Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Applicants and Offer Holders - FAQs

The outbreak of COVID-19 is unprecedented. It will likely disrupt the lives of people and businesses around the world beyond the UK summer.

We understand this is an uncertain time for many of our potential future students. While there still remains uncertainty about the level of disruption, LSHTM is committed to ensuring our future students have timely, useful and clear information as much as possible.

At the end of May, we sent a survey to all our applicants and the insights provided from the survey have enabled us to better understand your expectations for 2020-21 and have been significant in informing our decision on the delivery of next year’s teaching at LSHTM.

We have also taken guidance from our leading COVID-19 researchers on how the future of the pandemic may unfold, and with the safety and wellbeing of our students being our top priority, we have taken the following decisions:

Master's students

Term 1

Term 1 core module teaching will be delivered online only, except in the case of the lab-based programmes listed below, with a combination of synchronous (live and interactive) and asynchronous (recordings, independent study, individual exercises, etc.) activities.

The only exceptions to the above will be for the MSc programmes in Medical Entomology for Disease Control, Medical Microbiology, Medical Parasitology and Tropical Medicine & International Health, where core laboratory or clinical elements of modules can only be delivered on campus during Term 1. Please check the relevant programme page for further details.

Terms 2 and 3

All Terms 2 and 3 modules will be offered online, except in the case of the lab-based programmes listed below. For certain modules, some optional on-campus components will be offered. These may be limited to ensure that UK social distancing rules are adhered to. They may include group seminars and other activities that allow students to study the programme safely at a distance but remain together as a community.

Throughout the year there will be programme-level activities to support student learning and community.

The face to face components may be limited to ensure that UK social distancing rules are adhered to. Group seminars and other activities will allow students to study the programme safely at a distance but remain together as a community.

The exceptions to the above will be for the MSc programmes in Immunology of Infectious Diseases, Medical Entomology for Disease Control, Medical Microbiology and Medical Parasitology, where core laboratory elements of modules can only be delivered on campus during Terms 2 and/or 3. Please check the relevant programme page for further details.

Doctoral students

As it stands, almost all staff and students are working from home. While this may change by the autumn, we envisage that home working will still be encouraged, where possible, and it is very likely that we will need to restrict the numbers in the LSHTM buildings to maintain physical distancing.

Term 1: All teaching, including the doctoral transferable skills programme, will be delivered online. Online options for our taught modules will be available for terms 2 and 3, though some face-to-face participation may also be available.

Consequently, we will remove the normal expectation of starting your doctoral programme in London for this year. You will not need to come to London for registration or the orientation programme, this will be delivered online. We will also endeavour to introduce you virtually to your peers and to current students, and to support continued interaction among you.

If you do come to London in September we cannot say at this point what access you will have to LSHTM buildings. At the moment access is restricted to those with urgent laboratory work. We will be guided by government advice, but it is very unlikely that you will be able to work daily at LSHTM in the short-term. You would also need to consider the risks of travelling on public transport. We will keep you informed as the situation clarifies.

We realise that this is not ideal, and some of you may need to change your plans or even consider postponing your start date (if your funder allows this). Everybody’s situation is different, and it is important that you discuss with your supervisors what will work for you and, if necessary, adjust your plans. This is especially important if your work involves laboratories or fieldwork.

Additional information for DrPH students

The DrPH team are working to provide the best possible experience for the 2020 cohort. The Term 1 modules will be taught online, including synchronous live taught sessions, panel discussions and other collaborative provision. We are mindful of the issues raised by the differing time zones students may be based in and will accommodate this as best we can in our live provision. We will also be providing other activities that can be pursued asynchronously, both individually and in small groups. Depending on the circumstances at the time we may be able to organise some face-to-face activities in London for any students able to be there, but this would be in addition to, not part of, the teaching delivered in the modules. Please be assured that we plan to offer similar activities in future years to enable everyone to participate in these at some point during their degree programme.

We appreciate this is an unsettling time for all our applicants. Be assured that we will do all we can to ensure that you gain a rich and engaging learning experience with LSHTM and achieve your degree as you have planned. Education is central to our mission to improve health worldwide, and these challenging times have reinforced our commitment to train the next generation of global health experts and leaders.

As this is an ever-evolving situation, we will keep you updated on our plans as they unfold. In the meantime, please make sure to check the below FAQs.

General FAQs

Will fees be the same if my course is partially or fully online?  How will you ensure that my programme will be equal in standard to the one I would have got under normal circumstances?

