Your UCL education in the 2020/21 academic year

What you can expect from your academic experience at UCL this year, during COVID-19.

Students can return to campus from 17 May.

In Term Three, you continue to have the option of studying wherever you are based, according to travel restrictions and your personal circumstances. From 17 May, according to the Government roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, in-person teaching for some programmes can resume at UCL and student research projects that have been paused can restart.

See the 5 May update from Professor Deborah Gill on the further easing of lockdown in England.

While UCL was open and ready to welcome you to the start of the new term on 28 September, many of you began your 2020/21 academic year by studying remotely due to the restrictions of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In Term One, new and returning students have had the option of studying on campus or wherever you're based around the world. This flexibility continues for Terms Two and Three as we recognize that, as the pandemic evolves, you may need to change where you are based. For example, if you were unable to arrive on campus in Term One, you can join us later. Similarly, if you have come onto campus but then need to return home, you can do so with no impact on your studies.

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This page was last updated on 06 November 2020. 

Connected Learning at UCL

At UCL, education is about making connections. Connecting with our research and our world-leading staff; connecting across disciplines to challenge your thinking and ideas; and connecting with global challenges to prepare you for a great career. While social distancing continues we have to ensure we maintain these connections.

Alongside any on-campus experience you may have, we want to make sure you have a high-quality, collaborative and engaging online learning experience. We are calling this approach 'Connected Learning'.

Connected Learning means that even if you are studying remotely, you are still part of our academic community – connecting with your tutors and fellow students, inside and outside the classroom.

Due to social distancing requirements, for Term Three, all your core teaching will continue to take place online, including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By 'core teaching' we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. There will be highly interactive sessions in real time, as well as engaging learning activities designed so you can study at your own pace and in your own time zone. We are also making sure that dissertations and major projects can be carried out online.

We know that for some students, online lectures and study activities have been a very new learning experience. So we developed Connected Learning at UCL – a student course on our core learning platform, Moodle - to give you practical experience of learning online and using UCL's core learning tools and platforms.

We have increased the number of people involved in teaching and supporting learning alongside your regular teaching teams, with roles including learning technologists, content developers, student success advisors, graduate teaching assistants and student interns.

We have invested heavily in our digital infrastructure for teaching and assessment, remote-access computing labs, in interactive tools like Mentimeter, in platforms where you can raise issues, meet others and interact for academic and social purposes.

We have sent out lab kits, clinical skills kits, visualisers and graphics tablets to support teaching that involves writing, drafting and drawing. Virtual exhibitions have been created to showcase student work and virtual fieldtrips have been developed.

Studying on campus

There are many benefits to attending university in person, beyond your academic journey. However, the progress of the pandemic and public health restrictions mean that many students are studying remotely.

Nevertheless, campus is open, including UCL libraries, UCL Careers, the Student Centre and Students’ Union UCL spaces. The physical access you will have to these facilities and your social spaces will continue to be severely restricted in Terms Two and Three, but you will have full online access to our services.

Your safety is our priority and as the pandemic continues, UK government guidance and social distancing requirements will guide how much teaching can take place in person at any given time. The amount of in-person teaching will vary from programme to programme but, where in-person activity is possible, it is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. If you can't join us in London, we will provide alternative content so you can achieve the same learning wherever you are in the world.

When you’re on campus, in-person activity, led by our excellent academic teams, may be programme-level teaching, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. 

Travelling from abroad to study on campus

For those students planning to arrive in London from overseas, Student Support and Wellbeing has put together ‘Preparing to arrive in the UK – travel advice’ to help you plan during COVID-19, including for possible quarantine on arrival. For more information visit our Immigration and visas webpage, which includes information for Tier 4 students, and for EU/EA/Swiss nationals.

Student support and activities

If you can join us in London, services like our libraries and UCL Careers are open, subject to safety precautions. If you don't plan to arrive until the next academic year, don’t worry: all students will also have online access to these facilities. 

See Library essentials for students and staff 2020-21 for the most up-to-date information about in-person and remote facilities. Whether you’re in London or not, our libraries offer you a huge range of digital materials (e-resources) to support you with independent pre-reading and analysis, and developing your skills as an active researcher. These resources are available to all enrolled students from the start date of your course.

There are many online and in-person opportunities to pursue your interests outside your programme, including UCL volunteering, sustainability and entrepreneurship programmes, and the clubs and societies run by your vibrant Students’ Union.

What's on at UCL?

Find out what’s going on across UCL with UCL Events and Activities, a new resource open exclusively to UCL students. 

Our Student Support and Wellbeing teams provide comprehensive online support services, including disability and mental health support, phone and online counselling, and information on studying abroad. The Student Enquiries Centre team is on hand to answer your questions on all the main aspects of academic life and life beyond the classroom – from letters of student status for council tax, to paying your fees and opening a bank account. 

You can also get in touch with the Students’ Union’s Advice Service on a wide range of issues, academic, social, financial and personal. 

Keeping safe on campus 

We have introduced 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 in some parts of the estate. We’ve also made more soap and hand sanitiser available.

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.

See our dedicated 'Keeping safe on campus' website to find out more what we’re doing to protect our staff and students and how you can help keep campus as safe as possible. 

Get tested regularly

Around 1 in 3 people have COVID-19 without displaying any symptoms and by getting tested regularly, you can help to reduce the spread of infection.

All students who have been studying remotely will be able to return to campus from Monday 17 May, according to the third step of the UK Government’s four-step roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England.

If you’re intending to return to campus, the Government’s advice is to get tested before you travel, and then twice a week when you return. We recommend that you take your first few tests at our on-site testing facility so that we can be on hand to help you should you need it – details are below. After that you may prefer to continue using the on-site facility or to use home-test kits.

Find out more about how to request or book a test. 

Sunflower Lanyard scheme

If you have an invisible disability, you can pick up a Sunflower lanyard to discreetly indicate that you have an invisible disability and may require additional support or assistance.

Find out more information about the Sunflower Lanyard scheme.

Still have questions?

If you have any further questions about what your UCL experience will look like for the remainder of this academic year, please check the 'Information for UCL students' page or visit our webpages for further information and guidance on the topics below. 

If you need further information, contact your department or visit askUCL, our student enquiry system.