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BISC Online+

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Congratulations! You've made the decision to start your Queen's degree at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in England. You've got an exciting year ahead of you and we're thrilled to have you start your studies with us! Despite current public health issues, we are ambitious about what we can achieve together this academic year. We will start the Fall term with BISC Online+ in September and plan a return to the Castle campus later in the year, once international travel regulations and public health conditions permit. To keep you on track with the BISC Online+ and the Castle life, we've created this page which you should check frequently as we will be adding important information here over the summer. No matter what the future holds, we will be offering a learning experience with BISC Online+ that includes the quality education, experiential learning opportunities, small class sizes and personal academic coaching and instruction from our dedicated faculty members that made the BISC brand over the 25 years.


Thrive at the BISC

The BISC prides itself on its unique intercultural educational environment with small classes and one-to-one attention from faculty and staff. Thrive at the BISC has been created as part of BISC Online+ to respond to the unique circumstances of our incoming first-years. We will offer personalized and guided online support which reflects the on-campus experience. We want to ensure all of our first-year students feel confident and connected online and at the Castle. You will partner with talented professionals and peers throughout the year to make your Castle experience a success.

You will be studying in small classes online and at the Castle with leading academics in the field. The average class size will be approximately 10-15 students. Read more about your first year at a glance here.

Experiential learning is an important part of the BISC experience. You will be involved in real-life exercises designed to support the development of 21st century transferable and work-place skills. We are planning a series of alternatives to our regular activities. These will take place onsite at the Castle (e.g. in the Castle archives, lab facilities and in its extensive grounds) or in one of the many historic and cultural sites in the local area or in a virtual setting. With BISC Online+, for example, you might visit virtual museums, online archives and databases based in the UK and Europe, virtual gallery tours, facilitated online workshops or even learn with your own pet. We have some brilliant visiting speakers lined up too! Read more about experiential learning at the BISC and previous experiences here.

We have prepared online coaching, skills sessions and one-to-one academic support that you can utilize online and at the Castle. Academic support develops your critical thinking, reading and writing, learning and self-management. Read more about the variety of academic support available to you.

Our wide variety of courses in ArtsSciences, and Health Sciences, plus our specialized BISC 100 and 101 courses and concurrent education courses will be running this year as blended learning. You will be part of the unique BISC Community through BISC Online+ during the Fall term and will join us in the Castle for the Winter term, as public health guidance allows. Our courses offer the same strengths online as at the Castle: they build skills and knowledge, linking together different academic disciplines.

In the fall term, science students will benefit both from Queen’s online labs that are part of Arts and Science Online courses and from additional virtual labs and demonstrations run by their professors in our state of the art Science and Innovation Centre at the BISC, allowing them to ask questions and explore concepts in more depth with their profs. In the Winter term, every science student will have the opportunity to catch up or repeat labs in person, ensuring successful completion of their first-year science courses.

We believe participation in research projects fosters active learning and independent thought. The BISC program places an emphasis on primary research, setting up diverse opportunities for both first-year and upper-year students.

Online courses will be offered in a blended format, with live seminars, pre-recorded material, and some self-directed, problem-solving based learning using online resources. Time zones will be taken into account and some activities will be set up in such a way that all students can benefit from interaction with faculty during virtual office hours.

For the standard Queen's online course fee, you’ll be getting the full BISC experience in an online format. You will be part of a virtual community and we will work with you to create new academic and social networks. As BISC students you will have access to exclusive resources, in particular individual coaching, live seminars and virtual experiential learning. We have some brilliant visiting speakers lined up too! All this is in addition to our non-academic activities such as virtual open mic nights and virtual sport leagues.

Yes, students in the Faculty of Arts and Science will be able to enroll in both Arts and Science courses, should they meet the necessary high school prerequisites.

PROF 110 will run as an online course in fall term, and will be enhanced with selected online education resources, recorded classroom ‘observations’ of exemplary teaching and exclusive live e-seminars with UK education professionals. The university will continue to monitor the current situation and determine when it will be possible for Concurrent Education students to return to schools for PRAC 110. We hope to return to classroom placements in the Winter term when students return to the BISC.

While there will be some live sessions, time zones will be taken into account and the program will provide opportunities for students who miss a live session to catch up in a different way. We are pleased to welcome students from around Canada and the world and will ensure the Fall online term works for everyone.

Students will be expected to enroll in the BISC sections of the courses available. If the discipline is not offered by BISC Online+, students may take the Kingston campus course equivalent (please note that Online+ benefits will not be available).


You are connected

In addition to personalized academic support, you will be part of the exclusive BISC community, online and at the Castle. Cocurricular and social connections with peers, professors and staff will foster your personal development. A variety of activities are available for you to feel and stay connected online and at the Castle from open mic nights through sports events to workshops. You will have plenty of opportunities to build a network that lasts well beyond your time at BISC, and has a positive effect on both your well-being and career prospects.

We have been preparing virtual sport events and other activities during BISC Online+ to help you stay connected, keep fit and prepare you to experience our athletics and recreation at the Castle in person. In the coming weeks, we will send you all the information regarding the opportunities and how to join them.

