We outline what you can expect from your academic experience at UCL.
On this page
Our plans for your teaching and learning
Our approach to preparing for the next academic year (2022-23) reflects the fact we are entering a new stage of the pandemic and there is still some uncertainty ahead. We hope the pandemic will play less of a role in our daily lives but it is possible there could still be some disruption during the winter.
We know you have already faced so much disruption to your education over the past three years and we want to ensure you have the information you need to prepare for next year. At the same time, we all have to recognise that plans may have to be adapted if there is another emergency situation.
How you’ll learn
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 dynamic engagement with research-intensive learning. Our aim is to ensure that you are able to learn effectively by connecting with a wide range of people (peers, teachers, researchers, and other UCL communities) and cutting edge knowledge and research, while making links to impact in the wider world.
The start of a new academic year is an exciting part of your time at UCL and our campus will be open to all students in September 2022.
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. Unless you are studying an online programme, you will be taught in person, on campus in 2022/23. You will be expected to attend your lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, practicals etc. in person unless you’re enrolled on an online programme, or pandemic-related conditions arise that result in requirements to learn all or part of your programme online for periods of time.
As part of a rich and varied learning environment, there might also be occasions where you are offered a ‘live’ online lecture if, for example, an external guest speaker is unable to attend in person or a member of teaching staff is required to isolate.
Where appropriate, your face-to-face teaching will be enriched by online materials and activities to support you to progress and succeed academically. This might include, for example, pre-recorded videos, readings and a range of interactive activities that can act as preparation or follow-up to in-person teaching, and that mean you can work through them at your own pace.
Where possible, your in-person large-group teaching (e.g. lectures) will be recorded so you can revisit them later to review material at your own pace or for use as a revision aid.
How many in-person ‘contact hours’ you can expect
Student learning time is made up of ‘contact time’ and independent study. Your contact time may be a mix of in-person and some online activities and these are characterised by personalised interaction with your tutor.
- In-person contact time includes on-campus activities such as face-to-face lectures, seminars, tutorials, labs, studios and workshops etc.
- Online contact time can be synchronous (e.g. live Zoom or Teams sessions) or asynchronous (tutor-moderated discussion forums, blogs or wikis).
The amount of contact time will vary from programme to programme and depends on the discipline and the stage of your studies. Some disciplines traditionally expect students to spend a significant part of their programmes studying and researching independently outside the classroom, with fewer in-person classes. In all cases, you will be expected to supplement your contact time with your own independent study (e.g. reading or researching recommended texts).
Overall, you should expect to receive similar amounts of in-person, on-campus contact time to that which students received before the pandemic. In some cases, where students have very high contact hours or a programme is part-time, some limited aspects of a programme might be offered online to reduce pressure on students or improve access for students who are juggling work and study.
How you’ll be assessed
Over the past two years, there has been considerable disruption to the ways in which you have been assessed. We are keen, therefore, to ensure that you are not suddenly faced with too many assessments in unfamiliar formats. We also want to build on what we have learnt during the pandemic about what works well for our staff and students.
Based on positive experiences in the pandemic, we will continue to offer many students a variety of online assessments, such as open book exams, take-home papers or coursework taken on our digital assessment platform, AssessmentUCL.
For some students, the nature of their subject means that in-person, paper-based assessments (traditional exams) will be more academically appropriate. Examples might include those accredited subjects where you have to be able to demonstrate a practical skill or show you can recall knowledge without consulting resources. We know that many of our students will be anxious at the thought of returning to traditional in-person exams, or perhaps experiencing them for the first time. As a result, please be assured that if your programme requires you to sit an in-person assessment, your Department will support you to prepare for that experience.
Your student experience
UCL Careers, the Student Centre and other social spaces are all open and the whole of London is on your doorstep! There are 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 in person, subject to any social distancing guidance operating at the time, and supplemented with some online activities to increase accessibility.
If you are joining us for the first time, visit our New Students website for all the information and checklists you need to prepare for your arrival and to learn more about UCL from our current students.
Help shape your education
We continue to consult with staff and students to understand what we can learn from the extraordinary experience of teaching and learning during a pandemic.
We offer many opportunities for you to feedback on your experience. The results from our institutional surveys and our regular interaction with student reps from your department, faculty and the Students’ Union have informed our approach to your education and wider student experience in 2022-23.
Your feedback will continue to inform the longer-term future of education at UCL – including how to find the right blend of in-person face-to-face learning and high-quality, just-in-time digital resources to meet the changing needs of our diverse student body.
If you have an urgent issue or concern, you should contact your department or AskUCL. Your Personal Tutor is also available to support you with any academic or pastoral issues.
At all times, our first priority is your health and safety and that of our whole community. The UK restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic have eased but a resurgence of coronavirus is always a possibility during the 2022-23 academic year. We will continue to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our own researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention.
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 and booster programme, and international students at UCL on all visas and of all nationalities are 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.
We will give you as much advance notice as possible if there is COVID disruption and if we are required to adapt to new guidance or safety restrictions. We have robust contingency plans based on our experience and the resources that have already been developed during the pandemic, so we aim to ensure that you will be able to progress safely with your education whatever the circumstances.
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).