Academic Manual


Section 8: Academic Flexibility for Elite Athletes

Published for 2023-24

8.1 Introduction8.3 Our Commitment to You
8.2 Who is an Elite Athlete?8.4 How to Request Flexibility

8.1 Introduction

1.This policy provides guidance and support for students who, while pursuing a degree at UCL, are also maintaining active participation as elite athletes in their respective sports. UCL acknowledges the unique challenges faced by these students and aims to facilitate their academic and athletic pursuits in a balanced manner.

8.2 Who is an Elite Athlete?

1.Each year Students’ Union UCL support a cohort of students through the TeamUCL Elite Athlete Support Programme. The Programme aims to support the aspirations of UCL students in achieving National and International sporting success, whilst balancing their studies at a world-leading University. This policy applies to all students that are enrolled on the TeamUCL Elite Athlete Support Programme. 

8.3 Our Commitment to You


We aim to support you in two key areas:

  • Assessment Flexibility: If your sporting commitments, like international team selection or major competitions, clash with your academic assessments, your department may be able to offer flexible arrangements such as a deferral of assessment, or an alternative assessment.
  • Pacing Your Degree: Your department will support you to explore options if your sporting commitments necessitate a change in mode of study or a break from studies.

Support Measures for You:

  • Your Departmental Tutor: Your Departmental Tutor is available to provide personalised guidance.
  • Flexible Assessments: Depending on the nature of your assessment you may be permitted to; defer your assessment, take exams overseas, extend coursework deadlines, receive support to complete assessments earlier, or explore alternative forms of assessment.
  • Timetable Adjustments: We'll try to adjust your seminar groups or practical sessions to fit your training schedule.
  • Change of mode of studies: In exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed to switch to part-time.
  • Recognising Authorised Absences: Your sport-related absences will be acknowledged as authorised and won't negatively impact your mandatory attendance. Although you must still meet the conditions of your Tier 4 Visa if you have one.
  • Break from Studies: You may be able to take an interruption of studies for a full academic year for major sporting events.

8.4 How to Request Flexibility

  • Discuss Early: Talk to the Students’ Union UCL Dual Career Coordinator and your Departmental Tutor about potential flexibility needs as soon as possible.
  • Approval Process: Your request will be reviewed by your Departmental Tutor, and Faculty Tutor (or equivalent).

Need More Information? 

 If you have specific needs or questions, please contact teamucl@ucl.ac.uk.