On this page you can find information and resources about academic life at UCL and in the UK.
If you are coming to study at UCL from abroad, you may find that the UK academic system is different to the education system you have known so far. Below you can find more information on the following:
As you begin your studies at UCL, here are a few guidelines on what to expect from your UCL learning journey.
Independent work and research
While in some countries the focus will be on spending many contact hours in the classroom, studying in the UK is typically more independent. Most lectures or seminars will last one hour, and you will be expected to work and prepare for classes autonomously.
UCL is also a very research-driven institution, which means you will often be asked to answer complex questions with real-life applications. Studying at a UK university, you will become used to expressing your own opinion, engaging in debates and challenging existing viewpoints.
Different teaching methods
There are different teaching styles depending on your programme of study. At UCL, you can expect to encounter a broad range of teaching and learning methods and environments. These include:
- lectures (20 - 350 students)
- seminars (5 - 30 students)
- practical work (lab courses, field trips, installations etc.)
- tutorials (one-to-one and/or small groups)
- private study (individual, study groups etc.)
Universities also put an emphasis on attendance: at UCL, you need to have at least 70% attendance across all teaching events.
Different assessment methods
The most common forms of assessment are examinations, which usually take place at the end of the academic term, and written coursework, which is usually in the form of essays and reports. You may also be asked to prepare individual and group presentations, and to work on collaborative projects.
You will likely be marked on a scale from 0 to 100, although scaling may be different according to your discipline.
To allow you to make the most of your studies at UCL, we ensure that you have access to academic support services throughout the duration of your time with us.
Personal Tutor - for all students
At UCL, every student is allocated a Personal Tutor, who offers guidance on their overall academic progress and their personal and professional development. Your Personal Tutor (or supervisor for research students) will normally be a member of teaching staff, but may not necessarily be teaching courses on your programme of study.
Tutors can offer you a range of help, from essay-writing techniques and using online learning facilities to advice on course progression and options. They can also give you recommendations for further study as well as general career advice.
Affiliate Tutor - for affiliate students
All affiliate students will be allocated an Affiliate Tutor, who will be your main point of contact for academic support and queries related to your programme.
Transition Mentors - for undergraduates
As part of the study skills support UCL also runs the Transition Mentoring programme. If you are a first year undergraduate you will be assigned a Transition Mentor to help you settle in at the start of your course.
UCL Doctoral School - for research graduates
The UCL Doctoral School provides support to postgraduate research students through courses, scholarships and inter-disciplinary programmes. The School is committed to ensuring that the quality of research training at UCL is at the highest international level.
English language support
If your native language is not English, the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) can offer you a wide range of part-time courses aimed at enhancing your English language skills and overall confidence. Foreign languages are also offered in the evening to UCL students and staff.
Students' Union UCL also runs the Writing and Language Support (WALS) Programme for non-native English speakers, where students can meet their peers for support with academic writing or spoken language.
Below are a few resources to help familiarise yourself with student life and the ways of teaching and learning in the UK.
View your timetable
Here you can see your weekly timetable and switch between week, year and term views at a click. Events are updated on the timetabling system as and when they change, therefore ensure you check your timetable regularly as there may be room or time changes. Modules appear in your timetable the day after you select them on Portico.
Students' Union UCL
The Students' Union UCL academic sections provide an opportunity to discuss academic-related concerns, needs and interests within the Students' Union, UCL and beyond. The academic sections also encourage extra-curricular activities such as social events and skills development opportunities. There is also a Students' Union Education Officer who is responsible for representing UCL students’ educational and academic needs to UCL.