Support and wellbeing


Along with many areas of UCL, the DoP are introducing thesis committees from October 2019. These are basically expanded supervisory teams. All research students therefore must have:

  • A Principal Supervisor, whose area of expertise is closely aligned with the student’s chosen research topic and who is responsible for directing their research training.
  • A Subsidiary Supervisor, who is there to help assess progress, provide continuity of supervision and additional expertise.
  • At least two additional supervisors with relevant academic experience. Only one of the three non-primary supervisors can be from the same team as the Primary Supervisor. These members may be UCL staff or external to UCL, but at least one of your subsidiary or additional supervisors should be a member of UCL academic staff.
  • Your Principal and Subsidiary supervisors will discuss the composition of your thesis committee when you start and this will be approved by one of the Graduate Tutors.

Supervisors do not necessarily need to come from the same division and can even be drawn from different institutions.

The UCL Doctoral Skills Development programme runs training sessions on supervisory relationships, for example “Getting the Most Out of Your Supervisory Relationship”, and confidential one-to-one problem-solving sessions. You can find the full list and sign up on the training sessions webpage. They have also produced a video on ‘Good Supervision’. If you are having any difficulties with your supervisor, you can speak to the divisional graduate tutors (Claudia Cooper or Liz Sampson).

Mental health and wellbeing support

If you are struggling with your mental health or personal issues, there is a range of support available specifically for UCL students:

  • UCL Student Support and Wellbeing: a team of expert wellbeing, disability and mental health advisers, offering a range of support for students, including confidential meetings, daily drop-in sessions and advice on extenuating circumstances and interrupting studies. You can call 0207 679 0100, email student.wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk, or find more information on the student support and wellbeing page.
  • UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services: a free service providing short-term counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychiatric support and psycho-educational groups to help you deal with a range of personal, emotional and psychological concerns. Find more information on the webpage.
  • UCL Student Funding Advisors: confidential financial support, advice and guidance for UCL students struggling with money management or complex funding issues. Current students can raise a query on the askUCL system. Prospective students can email studentfundingadvice@ucl.ac.uk
  • Care First: counselling support available by telephone or online (instant messaging) out of hours (during UCL closure, weekends, bank holidays and overnight). Provide advice and guidance on a range of issues related to university and home life. Call 0800 197 4510 or visit the evening and weekend support page.

Personal development

 The UCL Doctoral Skills Development programme offers personal and professional development training courses tackling topics such as ‘Building up Emotional Strength as a Researcher’, ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ and ‘Managing the Anxieties of a PhD’. You may find these helpful for your wellbeing as a PhD student. You can find the full list and sign up on the website.

Quiet room

In Wing B there is a quiet room, which can be used for breastfeeding, expressing breastmilk, prayer, or simply as a quiet space. The room is on the left hand side of Wing B, behind meeting room 8.