UCL News


Preparing for the new academic year

1 June 2020

An update from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs) about what you can expect next term.

UCL's main Quad and Portico building

We hope you are safe and well, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back to UCL.

Our campus will be open on 28 September 2020 for the start of term, but necessarily the 2020 – 21 academic year is going to look and feel different from your previous years as we adapt to living, working and studying through the global coronavirus pandemic.

Adapting, challenging and doing things differently have always been the UCL way and will be at the heart of what we do in the 2020-21 academic year. We promise that we will not compromise our academic standards, you will graduate with an excellent degree that is valued around the world and we’re working hard to ensure you have a great experience

Your safety is paramount. We look forward to welcoming you back to London if you are able to travel here. We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention to make sure UCL is as safe as possible. We are introducing a range of measures to protect everyone on campus, including asking people to use face coverings, deep cleaning our buildings and implementing a one-way system onsite. We’re also making more soap and hand sanitiser available and encouraging people to check their temperature at least once a day.

As the pandemic progresses, social distancing requirements will guide how much teaching we can deliver in person at any given time. In order to give you the best education, we will support your learning through:

  • High-quality online lectures to ensure you can get to grips with the material you’re working on before you discuss your ideas with your tutors and your peers.
  • Interactive sessions, online or in person, where you’ll be guided and challenged in discussion with peers and experts in your field.
  • Sessions on campus such as small-group seminars, lab practicals and studio work where social-distancing permits. If you aren’t able to join us in London immediately, we will provide alternative content so you can achieve the same learning wherever you are in the world.
  • A rich range of course materials in our libraries and online to support you with independent pre-reading and analysis, developing your skills as an active researcher.
  • Our libraries will be open, including our Student Centre and learning spaces alongside our huge range of electronic resources (e-resources) to support you in your studies.
  • Many opportunities to pursue your interests outside your programme, including UCL volunteering and entrepreneurship programmes, and the clubs and societies run by your Students’ Union.

Our flexible approach, which will be in place for Term 1, will also allow us to respond to the latest developments and official guidance. We will review our plans as the academic year progresses to ensure you receive the best education and university experience.

Our approach means that even if your arrival on UCL campus is delayed by travel restrictions, you can continue to participate fully in our academic community and continue your education with us, connecting with your tutors and fellow students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Our preparations have been guided by our own UCL Institute of Education, ranked first for education in the world*, so you can be confident that we’ve drawn on cutting-edge research to help you fulfil your potential over the next year and beyond. We’re also ready to connect you with world-leading employers and with UCL’s international alumni networks.

If you have any further questions about this letter please contact your department or visit askUCL, our student enquiry system.

We look forward to welcoming you back to UCL this autumn and rest assured we will do everything in our power to give you an outstanding educational experience and all the benefits of university life.

Best wishes, 

Professor Anthony Smith
Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs)

*Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020