Studying at UCL
Making the most of your time at university means ensuring you meet your academic potential and get the most out of your time as a student. Integral to this is understanding what is required of you academically, your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can continue to build on these over the course of your degree.
The Study Skills page offers information on the skills you need to succeed at university as well as resources to help you develop these.
The box below highlights some other key resources that could be crucial in helping you to achieve your potential.
At UCL, depending on the degree you are studying, you will learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, classes, laboratory work, and project work. These approaches are designed to teach you to think critically, analytically and creatively. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are normally one hour in length while laboratory classes usually last between two and three hours.
The amount of formal teaching through lectures, tutorials and other means will account for, on average, about 15 hours per week. Students following a degree in the arts and humanities and in social and historical sciences may well find that their official contact time with academic staff is less than this whereas science and engineering students may be timetabled for 20 or more hours.
Students take a series of lecture courses which normally run in parallel, and may last one term or run for the whole of the academic year. Associated with each lecture course are seminars, tutorials and, possibly, laboratory classes which draw upon or analyse the topics covered in the lectures. Lecture sizes can vary from 20 to 300 in the first year, but as the degree progresses and more options become available, the lecture size will fall considerably.
Seminars & Tutorials
Seminars and tutorials are on the whole a lot smaller than lectures, and in some departments tuition is available on a one-to-one basis. Students are normally expected to prepare work in advance for seminars and tutorials. This can take the form of researching a topic for discussion (including possibly leading that discussion), writing essays which are marked and discussed, or by solving set problems in science and engineering.
In addition students are expected to spend a considerable amount of time on directed private study towards their work in seminars, tutorials or laboratory work, or in reading and researching topics around their main studies.
At the end of your degree we expect you to have developed skills including leadership, teamwork, self-reliance, good communication and project management. These will have been fostered both from the way you have been taught at UCL and from the other opportunities available. You can find more information about the kinds of skills you should develop during your degree, and opportunities to build on your skills, on the Personal and Professional Development website.
The Transition Programme encourages students to learn through peer-assisted learning. Mentors run sessions to share their experience of first-year courses, and facilitate group discussions to help new students with common problems.
Moodle is a virtual learning environment that many different UCL departments are using. As a UCL student you will use this regularly to find out information about your course, view hand outs and lecture slides as well as to submit work.
The Pre-enrolment Moodle site is designed by UCL students for new students to offer information and advice about living in London and studying at UCL. If you have not yet been issued with a UCL username and password, you can still log on to Moodle as a guest. Please follow this link to log on to Moodle.
Information Services Division (ISD)
PCs are provided for use by all students in open-access cluster rooms on campus and in student residences. Over 100 software packages for teaching, learning and general purpose use are available. Students’ own PCs and laptops may be connected to the network through sockets and wireless connections on campus and in residential study bedrooms. Many departments also have computers cluster rooms for their own students. IT training courses are available for students with minimal computing experience as well as for those with more experience who wish to develop their skills further.
Visit the Information Systems website for more information.
UCL Library Services has a comprehensive website full of guides on its collections and how to use them so we won’t repeat everything here: instead, this page is an introduction for first years who want to know how to make the most of the wealth of resources available in both print and digital format.
The two largest library sites are the Main and Science Libraries, although there are a number of other libraries in and around the Gower Street campus and further afield. The full list of library sites gives you a guide to all the libraries, with details of their collections and locations.
Visit their website to find the following:
- Detailed guides about how to use the library
- Specific help with your subjects and instructions for accessing reading lists
- Library information skills training
Tips for using the library
- Go on a library tour when you get the opportunity.
- Avoid overdue fines! Not all items have the same loan period, so take careful note of the due date of your items and return or renew them on time.
- Learn how to use online databases of journal articles which identify what has been published in your subject area across many Journals.
- While the library often has multiple copies of core readings, some of which can be reserved for specific time slots during the day, there are times (eg right before an assignment is due) when some items are very much in demand. If you leave it to the last minute to get the book you want, you may find someone else has the same idea. So start your research early and always have a list of back-up titles.
Page last modified on 19 jun 12 09:54