Community Image

At our university, we wholeheartedly believe in creating a warm and inclusive environment where every student, regardless of their background, feels a sense of belonging.

As you prepare to join our multi-disciplinary college, you'll be joining a vibrant community comprised of students from diverse backgrounds. We cherish the unique perspectives and experiences that everyone brings to the College of Social Sciences.

We also actively encourage you to cultivate networks that foster your learning and provide exposure to a variety of people and experiences. We understand the importance of finding your community and having a support system during your academic journey. 

Here are just a few examples of how you can discover your community and access the support you need:

Social Media 

Social Media groups

We have several social media groups and platforms for you to get involved with.

  • Firstly, if you haven’t already, make sure to Follow us on Instagram!
  • Every programme in the College of Social Sciences will have its own WhatsApp and/or WeChat groups for students to chat with each other and make connections. Make sure to join if interested.
  • You will receive an email from your Student Experience Officer by mid-September with a QR code/link to join your programme’s group - please DO NOT share this code with anyone outside your programme. If you have not received your link to join (please check your university email first) then please contact your Student Experience Officer.

These groups are created by our Student Experience Ambassadors therefore it is a student-only zone – that being said, any harassment, hate speech or unwanted behaviour will be reported and can result in disciplinary action.

Student Experience Team

Each School in CoSS has it’s own dedicated Student Experience Officer who’s job it is to co-create opportunities for students to make the most of their university experience. From trips to coffee mornings to development opportunities there will be something for everyone to get involved in and help find their academic community.

Find out who your Student Experience Officer is and keep an eye on your university emails to see what’s coming up.

Guild of Students

If you’re a student at the University of Birmingham, then you’re automatically a member of the Guild of Students.

As a charity and the students’ union for more than 36,000 students, the Guild is here to help you develop skills outside of study, support you, have fun, meet new people, represent you to the University and make sure you get a distinctive Birmingham and best in class experience.

Through the Guild you can:


More information for:

International Students


We know it can often be a daunting experience to study in a new country so we’ve put together some resources specifically for international students in addition to your main academic induction to help you settle in and make the most of your time at Birmingham. 

Practical things you need to do – the International Student Team (IST) have put together a handy checklist to help you through all of the boring but important things you need to do when entering the country. You can find that list here and the team will be on campus during Welcome Week in case you have any issues. 




Postgraduate students make up around 40% of the student population here at UoB and so you are as much a priority for us as your undergraduate counterparts. 

We will be running postgraduate specific events and opportunities throughout the year to help you find your community in the short time you are with us and ensure that you are able to make the most of your degree.

The University Graduate School supports Birmingham’s postgraduate researcher (PGR) and postgraduate taught (PGT) community. We foster an interdisciplinary community and act as a gateway to support and advice. We work closely with the other University support services to ensure our postgraduates have access to a high-quality postgraduate experience.

The University Graduate School also puts on a number of events and opportunities specifically for postgraduate students, find out more on our website.

The Guild also has its own Postgraduate Officer who champions the PG experience and ensures that Guild activities are not just for undergraduate students by putting on a range of activities

Faith Groups

 At Birmingham we respect all faiths and provide opportunities for prayer in our multi-faith chaplaincy, St Francis Hall. We have Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist chaplains as well as many student-led faith groups and societies.

In our multi-faith chaplaincy, students of all faiths and those interested in world religions are invited to take part in a varied programme of events, worship and activities. You’ll find more about these events on the multi-faith chaplaincy events website.

The chaplaincy, which you’ll find next to the Guild of Students, has two large worship rooms, a small room for quiet prayer or meetings and a large lounge and kitchen facilities. The Selly Oak Chapel at our Selly Oak campus is also open during the day for prayer and reflection.

If you need support or have a question, our team of full and part-time chaplains from a diverse range of faiths are available every weekday during term time. They’ll talk with you in a relaxed atmosphere and extend a warm welcome to all, regardless of religious belief or background.

The University’s vibrant spiritual and social life centres on the lively student societies based at the chaplaincy. There are groups representing most major faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

For more information, please take a look at the Guild of Students religious and faith groups.

Ethnic Minority Students


The University of Birmingham values the variety of experiences that students with different ethnic identities bring to the University. We recognise that this diversity brings a richness to our University community, and we are committed to ensuring that people from different ethnic backgrounds feel a sense of belonging here and are empowered to reach their full potential.

