Academic life

Information about academic life in the UK and at UCL.

Academic life at a UK university can be quite different to what you are used to at school, and could be very different to the university system in your home country. We have summarised a few key points below to help introduce you to your UCL learning journey.

Teaching methods

At UCL, you can expect to encounter a broad range of teaching and learning methods and environments:

  • 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.)

Attendance and engagement requirements: at least 70% attendance across all teaching events.

View your timetable

To view your personal timetable, visit www.ucl.ac.uk/timetable

  • See your weekly timetable
  • Switch between week, year and term views at a click
  • Events are updated as and when they change
  • Check the timetable regularly; there may be changes to rooms, days or times
  • Modules appear in your timetable the day after you select them on Portico
  • If you are a student within the School of Pharmacy you will need to contact the School for all of your timetabling information
  • Students from the Institute of Education should contact their programme administrator for details of their timetable

Academic support

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 personal and professional development.

Your Personal Tutor (or supervisor for research students) will normally be a member of teaching staff, but not necessarily teaching courses on your programme. 

They 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.

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To find out more about personal tutors, take a look at the Personal Tutors webpage.

Affiliate Tutor - affiliate students only

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 - undergraduates

As part of the study skills support UCL also runs the Transition 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. For further information about this please see the Transition pages

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.

Students' Union UCL

Within the Students' Union, 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.

The Students' Union runs the Writing and Language Support (WALS) Programme for international non-native English speakers whereby students meet peer tutors for support with academic writing or spoken language. The academic support website provides some helpful guidance too.

Benefit from UCL alumni mentors

Make the most of your time at UCL by connecting with UCL alumni (graduates) all over the world and strengthening your personal and professional network. 

Search our online directory for potential mentors from our pool of experienced alumni. Whether you've just started a 3 year degree or plan to be at UCL for a year or less, you can  contact your future mentor directly and build a mentoring relationship that works for you both.

Once you have completed your student registration, sign up at www.uclalumnicommunity.org

Online resources

Students can access online courses via the Student Help menu on Moodle.

More information and access to a wide variety of online resources is also available on UCL's Study skills and e-learning webpages.

Amongst these you can find the online learning platform Lynda, which offers a wealth of different training courses including academic skills.

The British Council has also launched a new open online course (MOOC) on preparing to study and live in the UK. This allows you to familiarise yourself with student life and the ways of teaching and learning in the UK.