The BISC is keen to give our students a wide range of activities and opportunities beyond the academic program. You will have diverse opportunities to meet with fellow students and get involved. You will receive regular invites, timetables and other announcements about the forthcoming events including virtual clubs, open mic and quiz nights. You can read here more about some of the ways you can get involved.

A supportive community at BISC means you are never alone, be it online or in person. Read about the many services dedicated to helping you learn, think, and do.

We have created various platforms to keep the Castle community informed. Some events will appear on onQ as part of your course. Others will be sent to you directly by the Student Services team. We have the Explore newsletter, that is emailed to all students weekly as a reminder of upcoming events and other dates for your diaries. The Castle Drum runs regular stories to keep everyone informed of the latest news and developments. The Castle and Bader Hall have several bulletin boards where residences can advertise their events with posters. Until you can explore these ads or visit the offices of Student Services in person in Garden Cottage, by the Castle's side entrance, contact the Student Life Coordinators by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And don't forget to follow us on our various social media platforms.

While you are at the Castle, you will have access to a range of services including your physical, mental, and sexual health. You can use the counselling service when you need someone to listen, help, and provide practical and emotional support. At the Castle, the BISC uses the services of the local Herstmonceux Integrative Health Clinic for physical health concerns and you can also use the NHS sexual health services free of charge. You may also want to get involved in on-campus wellness work by volunteering to train as a Peer Health Educator. Many of our support pages also offer online resources at the foot of the page. Visit these pages to download some pdf documents or find further online resources.


Road to success

We have developed key strategies to support you in your first year at BISC Online+ and at the Castle. You will shortly receive an invitation to our virtual Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) where your support and connections start. During the summer you will establish your partnership with an individual success coach. Throughout BISC Online+, virtual office hours, one-on-one advising and carefully-chosen workshops will help you have a successful first year.

Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) is a one-day summer orientation program for incoming first-year students and their families, run by the Student Experience Office. This year a virtual event has been organized to support our students and their families. Shortly, you will receive an invitation with all the essential information about SOAR. Learn more about the orientation event.

An academic advisor has specialist knowledge about course selection. The BISC’s Academic Advisors, Dr Peter Lowe and Mr Charan Rainford, are available throughout the summer and the Fall term to help you with any questions relating to course selection and plans for future study. You can find more information and contact details here. Details of availability will be posted regularly on the Academic Notice Board and sent out via email.

BISC is committed to facilitating the integration of students with disabilities into the University community, online and at the Castle. Learn more about how we can help you and the application process here.

Each of your professors will have regular weekly office hours. During BISC Online+, we will be using online platforms, while at the Castle your professors hold office hours in their office. You will find your professor's office hours on onQ, in the syllabus and you will also be informed at the beginning of your term during the introduction to your course.


Pragmatics matter

We have prepared plenty of information for you covering all practicalities you need to know about BISC Online+ and once you start studying at the Castle in person. Information ranges from how to get a visa, packing and travelling through to life at the BISC and beyond. In the coming months, you will be completing the relevant forms and checklists we have for you. In the meantime, you will be building strong connections with other incoming students, faculty and staff. Our welcome team and Students Services team are also here to help you with any question you might have.

You do need a visa to study at the BISC if you are a national from a country outside the EEA or Switzerland. However, the Canadian Passport Office, English language testing centres and UK Visa Application Centres are currently closed. Consequently, we do not recommend that you start any passport renewal and/or the visa application process at this time. We are monitoring the situation closely and will let you know when we have any further information. Visit the relevant pages on immigration including questions relating to passport and visa.
You need a passport to enter the UK. You should not begin your travel with a passport that will expire within six months of your return to Canada. However, the Canadian Passport Office, English language testing centres and UK Visa Application Centres are currently closed. Consequently, we do not recommend that you start any passport renewal and/or the visa application process at this time. We are monitoring the situation closely and will let you know when we have any further information. Visit the relevant pages on immigration including questions relating to passport and visa.

At this time, we continue to take guidance from the UK public health authorities and Global Affairs Canada. The BISC Team hopes to welcome First Year students as soon as possible and we will update students as more information becomes available.

It is our expectation that we will run a regular academic program at the Castle for all First Year students who have been admitted into BISC programs in the Winter term. In the event that the public health situation does not allow the Castle to operate, then students will be provided with options on how they can continue to progress within their degree programs during the Winter term.

Once you have accepted your offer to the BISC you will need to complete and submit the Residence Form accessible through the online portal. All students paying full fees are entitled to a twin-bedded standard room, shared with another student, in Bader Hall. You can find the form and all the essential information on our residency agreement page.
There are several options for food at the Castle and near Herstmonceux. The dining hall offers a varied menu, satisfying vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. Chestnuts Tea Room offers a range of snacks and light lunches. You can also prepare your own meals in the kitchenette, can order from local takeaways and grocery stores or use our regular minibus trips for trips to local stores.
Protecting the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty is a primary concern. Decisions regarding the precautionary health measures taken at the BISC will be made in collaboration by updates we receive from the UK public health authorities and the Public Health Agency of Canada. More information regarding residence allocations, assignments and other practical activities will be available later in the summer.
Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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