Originally known as London University, UCL is the largest constituent college of the University of London and officially the third oldest university in England after Oxford and Cambridge. It was founded in 1826 to be a radical alternative to Oxford, Cambridge and King's College London, and became the first institution of higher education to admit women, ethnic minorities, and others who would previously have been denied on a secular basis. In recent times UCL consistently ranks among the UK's top universities, having topped out at 4th place in the 2012 QS World Rankings.
UCL's size and location at the heart of London helps the students there enjoy a fantastic social life and working environment. Nightlife, sport, music, arts and culture are all as plentiful as one would expect from a capital city.
There are about 16 libraries at UCL, although you will only probably use one or two according to what subject you study. As a student at UCL you will have access to all these libraries:
- UCL Main Library. : Arts and Humanities, Economics, Public Policy, Law
- UCL Science Library : Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, anthropology, geography, management
- Archway Healthcare Library : Medicine, nursing and allied health
- UCL Cruciform Library : General clinical and medical sciences
- UCL Eastman Dental Institute Library : Oral health sciences
- UCL Environmental Studies Library : Architecture, town planning
- UCL Human Communication Science Library : (NICeST: National Information Centre for Speech/language Therapy), Speech & language therapy, communication disorders, linguistics & phonetics, special education, audiology, voice
- UCL Institute of Archaeology Library : Archaeology, Egyptology
- UCL Institute of Child Health Library : Paediatrics, international child health, paediatric nursing, allied health
- UCL Institute of Laryngology & Otology & RNID Library : Laryngology, otology, rhinology, surgery
- UCL Institute of Neurology, Rockefeller Medical Library : Neurosurgery, neuroscience
- UCL Joint Moorfields Eye Hospital & the Institute of Ophthalmology Library : Ophthalmology, visual science, biomedicine, medicine, nursing
- UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library : Musculoskeletal sciences, orthopaedics
- Royal Free Hospital Medical Library, UCL Library Services : General clinical and medical sciences
- UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies Library and Information Services : Languages, literature, history, politics, economics, geography and bibliography of Central and Eastern Europe
- UCL Special Collections : Medieval period to present day, wide range of subject areas
Useful Library link here
University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
+44 (0)20 7679 2000
Pre-Redbrick, Russell Group
Applicants per place:
IT and Computing
UCL provides several open access rooms containing groups of computers that are accessible to all members of UCL. Each room is called a cluster. UCL also has a free wireless network over parts of the campus, called RoamNet (Map of Hotspots). This is available to all students and staff of UCL. Students may also access the UCL server (including their own files and various programmes) from their laptops or personal computers through downloading a program.
Link to the Information Systems webpage at UCL here
Info on computer workrooms at UCL here
There are great sports facilities, both at the uni and in the wider area and this is reflected in the the huge number of sports clubs that UCLU runs - both for fun and fitness and for competition at different levels. Bloomsbury Fitness is the gym on campus, with very competitive student memberships.
Sports clubs include:
For a full list click here
UCLU, the students' union, is run by six full-time (sabbatical) officers who are elected to cater for the wide-ranging needs of UCL students. One of the positions is the Welfare Officer, who is at hand to help students including encouraging campaigning for worthy issues and causes. Find out more on the UCLU website. Moreover, there is a dedicated Advice & Welfare team ready to assist with any queries on a range of issues from accommodation and immigration to personal questions and financial queries.
UCL students are eligible to register at the Gower Place Practice (located at the Bloomsbury campus) which will meet most healthcare requirements. In the same building is a dental practice which accepts NHS patients. In addition, the spectacular University College Hospital, with an A&E department, is located just across the road from UCL should anything more serious occur.
UCL is situated roughly between Euston Road and Tottenham Court Road, a 10-15 minute walk from Oxford Street and 25 minutes from Regent Street.
The immediate area in and around UCL features a number of small student-oriented cafes, as well as a large branch of Waterstone's catering for essentially all needs for text books. In addition, there are a number of on-campus cafes that serve good quality food at more student-friendly prices, as well as two shops including the main UCL one which stocks stationery and other supplies.
Tottenham Court Road, a 5 minute walk from the majority of the campus, plays host to what remains of daily student needs. A combination of small cafes and fast-food chains such as Subway and McDonalds grace the top of the road, with a Tesco (Metro) and Sainsburys the closest supermarkets to the main campus. Further down, the the assortment of shops caters to more than the everyday needs of any student.
The Brunswick Centre is also located close by, playing host to more shops and a branch of Waitrose. Further-afield, Leicester Square and China Town are within walking distance, albeit consideration for time is a must, with buses or the tube being favourable when time is limited.
