campus teaching we are able to provide will be limited by physical distancing rules, but we anticipate that more on-campus learning experiences will take place as the semester goes on. Please note that access to the library and on-campus study spaces will be provided throughout your mobility period in Glasgow, although observation of physical distancing will be necessary. Like the university, the City of Glasgow is also planning to enhance much of its infrastructure to enable residents to engage in daily life while observing necessary physical and social distancing.

Will other extra-curricular activities still take place?

We are committed to ensuring that your learning experience is not negatively impacted and we are working to ensure our guest speaker programme and simulation exercises can take place either virtually or where possible on-campus. Opportunities to network and build learning partnerships with second year IMSISS students through initiatives such as the Security Distillery will be available.

Can I study by distance?

If students are unable to travel to Scotland because of the pandemic, it will be possible to follow the entire first semester online via distance learning. This will not affect scholarship payments for any students in receipt of a scholarship.  However, we do still encourage all students who are able to come physically to Glasgow in September to do so as this will help with building the programme’s community, and provide a mobility experience.

What about semester 2 and teaching in Dublin and Trento?

We are liaising closely with Dublin City University and the University of Trento both of which are planning similar measures for hybrid delivery of their teaching. Semester 2 teaching in Dublin and in Trento will not start until January 2021, but as yet we are not able to confirm if public health guidance will allow greater on-campus activity, but the pivot to more on-campus teaching will hopefully be possible by this stage. All three universities delivering teaching in year one of the IMSISS programme are committed, as soon as it is possible, to recommence with full face-to-face teaching. If for any reason travel to Dublin or Trento is not possible due to the pandemic, IMSISS will work with students to enable them to remain in Glasgow and undertake their semester 2 teaching remotely, with full access to University of Glasgow study facilities.

What will the university be doing to protect my health security and well-being?

We are taking comprehensive steps to protect the health and wellbeing of every student.  Glasgow has the advantage of having the largest Medical School in Scotland and a highly qualified team of experts who are informing our approach to keep the UofG community safe. We manage one of the three main testing centres in the UK, have a range of Covid-19 related research underway, and are currently testing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with our colleagues in Oxford.  All of this expertise is being used to ensure that health and safety at Glasgow is second to none We will always closely follow national guidelines, potentially going beyond them at times, learning from the best practice from around the world. This inevitably has consequences for life on campus. This isn’t a complete list of the measures we will take, but hopefully gives you a sense of our commitment to your safety during 2020/21:

  • All members of the University community will need to abide by clear rules relating to personal hygiene and the way they interact with others
  • A thorough cleaning regime will apply in all spaces used by students and staff
  • We will operate one-way systems in corridors of buildings
  • The numbers allowed in any given building or room will be limited to avoid congestion
  • We will issue all staff and students with face coverings and encourage their use in certain environments
  • We are investigating the implementation of temperature checks on campus, to identify as soon as possible, anyone who may have contracted Covid-19
  • 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 tests
  • Some facilities (for example, sadly, the night clubs in the student unions and some sports facilities) will remain closed for the time being
  • To reduce congestion on campus, many staff will continue to work mostly from home
  • Rooms across campus will be reallocated to support face-to-face teaching in smaller groups
  • Special rules will apply in confined spaces, such as cafes and toilets, to make physical distancing as easy as possible, and to ensure the highest standards of hygiene.

Entry into the UK Government Policy

Currently, there is a requirement for those entering the UK from abroad (except those travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man) to quarantine for 14 days. If this policy is still in place in September, the students may wish to travel earlier to ensure they can take part in any induction on-campus events which may be available.

Students should be able to quarantine in their own accommodation, following the guidance for self-isolating in Scotland. Please note that the 14 days quarantine is for entry to the UK and you do not have to have a separate 14 days if you come to Scotland from quarantining elsewhere in the UK.

Taking a COVID-19 test is not currently mandatory to enter the UK.

We will continue to monitor the situation for any change to government policy in the UK, Ireland, or Italy.

Does Brexit have any consequences on European students going to Glasgow?

If you are a national of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, you do not require a visa to study in the UK. You should travel to the UK using your EU/EEA/Swiss passport or national ID card and there will be no restriction on studying. Your immigration status as an EU national has not changed and will continue to apply as normal. This will remain the case until further notice.

Please see our Brexit Statement for further information.

Do I require a Visa to study in the programme?

If students are unable to travel to Glasgow because of the pandemic, it will be possible to follow the entire first semester online via distance learning. In this case, you will not require a visa for the first semester and can apply directly for your visa to study in Ireland or Italy, if required, depending on your study track.

