The global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has had a major impact on our lives in 2020, and every single one of us has faced some incredible challenges over the last several months.

There are still many hurdles to overcome in the days and weeks ahead. But everyone here at the University of Stirling is incredibly excited to welcome our postgraduate community back onto campus (and online) in October to commence another incredible year of teaching, research and activities.

And although we’re keen to get things here at Stirling back to normal as quickly as possible, your health and safety are our absolute top priorities.

That’s why your postgraduate experience will be a little bit different this year.

To help you prepare, here are a few of the ways that the University of Stirling is going to look a little bit differently in October 2020: 

You’ll be required to sign in to enter buildings 

Someone in a suit using their mobile phone.

Whenever you enter a building on our campus, you’ll need to check-in to let us know you’re there.

This will assist with contact tracing so that if someone on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19 the information can be shared with the NHS Scotland Test and Protect team to keep students safe. 

There are two ways you can check-in:

  1. Simply scan the QR code at each entrance with your mobile using your camera. This code will then take you to a short, in-browser form that you must complete to register your attendance each day.
  2. There’s an app for that! Download the University of Stirling app for Android on Google Play or for Apple on the iOS App Store. If you’ve got the app downloaded, you can check-in using the app without having to scan any of the QR codes around campus.

You won’t need to check out when you leave buildings, and you’ll only be required to scan or use the app to once per building per day.

It’s important to note that you’ll be expected to register your attendance even if you haven’t got your mobile. Simply take note of the short URL on the QR code posters and enter this into a browser as soon as possible to complete the form.

Face coverings are mandatory in many areas

In line with Scottish Government advice, we’ve made face coverings mandatory in all enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible. 

That means you will be expected to wear face coverings in: 

  • Macrobert Arts Centre 
  • Catering outlets where there’s no table service 
  • Library and on-campus retail outlets 
  • When entering student flats and room 
  • Prayer rooms 
  • When receiving first aid (where and when possible) 
  • At fire assembly points (where two metre distancing cannot be achieved) 
  • In any other specific areas indicated by signage 

We have a limited number of masks available in each building in case you forget your face covering.

For more information on face coverings and what you can do to help keep your fellow students safe, explore our new Stirling Campus Pledge.

Most of our teaching will be done online

To begin with, most postgraduate courses will be online at the start of the semester. Where possible and safe, a small number of courses may engage in limited on-campus, face-to-face learning.

Most of your lectures and seminars will be replaced by webinars, videos and other online tutorials – and our academics have been working hard over the summer developing fantastic virtual course materials that will offer you a blend of remote learning and interactive resources with face-to-face online teaching.

Laptops are available to borrow in the University library if you need one to ensure you never miss any of your coursework.

Not all of our students will be on campus

We know that not all of our students are going to be able to travel to Stirling just now as a result of COVID-19. That’s why we’re allowing postgraduate students to start their degree from home and join us when able within the first semester.

As a result, you won’t see as many students on campus this October as you’d normally expect. But whether you start your degree on-campus or from home, you’ll receive extensive support and many opportunities for contact and feedback from your lecturers and fellow students.

You can now Click and Collect in the library

The University library is still open to all students, but in many cases you’ll be asked to use our new Click and Collect service to pick up reserved books. Self Service devices can then be used to check out and return books.

If you’d like to study in the library, study seats are available – but these must be booked in advance. This can be done online or using the University of Stirling app. Please note that all library study spaces are for solo study. There are no group study facilities available at the moment to help keep students safe.

You’ll have plenty of space to get your steps in

Airthrey Loch on the University of Stirling campus – one of the many great reasons to study in Scotland.

We’re incredibly proud of our 330-acre campus – and we think you’re going to love it, too.

It’s absolutely stunning in October, and there are a range of relaxing walks to choose from that go around the sprawling Airthrey Loch that sits at the heart of campus, our nine-hole golf course, 18th-century castle, ancient standing stone, Garden of Time, the surrounding woods and more.

Getting to know campus is a great way to get some fresh air, reflect on the University’s natural beauty and spend time with your fellow postgraduate students in a way that respects our health and safety guidelines.

Want to learn about campus from the experts? Book your place to go on a guided campus tour on Saturday 10 October.

You can still participate in sport and culture

The University of Stirling is Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and the UK’s Sports University of the Year (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020). That means if you’re into sport, you’re definitely coming to the right place.

A variety of sports facilities and activities are available for returning students – and we’ve reorganised the gym to make sure you can lift and do cardio while observing physical distancing rules.

You’ll have to book gym sessions online or via the University of Stirling app in slots, and bookings for both gym sessions and workout classes can be made on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

Our on-campus cinema and arts venue, the Macrobert Arts Centre, is also open and showing a range of both new and classic films – and you can even take part in all sorts of virtual events as part of our new Be Connected programme.

It brings everything from live workout and dance classes hosted by our Sports Centre staff, to mindfulness meditation sessions from Student Support Services and CV masterclasses from our Careers team all in one place.

This might not be precisely how you pictured your first semester of postgraduate study – but if you pay attention to campus changes, be responsible and get involved, we’re confident that you are going to have a memorable and rewarding autumn here at Stirling.

If you have any questions whatsoever about your first semester at Stirling get in touch. We’re here to help, and we will do everything we can to ensure you have a fantastic start to your postgraduate experience.