Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 School of Engineering Advice

The School of Engineering has the welfare of its students and staff as its highest priority.  In the current pandemic, the University of Edinburgh has taken decisive action to reduce risk, yet still provide a high quality learning experience for students.

We have answered some Frequently Asked Questions specifically for School of Engineering students below.  Information will be added to this page as it becomes available.  Please check back regularly.

Please remember to keep checking the University of Edinburgh Coronavirus webpage for the latest advice.


I am having difficulty in adjusting to this new way of working. What guidance is there to help me with this?

Adjusting to the sudden changes in our lives is far from easy, particularly after we have spent some days in this new pattern of working. This information on 'Taking care of yourself' from the University and College Union (UCU) contains some simple guidance that can help.

Please also check the University's list of sources of support for access to help, advice and resources in areas ranging from health, mental health and wellbeing, to finances, careers advice and accommodation. 

Within the School of Engineering, please remember that our Student Support Team (Victoria, Laura, and Jo) can be contacted on or +44 (0)131 650 5532.


I am still in Edinburgh and want to leave. Can I go?

Travelling home from your term time address has been clarified as not being essential travel. Therefore, you should not attempt to travel home at this time. This is a change from what we had previously understood to be the case, when this type of travel had initially been classed as essential and allowed.

Non-UK students, who already have their travel home booked, should follow the advice of their embassy.

Please check the Covid-19 University Guidance to Current Students for updates.


I am a Tier-4 sponsored student and I am worried about the implications of being out of the UK. Where can I get up-to-date information?

You will find updated and important guidance on a number of pages: information can be found on the University Student Immigration Service pages and from UKVI; important and specific information about your visa can be found here.


What am I expected to tell the School about where I am? How do I do that?

It is important that we have an accurate record of students who have left. Please ensure that you: (i) let the School know as soon as possible by contacting the Student Support Team (SST), and (ii) update your address on MyEd so that we have current contact details for you.


I have special circumstances that are not related to Covid-19. How will these be take into account?

If you feel that your assessments have been affected by circumstances out of your control and unrelated to Covid-19, you should discuss submitting a special circumstances case with your Personal Tutor or the Student Support Team ( Applications must be made through your Personal Tutor (PT) or the Student Support Team. Please check the University guidance for current students and the ETO Hub for guidance and to download the Special Circumstances form.


How do I contact my Course Organiser and Personal Tutor?

School activities, including all those related to learning and teaching and student support, have all moved online, with all staff able to be contacted using online tools. You can get in touch with your Course Organisers through the communication and teaching support tools available on Learn, such as discussion boards, or via email. You can get in touch with your Personal Tutor through email or the notes system in your student record.


How do I contact the Student Support Team (SST)?

The Student Support Team are contactable by email ( as normal, and are also contactable through the standard telephone number (0131 650 5532, or +44 131 650 5532 if you are not in the UK) during normal working hours (9am – 5pm UK time). Outside normal working hours this phone number will connect you to the University emergency service, which will still continue to operate.
The Student Support Team is also using Microsoft Teams and can arrange a voice or video call. Please email to request this. Information on how to use Microsoft Teams can be found here.


I am a 1st/2nd year student. When will my exam be?

In line with University policy, there are no exams for all 1st and 2nd year courses operated by the School of Engineering. Courses run by other Schools may have different arrangements in place, so please be aware of separate communications if this affects you.


I am a 3rd/4th/5th year student. What form will my exam be?

The format of exams for undergraduate honours and postgraduate taught students (3rd, 4th, 5th year and MSc) follow the University’s recommended 48-hour period for completing a take-home exam. The exam will be released online and you will be completing it by writing on paper in the usual way. You will scan or photograph your solutions into a single PDF and upload this before the end of the 48-hour period. The exam will be an open-book exam. You will be able to consult your lecture notes, but not seek assistance from any person nor discuss the exam with anyone. Please check the University guidance for current students page for more information.

We will be trusting you as learning partners during these exceptional circumstances. The University’s academic and our engineering professional ethics preclude collusion and plagiarism, and the University’s usual academic misconduct procedures will apply.


I am a 3rd/4th/5th year student. When will my exam be?

The exam diet was extended by one week and will now run from Monday 27 April to Friday 29 May. Please check the University guidance for current students page for more information.

Once you know the 48-hour period that is available for completion of your exam, our expectation is that you set aside a within this to complete the exam. If it is a 2-hour exam, you should identify a 2-hour window when you can work on the exam. You will need to give yourself some time to first download the paper, and then after the exam you will need to allow plenty of time to scan your work and upload it.

The 48-hour period start times are 13:00 BST and no exam will be rescheduled earlier than the currently advertised slot. A link to the full timetable will be circulated as soon as it’s ready, which will be no later than Friday 24 April.


It has been mentioned that changes will have a non-detrimental impact on results. What does this mean and where does this apply?

The University’s “non-detrimental” basis of assessment will be applied to our exams, but we are awaiting further information from the University on the details of how this will be applied. This is particularly important for us in Engineering, because we need to make sure we still meet the requirements of the engineering professional bodies on our accredited degrees. Please check the Covid-19 University Guidance to Current Students for more detail.


What's happening to my final year project?

Final year projects have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, and we are aware of this. You will have received an email from your Degree Programme Manager outlining our process for dealing with this. Please refer to that email. Please also check the University guidance for current students page for more information.


I am using MATLAB for my coursework and am missing the practical support that I would normally get in computer labs. Is there any extra help available?

Course-specific support is now available via the discussion boards on Learn. Our favourite online sources of self-help for MATLAB include our course "An Interactive Introduction to MATLAB”MATLAB and Simulink Training portal and MATLAB Answers. LinkedIn Learning (formerly is also a good resource for self-learning support.


I am an exam only student. What will happen now that all 1st/2nd year exams are cancelled?

We will be looking individually at exam-only students and their situation once we have established a clear progressions policy in the light of recent changes to the assessments.


I'm having difficulty in connecting to the university using the VPN. What should I do?

You do not need to use the VPN for most things. We suggest that you do not use it unless it is absolutely essential, as this might slow down connections to a stop.

I have a laptop that is not allowing me to do my work. What can I do?

If the issue is related to accessing online exams, please contact the Student Support Team by email ( or through the standard telephone number (0131 650 5532, or +44 131 650 5532 if you are not in the UK) during normal working hours (9am – 5pm UK time).

For all other hardware-related issues please email the Director of Learning and Teaching at


Who should I get in touch with if I need help with IT?

If you are using the VPN please note that you do not need to use it for most things. If you are experiencing other IT-related issues you should check the IT and Computing Help portal or contact the Information Services.


When will the university return to classroom teaching?

The Covid-19 outbreak that we are in has so many unknown factors that we cannot be certain about any timescale for the return to normality. The University is preparing for a number of different scenarios. We can, however, assure you that we will return to normal as soon as we can. We miss seeing our students!


I am living in private accommodation on my own. Can I move in to University accommodation?

If you have been living in private accommodation and want to move in to University accommodation because you are now living on your own, you should get in touch with Accommodation Services on the email address