Frequently asked questions, advice and support for UCL students during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Remember, you must stay at home and use the UCL Connect to Protect reporting tool if: you think you may have coronavirus; you have tested positive for the virus; you are waiting for the results of a coronavirus test or you need to self-isolate.
1. Campus in 2020/21
Keeping safe on campus
Visit our keeping safe on campus website to find out what we’re doing to protect our staff and students, how you can help keep campus as safe as possible and for our FAQs about joining us on campus in 2020/21.
Students who are concerned about their risk of returning to campus can submit a request via askUCL to speak with a Student Support and Wellbeing Adviser to discuss their particular circumstances.
Welcome to a new year at UCL
Visit the UCL Students website for the information you need to get ready for study in 2020/21.
- I'm an international student coming to London. What do I need to do before I arrive?
Please visit our international student support webpage, where you can find advice on how to prepare for like in the UK, including what to pack, settling in, how to deal with feelings of culture shock and lots of practical tips.
You may need to self-isolate when you arrive. To help you check and prepare, please see our travel advice webpage; you can also find out what support is available to students who need to self-isolate.
2. Teaching, assessment and research in 2020/21
- What teaching and assessment arrangements are in place for the remainder of Term One?
The UK Government has announced new national restrictions from Thursday 5 November. In line with the Government’s announcement UCL, and our libraries and study spaces, will remain open, continuing to operate in a COVID-secure way.
- Your core teaching is already online, and this will continue for the rest of term, so that you can access all you need to learn to complete your modules successfully, wherever you are in the world.
- Activity that must be delivered face-to-face for you to achieve your learning outcomes will continue;
- Face-to-face education activity will continue where feasible, but we expect that these government-imposed national restrictions will impact on the ability of teachers to deliver as much face-to-face activity as had been planned;
- Where face-to-face sessions are no longer feasible, the content will be transferred online so there is no adverse impact on the education you receive;
- Your Students’ Union will continue to run events and activities on and offline.
We will review these principles towards the end of November, in line with the Government timetable for review of the national picture. Your department will be in touch to confirm what this will mean for your programme of study.
See Your education in 2020/21 to find out more about your teaching, learning, and other aspects of UCL student life this academic year.
- What teaching and assessment arrangements are in place for Terms Two and Three?
On 9 November we wrote to all students to confirm the overall plan for your education over Terms Two and Three. Your faculty will provide more details about how this will affect your programme.
Teaching and assessment in Terms Two and Three will be similar to Term One:
- all core teaching and assessment will be online;
- activity that must be delivered face-to-face for you to achieve your learning outcomes will continue;
- some further educational activity will be offered on campus, where feasible;
- where face-to-face sessions are no longer feasible, the content will be transferred online;
- By core teaching, we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully.
- Our ambition is, of course, to move towards more face-to-face teaching when it safe to do so and when UK Government restrictions allow. We are monitoring the regulations and guidance closely and will keep you informed
Our ambition is, of course, to move towards more face-to-face teaching when it safe to do so and when UK Government restrictions allow. We are monitoring the regulations and guidance closely and will keep you informed.
See Your education in 2020/21 to find out more about your teaching, learning, and other aspects of UCL student life this academic year.
- Can I continue with my research on campus under the new national restrictions?
Research labs will remain open for those who need to continue research on site; this will be on a voluntary basis and where research requires equipment or facilities which are only available on campus. Gatherings with research participants which are not crucial during the period of the restrictions should be conducted remotely or rescheduled.
- I’m due to go on my year abroad or take a short-term placement over the summer. Is this still possible?
Our Study Abroad team is working hard with UCL faculties to explore options for students who are due to study abroad in 2020/21. COVID-19 continues to be unpredictable and our host countries have been in affected in different ways, so UCL cannot offer guarantee of a normal, uninterrupted study abroad experience next academic year.
The Study Abroad Team and faculties are working directly with students to outline options in light of the current circumstances.
- What should I do if I cannot complete my assessment because of coronavirus?
If you are unable to complete assessments because of difficulties relating to coronavirus, you should complete the Extenuating Circumstances self-certification web form. A link will be emailed to you by your Faculty or Department.
