Coronavirus information and guidance

Your St Andrews offer

I am delighted that you have been made an offer to study at the University of St Andrews, commencing on Monday 7 September 2020.

This is a tremendous achievement. The University of St Andrews is one of the most selective universities in the world. We are regularly placed as one of the top three universities in the United Kingdom in domestic league tables. Our focus on excellence has also been recognised this year with the Times prestigious University of the Year award, and in the annual National Student Survey (NSS), our students consistently rank us as the top University in the United Kingdom for the exceptional student experience that we provide.

The strength of our standing is based on our inspiring and supportive staff, student and alumni community that you will be joining; world-leading teaching and research; over 600 years of history; and the spectacularly beautiful and safe environment that St Andrews and Scotland afford us.

The past few months have been challenging for the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought considerable disruption to our daily lives. How the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, how it will continue to affect different regions of the world, and what measures different governments will be implementing over the coming months is uncertain. This will no doubt mean that you may have questions about the coming year that I would like to answer.

We will begin our academic year, as planned, on Monday 14 September 2020, with Orientation week beginning on Monday 7 September 2020.

We recognise that circumstances might vary considerably around the world. For this reason, we will be offering dual delivery of our teaching for as long as necessary as a stepping stone towards a more comprehensive return to the traditional approaches to learning and teaching that we are renowned for.

At St Andrews, we will adopt a model of dual-mode delivery in teaching in Autumn 2020. For students and new entrants who can travel safely, we aim to provide a blend of online tuition with small-group teaching observing social-distancing requirements. For those who may be unable to travel to begin the new term on 14 September, we will provide comprehensive tuition remotely, and a smooth transition to teaching in St Andrews once travel restrictions are lifted.

To be clear, whatever your personal circumstances, and if there is any disruption to your plans in arriving in St Andrews at the beginning of the semester, we will be able to accommodate you with online learning until you are able to arrive in person. We will make sure that you have every opportunity to participate in learning, study and engagement with your School, faculty and fellow students, that you are not academically disadvantaged in any way, and that there is a full orientation programme inducting you into our very special community regardless of where you might be.

We have been very fortunate that St Andrews has so far escaped much of the worst impact of the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen in other parts of the world. From the start of the pandemic and increasingly at the moment, we are doing extensive planning and taking expert advice, including from our own world-class health scientists, to ensure that everyone in our community is kept as safe as possible.

As a University, we were in an exceptionally strong position academically, financially and reputationally when the crisis began, and we continue to be so. Given our esteem and influence as a University, we have taken a leadership role in working with the governments of Scotland and the United Kingdom to explain the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on universities in the UK and around the world, how universities can play a leading part in addressing the crisis, and what governments can do to support the sector.

Over the next few weeks and months, you may have other specific, subject- related questions. Our academic Schools will be in touch with you and will make themselves available to answer these questions. You will also receive detailed information relating to the remainder of your entrant journey over the coming weeks.

One of the advantages to having a history of more than 600 years is that it helps to give some perspective. The University of St Andrews has lived through many crises over the centuries, and we have always come through them stronger. The current Covid-19 pandemic is a significant global challenge, but one that will pass, and our University and exceptional community will continue to move from strength to strength, helping to shape the world we live in.

If you have questions that may arise from my letter, or any other questions, please do send them, using the following email addresses:

  • If you have any questions about your offer or studying at St Andrews, please email:
  • If you have more sensitive questions you would like to ask one of our team, please email (including your preferred contact number) and we will arrange a time to call you.

I look forward to seeing you in St Andrews in the near future.

With my very best wishes,

Professor Brad MacKay
Senior Vice Principal