General Information

The Department is principally a centre of learning, where everyone (from First-Year undergraduate to Head of Department) aims to further their knowledge and understanding of the geosciences. It is also important to make the most of any opportunities to acquire and develop skills to take with you into the job market. In addition, there are many facilities and activities within College that you will be able to benefit from outside scheduled classes. 

Undergraduate students are allowed in the Department between the hours of 8 am to 7 pm. This is a UCL Health & Safety requirement.

2.1: Layout of the Department

The Department’s main teaching laboratories and the Garwood Lecture Theatre are located in the South Wing on the First and Second Floors, above the UCL Registry. The Undergraduate Tutor's office is Room 30, Second Floor. However, many of the Department's staff rooms, research rooms and research laboratories are located in the Kathleen Lonsdale Building (KLB), in the Basement and on the Ground and First Floors. Other staff offices can be found on the Second Floor of the Pearson Building, and on the Third and Fourth Floors of the Lewis's Building.

For further directions please consult the UCL Maps Tool.

2.2: Communication and Information

We will contact you using Live@UCL, a web-based email and calendaring service. New students will be allocated a user id such as  which should be used to log in to your live@ucl account. You will also be given an e-mail address, such as When sending emails to staff, ensure you add your name at the end of your email. 

  • E-mail must be checked daily, using the computers in the Department, College, Hall, or elsewhere. 
  • You must renew your UCL computer password when prompted to do so.

Contact details for our members of staff are available on our People pages. If in an emergency you need to phone another member of staff in the department, the internal extensions can be found here. The last 4 numbers form the final 4 digits of the number if calling from outside.

You may also wish to speak to a member of staff personally. Staff may operate Office Hours, and you should try to stick to those times. Contact with staff is best made by e-mail in the first instance, booking an appointment if necessary.

We may also contact you through the undergraduate mailboxes on the second floor of South Wing, in the corridor between Rooms 42 and 44. You should look daily in the mailbox beneath the label showing the first letter of your surname. If you want to communicate with lecturers or tutors, you can put a message into the outgoing mail box. 

From time to time,  Departmental notices (e.g. provisional results) will be placed on the Undergraduate Notice Board, situated on the First Floor corridor of the South Wing, outside the Rock Room. Make sure that you read these regularly.

The correct address for the department:

Department of Earth Sciences

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT

Tel: 020-7679-2363 (for Academic Administrator) Fax: 020-7679-2344

If you change your address either at College or at your permanent home, you need to record your new address in the Portico system. You will have no excuse for failing to carry out a College or University instruction if the information is sent to your old address and you have not told us of the change. 

2.3: Portico - The UCL Student Information Service

Access to PORTICO, the Student Information Service, is available to everyone across UCL – both staff and students alike. PORTICO is listed under Quick Links. You will need to log on using your UCL user id and password, which are issued to you once you have enrolled. These are the same as the ones used for accessing UCL restricted web pages, UCL email and the Windows Terminal Service (WTS). If you do not know them, you should contact the Information Systems Division Helpdesk as soon as possible. Please remember that passwords automatically expire after 150 days, unless they have been changed. Warnings are sent to your UCL email address during a 30 day period, prior to your password being reset.

You can change your password on the web, at any time, at your account.  

Passwords cannot be issued over the phone unless you are registered for the User Authentication Service. We strongly advise that you register for this service. If you have not registered for the User Authentication Service you will need to visit the IS Helpdesk in person or ask them to post a new password to your registered home or term-time address. More information can be found at the Helpdesk.

As a student you take ownership of your own personal data by logging on to PORTICO. 

In PORTICO you can
  • edit your own personal data e.g. update your home and term addresses, contact numbers and other elements of your personal details;
  • complete online module registration – i.e. select the modules you would like to study, in accordance with the rules for your programme of study (subject to formal approval & sign off by the relevant teaching department and your parent department); 
  • view data about courses/modules - i.e. information on courses/modules available either in your home department or elsewhere to help you choose your optional modules / electives;
  • view your own examination results online from around the end of July/beginning of August following your examinations in June; 
  • develop and record your key skills development; 
  • record your meetings with your Personal Tutor.

