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Department of Political Science

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Undergraduate FAQ's

Find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) BSc and the Politics and International Relations (PIR) BSc undergraduate degree programmes.

COVID-19 FAQs

Updates on Covid-19 are fluid and students should keep an eye out on the main UCL website for up-to-date information. Our specific frequently asked questions can be found below:

Will teaching take place face-to-face or remotely?

For Term 1 of the academic year (Monday 28 September 2020 – Friday 18 December 2020), teaching will be delivered through high-quality online lectures and interactive online seminars. Our online delivery is based on best practice developed by UCL’s Institute of Education – the world’s top-ranked education school. Our approach ensures that you will graduate with a globally respected degree that meets the highest academic standards.

The UCL campus will be open and term will start on 28 September 2020. Your safety is paramount for us and consequently, we are planning a remote first approach, with some campus-based face- to-face activity for students led by academic or teaching staff. We look forward to welcoming you to London; if you are able to travel to London, you will be able to pursue your degree remotely for Term 1.

  • Our teaching will be delivered through high-quality online lectures and interactive online seminars in Term 1 of the academic year.
  • We will supplement online teaching in Term 1 with interactive sessions, online and in person, in which you’ll be guided and challenged in discussion with peers and experts in your field, and can apply the material learned.
  • There will be opportunities to pursue your interests outside your programme, including a rich array of talks and seminars.
  • We’re also ready to connect you with world-leading employers and with UCL’s international alumni networks. There will be 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.
Will I need to live in or travel to London in Autumn 2020?

If you are able to travel here, we look forward to welcoming you to London. Our campus will be open including libraries and the student centre and Term will start as planned on 28 September 2020.

We look forward to welcoming you to London if you are able to travel here. If you are unable to travel to London for Term 1, you will be able to pursue your degree online. Our flexible approach means that even if your arrival on UCL campus is delayed by travel restrictions or health concerns, 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. We will review our plans as the academic year progresses towards Term 2 to ensure you receive the best education and university experience. It is expected that UCL will take a decision on teaching delivery for Term 2 in September/October.

Can I start the programme in January 2021?

No, unfortunately we do not offer a January 2021 start date. Term will start on 28 September 2020.

Does the University still plan to begin the course on 28 September 2020?

Yes, our campus will be open and Term will start on 28 September 2020. If you cannot travel to London, you are able to take Term 1 remotely.

Can I complete my entire degree remotely?

UCL has not yet taken a decision on remote teaching for Term 2 but will look to do so sometime in the early autumn, keeping in mind that students will need time to consider travel, visas, accommodation, etc. If it is safe and possible to do so, we will aim to deliver teaching face-to-face for Term 2.

Should the situation change and the government decides to ease their social distancing/lockdown measure significantly before the September start date, would we potentially have more face-to-face teaching?

Teaching in Term 1 will be delivered online. If the lockdown eases, we will be able to undertake more ancillary face-to-face activities in London. However, teaching will remain online to ensure all of our global student body can participate. UCL will release their decision on Term 2 in the early autumn.

Will students still be able to see Professors during their office hours?

Office hours will continue to take place but to ensure our global student body can participate, office hours will take place virtually, through one-on-one video chats between academics and students. Some academics may additionally offer face-to-face office hours, where social distancing permits, to students wishing to see them in-person.

In light of Covid-19, is it possible to gain access to UCL's library resources for research?

Our libraries will be open subject to safety and social distancing measures, including our Student Centre and learning spaces alongside our huge range of electronic resources (e-resources) to support you in your studies. For all our modules in Term 1, required readings will be available online to ensure you have access to the same library resources when studying with us online.

In the case that I could defer for next year, and given the UK withdrawal from the EU this year, would I have to pay overseas fees for the 2021-2022 course instead of EU fees?

At this time, we do not know how the fee structure for academic year 21-22 will look like. Typically, fees are determined by the year the student enrols, rather than the year they were offered a place of admission, so there is a risk that EU students will be liable for overseas fees in 21-22. 

How will the programme be delivered post Covid-19?

UCL will review teaching plans as the academic year progresses and closely monitor the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure you receive the best education and university experience, while safeguarding your health and safety. The Department will return to face-to-face teaching if and when it is safe to do so.

How many courses are are considered lectures versus small tutorials?

√Nearly all of our modules are taught through a combination of lectures and small-group interactive seminars. Our lectures vary in size depending on the programme and module. Seminars average between 15-20 students.