Extenuating Circumstances have been relaxed in response to the outbreak – students do not currently need to provide medical evidence to apply.
- I’m a PhD student. What advice is there for me on my studies during COVID-19?
In addition to our information for students and these FAQs, the Doctoral School website hosts comprehensive information for PhD students on all aspects of their studies, including viva examinations and thesis submission.
- I have completed my postgraduate taught programme: when will my results be released?
The results for postgraduate taught programmes will be released on 15 December 2020. PGT students will receive their results by email to their UCL email account on that day. Due to the large number of results, emails will arrive throughout the day and evening. Results will be available to view on Portico from 16 December 2020. Certificates and official transcripts will be sent to home addresses by the end of March 2021. Students should make sure their home address is kept up-to-date on Portico: an email reminder will be sent to awarded students shortly before the dispatch of degree documentation, giving a final opportunity for students to amend their address.
3. Health care and self-isolation
Students will have to self-isolate if they experience COVID-19 symptoms. We have many resources to support you, including health advice and practical recommendations, and support and guidance.
- Can I see a GP at Ridgmount Practice or other GP surgeries?
The walk-in service at Ridgmount Practice (UCL's partner GP Surgery) is suspended until further notice but GP surgeries are still available to help patients.
If you’re registered at Ridgmount, you are advised not to attend the surgery without a booked appointment. All students needing to be seen should call +44 (0)20 7387 6306 to book an initial telephone triage appointment.
Your local GP surgery will have similar arrangements in place. Please visit their website or call for further details.
We are committed to providing safe accommodation and are following the advice provided by the UK Government, Public Health England and the NHS. We are taking robust measures to ensure social distancing and effective hygiene, including 24/7 staff support across all open UCL halls, enhanced cleaning services and staggered arrival times.
Please see the UCL Accommodation website for more information, advice and guidance.
- What do the new national restrictions mean for students in UCL halls?
Under the new guidelines, you should not leave your term time address to return to your parents’ or carers’ home until at least 2 December, when the national restrictions are due to be reviewed. You should only return home at the end of term for the Christmas break. Any movement around the country will put others at risk, and especially vulnerable groups who could become seriously ill with the virus. More details about the new restrictions are available on the UK Government website.
This is a difficult time for many of us, however there is no room for complacency, and we need to continue to work together and follow the rules to keep everyone safe. We know that for some of you, your personal circumstances may mean that you are thinking about returning home. This is an important decision and we want to make sure that you can do what is right for you, but you also understand your responsibilities. Please speak to your friends and family to talk through your options and contact the Student Support and Wellbeing team if you are having concerns about remaining in your student accommodation. They can also help you to think about whether you continue to study at home for the remainder of the year or return to campus after the winter break. You can contact the Student Support and Wellbeing team through askUCL or you can call the Student Enquiries Centre on +44(0)20 3108 8836. Your Wardens and Student Residence Advisers are also available to talk to you.
If you decide you need to return and stay at home and you wish to terminate your license agreement, UCL may be able to refund any remaining accommodation fees paid for the time you will not be in halls. To do this you must:
- Formally notify UCL by submitting a Notice to Quit request online at Accommodation Online Services before 9 January 2021 which is the end of Term 1 for accommodation invoicing purposes,
- Remove all belongings from your accommodation,
- Return your keys to your hall reception and check out by the date indicated on your Notice to Quit request.
This will mean you do not have access to your accommodation after your check out date as your license agreement will be terminated permanently.
Please remember that you should not leave your current household if you need to self-isolate because you have coronavirus symptoms, have tested positive, or you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace. You must not leave until any self-isolation periods are finished. Find out more about what to do if you think you have coronavirus.
We are working as quickly as possible to respond to the latest Government advice, as well as feedback we have received from students. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
If you have any questions about staying in UCL halls, please visit the UCL Accommodation website or get in touch with your hall team.
Visit the UCL Students’ Union website for more information and advice about housing and accommodation.
- I would like to leave or cancel my private rental contract, how can I get proof that I am not required to attend my classes in person?
If you require the letter of proof that you are not required to attend class in person in order to leave or cancel a private rental contract, please contact AskUCL.