To find out more about the University's dedication to fostering an inclusive community that is free from inequality, harassment, and discrimination, have a look at this useful resource from the Student EDI Team: Student Equality and Diversity (

Here in CoSS, Professor Kalwant Bhopal is the Ethnic Minority Academic Lead. Kalwant's work in this role includes setting up the "Celebrating Voices" speaker series, which invites alumni and high-profile ethnic minority speakers to share their experiences with students at UoB; supporting the creation of the Ethnic Minority Mentoring Scheme in the College; and encouraging the formation of groups across the College for students from ethnic minority backgrounds. Kalwant is very active and engaged, and you'll often see her quoted or giving her perspective in the media, such as in this Guardian article about the Decolonisation of Universities.


A Message from Professor Kalwant Bhopal

My name is Kalwant Bhopal, I am the Ethnic Minority Academic Lead in CoSS. I am Professor of Education and Social Justice and Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education. 

My research focuses on the achievements of ethnic minority students. It specifically focuses on exploring the processes of racism exclusion and marginalisation. 

My recent book, 'White Privilege: the Myth of a Post-Racial Society' was published by Policy Press and is available in the library. In my role as Ethnic Minority Academic Lead, I am keen to ensure our ethnic minority students have a positive, enriching experience in CoSS. 

I look forward to meeting you and working with you in the coming months as you start your journey with us here at the University of Birmingham.

Student Testimony

A word from Andrea Davis, PhD student in the School of Education: 

First thing’s first, welcome to UoB!I know the campus is huge and there are so many people and that can seem scary at first, but I promise in no time at all you’ll find your way, start making friends, and it suddenly won’t seem so big. I know that as a BAME [Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic] student that can seem really challenging as you walk across the lawn and see a lot of people that look nothing like you. I’ve been there. Twice. 

Let’s take a step back. Hi, I’m Andrea. I’m a current PhD student based out of the School of Education. I’m 25, American, Black, and female. I grew up in and around the city of Philadelphia and did my BA and MA at a small university in a small town just outside of NYC. My first university was, as we Americans call it, a PWI (predominately white institution) and that came with a number of challenges. My graduating class in high school had maybe 10 white students out of 300 and I was now in a place where those numbers felt like they’d been completely reversed. I received a great education there, made life-long friends, and had some life changing experiences, but it wasn’t always easy. I found myself in a situation where there were often “woke” conversations happening about and around me, but not including me. However, I did notice a shift change as the years passed as I built relationships with faculty, staff, and students and as we saw an increase in students of colour attending the university.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself in England starting at a new university and I was worried about finding connections, finding people I could relate to, and finding somewhere to get my hair done. I struggled with seeing so few people that looked like me despite being at a university 20 times the size of where I had done my undergrad. But when of the exciting things I did come across was that where I struggled to find someone who could relate to my exact story, I found so many friends from across the world who had their own unique background and story. Now, my friend group is made up of very few British people despite being in the heart of England and is full of people from across Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and even friends that are from more places than I can keep track of. The multinational nature of UoB means that everyone is a little different, everyone is a little out of place and lost even if it does it seem that way on the surface. I have found that the university has been keen to adapt to the ever-changing needs of its student body to help students feel welcome, included, and valued. My best piece of advice for being at UoB or anywhere else in life is to remember that 1. Its ok to feel uncertain in a new space, don’t let that stop you from entering; and 2. Once you enter that space, don’t be afraid to speak up and encourage change to help shape the environment to something more inclusive.I have found that people rarely, genuinely want to shut anyone out, but they don’t always know how to change and be more open. You just have to engage them in a conversation.


First-Generation Students

Being a First-Generation student means that you are the first member of your immediate family to attend University. This can be both exciting and challenging, and we want to ensure you have all the support and resources you need to be successful on your student journey.  You might have questions about how things work or what to expect, worries that you'd like to talk to someone about, or questions about more complex aspects of University. 

Firstly, you can take a look at our ‘What to expect’ webpages which are specifically designed to give students an insight into how your programme will work, things like what is the difference between a lecture and seminar and how to get started with academic skills support.

Support and Development

Some First-Generation students have reported struggling with Imposter Syndrome – an ‘awful, quiet fear that you're actually a fraud: that your success is an accident, that everyone else knows more than you do, and that you don't deserve to be where you are.’ If you’re feeling like this, 

The main thing to remember is that you belong at the University of Birmingham as much as any other student and we are incredibly lucky to have you. 