Students who are citizens of EU countries do not currently require a visa to study in the UK, Ireland, Italy or the Czech Republic. However, you may be required to register with the local Police department, for example, upon arrival so please check requirements carefully for each of your mobility periods. Please note that EU citizens are not currently required to register with the Police in the UK.

Students from outside the EU: please ensure that you research visa application requirements for all of your mobility periods and allow plenty of time to apply for each of your visas throughout the programme. Self-funding students in particular should bear in mind any proof of sufficient finances required for each application.

UK visas

For the UK, you can apply for either a two-year Tier 4 visa or a Short-Term Study Visa.

Tier 4 visas

Please note that for a number of reasons we recommend that you apply for the Tier 4 visa, including:

  • The Tier 4 visa will be valid for the UK for the entire two-year duration of the programme. This also means that should any new travel restrictions arise to Ireland or Italy after the first semester, you will be able to remain in the UK until these are lifted.
  • If you have to make any subsequent visa applications from within the UK, most Embassies will only accept applications from students who have a Tier 4 visa. For example, if you are studying on Study Track A and require a visa to study in Ireland, you will only be able to apply for this from the UK if you have a Tier 4 UK visa.
  • Only the Tier 4 visa will allow you to apply for the UK post-study work visa under current plans for students beginning their studies in 2020, details of which can be found here. Please also see p14 of this document.

Short-Term Study Visa

Please note that a Short-Term study visa will only be valid for the first semester of the programme. If you intend to return to the UK at any other point during the programme you would be required to make another visa application.

If you intend to come to the UK on a Short-Term Study visa, please note that non-visa nationals do not need to apply for this in advance; however, are required to show certain documentation and have their passport stamped when going through immigration control on entry to the UK. Please be aware that if you are one of these nationals and you intend to travel to the UK via Dublin, you will not pass through UK immigration control and therefore you must apply for your Short-Term Study visa before coming to the UK. Non-visa nationals must also ensure that you do not enter the UK using the eGates at immigration control, as in this case you would not receive the required stamp in your passport. You can check if you are a visa national for the UK here (please choose study and 6 months or less as the duration).

You can find all details on the Tier 4 and Short-Term Study visa application processes on the International Student Support Team’s webpages here.

Irish visas

Students who are non-visa nationals for Ireland are not required to apply for a visa to study there. However, you will still be required to carry certain documentation when you travel, and you will be required to register with Immigration once you have arrived in Ireland.

Students who are visa nationals for Ireland can apply for their Irish visa via the Irish Embassy in London.

You can check if you require a visa here (please choose that you will be coming for study for more than three months).

Italian visas

Under new EU regulations, it should now be possible to apply for a study visa for any Schengen country up to six months in advance of arrival. This means that students on Study Track B can apply for your Italian study visa from your home country before coming to the UK. Details of the new regulations can be found here. If you are going to Italy in the second semester you should contact the local Italian Embassy in your home country for details of how to apply.

For further information visit our Visa Information webpage.

For Erasmus Mundus scholarship students, we will provide a Confirmation of Funding letter to help with proof of funding required for visa applications. This will be provided at around the same time you receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter from the University Admissions Team.

What is the deadline for submission of documents to meet unconditional offer requirements? What happens if we cannot provide final transcripts due to the pandemic?

Applicants with a conditional offer have until 1st September to upload any conditional documents. If an applicant is unable to provide an official copy of their final degree certificate by that date, they may provide alternative documentation to prove they meet this requirement, such as a final transcript and an official letter headed document from their university confirming the completion of their degree. Applicants should submit their final certificates as soon as they can, but these alternative documents may suffice to confirm an offer of a place at the programme.

What is the deadline to accept the offer?

The deadline for deposit payment to secure a place in the programme is 30th June for those who applied before 1st June, and 7th September 2020 for those who applied from 1st June.  International students who require a visa should bear in mind that the application process may take up to 4 weeks, so it is recommended they accept and secure their offers early to allow them to join the programme on time.  

Can I defer my offer?

Self-funding students who decide not to join the 2020 intake would need to submit a new programme application for the 2021 intake, as well as a new scholarship application should they wish to consider for the 2021 competition. Scholarship students who are prevented from beginning the programme due to adverse circumstances may be able to defer their offer. 

What is the procedure to register once we have the unconditional offer?