Within UCL itself, the most popular 'restaurant' is the Refectory, offering fair priced and fair quality food for students and staff alike.
In addition, UCLU operate four on-campus cafes: Gordon's Cafe, Bloomsbury Cafe, Print Room Cafe and the new George Farha Cafe which was opened in May 2011. The cafes all serve a broad range of food and beverages, catering for the wide tastes of UCL's international community.
There are also two Union shops which stock a variety of sandwiches, rolls, fruit and snacks for students on-the-go.
That aside, the proximity of UCL to the very centre of London puts it in a very advantageous position, given its location relative to the main arteries of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, as well as Euston and King's Cross stations.
The nearby Tottenham Court Road boasts branches of pretty much every major bank in the UK. There are two cashpoints offering free withdrawals on campus - one in the main Union building at 25 Gordon Street and another beside the Union shop in the Bloomsbury building at 15 Gordon Street.
UCL is well connected to London's transport network, with several bus stops and underground stations located near to the main Bloomsbury Campus. The nearest tube stations are Euston Square (northwest corner of the campus) and Warren Street (a short walk to the northwest corner of the campus) with coverage of several underground lines. The university's website covers the various public transport links on this page.
UCL students are able to apply for Oyster 18+ Photocards, giving them 30% off period travelcards and bus passes (possibly to become 30% off pay-as-you-go travel in the future). Students can pick up application forms in the student union or even easier, apply online here.
For detailed information on getting around London, see Transport for London's journey planner.
UCL Careers Service is the dedicated provider of careers advice, events, jobs and information services for the UCL community.
A number of job opportunities are usually available as part of the University itself (i.e. working for the students' union in bar work, reception assistance, etc). A number of retail stores also hire students due to a high turn-over, and are apparently sympathetic to applicants who require holidays during non-term time. UCLU also have a JobShop with many part-time positions on offer.
Many religious societies exist within UCL, some hold weekly gatherings for prayer, and other various religious and cultural events.
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Bars, Pubs and clubs
The uni is located in central London so travel a short distance in most directions and you'll have a huge number of clubs, bars, pubs and cafes for pretty much any taste. But if you want something a little closer to home, so to speak, there are bars on campus too: Phineas, The Huntley and Mully's. They're great, student-filled places during the day and then good places to wind down, have a drink or watch sports events in the evenings. The Print Room Cafe also serves drinks including cocktails and is popular with postgrads.
There are many events on during the week at UCLU bars, including Ministry of Comedy (you might even see Alex Zane, an alumnus of UCL, hosting a night!), Jazz Jammin', Brain Squeezer quiz, SportsNite and many more. Club nights are regularly held at top London venues such as KOKO and Ministry of Sound. Have a look at the website for more information on events and activities.
Balls include: Welcome Ball and the Summer Ball - all held at fantastic top-London locations. Also, RUMS (Royal Free, University College & Middlesex Medical Students Society) organise a few, and a couple of the larger societies have balls. Some halls of residence organise socials, and clubs & societies e.g. Law students have their own Summer and Winter Balls, and a black tie dinner during Welcome Week - get involved and you could be helping to organise them!
Clubs and societies
UCLU has over 180 affiliated clubs and societies hosting an astounding range of events and activities that open students up to great new experiences and hobbies in a positive social environment. Becoming involved in a club or society while at university is an enriching experience that will help you develop life-long friendships and lasting memories of your time at UCL.
At the Welcome Fair you will have the chance to see all the clubs and societies and what they have to offer.
See the full list here
The university describes itself as having "agreeable accommodation in a friendly environment at affordable prices." Housing about 4000 students, the institution guarantees all first year students housing (exceptions apply), a selling point being that over 70% of which is within a 10-15 minute walk from the main campus.
UCL's Student Residences Office is located at 117 Gower Street, and their main website is here
Types of Accommodation
UCL breaks down their accommodation as follows:
- Halls of Residence - This refers to catered accommodation, providing students with breakfast and dinner from Monday to Friday. There are other small kitchens for students to use themselves. Any student with dietary needs are advised to opt for self-catering. Prices are typically more expensive for catered halls, and accommodation varies with both single and shared twin rooms.
- Student houses - This self-catered option is for students wishing to be responsible for their own food and cleaning. Kitchens are typically larger, with students buying food from local outlets. Students will require their own cooking utensils, bedlinens, cutlery etc. Unlike Halls of residence, there are numerous different student houses, and one is unable to choose a preference. Prices are normally dictated by facilities (i.e. individual wash basins in single rooms can add to the rent). Students normally live in "cluster flats", having their own room but sharing a bathroom and kitchen with a set number of other students, usually no more than 10.
