Academic Manual


Section 3: UCL Student Attendance Policy

Published for 2023-24

3.1 Scope3.6 Study Away from UCL
3.2 Attendance Expectations3.7 Staff Guidance
3.3 Recording In-Person Attendance3.8 Useful Links
3.4 Absences3.9 Privacy Notice
3.5 Repeated Non- or Low Attendance 

3.1 Scope

1.This policy sets out UCL’s expectations on attendance. It is relevant to all taught students enrolled at UCL and all staff responsible for reviewing attendance. This includes, but is not limited to temporary, honorary, visiting, casual, voluntary, emeritus and agency workers, students employed by UCL and its suppliers. Note, some programmes, for example some professionally accredited programmes, have programme-specific attendance requirements which should be made available to you in addition to this policy.

3.2 Attendance Expectations 

1.Programmes of study at UCL are designed to ensure your learning is optimised and you have successful outcomes. Attendance at all scheduled teaching events is the best way to ensure you achieve your potential and to support your engagement and wellbeing.  We recognise, however, that there are times when you may have to miss one or more teaching events (for example, because of illness).  
2.UCL encourages you to attend all scheduled teaching events which appear on your timetable. This includes all events set out in the programme handbook or those provided to you during a module, including personal tutorials. However, for the purposes of this policy, some programmes may choose to monitor attendance via specific compulsory teaching events rather than all timetabled events. You should familiarise yourself with specific programme or module attendance requirements and must ensure that you engage with the method of recording attendance which is required by UCL. Please note, some professionally accredited programmes may have higher attendance thresholds.
3.It is important that you attend teaching events punctually so as not to disrupt the learning of others. For some subjects, it will be vital that you arrive on time so that you are present for information that may be given at the start of a session, for example, health and safety instructions. 
4.If you are an Undergraduate student, you must meet the minimum attendance requirements during UCL Term Times. Outside of term-time, there is no requirement for students to be present on campus or to notify absence.
5.If you are Taught Postgraduate student, you must meet the minimum attendance requirements during UCL Term Times: 
 a)Unless informed otherwise, you will not normally have scheduled teaching events during the Christmas and Easter breaks, and there is no need to notify absence. If attendance is required outside of UCL Term Times, your Department must ensure that you are made aware of this at the start of the programme.
 b)Where you are studying for your dissertation/ research project during the summer vacation, you may be based at UCL or work remotely – individual arrangements should be agreed with your supervisor.
 c)You may be on a programme that requires attendance during the UG summer vacation e.g. to undertake placements or attend taught modules. Your Department should inform you of this at the start of the programme.

3.3 Recording In-Person Attendance

1.RegisterUCL is UCL’s attendance recording system and is linked to your timetable. You will need to register your attendance at each teaching event you attend, even where you have back-to-back events in the same room.
2.There are four methods of registering your attendance at a teaching event using RegisterUCL:
 i.Card Reader – The majority of teaching rooms at UCL have a card reader installed outside the room. You will need your UCL ID card to tap in. Please see the RegisterUCL webpage for more information and FAQs.
 ii.QR Code – Your department will inform you if they are using a QR code to record attendance for the event. You will need to have downloaded the SEATs Mobile app to scan the code. Please see the RegisterUCL webpage for more information and FAQs.
 iii.iBeacon – Teaching rooms without card readers will have a beacon to allow check-in using Bluetooth. You will need to have downloaded the SEATs Mobile app to use the beacon. Please see the RegisterUCL webpage for more information and FAQs.
 iv.Manual register – if you cannot check-in using one of the above methods then inform the staff member giving the class or your programme administrator for them to record your attendance.
3.You will be marked ‘absent’ if you do not register your attendance sometime in the window of 20 minutes before to 20 minutes after the timetabled start of a scheduled teaching event.
4.If you are unsuccessful checking in using any of the above methods, please inform your department as soon as possible.
5.Please keep your student ID card safe and always carry your ID card with you while on UCL premises. As well as providing proof of identity and controlling access to UCL buildings, this ensures that you can record your attendance at all timetabled sessions. Please also see ‘Lost or Stolen Cards’ below.
6.If you have an issue with your ID card, please see the sections below – ‘ID Card Failures’ and’ Lost or Stolen ID Cards’.

3.3.1 Other Types of Attendance

1.Your programme may include other types of teaching events, such as online teaching sessions, which count towards the attendance requirements of your programme. In such cases, your Department will outline what attendance is required and how this will be recorded e.g., ‘Zoom’ attendance list.