To support you throughout your studies, we have a dedicated team of Wellbeing Officers in the College. Their role is to offer a confidential and non-judgmental ear if you want to talk about anything that is bothering you or if you want to get advice on a particular issue.  

You'll also be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor who will be able to help with any academic-related questions. You will have regular meetings with your Personal Academic Tutor, ensuring that any issues you experience that might impact on your academic work can be flagged and addressed as soon as possible.

Finding Your Community

A major aspect of the student experience is feeling a sense of belonging at the university. Many students choose to seek this by getting involved at the Guild of Students, Birmingham's Students' Union. Here, you can join a student group, become a student rep, get involved in change campaigns, and participate in social events the Guild organises, amongst other things.  

There are also opportunities to engage with all of these things within your School, with societies and activities aimed at people studying in your subject. The Student Experience team are the people to help you get involved with the community in your School- or the wider College. Got any ideas for things you want to see? Make a suggestion!

Thomas Jordan

Thomas Jordan

UoB Graduate and First-Generation Student Testimony.

“I went to school and have lived in Birmingham all my life and never really thought about going to University. If you’d have asked me when I was younger what I wanted to do for a job, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you, so I stuck with something I’d enjoyed in my A-levels, which was Business Studies. When I applied to Birmingham I did so under the A2B scheme and I’ll be honest, I felt a particular way about it. I didn’t want to think I’d got a place because they felt sorry for me! Turns out I got better A-level grades than I needed and got to go to the redbrick uni my parents dreamed of. My parents didn’t go to University and aside from my sister who is a year older than me, we didn’t know anyone that had been to Uni and graduated. The academic support we had at the Business School was great and I learnt a lot on my Year in Industry Placement. I went to work for Sony in London in a role in corporate tax, this gave me the chance to experience living away from home for a shorter period of time and experience what it was like to work in a fast paced environment. Following this I was accepted to a summer internship with Grant Thornton and subsequently offered a fulltime graduate role there to start when I finished University. 3 years on I’m a qualified accountant and a Manager at Grant Thornton here in Birmingham.”


Part-time/Distance Learners

We know that not everyone joining us is a full time undergraduate student and that some of you will be on a part time programme, or be a distance learner. You may be studying online, you can be based anywhere in the world, you might occasionally need to come onto campus, or you may never visit in person. Whilst no two students' experiences will be the same, we have a range of services and support you can access throughout your studies.

Advice and Support for Students

Our Library Services team have collected together some useful resources for part time and distance learners which might support you with using the resources available not just at the UoB library but at other institutions closer to home. You can find this on the Library webpages.

Part time and Distance Learning students are also more likely to have other responsibilities such as being a parent/carer or being in full time employment which we recognise may take up a lot of time and head space and make you feel further away from your University community. 

You might want to think about how you keep in touch with your Tutors and your course mates and feel connected to the University. You will find opportunities to do this happen organically through your course and scheduled teaching, but if you have ideas for events, activities or initiatives, feel free to get in touch with your Student Experience team. You may also want to consider becoming a Student Rep to help make more permanent changes to your Student Experience. 

There is no standard time commitment for joining a Student Group or Society, even if you only come to campus once during your time with us – the connections you make with like-minded individuals over a shared interest can be incredibly valuable.

Whilst everyone’s situation is different, there may be certain pressures you face as a part time student or student on a distance learning programme. If you feel you need support to manage these demands, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our Wellbeing team.

Student Parents and Carers 

At the University of Birmingham, we are aware that many of our students are also parents and/or carers. Whilst we recognise that caring for others can be a very satisfying experience, we also know that students with caring responsibilities may face different and additional challenges alongside their studies that require specialised support. Have a look at the resources below if you identify or think you identify as being a student parent or carer.

Student Parents 

Your Rights as a Student Parent  

The University of Birmingham believes that pregnancy and parenting responsibilities should not, in themselves, prevent students from succeeding in their academic pursuits, and we want you to feel as supported as possible as you welcome a new child into your family. Have a look at the Code of Practise to see what you can expect from the University if you find yourself in this situation.


The University is fortunate to have several fantastic nurseries right on or near campus. Do have a look if you require childcare options whilst you study. 

Financial support for parents 

At Birmingham, we promote a positive and supportive attitude towards students who face additional costs because of caring responsibilities. We have compiled these resources to ensure you know about all the options available to you.  

