Undergraduate Handbook

Points of Contact

Student Representation

Information pertinent directly to all students.

12.1 Student representation

Information on Students’ Union UCL, how to run for election and how to find a representative

Students’ Union UCL

The Union helps you to do more at UCL, experience something you’ve always dreamt of, turn a curiosity into a new passion and help you reach your potential. The Union cares about the things you care about, it’s made up of all kinds of people from all kinds of places and it is right there to fight for you when you need someone in your corner.

Students’ Union UCL is the representative body of all UCL students. It is run by students and is a registered charity, independent of UCL. All UCL students at every level are automatically members of the Union (but can opt out), and the Union’s leaders are elected annually by and from all current students. The elected leaders are called Sabbatical Officers and they represent students on various UCL committees and campaign on the issues that matter to students. Alongside the Sabbatical Officers are more than 1000 voluntary representatives, elected or appointed to cover every part of UCL life.

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Student societies

UCL students currently run over 250 different clubs and societies through the Students’ Union, providing a wide range of extra-curricular activities for students to get involved with during their time at UCL.

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The UCL Greenough Society is perfect for anyone with an interest in the Earth Sciences. It was created over 100 years ago by a student and is named after the prestigious geologist George Greenough. Marie Stopes was one of the founding members. Being part of the society provides the opportunity to meet other people with similar interests from other degree programmes and year groups. The society organizes a range of academic activities such as lectures with guest speakers, and co-ordinates with the careers service to help students get the best advice and work experience. There are also a range of fieldtrips and day trips to places which help students improve their expedition skills and extend learning beyond the lecture room. There are a variety of social events including parties, formal dinners, sports competitions and quiz nights. The committee is run entirely by students so also provides a good chance for students to get involved in improving the life of their fellow students.

Information on Academic Representatives

Academic Representatives

Your Students’ Union is there to make sure students have the best possible time while they’re studying at UCL. One of the ways we do that is by working with departments and faculties to ensure that every student is represented and has a voice in the way that the university works.

Every student at UCL will have a Course Representative or a Research Student Representative who will be your eyes, ears, and voice. They’ll work closely with staff in your department to make sure that they understand what you most value, and take action to deal with things you’d like to see improve. They’ll also work with representatives in your faculty and the Students’ Union to make things better across the whole of UCL.

If you take up a representative role, the Students’ Union will work closely with you to provide training, support, and advice, and you’ll be able to change the experience of everyone on your course or in your department for the better. Course and Research Student Representatives are appointing during early October – if you’d like to take up the role, staff in your department can tell you how.

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Students’ Union Advice Centre

The Students’ Union Advice Service is available to UCL students. Trained and experienced caseworkers are ready to support you with any difficulties that might occur during your time at UCL. The Advice Service specialises in:

  • Academic issues - including examination irregularities and student complaints
  • Housing - including contract checking and housemate disputes
  • Employment - including unpaid wages and part time employment contracts
  • Money advice - including advice on benefits
  • Many other legal and university matters

Students can make an appointment or attend a drop-in session for free, confidential and independent advice and support.

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12.2  Staff-Student Consultative Committee

Role of the Staff-Student Consultative Committee

Every department at UCL has a Staff-Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) that meets at least twice a year. The SSCC provides a forum for discussion between staff and student academic representatives. It is a great chance to work closely with staff to improve students’ learning experience, and a big part of how together we make education better at UCL.


Each October, we ask officers of the Greenough Society to hold elections. To form a DSSCC, we need one representative from each of the four Undergraduate year groups (First Year through to MSci Year). You are encouraged to consider putting yourself forward for election. If you would like to be considered, please email our Academic Administrator.

12.3 Informal and Formal Student Complaints

Student Complaints

UCL aims to ensure that every student is satisfied with their experience of UCL. However we recognise that from time to time problems do arise and students may wish to express concern or dissatisfaction with aspects of UCL or the quality of services provided.

Informal resolution

Many complaints can be resolved at an informal or local level without needing to submit a formal complaint. Students can speak to their Personal Tutor, Programme Leader, Departmental or Faculty Tutor, or Course Representative if they have any concerns about their programme. They can also speak to the UCL Student Mediator or the Students’ Union Advice Service. UCL strongly encourages this kind of resolution and does expect students to have attempted some form of informal resolution before making a formal complaint.

Formal complaints

If an issue cannot be resolved at a local level, students may feel they need to submit a formal complaint using UCL’s Student Complaints Procedure. UCL aims to ensure that all complaints are treated fairly, impartially, effectively and in a timely manner, without fear of victimisation. The Complaints Procedure applies across all Schools, Faculties, Academic Departments and Professional Service Divisions.

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12.4 Student feedback

The importance of feedback and how UCL uses the results

Student Feedback

UCL’s goal is to put students’ feedback, insights and contributions at the heart of our decision-making. We value students’ feedback and work with students as partners in the process of shaping education at UCL. In recent years, as a direct result of student feedback, we extended library opening hours, opened new study spaces and scrapped graduation ticket fees for students.

Student surveys and how UCL uses the results, including information about the NSS, PTES and Student Barometer

Student Surveys

One of the principal ways in which UCL gathers and responds to student feedback is via online student experience surveys such as the National Student Survey, The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, and the Student Barometer. Whether it’s about teaching, accommodation, or facilities, surveys are a chance for students to have their say about what works and what needs improving, to help us make sure that UCL is as good as it can be for current and future students. Each survey takes just a few minutes to complete, all responses anonymous, and some include a generous prize draw. Every piece of feedback is read and the results of each survey are shared with staff across UCL – including President & Provost Michael Arthur.

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Student Evaluation Questionnaires – when they occur and why they are important

Student Evaluation Questionnaires

Departments also run Student Evaluation Questionnaires on individual modules throughout the year. This gives students the opportunity to feedback about the teaching on their specific modules, helping departments to continuously improve learning, teaching and assessment. Feedback from SEQs feeds into the Annual Student Experience Review process. The SEQs will be given out to you by the module organiser for you to complete at the end of each teaching term.

The ASER process and how student representatives are involved

The Annual Student Experience Review (ASER)

UCL’s Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) process requires all departments to undertake an annual self-evaluation and produce a development plan for how they plan to improve in the coming year. The self-evaluation involves looking at student feedback from surveys and student evaluation questionnaires as well as other data about student performance and academic standards, such as the feedback provided by the External Examiner, which helps departments to understand what is working well and what might need improving. Student’s Academic Representatives are active participants in the evaluation process and creation of the development plan through discussions at departmental and faculty committees, giving students an important role in identifying and planning improvements within their department. Students can view the completed reports and action plans on the faculty/departmental intranet.

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We value students’ feedback and work with students as partners in the process of shaping education at UCL.

12.5 ChangeMakers

About the project, who they are and how a student can find out more or become involved (Centrally Provided)

UCL ChangeMakers

UCL ChangeMakers encourages students and staff to work in partnership with each other on educational enhancement projects to improve the experiences of students across UCL. UCL ChangeMakers Projects supports students and staff in running projects to improve the learning experience at UCL. Anyone with an idea, or who wants get involved, can submit a proposal for funding and support.

UCL ChangeMakers ASER facilitators are students who work with Student Academic Representatives and staff in selected departments to formulate the departmental educational enhancement action plan.

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