Applicants who have met the conditions of their offer and have formally accepted this, should receive an email from the University with instruction on how to complete registration. This is an online process, which opens in August. If you have received your unconditional offer and accepted it but not received your registration email by the 1st September (2 weeks before the start of the programme) please contact us. Details are provided at the following website: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/registry/registration/ 

How can I pay my tuition fees?

Self-funders can pay their tuition fees in full online or in instalments. See information on the University of Glasgow Fees and Funding website.

When will Erasmus Mundus scholarship holders receive their first travel and installation payment?

Erasmus Mundus Scholarship holders will receive an initial contribution to their travel and installation costs prior to the start of the course in August. Current bank account details will be requested to make this initial payment into their home country bank accounts. 

Am I eligible for other funding opportunities?

You may be eligible to apply for national funding programmes in your home country. Some available funding opportunities are listed here.

Self-funding students may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant during your second and third mobility periods. The IMSISS Consortium will apply for this on behalf of all self-funding students on the programme and as such you do not need to make an individual application. Information on the grant amount can be found here

Can I receive assistance finding accommodation?

Two student accommodation providers in Glasgow have agreed to provide accommodation to University of Glasgow’s Erasmus Mundus students on a first come, first served basis for your first mobility period. Further details on this will include in the welcome packs distributed to those who have secured a place in the programme.

Students will receive information on how to secure accommodation for their following students mobilities at the Programme Induction events. This will include guidance on finding private accommodation in Dublin and the university accommodation offered by the University of Trento and Charles University.

When will we have access to the curriculum/syllabuses?

Registration for the programme will open in early August. Once you have registered you will have access to the programme Moodle site (the virtual learning environment) which will include programme information and course handbooks, as well as an outline of semester 2 course options. Students will be able to access the University of Glasgow library resources after completing registration.

Is there any programme recommended pre-reading?

A list of recommended reading is available here.

Will there be pre-programme courses available?

We will be offering a specialist Intercultural Competency Course prior to the start of term. This will run online at the beginning of September. The course includes peer group-work and online interactive seminars. We highly encourage students to participate as it is a great way to meet student peers before starting the programme. Details on how to sign up will be available on the programme Moodle site which students can access after completing registration.

What is the Academic Calendar?

Semester 1 teaching at the University of Glasgow will commence on the 21st of September 2020 and the examination period will end on the 18th of December. See the Academic Session 2020-21 Calendar for full details.

Semester 2 teaching for DCU for those on Study Track A will start around mid-January. Specific dates will be published on the 2020/2021 Academic Calendar website.

Semester 2 teaching at the University of Trento for those on Study Track B usually starts in March and classes run through to the end of May. See Academic Calendar here. Students taking Italian language classes will commence an intensive language course in February. Students on this pathway should note that they can undertake dissertation work or internship opportunities before teaching for semester 2 starts, as they are expected to be working on the programme during that time.

Semester 3 at Charles University should commence in September 2021 and the assessment period should end at the beginning of February 2022.

Students should concentrate on the Independent Study Period during semester 4 and the programme should end in the middle of September 2022. 

A more detailed Programme Schedule will be included in the Programme Handbook.

During the Summer holiday period, students will have the opportunity to participate in one of the programme Summer Schools or to complete an internship.

Can I take a language course?

During your first semester at the University of Glasgow you have the option to take an additional language course. Languages and levels on offer will depend on student demand. A questionnaire will be included in the welcome pack where students should indicate their preferences. Languages typically offered include French, Spanish, Italian or Arabic.

Students going to the University of Trento for their second mobility who are not fluent in Italian will take an intensive Italian language course in February, before teaching commences. Online resources to learn Italian will be available to students in advance and there will be an online placement test to ensure they are matched to the appropriate course level. Once teaching commences, Italian courses will continue on a less intense basis. Those already fluent in Italian can take an English Academic writing course.

How many courses do I need to take?

You should complete 30 ECTS in each mobility, this means you should take 3 courses at the University of Glasgow and DCU and 5 courses at Charles University and the University of Trento. 

Students may have the opportunity to take additional courses they are interested in which complement the programme; these will not count towards their degree classification but may be recorded on the final transcript of studies.

What does the Independent Study Portfolio involve?

As part of the programme all students have to complete a significant independent study project (also known as a dissertation) as part of a broader portfolio of research and employability skills development.