- Intercollegiate halls - This is accommodation offered as part of the University of London, meaning students from UCL as well as other London unis, for instance, LSE all live in the same building. The rooms are NOT set out in 'cluster flats' but rather in the traditional student halls format i.e you will live on a corridor with up to about 20 other people and you will all share facilities. In some halls you will have to share a bathroom with many people in others only one or none at all. Both single and twin rooms are offered. Intercollegiate halls are catered, and are anecdotally seen as more sociable than self-catered residences (partly perhaps due to their size compared to the smaller student houses).
- Alternative accommodation - There is also limited assistance for students wishing to privately rent flats and lodgings. The University of London Housing Services offers some help for students wishing to look towards the private sector.
Examples of Student Accomodation
Ramsay Hall ‘A large Hall providing centrally heated accommodation for over 450 students. Five minutes’ walk from UCL. Fully carpeted and with washbasins in all rooms. Desk, bed, wardrobe and 2-3 shelves provided. Large windows. Facilities include a TV room, games room, library, launderette, music room and bicycle storage area. Each room has a computer data point.’ Pictures
More information: Ian Baker House is a new student house which has been built in Ramsay’s inner court. Hall divided up into different sections, e.g. New York, Paris.
• Very sociable; with over 450 students you’re guaranteed to find people you like
• Catered (apparently fairly good food, obviously dependent upon individual tastes)
• Great location: about 5 minutes from UCL walking, therefore no need to use public transport. Just off Tottenham Court Road so good access to shops, restaurants, Tescos etc. Right next to the BT Tower (if you want to visit)
• Some people I know have complained about their accommodation, not liked their room. Others I know are very happy ( I think it depends on the sector they have been put into)
• Can get noisy- lots of people sharing corridor, some sectors tend to be more lively than others
Prices (as of March 2012): Twin -- £134.75 Single -- £176.75
Ifor Evans Hall
Located in Camden Town on the same landscaped site as Max Rayne, Ann Stephenson and Neil Sharp Houses, Ifor Evans has over 320 places available. It is 25-30 minutes’ walk from, and on direct bus and tube routes to, UCL. Centrally heated and fully carpeted. Facilities include a TV lounge, music room, computer cluster room, launderette, cycle racks and a clubhouse. Each room has a computer data point. Building works will occur on the site in 2009/2010.
Frances Gardner House
Situated approximately 20 minutes’ walk from UCL, this newly built residence comprises 215 single en suite rooms and one double en suite room, arranged as cluster flats, all with their own kitchen/dining area. All rooms have computer data points. This residence is located just to the rear of Langton Close, so students at Frances Gardner can access facilities at Langton Close.
• 8 rooms per flat, therefore 8 sharing kitchen.
• Kitchen gets cleaned every weekday morning; bedrooms/bathrooms aren't cleaned by staff.
Click here for view on Google Maps
• Large, en-suite rooms with desk, comfortable bed, etc.
• Large kitchens with all the necessary facilities: two hobs, two fridges, two freezers, extractor fans, a microwave, four sinks, noticeboard, and an awful lot of cupboards.
• 20 minutes' walk from UCL, past some very attractive parts of London (Coram Fields, the Brunswick, SOAS, various squares). Handy for King's Cross as well.
• The 6th, 7th and 8th floors have very good views over London, although you have no choice in which floor you're put on.
• The location - very nice, quiet and safe location. Just off Gray's Inn Road and near the Brunswick Centre which is great for food shopping (Waitrose and Tesco Express) as well as a multitude of restaurants including BBK, Hare and Tortoise, Giraffe, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks, Carluccios etc. St Andrew's Gardens is a small park next to Frances Gardner.
• No need to sign in guests/visitors, and no limit on how many people can stay with you.
• Not all flats have lifts - even those which go up to 4 storeys. The large 8-storey block does have lifts.
• The bedrooms and bathrooms aren't cleaned. This means rooms might be in a nasty condition when you get them: mine had black mould all over the ceiling and chewing gum stuck under the desk, and I know someone with a small patch of wild mushrooms growing out of the damp on his carpet.
• Very expensive: £189 per week for a single en-suite.
• Has a reputation as the 'antisocial' hall; you can easily go for a whole weekend without seeing another person in your kitchen. Each flat is completely self-contained, and you can't access others' flats without a key.
