Information for applicants, new and current students.

Here you'll find a comprehensive list of questions and answers regarding our COVID-19 measures and updated policies for current and new students. For the latest updates on the overall situation for our Berlin-based institute, including our access policy for our facilities and travel restrictions, please reference the information below.


Latest information

Update on January 25th, 2021

Although daily COVID-19 infection rates in Germany are now subsiding they still remain at a high rate. As a result, the lockdown which was put in place in the middle of December has been extended until the middle of February.

Catalyst have an extensive range of measures in place to maximise the safety of our students and our team. These measures have worked well and the number of reported cases amongst our student community last semester was very low.

Students arriving back from their Christmas break may need to quarantine so we have chosen to implement further measures on top of the hygiene protocol already in place.

The site remains open for studio and equipment bookings during this period but all classroom lessons will remain online and the majority of team members will work from home where they are able to do so. Studio bookings must be made online and any ad-hoc request will be refused. Our student’s room booking quota has also been doubled during this period.

Catalyst class sizes are significantly smaller than other educational institutions and this together with our extensive facility (49 separate learning spaces and studios) means that we should be able to return to onsite learning sooner than other institutions.

We will continue to review our operating practices to ensure the safeguarding of our learning community whilst complying with all regulations put in place by the German government and the Berlin Senate.



Am I able to process my application?

Our team are all available online as normal. Our applications for the 2021 summer courses and longer courses will open in November 2020. From the opening of the application submissions period, any applications submitted before April 30, 2021 are considered priority applications and will receive a guaranteed place on their course of choice.

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What happens if I pay my deposit and I am not able to attend for any reason related to COVID-19?

If you make an enrolment payment (and a single tuition fee payment) to guarantee your place on any of our courses and you are unable to attend the course for any reason directly related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we will offer a full refund of your monies, as per the following situations:

  1. If our course delivery is onsite in Berlin and you are either not able to travel due to provable travel restrictions in your own country (or country of residence) or because you are denied entry to Germany by the German authorities.
  2. If you become ill with COVID-19 before the start of the year and have to take an extended period of time in recuperation such that you are unable to study or unable to catch up with missed work as proven by a doctor’s note
  3. Should you become ill during your studies with us you are already covered by point 9.2 of our Terms and Conditions.

Alternatively, you may also choose to defer your place for one year. If you have paid your enrolment fee and defer your place for one year, the course cost will be fixed at the 2021 prices.

Are any open days still taking place?

We are still offering regular Virtual Open Days and there will be smaller Open Day opportunities throughout the year.

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How have teaching and onsite access worked during 2020/21?

Catalyst were fully open from September 2020 to January 2021 with a distancing and hygiene protocol in place to keep students safe. In January 2021 a lockdown was imposed and we switched to a more nuanced situation. Some classes continued to be delivered onsite with others being delivered online. All facilities remained fully open to students with an extra 50% booking time available for studios and equipment. In April 2021 new lockdown measures were introduced. All facilities remain fully open but we have reduced the size of our team working onsite to those considered essential for managing the facility and keeping it open for students use.

How will summer 2021 courses be delivered?

We currently expect our summer courses to be running normally with a distancing and hygiene protocol in place to keep students safe. We benefit from small class sizes and a large facility which makes it relatively easy to set this up.

How will courses starting in September 2021 be delivered?

We anticipate our courses starting in September 2021 to run on-site with a distancing and hygiene protocol in place to keep students safe. Depending on how complete the vaccination programme is at that point, we will be ready to adjust our own measures to meet the required distancing and hygiene protocols.

How does the vaccine situation look in Germany and where can we get updated on this situation?

The vaccine programme in Germany is now picking up speed. As of April 19th 2021 more than 22 million people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than half a million people are being vaccinated every day. You can monitor this number with the link below.

COVID-19 vaccines Germany
How can I travel into Germany if tourists from my country aren’t allowed in?

It is likely that a small number of countries may still be part of a travel ban in Germany in September 2021. In September 2020 exemptions were made for all students travelling to Germany. To facilitate that we issued all of our students an “Imperative Need To Travel” letter. You will be receiving this letter 3 weeks before the start of your course. The second page of the Acceptance Letter also contains a document confirming your enrolment on our course. These two items combined will allow you to travel into Germany to attend the course of your choice.



What is Catalyst doing to support their students?

Rather than giving general refunds or rebates of tuition fees Catalyst is supporting it’s students in two specific ways:-

  1. From September we expect to be supporting students who have a reduced income as a result of COVID-19 with flexible payment schemes or in extreme cases a limited number of bursaries.
  2. An increasing percentage of our student body are with us for three years or more in order to complete their bachelor degree. By remaining a viable organisation we will be supporting students who wish to complete their degree course with us.



Will the main courses starting in September be affected by COVID-19?

Our long courses have started in September as planned. With updated strict hygiene policies in place, students will be able to attend their scheduled lessons, in smaller groups. Masks are mandatory at all times and preventive measures have been taken to ensure the wellbeing of our community. The new and inflexible hygiene protocol has been communicated to all new and returning students during the first week of class.

Is there a way for students to be more actively involved in helping Catalyst with the current situation?

We really appreciate the large number of offers we have had from students on this front. It is a sign not only of your maturity and understanding but also of the strong relationship we have with our student body. We appreciate students holding themselves and their peers accountable for respecting the measures put in place to ensure a minimum spread of the virus.

How will the voucher for the bookable time offer work?

Students can enquire directly with our tech team. Our facilities team has made provision for this to be possible during the next 24 months. Please see this PDF for details.

How do we plan to make up for the lost film making time?

We have committed to providing a voucher that will allow access to both our facilities and equipment for an extended 24 months.

Where can I find the past official communications about the crisis?

You can read the letters we sent to students here:

  1. A personal message from the director
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on our education