UCL will provide additional wording to add to the ‘statement of student status’ which you can find and download on Portico.
5. Support services
Our team of expert wellbeing, disability and mental health staff provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space, in which you can discuss any issues that may be affecting your ability to study.
Find out more about the Student Support and Wellbeing services available to you through the 2020/21 academic year.
- I have experienced bullying or abuse related to coronavirus. Who can I talk to?
UCL does not tolerate abuse of any kind within our community. Please report any incidents of harassment or abuse directly to the police.
If you are a UCL student or member of staff, you can also use our online Report + Support tool to tell us about incidents of bullying, harassment or misconduct, and to seek support.
- What alternative arrangements are there for the Student Enquiries Centre?
The Student Centre, including the Student Enquiries Centre (SEC) on Floor 1 of the building, is currently closed. The SEC team are still responding to enquiries via askUCL – please do get in touch if you require any assistance.
6. Libraries and IT
We have reopened most of our libraries for this term and are providing additional study spaces at 1-19 Torrington Place and at Bidborough House - please see our Bookable Study Spaces Help webpage for further details.
Alongside offering access to books, study spaces and other in-library facilities, we also provide many thousands of digital resources, available online 24/7. And our expert staff are here to help you learn how to get the best information you need for your research and study. Find out more about Library Services support in 2020-21.
You can also find regular updates about electronic resources, laptop loans and returning books on the Library Services website. This information is subject to change at short notice, so please check this guide regularly.
- Can I borrow a laptop?
Our standard laptop loan service is still available in libraries across campus (check the UCL-Go! app for availability). We have extended the service this year for specific categories of students. If you are a UK/EU undergraduate student from a low income household you can apply to have a laptop loaned to you for your entire period of study at UCL. Students who do not qualify for the long-term loan may be eligible for a shorter term loan service.
7. Student life, events and travel
New national restrictions from 5 November
The UK Government has announced new national restrictions from Thursday 5 November. In line with the Government’s announcement, UCL will remain open, continuing to operate in a COVID-secure way.
- What's the situation with regards to external events at UCL locations?
All external events are suspended until further notice. This includes events in the Bloomsbury Theatre, all UCL galleries and museums.
The central UCL room bookings system will not accept any further external bookings for this period.
- I'm organising an event and delegates will be travelling from other parts of the UK or overseas to attend. Are we liable for any cancellation fees if the event cannot go ahead due to coronavirus?
You should check any contracts and insurance policies you have in place for your event, including venue hire, speaker agreements and catering, as these will be different for each event.
Please bear in mind that delegates may not be able to recoup their expenses if your event is cancelled or postponed at short notice, so please let them know as soon as you know it cannot go ahead as planned.
Travel during new national restrictions
As for everyone under the new UK national restrictions from 5 November, you should stay in your current home. This means you should not leave your term time address to return to your parents’ or carer’s home until at least 2 December - and you should continue to learn at university for the remainder of this term.
We urge you not to travel home before the new restrictions come into place on Thursday, to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. Movement around the country is being restricted to protect lives, especially the lives of those in vulnerable groups who may become seriously ill with the virus.
Travel on UCL business
Please see the our FAQs for staff for questions relating to travel on UCL business.
8. Fees and funding
- I pay tuition fees. Am I entitled to a refund or reduction in light of the current situation?
Students may not be able to access UCL buildings, but your lecturers and support staff have been working tirelessly to continue to provide you with high-quality education and support, and to maintain the rich academic experience that you expect.
The UK Government Department for Education has made clear that you should not expect any refund if you are receiving adequate online learning and support, and we are confident that in most cases we have been able to deliver this. As such, we are currently not offering tuition fee refunds or reductions on the grounds of teaching and assessment having moved online.
Of course, if we don’t get it right you continue to have recourse to UCL’s Student Complaints process.
- I am a self-funded undergraduate or postgraduate taught student and I’m having difficulties paying my fees on time. Can I get an extension?
Self-funding students are required to pay their fees promptly in line with payment deadlines. We recognise that some students may currently be facing financial difficulties and may be struggling to pay their fees on time. If this is the case for you, please contact the Fees team on email@example.com as soon as possible to discuss your options.