There are no plans to change the fee levels. As a School, we have a strong track record in delivering high quality education remotely, which has been strengthened further in recent months by the need to move teaching for our current students rapidly online. We have ensured that students have still been able to achieve their intended learning outcomes through a combination of live lectures and facilitated seminars, scheduled to take students in different time zones into account, and continued to provide access to the same resources and expertise as on campus.

Will international students pay the same as UK/EU?

It will remain the case that Home & EU students pay lower fees than Overseas students. This is because LSHTM receives additional funding to support teaching for Home & EU students from the Government through the Office for Students (OfS).

What is the difference between your distance learning MSc and the digital MSc?

Our distance learning programmes enable students to study independently and at times that are convenient to them to fit in with other commitments. The nature of this programme is largely asynchronous - students on the same MSc will be taking the same modules at different times and will generally be at different points in the module material and the programme. A distance learning MSc takes a minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years to complete.

In contrast, the digital teaching format follows the well-established structure of an intensive on campus programme, allowing you to obtain your qualification within the conventional 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time study. The nature of this programme is synchronous, as students study the same material on a module at the same time, and allows for a more interactive style of learning. Typically, pre-recorded or live lectures would be followed by interactive smaller group sessions, which are then made available online for those who could not join live or wish to re-watch it. Live interactive seminars and practicals also form an integral part of the programme.

What is the time commitment for the Term 1 online study?

Arrangements for Term 1 are currently in development, however if you are studying full-time you should expect to study the equivalent of 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday, though depending on your programme and module selections you may have some days/half days without teaching. There may be some flexibility on the times that you study, however the time commitment would be the same as normal.

What specific IT equipment do I need in order to participate in the digital delivery of my programme?

In order to participate in the digital delivery of our programmes, students are expected to have regular access to a computer (or mobile device) with a reliable internet connection. If possible, students should use a wired connection. The better your internet connection, the better your learning experience.  

LSHTM recommends the following hard-wired connection device - TP-Link TL-PA4010KIT Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit. Should you experience any difficulty the IT support team will be able to help you set up remotely. They will also try to help with alternative solutions, but we may not be able to support all choices.  

In terms of hardware required, students should have a modern and up to date laptop or MacBook, with a built in webcam. The School participates in a UK-wide laptop buying scheme for students who want to purchase hardware, enabling you to buy a good quality laptop pre-loaded with software and accompanied by a warranty and insurance at a reasonable price. For further information, visit the Student Store website. We also recommend the use of a headset for interactive sessions.  

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have the latest version of either Firefox or Chrome web browser installed and a sufficient bandwidth to download documents and participate in interactive sessions – preferably at least 2Mbps.  

You will be able to download Office 365 for free for the duration of your programme as part of the LSHTM licence agreement.  

I am studying a joint MSc with another institution, will my programme be online?

Specific information about joint programmes will be sent to you separately, as soon as the arrangements have been agreed with the partner institutions. We plan to run all programmes online for Term 1.

Can I still study part-time/by split-study?

You will still be able to take advantage of the part-time/split-study options as normally offered by the programme.

Even if there is on campus teaching in Terms 2 and 3, will I be able to continue studying remotely?

Yes. Providing we can ensure your safety through social distancing in line with the UK Government guidance, Terms 2 and 3 teaching will be delivered on campus and online. This will mean that if you are unable or concerned about coming to London, you can continue and complete your degree remotely. The degree will be of the same high quality and standard, simply delivered differently.

The exceptions to the above will be for the MSc programmes in Immunology of Infectious Diseases, Medical Entomology for Disease Control, Medical Microbiology and Medical Parasitology, where core laboratory elements of modules can only be delivered on campus during Terms 2 and/or 3. Please check the relevant programme page for further details.

How much notice will be given if I want to attend on campus sessions in Term 2 and 3 (for visa/transport purposes)?

It is our intention to provide you with as much notice as possible, but due the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, this may be less than you would receive under the normal circumstances. Students wishing to apply for a Tier 4 visa will be contacted by our Student Immigration team around mid- to late November 2020. Please note that CAS cannot be assigned to applicants more than 3 months in advance of the face-to-face teaching start date. You will find more information on applying for visas on our Visas and Immigration pages.

If I start my programme and decide that the style of study doesn’t work for me, can I defer?

Should you find yourself in a position where you are unable to take full advantage of the digital delivery, you will be able to interrupt your studies and re-join the programme where you left it in the following year. Please note that, due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we are not in a position to guarantee that 2021-22 will be delivered wholly on campus.

What happens if I have booked travel and accommodation for Terms 2 and 3 but then on campus teaching can't go ahead?

Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we are not in a position to guarantee that Terms 2 and 3 teaching will be delivered on campus. There may also be students around the world who are unable to join us due to their ongoing country restrictions. We would therefore strongly advise students to only book refundable tickets and accommodation.

Do I still need to look for accommodation?

As Term 1 teaching will be delivered wholly online, you are not expected to be looking for accommodation at this time. Circumstances permitting, students choosing to be in London from Term 2 onwards will only need to look for accommodation closer to the time. Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we would strongly advise students to only book refundable accommodation.

I have an offer for distance learning but want to do the one year digital programme - can I switch?

Applications for our intensive MSc programmes are administered separately to our distance learning programmes. While our distance learning programmes are administered by University of London, to apply for study for an intensive MSc you will need to submit a new application directly to LSHTM. All applicants should apply online using our online Applicant Portal.

Admissions & Visas

My offer of admission states the deadline to meet offer conditions is 31 July 2020, will this be extended?

The deadline to meet offer conditions has been extended to 7 September 2020.

The current deadline for Tier 4 applicants to submit an application is 17 July 2020. Will this be extended as Tier 4 visas are not required for the first term?

The deadline to submit an application has been extended to 31 August 2020 for all students.

I want to withdraw my application as I do not want to study online at all - can I get a refund of the deposit/application fee?

Master's students - We understand that in light of the current circumstances you may no longer wish to study with us this year.  We have revised our standard deposit refund policy  to include reasons relating to the pandemic. Applicants who have paid a deposit for a programme commencing in September 2020 will receive a full refund of their deposit in the following circumstances (please note that evidence may be required):

  • the request for a refund of the deposit falls within 14 days of payment being received by LSHTM;
  • academic entry qualifications are not awarded due to COVID-19 in the absence of suitable alternative qualifications being accepted;
  • the applicant fails to meet an English language offer condition;
  • financial hardship related directly or indirectly to COVID-19 pandemic, including unexpected redundancy, withdrawal of sponsorship/loans/funding, owned or part-owned business going into liquidation, debts etc.;
  • severe ill health of the applicant, close relative and/or dependent which results in the applicant being unable to travel;
  • lockdown restrictions in force that prevent travel or where government advice strongly discourages travel to the UK;
  • if an applicant’s visa application is refused or rejected (except where refusal is a result of a fraudulent visa application, insufficient funds supply of incorrect documents);
  • LSHTM is unable to provide the academic programme originally applied for, offered and accepted, and the applicant does not want to take up a place on an alternative programme that is offered.

Application fees are non-refundable.

Doctoral students - You should discuss options with your supervisors before requesting deferral or refunds. The DrPH programme starts in September each year. PhD students can start in September, January or April.

LSHTM currently doesn't accept original documents. Will I still have to send original evidence of qualifications/other documents later?

In light of the current circumstances we will be accepting the following alternative formats as original evidence of qualifications:

• an electronic transcript provided by a secure third-party link shared with via an approved electronic verification system, such as Digitary or Parchment;

• a PDF transcript sent from an official institution email address directly to by a suitable department or staff member, such as Registry or School Office;

• a formal letter sent from an official institution email address directly to by a suitable department or staff member (such as Registry or School Office). The letter should be on headed paper and must confirm your course, results and years of study, as well as why the institution cannot provide a transcript.

Please do not post any documents to LSHTM until further notice.

What happens if I can’t provide English test results because of centres being closed?

If your local English test centres are closed, we are accepting alternative tests as proof of English proficiency. Please see our English Language FAQs for full details of all approved assessments.

We are now accepting the TOEFL Home Edition test for all students not planning to apply for a Tier 4 visa in January, and IELTS Indicator test for all students.

Do I still need to provide financial evidence if I don’t need a visa anymore?

There is no need for you to provide financial evidence if you do not need a Tier 4 visa.

I don't have access to sufficient broadband or technology to take part in digital teaching. Can I still move to London and take part remotely?

If you are unable to study digitally from home, you may be able to do so remotely from London. Individual decisions regarding a Tier 4 sponsorship will be made on a case by case basis, please contact for further advice. Please note that we do not expect the campus to be open to students in the autumn term.

If I start classes online and apply to come to London for Term 2 and 3 for face to face teaching, what happens if I am denied a visa?

We would consider why your Tier 4 application has been refused and seek to address the issue. Alternatively, you may be able to use the short term study visa route to enter the UK or complete your studies remotely.

Fees & Funding

My scholarship says I have to study in London/face-to-face. What do I do?

