Remote Study


PLEASE NOTE: the option for remote study is no longer available for the 22/23 Academic Year.

Covid-19 has made an enormous difference to the student experience and things may not be as many expected or wanted them to be. The University have developed a Remote Study Policy for students who are unable to attend campus because of issues relating to Covid-19, that enables students to continue with their study online.

The option to study remotely was previously available until 31 January 2021 (earlier for some programmes). The University have now extended this, so you can apply to study remotely for longer. The duration of the extension will depend upon the start date of your programme:

 Programme start date

 Remote study extended until

Before 28 September 2020

18 July 2021

28 September 2020

20 June 2021

During October/November 2020

25 July 2021

During January 2021

22 August 2021

If your application to study remotely is approved, the University will change your status on SIMS and your timetable will change accordingly. If you have to remote study temporarily because you are isolating, you should inform the University but they will not deem this as remote study in the same way; they will not change your status and will expect you to continue to access/catch up on your learning materials online. Importantly, some programmes are not able to provide remote study at all, and some others that were able to provide remote study for semester one, will not be able to do so for semester two due to scheduled learning that requires on-campus attendance.

Check your eligibility

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, you can apply to study remotely if you are:

  • shielding or in a vulnerable group
  • living with or caring for someone who is shielding
  • unable to travel to the UK due to travel restrictions/issues
  • self-isolating because you or a member of your household has presented with coronavirus symptoms
  • required to self-isolate under a track-and-trace process
  • in quarantine in UK accommodation
  • concerned about attending on-campus provision.

If you are unable to return to campus then you should contact your School in the first instance to discuss options. You can also get further advice on remote study from:

Programmes that are not eligible

The option to study remotely does not apply to programmes where you are required to attend on-campus activity for example, for clinical or laboratory-based learning or to meet the needs of professional or statutory bodies. If your programme is eligible for remote study you will be able to apply via SIMS Online from the week commencing 7 December 2020. If your programme is not eligible for remote study, the option to apply for remote study will not appear in your SIMS Online record. Your School should also contact all students on programmes (or years of programmes) where remote study is not possible to inform you of this.

If your programme does not allow remote study and you are not able to come to campus, you can apply for an Interruption of Study, to take a break from your course until you are able to return. You can contact us for further advice if this is something you think you would like to do.


Important Considerations

  • You need to apply and ask the University if you can study remotely. The Remote Study Policy details strict grounds under which you can apply and the University can say no if you do not meet them. You cannot apply to study remotely because you are not happy with the impact of lockdowns and restrictions on your student experience but you can apply if you are concerned about attending on-campus learning. If you are applying on these grounds, the University have said that they will contact you in the first instance and see whether they can support you in other ways.
  • You do not need to tell Student Finance if your course has moved online, as long as your living arrangements stay the same. If they have changed, you must update your address in your online account and your entitlement to funding may change if you move back in to your family home.
  • If your application to study remotely is approved, that does not mean you are allowed to travel home. The Welsh Governement are asking all students living in Wales to help them keep Wales safe by not travelling between university and home. Current guidance says that you should only move between your term time address and your home address if absolutely necessary, for example for work, to provide or receive care or because of concerns about your wellbeing. You should not return home for a ‘visit’ during this period. You should not travel home if you have been asked to self-isolate or have Covid-19 symptoms.
  • The University’s Residences are currently saying that they will release you from your residences contract if your School approve an application for remote study.
  • If you are living in private halls or private rented accommodation, you are likely to find that you are bound to to pay rent for the term of the contract, unless you find a suitable replacement. Further information is available on our Escaping a ContractMoving Out of Private Rented Accommodation and Cardiff University Residences pages.

How to apply to study remotely

  • You can apply through your SIMS student portal. Log in to SIMS and select the 'Request remote study' tab. Follow the instructions to make your application.
  • SIMS will check if your course can be studied remotely.
  • If you are eligible your application will be approved until the relevant date indicated in the table above (depending on the start date of your programme).

