A message from Professor Bob Mills, Head of Department and Dr Jacob Paskins, Head of Education.
Dear offer holders,
We’re delighted that you’ve chosen UCL and we hope to warmly welcome you to the History of Art department this autumn. Though there is still some uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect us all, we are planning an exciting academic year for you and we wanted to share some of the details.
Our plans for teaching and learning
Our UCL education in 2021-22 will be campus based, as we strongly believe in the huge benefits of attending university in person. The last year has taught us a lot about how to support our students’ academic progress with digital technology and many students have told us that they have enjoyed the flexibility of online lectures and having access to content and activities that they can work through at their own pace. Learning in this way also prepares our students for the increasingly digital-focused environment you’ll encounter after graduation. However, students and staff alike agree that meaningful face to face education is the priority, so that they can interact more easily with fellow students and teachers and be part of a community that is alive with research and academic scholarship.
As previously announced, most programmes will be a blend of in-person and online teaching and learning, designed to support students to progress and succeed academically. Across UCL, most small group teaching - including seminars, workshops, and laboratory - will be in person and most large group teaching will be online. Online, students will learn through a mix of interactive live sessions and engaging digital learning activities that you can work through at your own pace.
In the History of Art department, the compulsory Survey Course and Core Course will include a mix of online lectures and Q&A sessions, which will be complemented with weekly interactive seminars held in person on campus. If national regulations permit, first-year Thematic Seminars will be taught face to face in museums, galleries and historical sites in London so that students can engage directly with art objects in small group teaching.
We will write to you again in August with further details about your programme.
Our students and staff place huge value on in-person interaction with fellow students in and outside their academic programme, and you will have many opportunities for informal learning, networking and connecting with your fellow students, on campus and online. The Students’ Union is arranging a comprehensive programme of in-person events for the new term, including all of our club and society activity. In addition, we have been working closely with UCL Libraries to make sure you have good study facilities on campus and the physical and digital materials you need for independent study and analysis, developing your skills as an active researcher.
Term One begins on 27 September 2021. Induction activities in the History of Art department begin on 27 September and teaching on our programmes begins on 4 October. We are planning for our campus to be open to all students for the start of the new academic year. We expect you to come to campus for face-to-face teaching and it will not be possible to study entirely online. As there may be continuing coronavirus travel restrictions in some countries at the beginning of term, we have planned to minimize possible disruption by running the core departmental induction activities online, although we are also planning some face-to-face events that week for those who can attend.
Please ensure that you plan your arrival in the UK so that you can attend your on campus activities.
Currently, everyone planning to travel to the UK, whether vaccinated or not, must still follow the traffic light system of rules. We are continuing to develop our support package for international students, but we can confirm that if you are an international student joining us for Term One from a country where hotel quarantine in the UK is required, you will be able to apply for a means-tested financial contribution towards your quarantine costs. In addition, students who are in quarantine or are self-isolating will have remote access to our support and wellbeing service, while students in UCL student accommodation will receive assistance from the student residences team. UCL’s International Student Support webpages have more information on the advice and support available as you prepare to arrive to London, as well as orientation activities available to you as a new or returning international student. The traffic light system is likely to change before September and we will update you as soon as possible.
International students at UCL on all visas and of all nationalities will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Students who have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK should receive the same vaccine for their second dose here. Students who have received the first dose of a vaccine not available in the UK should contact a GP (doctor) surgery when they arrive and inform them which vaccination they received as early as possible. If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered. Students who have not received any COVID-19 vaccine dose before arriving in the UK are eligible to be vaccinated here and must register with a GP as soon as possible. This guidance is likely to be updated nearer to the start of term and updates will be provided in future communications. Find out more about student vaccinations.
We recognise that some students may not be able to join us in London at the very start of the year, because of continuing coronavirus travel restrictions. If this affects you, we will be able to support you as best we can to start your UCL studies remotely for a short period of time until you are able to join us in person.
Please note that current UK Government guidelines state that if you are a returning student and cannot travel to the UK before 27 September, your existing Tier 4/Student Visa will become invalid. If you can travel to the UK at a later date, you will be required to apply for a new Tier 4/Student Visa. Find out more about student visas on our website.
Joining UCL for the first time
From now until the start of the academic year, look out for regular emails from the UCL Welcome team, which will guide you through the process of becoming a UCL student, including enrolment, visas, fees and funding, accommodation, getting to know UCL and our great city, making the most of all the opportunities there are to develop your networks, skills and interests.
Our mix of online and in person education will help us adapt through the coronavirus pandemic. By conducting most large group teaching online and limiting some class sizes, we are confident we can continue some interactive face to face learning, even if social distancing is required at some point in the year.
A resurgence of coronavirus is always a possibility at some point in the next academic year. However, we have robust contingency plans, based on our experience and the resources we developed this year, and we are confident that you will be able to engage with your education with us whatever the circumstances.
We very much hope to meet you in the department soon.
All the best,
Prof Bob Mills, Head of Department
Dr Jacob Paskins, Head of Education