Teaching & Learning


Personal academic tutoring

The purpose of personal academic tutoring at UCL is to guide and support students in their academic, personal and professional development during their time at university. Staff can access support through professional development and resources.

Every UCL student has access to a range of support to maximise the outcomes of their time learning with us. Sometimes they may be looking for a general chat to make sure they are on track with their studies, while at other times they may be facing a difficulty that they need help with. In these situations, their first port of call is often the people they know in their department or programme, including their personal tutor who is the key ‘go-to’ person. The nature of the relationship means that personal tutors will deal with a range of situations requiring a sensitive and informed approach.

Any local support offered by personal tutors and departments is reinforced by a wide infrastructure of support services available across UCL. Personal tutors should feel confident to refer and signpost to this support as appropriate.

How personal tutoring is arranged at UCL  

Each programme must ensure that every taught student is assigned a personal tutor. They must be available to provide regular and personalised support and guidance.  

Departments should decide how best to provide support to their students. UCL does not promote a one-size-fits-all approach.  

There are many different models that can be implemented and departments should consider: 

  • type of course
  • size of the student cohort 
  • number of staff available  
  • location of students 

It is essential that every programme provides every student with information on how to access personal guidance and support relating to: 

  • academic progress and associated development of academic and research skills 
  • careers and personal professional development 
  • general well-being 

The support available should be clearly communicated so that students know where to get support when they need it, and staff understand the nature of their role. 

Five main recommendations for personal tutors at UCL:

  1. Act as an accessible point of contact for tutees, providing an appropriate combination of individual appointments, regular ‘office hours’ and small group tutorials, so that students who want to can discuss academic progress and associated professional development needs.
  2. Make every effort to get to know tutees, and in particular make efforts to support their transition into undergraduate or postgraduate study and out of UCL onto the next stage of their career journey.
  3. Offer to schedule at least two meetings in each academic year to discuss explicitly students’ academic progress, asking them to bring to those meetings a summary of their assignment feedback, in order to discuss key generic learning points and to help students draw on that feedback as they approach their future studies.
  4. Understand the wider support network available to students at programme and/or department level and across UCL, and be in a position to direct personal tutees to wider support services and events, including those provided by Student Support and Wellbeing and the Careers Service.
  5. As part of the role as academic advisors within a wider support infrastructure, help students to identify how they can access help and guidance with academic writing and wider study skills and encourage them to find ways to undertake independent personal development planning. 

As each department or programme will have its own approach, you are strongly encouraged to seek information locally about policy, procedure, and any additional expectations. This would most likely be via a Handbook or Moodle. Please ask the relevant Programme Lead, Departmental Tutor, or Teaching Administrator for more information.


Personal tutoring training

Workshops and an online course available for all staff who carry out or support the personal tutoring at UCL.


Personal tutoring resources

Further resources, and guidance for personal tutors available from UCL and external providers.