• No decent-sized affordable supermarkets nearby. The Waitrose nearby is large, but the Tesco Express in Russell Square is very small.
• The nearest tube stations are King's Cross, which is very busy and infested with tourists, or Russell Square, which is only on one line and thus not very convenient.
• All the main amenities are in Langton Close, so you have to walk outside to do laundy/check post/etc. No communal social area aside from in Langton Close either.
Arthur Tattersall and John Tovell
Both Arthur Tattersall and John Tovell are sets of UCL-owned Victorian houses, located on Gower Street, around 30-45 seconds' walk from the main UCL campus. Both are self-catered and therefore equipped with decent-sized kitchens (JT has massive ones in the basement and smaller ones on each other floor, and AT's are within each flat's floor), usually with 2 ovens, 2 sinks, 2/3 fridges, 1 freezer, 1 dining table and 6 chairs. This varies depending on how many people use that kitchen (usually between 8 - 12, which sounds a lot but isn't actually that bad).
There are toilets between each floor, which are generally located next to a shower. Showers are in separate cubicles and lockable. They are those annoying 'press for 15 seconds of water' types; but at least they're hot!
The cleaner is in weekdays between 9am and 12.30pm, and is responsible for cleaning the kitchen work surfaces and dining table, hoovering and mopping the kitchen floor, cleaning the toilets and their sink, hoovering the corridor and taking out the kitchen bins.
Rooms, in terms of view and size, are generally luck of the draw. Double rooms are, in general, slightly larger than singles, but not quite big enough to form two rooms - so you're going to be very cosy with your new roommate (not necessarily a bad thing). They come with a big wardrobe with two drawers, a bedside table with 4 drawers, a desk with more drawers and a bookcase, a sink/mirror and your bed. In other words, there's a lot of storage space! The beds are fairly comfortable, surprisingly! You have to bring your own sheets, duvets and pillows etc but you'll be told all about that in your pre-moving-in booklet. Also I'd recommend bringing a full-length mirror which you can prop up to the the girls, cause you'll never be able to see your outfit in the small one above the sink!
There are washing facilities in the basement of JT, two washers and two dryers, which are coin operated. £2 for the washers and £1 for the dryers, so make sure you're stocked up on pound coins before going there!
With AT and JT, due to being on Gower Street, the rooms at the back of the house are much quieter - and therefore easier to sleep in! So if you're a light sleeper and don't fancy earplugs, that's one of the cons. Since UCH (University College Hospital) is situated on Gower Street passing ambulances are a pretty much nightly occurrence - so seriously, if you can't sleep through loud noises, don't pick this halls.
AT and JT are arranged as cluster flats, where each floor (in the case of AT) or each house (as in JT) forms a separate flat. You all have the same doorkey to the building, although JT cannot get into AT and vice versa, and and a separate room key which only you (and your roommate if you're sharing) will own. Safety-wise, as they are student houses, you're allowed guests to stay for 3 nights max., and they're meant to be signed in at the Residences Office, also on Gower Street. The basement is the least-safe floor, and so only boys are housed in there.
Gower Street is an amazing place to live as it's so central; you can roll out of bed and into lectures within 10 minutes (not that I'd recommend this...) and walk to Oxford Street in 20 (kiss your student loan goodbye!). There are two tescos and two sainsburys on Tottenham Court Road round the corner so you can stock up on food easily, as well as a fruit & veg market outside Goodge Street Station which is fairly reasonable price-wise. The best place to head for a cheap drink is the Court on Tottenham Court Road, or the UCL or University of London Student Unions which are just round the corner; you're pretty well placed for anything!
Just remember, that with JT and AT you're paying for the location more than anything, and the rooms are pretty small, so it's up to you whether you'd rather be close to all the action or have more room to fling your clothes!
Types of rooms
UCL offers a choice of single and twin rooms (i.e. sharing a room with one other person at a significantly lower rent price). Some residences also offer self-contained flats for one person with their own private kitchen (at a much higher rent). This is normally set aside for couples and/or mature students.
However, one cannot choose "single" or "twin" on their accommodation application form, but can add preferences under areas like "washbasin in room" or "proximity to main campus". If an offer is given and a student is not satisfied, UCL does not have to offer them an alternative allocation unless under certain circumstances.
One should consult the UCL accommodation website for a list of the different residences, which includes lists of facilities for each house and a more concise pricing list. This information can also be found in the main student accommodation booklet which is often sent to students who have been made an offer, as well as to schools.
