Information Services Division


Choosing an Acceptable Password

If you’ve navigated your way to this page, it’s probably because you’re having difficulty choosing a password that the system will accept. Don’t worry it’s not impossible!

Here are some tips to help you choose an acceptable password.

Get the most from your Password:

You can set a password of up to 30 characters. To get a strong enough password we recommend using 10 characters. The stronger the password is, the longer you can keep it. One suggestion is to use 4 or more words. There are still a few rules and you will need to include 3 out of the following:

  • Lowercase characters
  • Uppercase characters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols, i.e. ! % ^ * ( ) _ + - = " ` ; < > , ? ⁄ $ & [ ] { }

You cannot use the following symbols: ~ : | £ \

Avoid accented characters, characters from non-English scripts, Emoji, etc. 

Your password cannot contain your user ID, forename or surname and you can not use a password you have previously used.

Note: If you are using some older UCL systems, your password should additionally NOT use: the @ (at) symbol or start with either a space or " (double quote). 


If you're having trouble thinking of a password, try taking three words and separating them with a number and a symbol (from the acceptable character list above). This will hopefully give you a password that's easy to remember, quick to type and strong enough to give you a reasonable time between password resets.

DON'T base your password on a dictionary word, proper name or personal details such as address, post code, phone number or department name.

DON'T use foreign language words - password cracker programs uses dictionaries containing words from a large number of languages including Yiddish, Finnish, German, and Danish.

DON'T use names of bands, asteroids, cartoons, movies, TV programs, swear words, Shakespearean or Monty Python characters, or science fiction jargon - the dictionaries include these too.

DON'T use any of the above with I's, L's and O's transposed with ones and zeros - these are matched.

DON'T use the following symbols: ~ : | £ \

DON'T use accented characters, non-English scripts or other, unusual symbols. You may find that MyAccount will sometimes accept such characters in passwords but you may encounter problems with some older systems. For example, avoid characters like these:

Characters to avoid when setting passwords

DON'T merely disguise a word by using repetition or reversal or by adding a number to the beginning or end of it.

DON'T use anybody else's username as a password. This information is included in the dictionary set.

Now you’ve got that great new password...

  • Don’t keep a record of your user ID and password together
  • Never give your password out to anyone else
  • If you have reason to believe that your account has been tampered with at any time, change your password immediately and let the ISD IT Services know as soon as possible


We are continually improving our site, so please provide us any feedback on this web page using the form below. It would also be really useful if we could discuss your feedback with you, so if you are happy to be contacted please include your UCL email address in 'Email' field below.

Please note: We can only respond to UCL email addresses

Help us improve this page