We may be able to offer brief extensions in exceptional circumstances – these are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- I am a self-funded PhD student and I’m having difficulties paying my fees on time. Can I get an extension?
If you are facing financial difficulties and may be struggling to pay your fees on time, please contact the Fees team on firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to discuss your options. There is also advice on the Doctoral School website.
- I am a self-funded student and I’m having difficulties paying my fees because I do not have sufficient funds. What support is available?
We recognise that some students may currently be facing financial difficulties and may be struggling to pay their fees due to loss of income or other funding issues. If this is the case for you, please contact the Fees team on email@example.com as soon as possible to discuss your options.
In some cases, the best option for you may be to interrupt your studies. Interruption allows you to pause your programme and resume later when you are more financially secure. If you’re considering interrupting, please speak to your department in the first instance for more information on how this might impact your academic progression.
Students’ Union UCL have put together a list of funding support options available to students. Please note that UCL’s own financial support options, such as the Financial Assistance Fund, are not able to cover tuition fee amounts.
- I’m able to pay my fees but I’m facing financial difficulties. What support is available to me?
UCL’s Student Funding team offer advice and support to students experiencing financial difficulties, including due to the current situation. The team’s Student Funding Advisers can provide one-to-one guidance on funding options, especially for those facing emergencies.
If you’re facing financial difficulties, we recommend that you apply to the Financial Assistance Fund, which can offer up to £3,000 depending on your personal circumstances. Priority is given to students in certain groups, such as those with children, students from low-income families, or those who are disabled. Please note that the Financial Assistance Fund is not able to cover tuition fee amounts.
9. Careers and employability
- I am concerned about the impact of coronavirus on my employability and/or career prospects. What can I do to keep my career planning on track?
UCL Careers offers remote one-to-one appointments online, where you can speak with one of our career professionals to discuss your own personal circumstances.
UCL Careers is also running group sessions, workshops and employer events virtually to help you continue to progress your career planning remotely. Explore the online events taking place and book your place by logging into myUCLCareers.
In order to help you manage your career thinking and planning during these challenging times, as well as keeping in touch with professional organisations for labour market updates, UCL Careers has also been actively surveying employers and collecting labour market information. You can read our coronavirus and employability related blog posts for answers to some of the key questions you may have. It might also be helpful to know that there is also the Careers Coronavirus FAQ page that is reviewed and updated regularly.
You can also subscribe to the UCL Careers newsletter for weekly careers updates, online resources and guidance on how to get – or stay – career-ready.
- How are UCL communicating with students?
We’re working hard to keep all our students and staff up to date with the latest on coronavirus and our response to it.
Students should expect to receive updates through the myUCL student newsletter (during term time) and from their department or faculty. Please check your UCL email on a regular basis for important notifications.
The FAQs on this page are updated regularly and should be considered the most up-to-date source of information for students. Please check this page regularly.
- What is the ‘Looking out for our students’ campaign? Can I request a call?
A new Outreach team comprising staff from across UCL has been created to deliver the ‘Looking out for our students’ phone call campaign.
The Outreach team is making phone calls to students to check how you are dealing with the current situation. This is a friendly call to ask how you are keeping safe and well, if you are in touch with family and friends, and if you are able to exercise and look after yourself.
We intend to call as many UCL students as possible. We've started with students in our halls of residence, who may have particular needs.
If you would like to hear from us, you are welcome to request a prioritised call by leaving your details in this quick form.
- I’m not receiving central UCL communications like the myUCL newsletter. What can I do?
All UCL students should receive the myUCL newsletter on a weekly basis during term time. If you haven’t been receiving this, please check your spam or junk folder in the first instance.
If the newsletters are not in these folders, please complete this quick form to notify us. We will resubscribe you if for any reason you are unsubscribed, and we will contact you if there are any other issues.
11. Information for parents and guardians of UCL students
Starting university can be an anxious time for parents who want to help and support their child so that they make the most of university. Our website for parents aims to answer some of your key questions.
12. Further questions
If you have a specific question about your individual circumstances please speak to your department or contact us through the askUCL student enquiries system in the first instance.