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 August 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. Many of the significant restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic have eased, though some expectation around wearing face masks, social distancing in a small number of settings and some limits to international and UK travel remain. We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our own researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention.
Our plans for your teaching and learning
The start of the academic year is an important part of your time at UCL and we are planning for our campus to be open to all students 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 about what activity needs to return to face to face and what should remain online and accessible in a way that suits your learning. Across UCL, most small group teaching - including seminars, workshops, laboratory and studio practicals - will be in person and most of your lecture-based large group teaching will be online.
Within your programme, most modules will blend online and on campus teaching, and a small number will be mostly or 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 from the start of term if at all possible. Some students may not be able to join us in London at the very 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 but most programmes will be able to support students for a up to three or four weeks, and others a little longer.
Some overseas students who, as a result of circumstances related to the pandemic, cannot join us in London may be able to study remotely for the whole of Term 1 if we can provide all elements of your programme online. This will not be the same as studying a fully online programme or studying in person, but for some programmes we can support you to achieve your learning outcomes remotely. If your course is eligible for this option in Term 1, you will need to join us in person for Term 2. Your department has contacted you by mid-August with more details about how your programme will operate this year, including whether it is possible for you to study remotely for the whole of Term 1.
If coronavirus circumstances delay your arrival in the UK and it is not possible to follow your programme online in Term 1, you will need to interrupt if you are a returning student or decline your offer, or defer your studies until September 2022 if you are a new student. You should consult your department’s website and emails for further guidance before making this decision.
UCL’s International Student Support webpages have more information on the advice and support available as you prepare to arrive to London, including quarantining information, the information about student vaccinations, as well as orientation activities available to you as a new or returning international student.
Declare your intention to study remotely
If your department has confirmed that Term 1 remote study is possible for overseas students on your programme, you will need to let us know if you decide to choose this option. You will receive an email on Thursday 26 August inviting you to access Portico to declare your intention to study remotely. You should complete this task by 14 September.
You do not need to complete this task if you intend to study face-to-face on campus.
If you initially declare your intention to study remotely and then change your mind, you should update your preference in Portico as soon as possible and let your department know your change of plans.
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.
You can learn more about UCL and our plans to support student induction on our New Students website. We hope to welcome you in September and encourage you to keep checking these webpages in the meantime for further information about studying at UCL in 2021/22.
Our blended model of education will help us manage through the ongoing coronavirus challenges that may arise particularly during the winter months. By offering very large group teaching 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.
We are working hard to make sure all our buildings and spaces are as safe as possible. Unless you are exempt, we expect everyone on campus to wear a face covering in indoor spaces, including in lectures, seminar rooms, study spaces, offices and labs. We are cleaning our buildings frequently and asking everyone to get tested twice a week, even if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
We expect that the vast majority of our staff and students will be fully vaccinated so that they can protect themselves and others.
The UK has a well-advanced vaccination programme and international students at UCL on all visas and of all nationalities will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others around you is to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible. UCL will support you to get a vaccine as soon as possible if you need one and there will be an NHS vaccination centre on campus. UCL’s International Student Support webpages have more information on the advice and support available for students arriving or returning to London as an international student.
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 the resources that have already been developed , so we are confident that you will be able progress your education with us whatever the circumstances. You can find more about how we are keeping staff and students safe on campus and protecting their wellbeing. Our website is frequently updated as UK Government advice and our plans and we recommend you check this regularly as you make your plans for the Autumn.
We are confident that our campus is safe, but we understand that some of you may be worried about coming to London, especially if you were identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable earlier in the pandemic, or you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. If that is the case, please get in touch with our Student Support & Wellbeing team, who can tell you more about the support available to you.
Further information and support
If you have a question about your studies at UCL, please get in touch with your department.
If you want to speak to someone about your health and wellbeing, UCL’s Support and Wellbeing team are on hand to support all our students. If you have access to askUCL, our online enquiries system, you can message the team at any time. If this isn't available to you yet, please call +44 (0)20 7679 0100 (9am - 5pm BST, Monday to Friday). Please note that our phonelines are very busy this week, but we will get back to everyone who messages us via askUCL.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
For more FAQs, please see:
- I am based overseas; when can I expect to hear from my department about whether remote study is possible for my programme in Term 1?
Departments are working hard on determining where remote study options are feasible for overseas students who cannot join us in London in Term 1. We will share this information with you as soon as it is finalised. If you have not already heard from your department on this question, you can expect to do so by 17 August at the latest.
- Why is there no option for remote study for students based in the UK?
A remote option is available on some programmes for students based overseas who are finding difficulty travelling to London because of circumstances related to the pandemic. UK-based students are able to travel to London.
- Can I change to a programme that will support remote study for Term 1?
You can apply, but there is no guarantee of a transfer. Many programmes are already full or have pre-requistes neccesary to succeed. See Change your degree programme or modules for more information on the process.
- What if I plan to be on campus but new restrictions are put in place in my country in the next few weeks or at the start of term that prevent me from travelling to London?
Let your department know as soon as possible so they can advise you on next steps. On certain programmes we are able to provide the option for students based overseas to follow their programme remotely for Term 1 and then join us in London by the start of Term 2. However, on other programmes, remote study may not be feasible and you will be advised to defer or interrupt your studies until September 2022 if you cannot make it to campus early in the term.
- If I have committed to remote study for Term 1 and a change in my circumstances means I can now travel to London, what should I do?
If you originally committed to studying remotely in Term 1 and a change in your circumstances means you are now able to study on campus in London, you should let your department know as soon as possible and update your choice in the 'Intention to study remotely' task in Portico (see below).
- I pay Home Student (UK) fees but I am domiciled abroad. Does the Term 1 remote study option for my programme apply to me too?
Yes, if your department has said it is feasible for overseas based students in your cohort to study remotely in Term 1, then that mitigation applies to you too – it is provided for students based abroad, irrespective of fee status. Please contact your department if you have any questions.
- Will there be a reduction in fees for those studying remotely during Term 1?
No. UCL is delivering its programmes on-campus and making the opportunity to study in-person available to all students. We are adapting some programmes to support overseas students to follow teaching online where this is the only option available to them and they would not otherwise be able to follow the programme during the first term. This is an additional measure that we are putting in place for students and will not result in any reduction in fees.
Students are encouraged to come to London this academic year. If they cannot, deferral or interruption of study is advised for those students who choose not to follow their programme remotely, or whose programmes cannot offer a remote study option.ot otherwise be able to follow the programme during the first term. This is an additional measure that we are putting in place for students and will not result in any reduction in fees.
Students are encouraged to come to London this academic year. If they cannot, deferral or interruption of study is advised for those students who choose not to follow their programme remotely, or whose programmes cannot offer a remote study option.