How will study trips (in programme offering them) take place? 

Should the Covid-19 pandemic preclude in-person study trips in 2021, the Department will mitigate the loss of any study trip with similar activity within the academic year. This will likely take the form of virtual study trips in which students meet in small groups online with policymakers from the organisations the study trip focused on.

How will UCL enable networking with alumni and other students during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Department is organising biweekly virtual alumni, career and student events for students throughout 2020-2021 to connect with world-leading employers, with UCL’s international alumni networks, and to students in your and other programmes of study at UCL. This will be complemented by face-to-face career, alumni and social events when it is safe to do so.

Will there be a discount on tuition fees?

The Department’s core priority is to safeguard academic standards and excellence for students in 2020-2021. As a result, the Department continues to staff all modules with high-calibre academics and an excellent student-staff ratio and invests, as in previous years, heavily in high quality teaching. Moreover, it is organising a suite of online policy workshops, networking events and international speaker series, among others, to enrich the student experience. The tuition fee is reflective of these expenses. Consistent with guidance from the UK Government’s Department for Education, UCL is not offering a fee reduction for the 20-21 academic year.

UCL’s Student Funding team offers 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.

In the event that I interrupt for 20-21, and given the UK withdrawal from the EU this year, would I have to pay overseas fees for the 2021-2020 course instead of EU fees? That is, £23,340 instead of £14,320?

If you start on a programme as a home/EU fee student for entry in the academic year 2018/19, 2019/20 or 2020/21, you will pay the same tuition fees as UK students, and you will not see any changes to your loan eligibility. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of your enrolment on that specific programme. This is subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the UCL fees schedule. For more information see the government statements on funding for EU students for 2018 to 2019, 2019 to 2020 and 2020/21. If you have any queries relating to student funding/finance, you can email studentfunding@ucl.ac.uk.

If I did decide to interrupt for a year, what is the process and what do I need to do?

Please read the regulations on interruption of study before making an application. Please note that students holding a Tier 4 visa must leave the UK for the duration of any interruption and re- apply for a new visa in order to return to UCL.

 

Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc 

How many places are there?

There will be 50 places (cohort commencing September 2019).

Do you limit the number of students that you take from a particular school?

No, we do not impose any limits like this. We simply seek to recruit the strongest set of students for a limited number of places. To do that, we will look at applications as a whole - including grades, evidence of an interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for the subject(s).

Can I receive a contextual offer?

Please see the UCL contextual offers information.

Can I transfer to the PPE programme?

Unfortunately not. We do not accept any internal or external transfer students.

How much prior knowledge of economics/mathematics do I need?

The ECON1001 Economics module must be taken (and passed) by all PPE students in the first year, not just those in the Politics and Economics concentration. It would be beneficial to familiarise yourself before the beginning of the programme with a maths knowledge of:

(1) Differentiation its use in solving single-variable maximisation and minimisation problems. That is the appropriate use of first order and second order conditions.

(2) Basic algebra to manipulating equations to find the value of unknown variables, or relationships between variables.

(3) Experience with basic MS Excel manipulations (plotting data, finding averages, variances).

(4) Interpreting graphs and functional relationships, including knowledge of monotonicity, intercepts, of course convexity and concavity.

What are the Maths requirements? 

A* Maths in A Level is required.

Higher Level 7 in Maths in the International Baccalaureate is required. 

What are you looking for in the personal statement?

What makes you a particularly good person to take up a place on the UCL PPE programme? What are you curious about? Are there particular features of the socio-economic world that intrigue you? Are there societal problems that puzzle or trouble you? Why?

The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate to us a range of features of your application that we would otherwise not be able to discern. We would like to admit students who have a strong interest and aptitude for the sort of interdisciplinary social scientific and philosophical programme that we offer. Note that, while we value interdisciplinarity, it is perfectly understandable that you may expect to lean more towards one or other of our subject areas.

Do you accept resits?

Yes, we will accept both GCSE and A Level resits.

There were extenuating/mitigating circumstances during my exams. What should I do?

If you have been ill at any point leading up to or during the examination period, or have any other mitigating circumstances, then you should submit these to the examination board via your school. Mitigating circumstances will not be considered by UCL.

Am I eligible to apply with a grade A in A Level Mathematics in view of the fact that the A* grade was not available when I sat the examination?

