University Students Question Whether They Can Graduate Due To Coronavirus

19 March 2020, 14:19

University students express concerns about summer exams
University students express concerns about summer exams. Picture: Getty Images

How are university students going to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Many students are asking what will happen to final year exams and graduations as UK universities start to shut down.

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The government has announced that schools will be closing around the UK indefinitely from this week due to the coronavirus and GCSE and A-Level exams in England and Wales won't be taking place in May and June as scheduled.

It means many school leavers are wondering whether they'll be lose the chance to start at university this September without having achieved the required grades. But what about current university students?

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At the moment, universities across the country have been taking different approaches to mitigate the disruption to studies.

In recent weeks, the majority of universities have cancelled in-person classes and moved to online lectures where possible. However, there are still many questions surrounding what will happen to essay submissions, exams and graduations.

More than 1,000 University of Cambridge students have signed a letter to Graham Virgo, the pro-vice chancellor for education expressing their concern about the outbreak affecting exam performance.

The students are requesting that they be offered the opportunity to start final year again rather than graduate this summer.

University College London, which has one of the largest student bodies in the UK, has confirmed on to students that it will be moving all exams to a form of online assessment.

Leeds University, which has around 26,000 undergraduate students, has also confirmed that it will be amending many final year exams to be online, open-book exams or alternative forms of assessment where possible.

Leeds University Main Building in Leeds city center. Leeds...
Leeds University Main Building in Leeds city center. Leeds... Picture: Getty

The university has stated that examinations for all other undergraduate students have been cancelled and marks will be awarded based on other work throughout the year.

University of Oxford has also moved its summer exams online. It comes after seven students tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The university has said it is offering those affected "the necessary support".

Even if alternative forms of assessment are found for final year students, there are still many concerns from students about what will happen to summer graduation ceremonies - which are usually in June and July.

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