As mentioned, prices vary dramatically depending on your facilities, and should be calculated weekly as a 39 week let including Christmas and Easter holidays. Prices vary considerably beyond residences, and also rise and fall slightly each academic year. Twin rooms are typically around the £70 a week mark (about £100 for some intercollegiate halls), with single rooms at around £90-110 for self catered, and up to £160 a week for catered. 1 bed flats can cost between £150 up to and beyond £220 a week.
UCLU - the students' union
UCLU (University College London Union) provides a diverse range of social, sporting, commercial, support and representative services to students of UCL.
UCLU is run by students, for students; its structure is democratic and it operates transparently with members at the heart of its governance and its provision of services and activities. UCLU Council forms the overall governing body which supervises the activities of the UCLU. The day-to-day running of UCLU is managed by the Executive Committee, working closely with the management team to ensure effective implementation of Council and Committee determined priorities. The Executive Committee comprises six full-time (sabbatical) officers and ten part-time officers, all of whom are elected from and by the UCL student body.
A staff team of over 80 permanent staff, headed by the General Manager, is employed to manage and deliver the services, facilities and activities provided by UCLU.
The main student publications at UCL are Pi Newspaper and Pi Magazine, both produced by Pi Media Society. The society was founded in 1947, and is named in honour of the Provost at the time, Richard Pye. The newspaper offers a student perspective on current affairs and politics, with four issues of 32 pages each term. The magazine covers lifestyle and culture, and was Runner-Up in the Guardian Student Media Awards 2009.
The Cheese Grater was founded in February 2004 as an alternative to UCL's more mainstream publication, Pi. The magazine features investigative, satirical and humorous content and is published approximately twice a term in the form of an 8-12 page photocopied magazine.
UCLU also produces 'What's On' on a monthly basis, which informs students of all the latest news, events and activities on offer for the month ahead.
Soon after offers are made to incoming students, UCLU sends out a handbook and starter pack, which is invaluable in introducing UCL and London life to new students before they arrive, and bring them up to speed on the services that UCLU offers.
Location is great - right in the very heart of central London, a short walk from areas such as Euston Station, Camden town, Regents Park, Tottenham Court Road & Oxford Street, Leicester Square and Covent Garden. It's about 20-30 minutes walk down to the Strand, and it's a pretty nice walk, but obviously the tube might be a better option for those in a hurry. There are no shortages of underground stations either with Warren Street station, Euston Square and Euston station to name a few.
Environment and Atmosphere
With its central London location, it's not surprising that UCL has a buzzing urban atmosphere. Atmosphere of the university varies as in all universities, depending on where you have your lectures, what your classmates are like and who your lecturers are. What can be said, is that the central quad of UCL with its collumned, domed exterior certainly makes you feel like you are at a highly respectable university, and this is only strengthened by the number of leading experts working within the university.
There is a friendly feel to UCL and its students often develop a long-lasting fondness towards the university.
The UCL Portico's impressive architecture is worth seeing for yourself.
|The main library is also worth a visit.|
Many famous faces and high achievers began their careers at UCL. A full list can be seen on Wikipedia. These include all Coldplay members, Mahatma Ghandi, Jonathan Ross, Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Dimbleby and Alex Zane.
Nowadays UCL is still going strong. It was awarded the Sunday Times University of the Year 2004, and consistently ranks among the top 5 universities in the country, usually following Oxbridge and tying with other London Universities such as LSE. It is frequently regarded as 'the best multi-faculty university after Oxbridge' (Sunday Times University Guide 2004).
In 2009, UCL was ranked as the 4th best university in the world (The Times Higher Education (THE) - QS World University Rankings), which was three places up from 2008.
Applying to UCL
Thinking of applying to UCL? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?
Rights & Advice
UCLU provides a very comprehensive Advice & Welfare centre, offering information on topics including: Housing, Immigration, Education, Employment and Finance.
Give it a Go
Would you like to try out Wine Tasting, African Druming, Ice Skating Massage or Photography or would you like to tour the National Gallery, discover Greenwich, Jack the Rippers London, Stonehenge, Salisbury or Stratford? Or is seeing Billy Elliot, the London Philharmonic Orchestra or the English National Opera more your thing? You can do all this and loads more through Give it Go at UCLU. Give it a Go provides inspiration for your free time in a programme of one-off innovative activities.
There is a very well established history of volunteering at UCL, with the Volunteering Services Unit providing no end of opportunities to give something back to the local community.
This is a very successful part of UCLU, offering students the opportunity to be a part of the University's democracy. Whether it be hosting a campaign week or running for election, there is something for everyone to get involved with. Click here for more information.
Other UCL Articles
Why not read these other UCL Articles?