Departments have a duty to monitor your attendance even when you are undertaking core programme activity away from campus such as Study Abroad, Placements, and Distance Learning. Your Department will let you know how this will be monitored which may include:

  • Asking you to submit evidence of registration at a partner institution/work placement.
  • Keeping in email contact with you once a month.
  • Asking you to submit evidence of submission of work or notes taken at tutorials once a term.
  • Asking you for evidence that you have successfully completed the placement.

3.3.2 Fraudulent Attendance

1.The use of a student ID card is personal to the individual to whom it is issued and you must not allow your card to be used by any other individual. If you are found to be fraudulently using the system, either by tapping in on others’ behalf or allowing others to tap in on your behalf, you may be subject to the procedures in Chapter 6, Section 8: Disciplinary Code and Procedure in Respect of Students.

3.3.3 ID Card Failures

1.If you are not able to register your attendance by tapping into a session, you should contact your programme administrator for support. Staff may then add an explanatory note online for the timetabled session record in question.

3.3.4 Lost or Stolen ID Cards

1.If you lose your ID card, or it is stolen. you must report it to UCL Security as soon as possible so that the old card can be deactivated and you can obtain a replacement card.

3.3.5 Room Changes

1.Where possible, all room changes will be amended on UCL’s timetabling system and communicated to you in advance of the session, noting there can be changes. If a room change is required at the last minute for any reason, the relevant member of staff will make alternative arrangements.

3.3.6 Cancelled Teaching Events

1.Similar to room changes, where possible, cancelled teaching events will be communicated to you in advance of the session and the relevant member of staff will ensure your attendance record is not impacted. 

3.3.7 Who has access to the student data held within the system?


Please refer to the Privacy Notice below. In relation to the wider student body, attendance data will be collected and processed primarily by UCL staff (access to individual students’ personal information is limited to staff who have a legitimate need to see it for the purpose of carrying out your job at UCL.). However, UCL may have to share students’ attendance data with the parties set out below for the purpose of statutory and legal reporting: 

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • Student Loans Company
  • Third party sponsors
  • Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies.

3.4 Absences

1.UCL understands that absences are sometimes unavoidable. In such cases, it is up to you to notify your department, ideally in advance, so they can ensure you have necessary support. Please refer to the Student Attendance webpage for details of how to notify absences. All absences will count towards students’ overall attendance figures. If your attendance drops below 50% overall, or in identified compulsory events, over a 14-day period your department will contact you directly to review the reasons for absence and follow up as appropriate. Please note, some professionally accredited programmes may have higher attendance thresholds.
2.If you are absent from a summative assessment due to illness or other Extenuating Circumstances you must notify your Department as soon as possible following the procedures in Student Support Framework. Absences recorded in RegisterUCL will not count as notification of ECs.
3.Students with a disability or those with a long-term medical or mental health condition are advised to contact Student Support and Wellbeing who can put in place reasonable adjustments for specific learning requirements. Students with a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA), by default, still need to meet the minimum attendance requirements. 
4.If you are experiencing significant difficulties which are impacting your ability to study, leading to long term absences, you should contact your Personal Tutor or other relevant Departmental staff for support. Sometimes it is best for students to take a short break from their studies via an interruption, alternatively your Department may discuss putting a Support to Study Plan in place to help you re-engage with your studies. If you are considering interrupting your studies, you should also seek advice from Student Funding via AskUCL about any potential impact on your Student Loan. If you have a student visa, you should also discuss your options with the Student Immigration Compliance Team via AskUCL, as an interruption of studies may affect your Student visa status. 
5.If you repeatedly fail to attend timetabled teaching events without having notified your department of your absence, you will be moved through a staged process as highlighted in the section below.

