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Your study at UCL

As a Study Abroad student at UCL you have access to an extensive and flexible range of subject options. Whether you are looking to focus solely on your major area of academic study, explore a more interdisciplinary route or experience something completely new, UCL can support you.

Your study options: subjects and courses

When you apply for admission to UCL, you will normally apply to one subject area (the full list is given on page 1 of this guide), where you will be expected to take at least 50% of your courses. Thereafter, you can select the remainder of your courses from other subject areas without the need for direct admission. This level of flexibility offers opportunities that many study abroad students take advantage of. Prerequisites may of course apply, to ensure that you have sufficient prior knowledge. Taking courses in other disciplines is also dependent on space on the relevant course being available.

There are, however, some exceptions. Law courses are only available to students admitted to the Faculty of Laws, and normally affiliate students admitted to Laws are from institutions with which Laws has reciprocal arrangements. English Language and Literature courses are only available to affiliate students directly admitted to this subject area. A similar restriction applies to Level 2 and 3 courses in Economics. Students admitted to Fine Art (the Slade School) must take their entire credit load within this area, and may not select courses from other departments.

You may also apply for joint admission to two subject areas, e.g. Economics and Mathematics. This might be advisable if you have particular programme requirements in more than one subject area in order to gain credit for your studies at your home institution. In such circumstances you would be expected to take at least 50% of your courses in the first named subject area and 25% in the second.

As part of the application process, you are encouraged to provide a preliminary selection of individual courses you wish to take as part of your programme of study at UCL. This website lists a wide range of popular course options, but it is not exhaustive and, since it is published ahead of time, some courses may have changed or no longer be available. If you have a specialised interest or academic requirement we recommend that you use the contact details given on each subject page to enquire whether a course of the required level and focus is available. When you arrive at UCL you will consult with the tutor for your subject area before formally signing up to your chosen set of courses, and can adjust your selection if appropriate, to best meet your needs.

Each course in this guide has a credit value expressed both as US credits and ECTS (the European Credit Transfer System). You are expected to take the full course-load for your period of study at UCL, which for a full year student is equivalent to 32 US credits or 60 ECTS, and for a student attending from September to December or January to June is equivalent to 16 US credits or 30 ECTS.

Throughout this guide the courses are also attributed to levels. These levels are intended to indicate approximately the amount of prerequisite subject knowledge needed for the course. Where a subject area lists Core Courses then you are not expected to have specific prerequisite knowledge relating to the content of the course. Level 1 courses usually contain introductory material and would be appropriate for broadening your scope, either to explore an area of your chosen subject you have not focused on at your home institution, or to take an option outside your main subject area. Level 2 and Level 3 courses will normally require prior study in this subject area, thus providing an opportunity to develop your knowledge of a subject area you are studying for your degree at your home institution. Further advice is available from the subject contact listed for each entry.

How your study is structured

The academic year at UCL begins in September and is divided into three terms. Most teaching takes place in the first term (Autumn/Fall) and the second term (Spring), with the third term (Summer) reserved for revision and examinations.

To gain the maximum possible benefit from your study abroad experience, we recommend that you apply for the full academic year. You may also apply to study in most UCL subject areas for less than the full year. The admission options offered by UCL are shown below:

September admission for the full year (Setptember–June)
32 US credits / 60 ECTS
Fall (Autumn) term only admission (September–December)
16 US credits / 30 ECTS
Spring and Summer terms admission (January–June)
16 US credits / 30 ECTS

Course availability and assessment

Courses may be taught over a full year or over one term. The subject pages which follow state whether a course is available for the Year, or for the Fall (Autumn) Term or the Spring (including the Summer Term) Term. If you are studying for the full year you will have a wider choice of courses.

Where a course is marked as being available for Year and Fall Term or Spring Term then it is possible for term/semester-only students to take half of the full-year course. Two sets of credit values are shown for such courses, with the lower value applying if only half of the course is taken.

The method of assessment for each course will vary depending on the subject area, but wherever possible you will be assessed in exactly the same way as students enrolled for UCL undergraduate degrees. Alternative arrangements will be put in place if your registration with us does not allow you to be present for assessment by end-of-year examinations. For further information on course availability and assessment, please refer to the individual subject entries in this guide.

Support and advice

In each subject area there is a specific tutor who has special responsibility for study abroad students. As well as having responsibility for admissions, these tutors are also responsible for approving your final course selections (undertaken upon arrival at UCL), advising on assessment and for helping you integrate and make the most of your stay at UCL. Advice from tutors on course selection is also offered at the application stage.


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