Please speak to your funder to find out whether any contingency plans have been made for the coming academic year, providing them with the LSHTM's position as outlined above. Ultimately, funding should be used only within the Terms & Conditions and guidance provided by the funder.

Will LSHTM scholarships still include a cost of living stipend?

This will depend on the specific scholarship offered. Many awards are being provided as they were advertised. Specific details of scholarship awards funded and offered by LSHTM will be confirmed to the successful applicant(s) by email.

Can I still use my student loan if the course is online?

You will be able to use your Postgraduate Loan as normal to help with programme and living costs.

Can I still have my US/Canadian student loan if the course is online?

In normal circumstances, US students taking any part of their programme at an overseas institution via distance learning are not eligible to borrow federal loans under US law. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), an allowance has been made for students undertaking courses online that would usually be provided face to face, and these students will be eligible for federal loans. This allowance is currently set to be in place until the end of December 2020. It is unknown whether this allowance will be extended into 2021. Note that courses that are normally provided by distance learning and administered by University of London continue to be ineligible for federal loans.

Canadian students should check the student loan provider’s website for their province for information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their access to student loans.

Any questions regarding loans for 2020-21 can be directed to

As Term 1 is online, can fees be paid in instalments?

Irrespective of how teaching is delivered, the tuition fee balance is payable in full by the fee deadline indicated on your invoice. It is not possible to pay tuition fees by instalments. If you have any queries about the Tuition Fees Policy, please contact the Tuition Fees team directly at

Programme Structure

Will all the modules be offered? When will I know which ones won’t be?

We will offer all published compulsory modules. Further information about recommended modules will follow when more information becomes available.

Will there be unlimited capacity in modules without any restrictions on teaching space?

There are likely to be restrictions on access to teaching spaces depending on the social distancing and other safety measures in place at the time. We intend to manage this in ways which are fair and equitable for all students. However, there are no restrictions on student numbers accessing the module at distance.

Do I need to attend live sessions at specified times?

Most modules will have some live online sessions. These will be recorded where feasible so they can be viewed later, but you are expected to attend to maximise the benefit of interactive learning (similar to attending a face-to-face class). Certain sessions may include activities in which participation is compulsory, for example group work leading to an assessment task. You must be available, with reliable internet access, for these study periods.

For sessions where participation is expected or compulsory, students’ local time zones will be taken into consideration wherever possible.

The intensive programme is designed for students who have reliable internet access and can dedicate themselves to their studies either full-time for one year or part-time for two years. If this does not describe your situation, you may wish to consider instead our distance learning programmes. In these programmes you have more flexibility to choose when to study and can complete an MSc in 2-5 years.

Will I be able to complete Year 2 of my part-time programme in 2021-22 fully online?  

While arrangements are being made for all intended learning outcomes to be deliverable online – with the exception of lab-based programmes – during the 2020-21 session, it is our intention to re-focus on on-campus delivery as soon as circumstances permit. While there is likely to continue to be some digital delivery, we are not in a position to guarantee that a fully digital offering will still be an option during the 2021-22 session.

How will different time zones be accounted for?

We have trialled methods of managing different time zones with our current students and have solutions in place that will vary from programme to programme.

Will exams take place online in January/June 2021?

It is highly likely that the exams/formal assessments scheduled for January and June 2021 will be run at a distance. Plans for this aspect of the programmes are still in development and applicants will be advised as soon as further information is made available.

Will transcripts show courses have been taken online?

No - the transcript is a record of academic achievement and does not record the method of achievement.

Will I be able to do an overseas MSc project?

Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we are not in a position to guarantee that overseas or field based projects will be possible. Should you find yourself in a position where you are unable to travel overseas, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original timeframe. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year.  

Will I be able to come to London to do a lab-based MSc project?

Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we are not in a position to guarantee that London based laboratories will be accessible.

What kind of networking opportunities will there be with researchers and other students?

We will provide extensive opportunities to meet leading academics, researchers, alumni and other students online and - where circumstances permit - on campus. This is a vital and unique element of the LSHTM intensive student experience.

Will I still have access to all student services e.g. careers, student support?

Yes, all of these services are available at distance. Further information will be made available to you upon enrolment via our Virtual Student Hub.

Will I need to buy books as I won’t be able to access the books in LSHTM’s library?

We have an extensive range of digital library resources which will be made available to you as a student of LSHTM. In light of the current circumstances Library staff are in the process of purchasing e-copies of all essential readings where they are available electronically, and encouraging teaching staff to consider the accessibility of texts when revising reading lists.