About UCL



See also UCL's research impact

Widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to Higher Education. We offer a wide range of support to young people and their parents and carers, to teachers and advisors and to prospective students of all backgrounds. Our widening participation activity builds on the core principles that have been in place since the foundation of UCL in 1826, when it was the first university in England to admit students of any religion and regardless of background. UCL aims to recruit the brightest and best students, regardless of their background.

  • In 2015/16 we worked with more than 6,000 students and 600 schools and colleges, running more than 50 projects from ‘Bring Your Family to University Saturdays’ to summer courses to encourage young researchers.
  • Last year, 500 students took part in our long term pre-16 programmes Sutton Scholars and Horizons. These year long programmes support highly able students from Year 8 to Year 11 to learn more about their higher education options, and develop the skills to succeed at university.
  • More than 1,300 students took part in our subject-specific events during 2015/16, designed to deepen subject knowledge and improve attainment. 
  • Dozens of teachers have taken part in our teacher events, and this year will see the launch of Enabling Social Mobility in Education (ESME), a free, online programme for teachers and those who play a role in providing information, advice and guidance in schools.

Read more about UCL's widening participation work.

Year 8 Sutton Scholars - Widening Participation…

UCL Culture

UCL's work in culture involves the university's museums and collections, the Bloomsbury Theatre and the Public Engagement Unit. It is an engine for research impact through engagement, performance and exhibitions, a supporter of learning and research through objects, performance and collaboration with communities, and a training school for UCL staff and students in working with the cultural industries.

Read more about UCL Culture.



The Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) is run by Students' Union UCL and is a dedicated facility for students who want to get involved with volunteering projects in the local community.

  • The VSU works with more than 400 charities, community groups and non-profit organisations.
  • Every year, approximately 2,000 students volunteer, giving more than 66,000 hours of their time.
  • More than 90% of volunteers say they feel happier as a result of volunteering, and 77% of the organisations they work with say they've been able to increase the difference they make because of UCL student volunteers.

  • Many volunteering roles are available, including one-off events and ongoing volunteering. Roles include everything from befriending to website design, environmental conservation to sports coaching, after school clubs, or campaigning.
  • The VSU also supports students who want to set up their own community projects, with a programme of training, advice, guidance, support and funding.
  • The annual Global Citizenship Voluntary Sector Programme immerses students in London’s professional voluntary sector, helping develop future voluntary sector leaders.

Read more about volunteering via Students' Union UCL.