First year students should discuss their options with their personal tutor or the Undergraduate Tutor before starting on-line module registration. Continuing students should be able to complete their on-line registration during the summer vacation prior to the start of term. Students requiring official confirmation of their results, or any graduating student requiring additional copies of their transcript, should refer to the information for obtaining an official transcript

2.4: Health, Wellbeing and Safety

General information on Health and Wellbeing can be found on the UCL website. The Department places great importance on safety, both on-site and in the field. The Departmental Safety Officer is Mr. John Bowles, and the Field Safety Officer is Dr. Tom Mitchell. Further detailed information on field safety is also available. A list of staff trained in First Aid is displayed in the corridor of the First Floor, South Wing, adjacent to Room 2. In case of emergency, if you cannot contact a member of staff, you may use an internal phone to dial 222. This will connect you to the UCL Communications Room, which will be able to provide support.


Fire drills are held during the terms at unannounced times, so you should familiarise yourself with the instructions displayed on notice boards in the corridors as to the procedure you should follow and where assembly points are. There are Fire Evacuation Marshals (FEMs) appointed from the staff who will take charge of you during these times. You may not re-enter the building unless told it is safe to do so by the UCL Fire Officer or the Fire Brigade.


UCL is a smoke-free work place. For more information please review the Details of the Policy

2.5: Engagement monitoring; Attendance and Academic Progress

The Department is required to monitor the engagement of students with their studies and to report to UCL at regular intervals throughout the year. Full attendance, on time, is expected at all lectures, practical classes, field classes and tutorials, throughout each term. UCL operates a College Reading Week, during which time you may be required to attend fieldwork, or to undertake other designated activities related to your studies. This is also a good opportunity to go through your lectures and make sure you understand them. Any students whose attendance or progress is deemed to be an issue will be called for an interview initially with the Undergraduate Tutor, or if the problems continue, with the MAPS Faculty Tutor.  

Under UCL Regulations, you are allowed to enter for examinations or assessments only if we can confirm that you have attended the appropriate course and pursued it to our satisfaction. You must advise the Undergraduate Tutor if you are ill, or have to be away from the Department for a short period for a serious reason (e.g. bereavement). You are permitted to self certificate for up to a maximum of 5 working days of absence. However, you will need to provide a Medical Certificate if you have extended absence due to illness, or if the period of absence includes an examination, or deadline for submission of coursework. Unexplained absences will be reported to the Undergraduate Tutor. For further guidance on notifying absence, see Absence from UCL.

The normal process of dealing with absenteeism:
  • 3 consecutive absences will lead to a written warning from the module organiser.
  • Continued absences will be reported to the Undergraduate Tutor, who will issue a written warning and ask for a written explanation.
  • 6 unexcused absences may lead to removal from the course and therefore from the exam.

2.6: Moodle

UCL Moodle is the centrally supported virtual learning environment (VLE) used for UCL's courses and programmes to support and enhance teaching, learning and research. All members of UCL are able to login to Moodle, and all Earth Sciences undergraduate modules have a Moodle site which may be used for course information on timetables, lectures and presentations, coursework and student feedback. Please take time to check the Moodle pages called Skills, Careers and Resources - Earth Sciences.

2.7: Personal Conduct

All members of the Department are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and proper manner. Above all, people's behaviour should not interfere with the desire or ability of others to work. This includes maintaining a discrete level of talking outside lecture theatres and class rooms in use, and switching OFF all mobile phones in the South Wing teaching areas and corridors, including the Rock Room. Please note that the College is a no-smoking environment, and smokers are expected to go outside the building. Food and drink are not allowed in lecture theatres, practical laboratories or the cluster rooms. Laboratories should be left in a clean and tidy state. If they are being used for private study please ensure that, when finished with, all materials are returned to their proper places. See the College Regulations for full details of required personal conduct.

2.8: Green Issues

“As one of the world's leading universities, UCL is very conscious both of its role in environmental research and teaching and of its environmental impact as a major institution in central London”. 

UCL has already achieved bronze accreditation with Ecocampus, a programme which encourages universities and colleges to develop their environmental management systems. It is now working hard towards silver accreditation, and a Head of Environmental Sustainability was appointed in July 2011. 

The UCL Green Community is a network of staff and students who have volunteered as Green Champions to work towards this vision at grass roots level. Within Earth Sciences, your staff contacts are Wendy Kirk and Dario Alfe.  

Contact the Green Community

The team can be contacted about green issues via the generic address: 

Student representatives will be elected through the student Greenough Club, and can help greatly with every day matters of reducing energy use and recycling, for example. Please help make the department a greener place. The bins can be used for all waste EXCEPT FOOD, as recyclable materials will be subsequently removed. Food waste ONLY should be put into bins with red liners, such as that in the Rock Room adjacent to the sink. UCL sends no rubbish to landfill. 

Further information, and opportunities to become involved, can be found on the Green UCL site.