International Students


Student profile - Mike Tormey

Describe your time at UCL in three words: Busy, hands-on, and collaborative.

Mike Tormey

MSc International Planning               

Boston, USA


What attracted you to UCL?

I was attracted to UCL because, for one, there’s no better place to study urban planning than in LONDON! Also, the programme at UCL offered many opportunities for hands-on engagement with local planning projects and processes, which was something I was really looking for in a planning programme.

What aspects of your studies do you enjoy the most?

I’m enjoying most the opportunities for small-group collaboration, supported by engaging and interesting tutors. They push us, of course, but it’s been such a fun and great learning experience in the process.

Mike Tormey student

What makes you most proud to be a UCL student?

Two things make me most proud to be a UCL student: how global my cohort is, which facilitates the group learning from each other’s experiences from all over the world; and the incredible work my lecturers do in my field, which means I’m getting the best knowledge from the world’s best researchers!

What are some of the most interesting things you have done, seen, or got involved with while at UCL?

I went on a couple walks with the hiking club, and they were certainly interesting opportunities to get out of the city and exploring the lovely countryside around it! I also have found it so interesting to work with professors who also work for the city, so we’re not just getting the academic perspective but also the professional one, too.

How has being at UCL changed you and the way you think about yourself?

Being at UCL – studying in London – has changed my relationship with school for the better, in that I’m working hard but totally pursuing a rich life in the vibrant city, too! That’s not to say I’m slacking off, but I’m taking the opportunity to strike a really positive balance between school work, working towards a professional career, building up a strong social network, and having a great time exploring the world’s greatest city, too!

What advice would you give to a student considering UCL?

I’d recommend taking a look at all the programmes on offer and thinking about which one really fits best! There are so many, which is a huge strength, and so there’s bound to be one that offers exactly the specialised focus you’re looking for. Then, send an email to the programme lead and have a call where you discuss your interests and make sure they align with the programme. This will help make sure you’re set up for success in the perfect programme once you get here!

What are your future ambitions and how do you think that being a UCL student will help you get there?

I hope to be an excellent urban transportation planner. My background is transportation engineering and planning, but I know there are so many more challenges and constraints facing our cities than just the transport networks. Studying urban planning at UCL is absolutely setting me up for my future career by enabling me to think bigger about complex urban issues, tackle them in a collaborative and hands-on way using London as a living laboratory, and then critically consider how what we’re learning applies elsewhere around the world.

Describe your time at UCL in three words.

Busy, hands-on, and collaborative.