There are two possible routes by which students complete this requirement:

Route A: Independent Study Portfolio (Security)

Route B: Independent Study and Work Placement Portfolio (Security)

All students will start on Route A in Mobility 1. In the second half of Mobility 1 (November) Route B will be opened and students will be invited to apply for one of a series of available work placements. This will be a competitive process. Not all students will be allocated a work placement. Placements will be offered based on merit and a close fit in terms of employability skills and research interest of the student and the placement provider, who will have the final decision on whether to work with a student. Those students who are successful in being awarded a work placement will be moved to Route B. All other students remain on Route A.

Students will choose their own research topic, which may be informed by their work-placement partner for those in Route B. A dissertation supervisor will be allocated during the second semester and the Consortium will attempt where possible to align supervisors to their research interests.

Students should develop a full dissertation proposal during semester 3 and they will undertake most of the independent research during semester 4.

Students will have some flexibility on their location during mobility 4. They may stay in the same university where their supervisor is located or with other partner universities. Those undertaking a work-placement, internship or other programme-related activities may travel to their partner’s location during this period. Partner Country Erasmus Mundus scholarship-holders should note that they will not be eligible to receive maintenance support for longer than 3 months spent in a Partner Country. 

How will I be assessed?

Most courses in the programme will use continuous assessment instead of exams. This will be in a variety of forms such as essays, briefing papers, presentations, reports, or reflexive diaries.

There is a requirement to take a Czech State Exam at the end of the programme, this will involve writing brief essays discussing topics studied at Charles University and the oral defence of your dissertation which will be assessed by the programme Consortium.

Language courses taken at the University of Glasgow may involve exams as assessment. Students will be required to complete this; however, the result will not count towards their final degree award.

How can I apply for work-based learning opportunities?

During the first year, the work-based learning opportunities available through the programme will be advertised to students; students will then apply competitively for these opportunities, applying for specific options. Students who are successful will initially be put forward for interview and those who are successful at interview will commence the placement either in year one or year two depending on the specific option and requirements of the host organisation.

Advice on how to complete an application will be given to students via seminars and the Work-placement Coordinator will guide students on this.

Is there any assistance available to source an external work experience?

Aside from the IMSISS work-placement programme, the Work-placement Coordinator can assist those seeking external opportunities. In addition, students can access advice from the universities’ Careers Service departments. For instance, the College Employability Office at the University of Glasgow offers support, such as workshops on developing LinkedIn professional profiles and networking skills. Other skills-developing events will be available to enhance students’ employability.

What is the difference between skills-based internships and collaborative research placements?

Skills-based internships are short work experiences in which the student goes on a traditional internship. A CRP is a longer work experience placement, and the student will develop their dissertation research on a topic linked to the host organisation’s work. A CRP may involve collaborative work with a placement mentor throughout the degree, assisting the student in their dissertation topic proposal.

Students taking a CRP are expected to contribute to their host organisation via their dissertation research.  There are currently some CRP opportunities with academic institutions, such as the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and Macquarie University in Australia, where students collaborate with the institution’s academic and research staff.

See our Work Placement, Internship and Traineeship website for more information.

What are the Career Prospects for IMSISS Graduates?

IMSISS provides a wide range of opportunities for students to work in the Security field while completing their degree, which gives them an advantage in securing employment. The programme’s first cohort of graduates finished the programme in 2019 and many are currently working within the field, in companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Amazon, in cyber security and intelligence-analysis focused roles. Some graduates are working for the UN, OSCE and other national government organisations, advising on security matters.

Can I do a PhD after this programme?

You could do a PhD after completing your degree. Currently some students have applied for PhD opportunities with our partner universities to carry out research on the security studies field.  Note that to study for a PhD in the UK you will require to have additional research methods courses, which you can usually take during the first year of the PhD programme.

What study trips or conferences can we attend?

The Consortium supports various extra-curricular activities in which students can take part. In recent years, students have travelled to Budapest, London, Belfast and Derry. We have partnered with the Brussels European Forum and students can participate in their study events in Brussels.  We have also had students taking part in a number of competitions including Cyber 9/12 in London and Geneva.

Can I join student unions, clubs or sports teams?

Yes, all students are welcome to join unions and social/sports clubs available at all our partner universities. Current students have taken advantage of this as an opportunity to take part in activities of their interest and meet other university students.  

What is the Global Security Network?

Glasgow Global Security Network brings togethers students across the University of Glasgow with an interest in Security Studies. IMSISS students will be members of the network and funding will be available for student events and activities. Two student-run groups are part of this network, the Strategy and Security Society and the Security Distillery, which is run by IMSISS students and you would be encouraged to take part.