We outline what you can expect from your academic experience at UCL.
Our continuing and new students want to know as much as possible as soon as possible about what student life is going to be like in 2021-22, so that they can make informed choices and plan for next year.
This page sets out our broad plans for your education at UCL in 2021-22 and is up to date as of July 2021.
Your department will keep you updated you on the specific plans for your programme and department.
A UCL education is designed to stretch your intellect, expand your experience and develop your skills. We want you to learn how to think, not what to think, through research-based learning. We will make sure that as a student you connect well with people (peers, teachers, researchers, and other UCL communities); with knowledge and research; and with the wider world.
At all times our first priority is your health and safety and that of our whole community. Uncertainty remains, but we are planning with cautious optimism. By late summer 2021 we expect that many of the significant restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic will have eased, though some social distancing and some limits to international and UK travel may remain.
Our plans for your teaching and learning
We are planning for our campus to be open to all students for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. You will have a blend of face-to-face and online teaching and learning, designed to support you to progress and succeed academically. Our 'blended by design' approach responds to the feedback of our students and builds on the continuous refinement of our online education this year.
We expect the majority of students to come to campus for face-to-face teaching (unless you will be on a distance-learning programme). Across UCL, most small group teaching - including seminars, workshops, laboratory and studio practicals - will be in person and most of your large group teaching will be online.
Within your programme, some modules will blend online and on campus teaching, some will be mostly online and others completely online if all learning outcomes can be met this way. Online, you will be learning through a mix of interactive sessions in real time and engaging digital learning activities and lecture recordings that you can work through at your own pace and that support the teaching and learning on campus.
The amount of face-to-face teaching will vary from programme to programme and depends on the discipline and the stage you are at in your studies. Some disciplines traditionally expect students to spend a significant part of their programmes studying and researching independently outside the classroom, with fewer face-to-face classes. These disciplines will prioritise interactive teaching activities like tutorials and seminars on campus to support your independent studies.
Our students have told us very clearly how much they value in-person interaction with fellow students and the experience of an environment that is alive with research and academic scholarship. This happens both in and outside your academic programme, and you will have many opportunities for informal learning, networking and connecting with your fellow students, online and on campus. Our libraries offer digital and physical materials for independent study and analysis, and developing your skills as an active researcher.
Please ensure that you plan your arrival in the UK so that you can attend your on campus activities. Some students may not be able to join us in London at the start of the year because of continuing coronavirus travel restrictions in some countries. If this affects you, we will support you as best we can to commence your studies online for a short period of time until you are able to join us in person. These support arrangements will vary across departments and some programmes will be able to support students who cannot travel to London for most or all of Term One. However, in most cases you will miss some or all your teaching if you do not attend classes on campus.
Currently, everyone planning to travel to the UK, whether vaccinated or not, must still follow the traffic light system of rules. The traffic light system is likely to change before September and we will update you as soon as possible. If coronavirus restrictions delay your arrival in the UK and you cannot attend campus at the start of term, you should consult your department’s website for guidance. In some cases you may be able to catch up, in others it may be better to interrupt or defer your studies to 2022-23.
UCL’s International Student Support webpages have more information on the advice and support available as you prepare to arrive to London, the information about student vaccinations, as well as orientation activities available to you as a new or returning international student.
Your wider student experience
UCL Careers, the Student Centre and other social spaces will be open and there will be many opportunities to pursue your interests outside your programme, including UCL volunteering, sustainability and entrepreneurship programmes, and the clubs and societies run by your Students’ Union. These will be available online and in person, subject to social distancing guidance and the whole of London will be on your doorstep.
Our blended model of education will help us manage through the coronavirus pandemic particularly during the winter months. By offering very large group online and limiting some class sizes, we are confident we can flex our campus to continue some interactive face to face learning activity, even if social distancing requirements change temporarily during the year.
To make sure UCL is as safe as possible we will continue to provide on campus COVID-19 testing facilities and the Connect-to-Protect tool, zoning systems around our buildings, enhanced cleaning of buildings and teaching spaces, plus asking everyone to wear face coverings if they are able to do so. These precautions will be in place for as long as the UK Government and our health advisors tell us that they are required.
A resurgence of coronavirus is always a possibility at some point in the next academic year. However, we have robust contingency plans, based on our experience and resources that have been developed this year, so we are confident that you will be able progress your education with us whatever the circumstances.