Student Carers

‘A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.’ (Carers Trust definition)

Not every carer recognises they're a carer or that support is available to them. If you think this might be you, have a look at the University's dedicated resources for carers.

As always, if you think your caring responsibilities are impacting on your academic work – please do not hesitate to contact the Wellbeing Team and they will be happy to talk through your options.

Commuter Students 

Each year, around a quarter of students across the UK choose to live off-campus with their family, partner, friends, or by themselves, and Birmingham is no different.

Staying local or commuting to university is becoming a much more typical situation for students, as many people find this option suits them and their lives better than living away at university. As a commuter student, you may have plenty of social and other activities outside of university and not really want to engage other than studying. However, some students who commute prefer to get more involved with university life or can feel that they are not a part of the University because they commute. This page offers some suggestions for ways that you can engage with campus as much or as little as you like, as well as support to help make that possible. 

Practical Information

For some great practical information and tips, have a look at the University’s webpage for local or commuting students.

Need somewhere to study or meet on campus? Take a look at this handy map of study spaces.

Looking for a quick bite to eat whilst attending on-campus classes? See the University’s retail and catering options or check out this helpful list of restaurants local to the University.

Meeting other students

The Guild of Students, Birmingham’s students’ union, offers students a range of ways to get involved with their peers, from student groups (organised around a multitude of interests) to student reps  to organised campaigns and more. 

The Guild doesn’t currently have a Commuter Student Society; however, if you’re interested in starting one- or any other student group that doesn’t already exist- check out the Guild’s information on setting up a new group.


Disabled Students

We value the diverse range of experiences that our students bring to our university community. So, whether you have a physical disability, live with a chronic illness, identify as neurodiverse, navigate a mental health condition, or are exploring how your mental or physical health may affect your life, we are here to support you on your journey to participate fully and achieve your goals at university.

The Student Disability Service can arrange course/study related reasonable adjustments and additional academic related support for both undergraduate and postgraduate students with a disability, including long-term mental or physical health conditions and autistic spectrum conditions. Our services include:

  • Putting in place a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) to inform the school of your requirements.
  • Arranging exam adjustments, for example, extra time or rest breaks.
  • Advice on applying for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and support to set up DSA funded support.
  • Arranging non-DSA funded support such as non-specialist note-taking support.
  • Advice and guidance on screenings for students who think they might be dyslexic, dyspraxic or dyscalculic. 

Access the Disability Service and check out our resources for Disabled students, including one to one support, reasonable adjustments, Disability Student Allowance and Screening for Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).

Mental health is just as important as physical health and it’s something we take very seriously. There is a wealth of support from CoSS Wellbeing Officers to our central Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. We should state that our services are not a replacement for NHS support and we encourage you to work with your GP (doctor) to access support that will be more tailored to you and last beyond your degree.


We want our campuses to be welcoming, safe and comfortable environments for students, staff and visitors. Accessibility is key to that goal, and refers to the design of products, services, equipment and environments so as to ensure they are inclusive of disabled people. 

In Higher Education, this means removing existing barriers, and 'designing-out' potential barriers, that might prevent students, staff and visitors having fair and equal access to, for example, learning resources, buildings, and equipment. 

At University of Birmingham, we are working hard with a programme of development to ensure that UoB is as accessible as possible. Find out more about accessibility on campus.

LGBTQ+ Students

We know that University is a space where people can find and validate their authentic selves and we are proud to facilitate this journey in any way we can.

The Guild of Students' LGBTQ+ Association represents those who consider themselves to have a minority sexual/romantic orientation and/or gender identity, bringing students together through social events and campaigns.

Careers Network offer LGBTQ+ Mentoring support as part of the Careers Network Mentoring scheme, open to all LGBT students. Our LGBT mentors aim to support students by gaining advice on how to be happy and fulfilled as an out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer employee. Now well-established in the University, as far as we know it is the only such university support scheme in the UK, run jointly by the Equality and Diversity team, the Guild's LGBTQ+ Association, Careers Network and Sean Russell Consulting.

We may be biased, but here in Birmingham, we also have one of the best Pride events in the country where our LGBTQ+ Student Association, the staff Rainbow Network and allies from across the University get together to represent UoB at the parade to celebrate and advocate for our queer communities.

Find more information and student blogs on LGBTQ+ experiences at UoB.



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