3.5 Repeated Non- or Low Attendance

1.The stages set out below are triggered if your attendance drops below 50% overall, or in identified compulsory events, over subsequent 14-day periods. Please note, some professionally accredited programmes may have higher attendance thresholds which trigger these stages if not met (your Department will make any such requirements clear).
2.Your department will run attendance reports via RegisterUCL on a regular basis. The data will be used to identify any students whose attendance has fallen below the minimum attendance requirements and the department will then decide how to follow up with students whose attendance has become a cause for concern. Depending on the circumstances, low or non-attendance may trigger a sequence of follow-up contacts with the student to check whether any support or further advice are required. The stages are as follows:
3.Stage 1 – if your attendance drops below 50% overall, or in identified compulsory events, over a 14 day period you should receive an email from your department to check if you are well. This email will be copied to your Personal Tutor. 
4.Stage 2 – if you do not contact your department after the Stage 1 email and your attendance continues to be below 50% in the subsequent 14-day period, you should receive a second email asking you to get in touch with your Personal Tutor or Programme Leader to discuss the reasons for non-attendance. You may be signposted to appropriate support where required. 
5.Stage 3 – if you have not been in contact with your department after the Stage 2 email and your attendance continues to cause concern, you must attend a meeting with the Departmental Tutor to discuss the situation. The Departmental Tutor may wish to put a Support to Study Plan in place if you are experiencing significant, persistent or long-term difficulties with your engagement.
6.Stage 4 – if you have not been in contact with your department after the Stage 3 email and your attendance continues to cause concern, the Faculty Tutor may contact you for a mandatory Faculty interview. If such a meeting is arranged, failure to attend could result in you being withdrawn from your programme.
7.At any stage of the process, the Department can inform your "trusted contact" or refer you to Student Support and Wellbeing through the Student of Concern referral process, if they are concerned about your safety or wellbeing.
8.If you meet with your department at any stage in the process and agree a plan of action which you then fulfil, you may move back to the previous stage of the process.

If you have progressed to Stage 4, your Faculty may decide to take one or more of the following courses of action:

10.All students have a right to make a complaint as per UCL's Student Complaints Procedure if you have any concerns about the measures associated with low attendance. Students may also contact the Student Union Advice Service.
11.If you are an international student with a student visa, you may find that your visa status is impacted if your studies at UCL have been terminated, suspended (due to academic insufficiency) or interrupted (for the duration of the interruption). The law means that UCL must inform the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of any changes to a student’s status. 
12.If you have a student visa you must read the Student visa responsibilities guidance which provides information about the visa requirements. If you need any visa advice, you should get in touch with the Student Immigration Advice and Compliance Team who can assist.

3.6 Study Away from UCL

1.You may be permitted to study away from UCL on academic grounds as part of the standard delivery of your programme or module e.g., when undertaking a placement or fieldwork, or a year of study abroad. You will not need to gain additional permission to study away where this is a normal part of your programme.
2.You may also be permitted to study away from UCL on academic grounds which are not part of the standard delivery of a programme or module e.g., collecting data or conducting research. You must seek permission to do this from your Departmental Tutor/Programme Organiser, agreeing the period of study away, and the location. You cannot do this for more than three months.
3.Under UK immigration requirements, UCL is required to record where students are studying if not at UCL. If you’re studying on a Student Visa, you must therefore also inform UCL’s Immigration Compliance Office of any period of study away from UCL.
4.UCL expects you to remain in regular contact with your Department while you are studying away.

3.7 Staff Guidance

1.Please see the RegisterUCL Training Guides for wiki pages detailing common staff processes and procedures. These guides will be revised and expanded to reflect any additional system capability.
2.Further staff guidance on monitoring student attendance, including FAQs for visa engagement monitoring and authorised absences, can be found via Student visa engagement monitoring guidance.
3.Please ensure you are familiar with UCL’s Student Support Framework and wider support services (listed below). If you are unsure how best to support a student with persistent absence, please contact the Departmental or Faculty Tutor (or equivalent).  If you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a student please utilise the Student of Concern Procedure. Remember: If you have concerns that a student is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others, phone 999 or take them to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department in the nearest hospital.

3.8 Useful Links


3.9 Privacy Notice

1.The personal information UCL may process about its students includes attendance information, such as attendance at different teaching events, number of absences and changes in student status. Academic staff, teaching administrators, department/programme administrators and Student and Registry Services staff will have access to the student attendance data. The attendance system complies with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and a full Data Protection Impact Analysis has been completed.
2.The Student Privacy notice applies to the personal data UCL collects from students and personal data which is passed to UCL by third parties. Please read the following carefully to understand how UCL processes students’ personal data: UCL Student Privacy.
3.Who UCL shares students’ attendance data with:

Students’ personal data will be collected and processed primarily by UCL staff, but UCL may have to share students’ data with relevant third parties for the purpose of statutory and legal reporting, such as:

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • Student Loans Company
  • Third party sponsors
  • Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies.
 ii.UCL requires all third parties to respect the security of students’ personal data and to treat it in accordance with the law. UCL does not allow its third party service providers to use students’ personal data for their own purposes – UCL only permits them to process students’ personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with its instructions.