Once submitted, your application will be passed to your Academic School for a decision. You should receive notification of their decision by email.

If your circumstances change, or you change your mind

If your circumstances change after you've applied for remote study, and you wish to return to on-campus learning, you can notify us via SIMS. You should be able to start on-campus learning two weeks after notifying us.


Even if you are applying to study remotely, you should still complete your online enrolment as soon as you receive an email inviting you to do so (you may have already received this email).

If you are granted permission to study remotely, you will not initially need to collect your student card, or, if you are an international student, provide evidence of your right to study in the UK. The University will require you to upload a copy of your passport to the SIMS portal following completion of online enrolment, to verify your identity. When you arrive at the University you will collect your student ID card and provide your full documentation at the enrolment event.

Academic implications

In academic terms, the University have said that students studying remotely for semester one will have a comparable student experience accessing learning materials online. Your academic work will be assessed on the same basis as all other students, whether you are studying remotely or not. If there is anything that affects your ability to study and/or complete assessments, it is very important to let the University know as soon as possible. It may be that the University can put something in place to help you, or you may be able to report Extenuating Circumstances or apply for an Interruption of Study.

As above, if you do feel at any point that your study is being negatively impacted by your circumstances, we strongly advise to consider reporting Extenuating Circumstances and/or applying for an Interruption of Study.

University accommodation

The University have said that they will release you from your Residences Agreement if your School approve your request to switch to remote study.

If your application is approved, you will receive an email from your School (via SIMS) and this will be the evidence Residences Managers need to approve the release.

Things to consider before you apply to study remotely

If you are an overseas student, a sponsored student, studying on a one-year programme, or planning to use your qualification to work abroad there are some important considerations that you should think about before making an application to study remotely. This is especially important if you have already studied semester one remotely.

Will your qualification, if studied remotely, be accepted in the country that you plan to work? In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and remote learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status if you intend to submit a request to study your degree fully remotely. If you are on a one-year programme, you should check with the governing body in the relevant country prior to requesting remote study.

Examples of bodies you could contact for further clarity include:

  • Ministry of Education/Higher Education in your country or state/region.
  • UK-based Embassy of your country (where Embassies have a Cultural/Education Attaché and offer support services to students in the UK).
  • Professional/licensing bodies for specific occupations in your country or state/region.
  • Educational accrediting bodies in your country or state/region.
  • Your sponsor (if you are sponsored).

It is your responsibility to check that your qualification will be valid in the country where you plan to use it before applying for remote study.

It is your responsibility to check that your qualification will be valid in the country where you plan to use it before applying for remote study.

Will your sponsor continue to provide financial support if you study remotely? If you are receiving financial support from a sponsor to fund your studies you should contact them to check whether they will continue to provide financial assistance if you choose to study remotely.

Do you plan to work in the UK after studying (a post-study work visa)? The Graduate route opens in summer 2021, when the Home Office guidance will be available. The current rules state that you must arrive in the UK by 6 April 2021 and be engaged in face to face study for one semester in the UK, and meet all other criteria, to be eligible to apply for the Graduate route visa after completion of your academic programme.

Letting the University know if you have to isolate or quarantine during term time

The University are developing a form for you to tell them if you need to self-isolate or quarantine during term time once your programme has started. This form will be available on SIMS and is essential from the University's point of view for track and trace purposes. If you report using this form, the University will not change your status to remote study and you will be expected to access and catch up with any learning you have missed.

Other Options to Consider

Interruption of Study

If you feel that you need some time away from Cardiff, you may be able to apply for an Interruption of Study (often referred to as an IoS). An IoS essentially pauses your study so that you remain on your course, as a registered Cardiff University student, but do not attend or engage with the learning materials. If you plan on being absent for 14 days or less, you do not need to apply for an IoS but you do need to report your absence to your School and let them know the reason. If you will be absent for longer than 14 days, the University’s rules state that you must apply for an IoS. Absence at the moment means not engaging with your course and not accessing online resources or completing assessments. You do not have to return after an interruption so it can be a good option if you want some time to think about what to do next.