The application would be considered in relation to the grade criteria that were available at the time the qualification was taken. Admissions would also look closely at the individual module results for evidence of ability to obtain an A* grade.

How will UCL receive notification of my results?

Each year UCAS sends UCL thousands of examination results directly. However, they are only able to do this for certain examinations such, as GCE A Levels. 

The UCAS Sending Exam Results page contains a full list of qualifications that are sent to us by UCAS. If yours isn't there, you'll need to send your results in. 

UCL will contact all Firm offer holders from June onwards to let them know how we expect to receive their results, providing instructions if we need them submitted to us directly.

What should I read before applying to or starting the PPE programme?

Recommended reading will be made known to you by your lecturers, and the details provided on their corresponding Moodle page, which you will have access to in due course. We normally advise students to wait till they get here with regard to purchasing textbooks so you can take up to date advice from the relevant lecturers, and possibly obtain discounted second-hand books from continuing students.

The only textbook that might be sensible to purchase in advance is Pemberton & Rau's Mathematics for Economists: An Introductory Textbook, Third Edition, Manchester University Press, 2011; as you will certainly need this one.

Regarding the core ECON1001 module, this module is based on the novel material produced by the CORE project. The main textbook is The Economy, a free online e-book written by experts from around the globe.

Register to access The Economy

Does PPE have a study abroad module or year?

Students are able to apply to Study Abroad after their first year on the programme and this is dependent on the grades they receive for that year. Students who follow this option will complete their degree in four years, rather than three, taking their final year options in the fourth year having returned from their year abroad.

Can I visit the Department in Tavistock Square?

The Political Science department is not open outside the University /Department open/offer holder days, but prospective students thinking of applying to UCL are normally welcome to have a look round college grounds at any time, to experience the character and atmosphere. For information on UCL Campus tours, please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/

Politics and International Relations BSc

How many places are there?

There will be 50 places (cohort commencing September 2019).

Do you limit the number of students that you take from a particular school?

No, we do not impose any limits like this. We simply seek to recruit the strongest set of students for a limited number of places. To do that, we will look at applications as a whole - including grades, evidence of an interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for the subject(s).

Can I receive a contextual offer?

Please see the UCL contextual offers information.

Can I transfer to the BSc Politics and International Relations programme?

Unfortunately not. We do not accept any internal or external transfer students.

What are you looking for in the personal statement?

What makes you a particularly good person to take up a place on the UCL Politics & International Relations  programme? What are you curious about? Are there particular features of the socio-economic world that intrigue you? Are there societal problems that puzzle or trouble you? Why?

The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate to us a range of features of your application that we would otherwise not be able to discern. We would like to admit students who have a strong interest and aptitude for the sort of interdisciplinary social scientific and philosophical programme that we offer. Note that, while we value interdisciplinarity, it is perfectly understandable that you may expect to lean more towards one or other of our subject areas.

Do you accept resits?

Yes, we will accept both GCSE and A Level resits.

There were extenuating/mitigating circumstances during my exams. What should I do?

If there were any circumstances that you believe affected you during your examinations you should speak to your school immediately and ask them to submit formal notification to the examination board.

How will UCL receive notification of my results?

Each year UCAS sends UCL thousands of examination results directly. However, they are only able to do this for certain examinations such, as GCE A Levels. 

The UCAS Sending Exam Results page contains a full list of qualifications that are sent to us by UCAS. If yours isn't there, you'll need to send your results in. 

UCL will contact all Firm offer holders from June onwards to let them know how we expect to receive their results, providing instructions if we need them submitted to us directly.

What should I read before applying to or starting the BSc Politics and International Relations programme?

Recommended reading will be made known to you by your lecturers, and the details provided on their corresponding Moodle page, which you will have access to in due course. We normally advise students to wait till they get here with regard to purchasing textbooks so you can take up to date advice from the relevant lecturers, and possibly obtain discounted second-hand books from continuing students.

Can I visit the Department in Tavistock Square?

The Political Science department is not open outside the University /Department open/offer holder days, but prospective students thinking of applying to UCL are normally welcome to have a look round college grounds at any time, to experience the character and atmosphere. For information on UCL Campus tours, please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/

What happens if I am ill leading up to or during the exam period?

If you have been ill at any point leading up to or during the examination period, or have any other mitigating circumstances, then you should submit these to the examination board via your school. Mitigating circumstances will not be considered by UCL.