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Frequently asked questions

Below are a selection of frequently asked questions from students in the US and elsewhere considering Study Abroad at UCL.

Q: How big is UCL? Are there many international students?

A. There are about 24,850 students of whom around 39% come from outside the UK (and about 800 of these are on study abroad programmes, including Junior Year Abroad, Erasmus etc).

Q. What GPA do students from the US need to get accepted? Are there subject prerequisites?

A. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 is normally required.

Performance in courses relevant to proposed study are particularly important, and grades of at least B+ should have been achieved in a minimum of 3 of these courses.

Some subjects (e.g. Economics, Languages, Computer Science, Anatomy, Mathematics) will look for prior study in particular topics, such as Mathematics and Calculus for Economics.

In addition, some subjects (such as Economics, English and History) will look for a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 or 3.5.

Q. Can Sophomores Study Abroad at UCL?

A. This is not recommended, however exceptions can be made (January entry only) if a student has taken Advanced Placement exams at High School and has already completed sufficient relevant prior study at university.

Q. Can Seniors Study Abroad at UCL?

A. Yes, provided the student is aware that examination marks from May assessment may not be available in time for student to graduate at the normal time.

Q. Are there courses just for International students?

A. No. Study Abroad students are integrated into all the classes/assessments that the regular degree students are taking.

Q. What courses can I take?

A. The UCL Study Abroad Guide (SAG) lists courses at various levels offered by over 40 different departments. Some courses last a whole year, some for one semester. The information is also available on the web by clicking the links on the left of this page.

You will need to ensure that the courses you are interested run for the semester you are interested in.

Q. How many courses can I take?

A. You must take a full course load whilst at UCL, which is the equivalent to 2.0 UCL course units (4 US credits). Typically, this will be 4 courses per semester, however this may vary between department.

It will not be possible for you to underload or overload at UCL, and you will be expected to take a full courseload for the full duration of your studies at UCL.

Q. When/How do I enrol on the courses?

A. You should indicate a preliminary selection of courses you are interested in on your application form to give us an idea of your interests and focus. However enrolment does not take place until arrival at UCL, when students discuss their programme of study with their academic adviser (called the Affiliate Student Tutor). No course can be guaranteed prior to arrival and is always subject to availability and departmental approval.

At least half the student's workload must be taken in the main admitting department. The final choice of courses will depend on the courses available, the student's prior study, and avoidance of timetable clashes.

Prior approval from the home university should be sought for a generous number of courses to allow for flexibility.

Q. Do courses get full up, or will I get my choice of courses?

A. UCL tries to accommodate all students who are qualified to study here. But where there are space constraints, courses may close and students will be offered alternatives.

Q. Can I take courses in more than one department?

A. In general, yes. Provided that a minimum of half the workload is taken in the main admitting department, the student can make up the rest of the workload from other departments (subject to appropriate prior study and timetable constraints).

There are exceptions - the Independent Studio Programme at the Slade School of Fine Art is a full-time commitment, as is the Architecture programme at the Bartlett School. And in the English department, students take all their courses there if English is the sole admitting department.

Where two departments jointly have admitted the student, he/she will take half the workload in the first department and a minimum of 25% of the workload in the second department. If English is one of two departments, exactly half the courses must be taken there.

Q. Can I take courses at other colleges in the University of London?

A. No, sorry. Affiliate students are not permitted to take any intercollegiate courses.

Q. Can I take courses at a mixture of both Undergraduate and Graduate level?

A. No. If you are admitted at Undergraduate level, you must take all of your courses at Undergraduate level. Likewise, if you are admitted at Graduate level, you will not be able to take any Undergraduate level courses.

Q. How are the courses assessed?

A. This will depend on the nature of the course, and on the policy of the department offering it. Some courses are assessed entirely by examination at the end of the course; some by special essays or projects; some by a combination of the two. All courses are assessed rigorously (2 independent markers with additional moderation where required). Examinations take place in May. Clear information is given in the departmental entries.

Q. What happens if I'm leaving in December and won't be there for the May exams?

A. Arrangements are made for Fall-term only students to complete a special assessment before they leave in December. Please note that not all departments will do this so please check carefully in the SAG.

Q. Can I do Theatre Studies?

A. We do not offer Theatre Studies, but UCL does have its own theatre and students can take part in productions there. And London's famously wide range of theatres are all within easy reach of UCL!

Q. Can I do Politics and International Relations?

A. Yes. At UCL we have both a Political Studies and an International Relations programme, details of which can be found in the Study Abroad Guide. Many of UCL's departments offer courses in politics, including theoretical and general issues, regional examples of conflict and conflict resolution as well as aspects of International Relations. Both the Political Studies and International Relations programmes are multi-disciplinary, providing a wide choice of courses from various departments.

Q. Can I do Business Studies?

A. Not really. But you may find appropriate courses in the Economics department and the Psychology department. Alternatively, if you are at UCL for the May examinations, you may take courses from within the Management Science & Innovation department.

Q. Can I have my own studio space in the Slade School of Fine Art?

A. Yes, if you have been accepted for the Independent Studio Programme (portfolio required). You can concentrate on Painting, Sculpture or Fine Art Media. (Please tell us which of these you want to do, on your application form).

Q. What does it cost to study at UCL?

A. Tuition costs depend on your admitting department, and full details can be found in the Study Abroad Guide. Students coming to UCL under an exchange agreement (e.g. Erasmus) will not pay tuition fees to UCL. You should also budget approximately £1000 a month to cover your living costs (including housing, food and entertainment).

Q. Can I get employment while I'm studying?

A. There are plenty of casual jobs in London. As an overseas student studying full-time in the UK, you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week in term time, and full-time in vacations with a Tier 4 visa. You are not allowed to work or volunteer on a student visitor visa.

Q. Where will I be living?

A. UCL guarantees accommodation to all students coming for a full academic year. It also normally manages to house students coming just for one semester. Students can choose catered/self-catering; en-suite; single/shared etc. Most housing is within 10 minutes' walk of the College; some is adjacent to the campus; some is a short bus-ride away. For further details, please consult our Accommodation pages.

Q. How easy is it to make friends?

A. It depends on you. If you join student activities (the Student Union has over 160 different societies), and if you make an effort to get to know your neighbours in your hall of residence or in your tutorial group, you should make many good and longlasting friendships.

Q. Can I take part in sports teams?

A. Yes! UCL has teams for all the main sports, both indoor and outdoor. It also contributes members to the University of London teams (e.g. the rowing eights). The Welcome Fair at the start of the academic year is a good place to sign up for team trials.

Q. Where can I get more information?

A. If your own university has a Study Abroad Office (sometimes called an Office of International Programs) you should go there first to get advice on how to get the necessary approvals, how to apply, and how to prepare. Consult the published UCL Study Abroad Guide – or follow the links on the left side of this page.

Check out the UCL website www.ucl.ac.uk/international

If you can't find answers to your questions in those places you can send your enquiry here: Enquiry Form


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