UCL News


UCL announces plans to be open and ready to teach for September 2020

1 June 2020

UCL is today announcing plans for the university to be open and ready to teach online and in person at the start of the new academic year in September 2020.

UCL Wilkins Building

With the safety of our community paramount, UCL’s campus will be open to welcome students to London from the start of term on 28 September with enhanced safety measures - based on the latest UK guidance as well as the expertise of UCL’s world-leading researchers.

Due to anticipated restrictions on social distancing and international travel, UCL will be introducing a ‘connected’ approach to teaching and learning for Term 1 which has been designed with UCL’s Institute of Education - ranked No.1 in the world for education.

  • Teaching that is normally delivered in person in lecture theatres or larger groups will be delivered online.
  • UCL’s campus will be open for in person activity, where possible, for delivery of small group teaching including studio-based learning, laboratory sessions, tutorials, colloquia, careers or networking events that can be safely accommodated with social distancing.
  • Enhanced safety measures will be introduced such as deep cleaning, one way systems and sanitiser stations. Members of our community will also be asked to take voluntary temperature checks and wear face coverings to make UCL as safe as possible.
  • Opportunities for students outside academic programmes will continue both online and in person - including UCL’s volunteering and entrepreneurship programmes, careers support and clubs and societies run by the Students’ Union UCL.
  • Enrolment, induction and welcome week will be delivered online in the Autumn. 
  • Ensuite accommodation will be available with 24-hour onsite staff, increased cleaning and guidance on social distancing.
  • Students will be expected to travel to London wherever possible. Some students may be unable to travel internationally and will be able to access online provision in Term 1.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL’s President & Provost, said: “UCL will be open and ready to deliver a world-leading education experience at the start of the new academic year, but in a very different world.

“Although Covid-19 cases are reducing in the UK and lockdown is easing, uncertainty still remains about the progression of the pandemic. Ongoing restrictions on social distancing and international travel mean that we will not be able to return to the normal operation of our campus in Term 1.

“As the safety of our community is paramount, we will be delivering a connected approach to education at the start of the academic year, which has been designed with UCL’s world-leading Institute of Education.

“This means that teaching and learning will be online and in person, wherever safely possible, to ensure that all our students continue to receive an excellent UCL education that is valued by employers around the world, as well as a great university experience.

“Challenging, adapting and doing things differently have always been the UCL way so this will the heart of what we do in the 2020-21 academic year. As social distancing measures are relaxed, UCL will move in a phased fashion to deliver as much face to face teaching and learning as soon as we can.”

Ashley Slanina-Davies, Students’ Union UCL, added: “UCL’s announcement on teaching for next year gives clarity to new and returning students, many of whom have felt anxious about what their education will look like from September 2020. The approach aims to deliver an experience which brings our community together, irrespective of study location.

“The safety and welfare of students is priority in making these decisions, and we’re confident that UCL’s approach will be aided by the expertise of its academic community, as well as guidance from the UK Government.

“We’re working every day to make sure UCL delivers what’s best for students. Our priority is to ensure that all students, regardless of where they’re studying or how they’re studying, receive a high-quality and equitable experience. We’ll continue to represent students on every decision UCL makes about next year.