UCL Information Services Division


Choosing an Acceptable Password

If you’ve navigated your way to this page, it’s probably because you’re having difficulty choosing a password that the system will accept. Don’t worry it’s not impossible!

Here are some tips to help you choose an acceptable password.

Get the most from your Password:

You can set a password of between 8 and 30 characters. The stronger it is, the longer you can keep it. One suggestion is to use 4 or more words. There are still a few rules and you will need to include 3 out of the following:

  • Lowercase characters
  • Uppercase characters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols, i.e. ! % ^ * ( ) _ + - = " ` ; < > , ? ⁄ $ & [ ] { }

You can not use the symbols: ~ : | £ \

Avoid accented characters, characters from non-English scripts, symbols (other than those listed above), Emoji, etc. (This is simply because some of our older systems can't work with those types of character.)

Your password can not contain your user ID, forename or surname and you can not use a password you have previously used.

Note: If you are using some older UCL Administrative Systems, your password should additionally NOT use: the @ (at) symbol or start with either a space or " (double quote). If your password contains these characters and you have problems logging into some systems, try resetting your password to one that doesn't use them.


If you're having trouble thinking of a password, try taking three words and separating them with a number and a symbol (from the acceptable character list above). This will hopefully give you a password that's easy to remember, quick to type and strong enough to give you a reasonable time between password resets.

DON'T base your password on a dictionary word, proper name or personal details such as address, post code, phone number or department name.

DON'T use foreign language words - password cracker programs uses dictionaries containing words from a large number of languages including Yiddish, Finnish, German, and Danish.

DON'T use names of bands, asteroids, cartoons, movies, TV programs, swear words, Shakespearean or Monty Python characters, or science fiction jargon - the dictionaries include these too.

DON'T use any of the above with I's, L's and O's transposed with ones and zeros - these are matched.

DON'T use the following symbols: ~ : | £ \

DON'T use accented characters, non-English scripts or other, unusual symbols. You may find that MyAccount will sometimes accept such characters in passwords but you may encounter problems with some older systems. For example, avoid characters like these:

Example characters to avoid in your password

DON'T merely disguise a word by using repetition or reversal or by adding a number to the beginning or end of it.

DON'T use anybody else's user name as a password. This information is included in the dictionary set.

Now you’ve got that great new password...

  • Don’t keep a record of your user ID and password together
  • Never give your password out to anyone else
  • If you have reason to believe that your account has been tampered with at any time, change your password immediately and let the ISD Service Desk know as soon as possible