You are permitted a maximum of 12 months’ Interruption per programme of study. This can be taken as one absence, or an accumulation of multiple shorter terms Interruptions. In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of the Academic Standards and Quality Committee may approve longer periods, provided they do not exceed 24 months in total. This means that you can apply now to interrupt your studies and return in September, 2021. Very importantly;

  • An IoS is not granted as of right but will need to be applied for with at least one valid ground and with appropriate evidence. The University can say no if you do not have valid grounds or evidence.
  • An IoS will affect your student finance. Once you have completed (and registry have approved) your right to study check, the University’s Registry department will confirm to your student funding body that you are enrolled on your course and in attendance. This triggers the funding body’s release of student finance to you and the University.

For more information on the IoS process and what you need to think about, please see our Interruption of Study webpage.

Staying in/ returning to Cardiff

If you are not sure what to do, you can also choose to stay in, or return to, Cardiff and take steps to get as good an experience as possible. Moving away to university is a very big transition, whether you've come from the other side of the world, or half an hour down the road.

Feeling lonely, isolated and/or homesick is very normal but can be a very painful experience. If you have moved away from home for the first time, it is natural to feel a kind of grief reaction for the loss of familiarity and comforts of home. If you were previously well settled in Cardiff, you may find that social distancing rules mean you cannot access groups you used to enjoy and/or that socialising in general is much more difficult. Those shielding, self-isolating or living alone may not talk to anyone in person for days or weeks at a time. Others may be surrounded by people but feel lonely because they don't feel a connection with them. Whatever the cause, if you are feeling lonely, isolated and/or homesick, there are things you can do to help yourself.

If you think you want to try and continue with your course, you can try:

  • Making your new house/flat a home. Coming from a cosy home to room with bare walls can feel very strange and unwelcoming. Even if you are happy with your new room, it will take time to settle in and feel at home. Try and personalise your space with things from home and, if your landlord allows, put up posters and get some nice cushions and bedding that may help the room to feel nice. Try cooking your favourite meal from home and sharing it with your flatmates.
  • Trying not to spend too much time in your room alone. This may sound easier said than done at the moment but staying in too much can make you feel worse. Isolating yourself will make your feelings more intense, as you'll spend even more time pondering on what you miss. Try to keep yourself busy by taking part in social activities, studying at the library rather than in your room, getting a part-time job or even trying out some extracurricular activities.
  • Getting involved with the Students’ Union. All Cardiff University students are automatically members of the Students’ Union, which has so much to offer. Have a look at what is happening on the Students' Union website and see what interests you; there is a big community waiting there if you want it. If you are shielding or locked in a bubble that you do not feel you have clicked with, you can access a lot of activities remotely.
  • Exploring your surroundings. One of the main reasons we feel homesick is often to do with being in unfamiliar surroundings, so it's a good idea to set aside some time to explore Cardiff so you'll feel more at home. Go for walks, do some sightseeing, volunteer with the local community or just get to grips with what's available on your university campus and in the Students’ Union.
  • Keeping in touch (but not too much). Whether it's a phone call, a Whatsapp group chat or a letter in the post, keeping in touch with your friends and family helps to close that gap and make you feel more part of things back home. Be aware though, that keeping in touch too much can actually make you feel the distance more. Try not to let it get to the stage that you're communicating with people back home more than you are with people at university.
  • Asking for help. The jump from school to university can be tough to get your head around at first, especially at the moment, and there's no shame in asking for help. If you're having any issues with your course, your accommodation, your mental health or your finances, seek advice. Student Advice can advise you and signpost you to all the relevant support services.
  • Accessing wellbeing support. If you feel like you need more support, the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service offer of a range of ways to support you during your studies. You may find it helpful to come along to one of their online interactive workshops,  or chat with a trained fellow student.

Further information is available on our Loneliness, Isolation and Homesickness page.

Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410