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University College London (UCL) is a public research university in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. UCL is the largest higher education institution in London and the largest postgraduate institution in the UK by enrollment and is regarded as one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. Established in 1826 as London University by founders inspired by the radical ideas of Jeremy Bentham, UCL was the first university institution established in London, and the first in England to be entirely secular and to admit students regardless of their religion.
It also makes the contested claims to be the third-oldest university in England and the first to have admitted women on equal terms with men. UCL became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London in 1836. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Neurology (in 1997), the Royal Free Hospital Medical School (in 1998), the Eastman Dental Institute (in 1999), the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (in 1999), the School of Pharmacy (in 2012) and the Institute of Education (in 2014).
The Faculty of Brain Sciences brings together expertise at the forefront of neurology, cognitive neuroscience, ophthalmology, audiology, psychology, psychiatry and language sciences. It is one of four faculties within UCL's School of Life and Medical Sciences.
Our community undertakes world-leading research and teaching in these areas, with an integrative approach to the study of mind and brain which focuses on the determinants of human perception, cognition, emotion and behaviour.
The Faculty and its component parts create an outstanding and vibrant environment for study and research, attracting staff and students from around the globe
UCL was founded in 1826 to open up higher education in England to those who had been excluded from it – becoming the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms with men in 1878.
In August 2015, the Department of Management Science and Innovation was renamed as the School of Management and plans were announced to greatly expand UCL's activities in the area of business-related teaching and research. The school moved from the Bloomsbury campus to One Canada Square in Canary Wharf in 2016.
UCL established the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) in 2015 to promote interdisciplinary research in humanities and social sciences. The prestigious annual Orwell Prize for political writing moved to the IAS in 2016.
In June 2016 it was reported in Times Higher Education that as a result of administrative errors hundreds of students who studied at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute between 2005–06 and 2013–14 had been given the wrong marks, leading to an unknown number of students being attributed with the wrong qualifications and, in some cases, being failed when they should have passed their degrees. A report by UCL's Academic Committee Review Panel noted that, according to the institute's own review findings, senior members of UCL staff had been aware of issues affecting students' results but had not taken action to address them. The Review Panel concluded that there had been an apparent lack of ownership of these matters amongst the institute's senior staff.
In December 2016 it was announced that UCL would be the hub institution for a new £250 million national dementia research institute, to be funded with £150 million from the Medical Research Council and £50 million each from Alzheimer's Research UK and the Alzheimer's Society.
In May 2017 it was reported that staff morale was at "an all time low", with 68% of members of the academic board who responded to a survey disagreeing with the statement "UCL is well managed" and 86% with "the teaching facilities are adequate for the number of students". Michael Arthur, the Provost and President, linked the results to the "major change programme" at UCL. He admitted that facilities were under pressure following growth over the past decade, but said that the issues were being addressed through the development of UCL East and rental of other additional space.
In October 2017 UCL's council voted to apply for university status while remaining part of the University of London. UCL's application to become a university is subject to Parliament passing a bill to amend the statutes of the University of London, which is, as of July 2018, held up by procedural issues in the House of Commons. The bill received royal assent on 20 December 2018, allowing UCL's application for university status to proceed.
The UCL Adelaide satellite campus closed in December 2017, with academic staff and student transferring to the University of South Australia. As of 2019 UniSA and UCL are offering a joint masters qualification in Science in Data Science (international).
In 2018, UCL opened UCL at Here East, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offering courses jointly between the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The campus offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate master's degrees, with the first undergraduate students, on a new Engineering and Architectural Design MEng, starting in September 2018. It was announced in August 2018 that a £215 million contract for construction of the largest building in the UCL East development, Marshgate 1, had been awarded to Mace, with building to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2022.
In 2017 UCL disciplined an IT administrator who was also the University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary for refusing to take down an unmoderated staff mailing list. An employment tribunal subsequently ruled that he was engaged in union activities and thus this disciplinary action was unlawful. As of June 2019 UCL is appealing this ruling and the UCU congress has declared this to be a "dispute of national significance".
Admission to UCL is highly selective with an average entry tariff for 2018–19 of 175 UCAS points (approximately equivalent to AABB at A-level), the 11th highest in the country. UCL was one of the first universities in the UK to make use of the A* grade at A-Level (introduced in 2010) for admissions to courses including Economics, European Social and Political Studies, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Theoretical Physics and Psychology. The university gave offers of admission to 62.9% of its applicants in 2017, and had the 6th lowest offer rate in the Russell Group in 2015. For 2017 entry, the university was one of only a few mainstream universities (along with Cambridge, Imperial College London, LSE, Oxford, St Andrews, and Warwick) to have no courses available in Clearing.
Of UCL's undergraduates, 32.4% are privately educated, the eighth highest proportion amongst mainstream British universities. In the 2016–17 academic year, the university had a domicile breakdown of 59:12:30 of UK:EU:non-EU students respectively with a female to male ratio of 58:42.
Undergraduate law applicants are required to take the National Admissions Test for Law and undergraduate medical applicants are required to take the BioMedical Admissions Test. Applicants for European Social and Political Studies are required to take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) should they be selected for an assessment day. Some UCL departments interview undergraduate applicants prior to making an offer of admission.
Undergraduate subjects with the highest applicants to places ratio at UCL in 2015 included Architecture BSc (14:1 ratio), Economics BSc (Econ) (11:1 ratio), Engineering (Mechanical with Business Finance) MEng (10:1 ratio), English BA (10:1 ratio), Fine Art BA (23:1 ratio), Law LL.B (16:1 ratio) and Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc (30:1 ratio).
UCL is ranked seventh in the world’s top 10 universities by the QS World University Rankings (2015). The UCL Institute of Education is ranked number one for education.
UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength (Research Excellence Framework 2014), by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. It was rated top not only in the overall results, but also in each of the assessed components: publications and other research outputs; research environment; and research impact.
There are many activities across several age groups.
UCL provides a range of convenient, cost-effective accommodation options. The cheapest place to live costs £102.97. All students houses are close to the main campus. There are also a great number of independent organisations offering accommodation to students in London.
Besides general courses UCL's home for cutting-edge short courses and CPD - for career advancement and personal or professional development.
UCL has the best academic to student ratio in the UK (1:10), enabling small class sizes and outstanding individual support (Times 2013).
UCL is one of the top two universities in the UK for the number of professors, which means that our students are taught by the most highly qualified experts in their field (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2011).
UCL provides an environment that encourages students to be ambitious yet idealistic. In 2013 alone, UCL students participated in 41,500 hours of voluntary work and set up 80 social enterprises and 25 student businesses.