UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Undergraduate  /  Current Students  /  Academic Support

Academic Support

Every student is assigned to a Personal Tutor, who will provide support, encouragement and advice on both academic and personal matters. A key part of their role is an individual discussion about your academic progress and performance (e.g., reviewing feedback on coursework from your course lecturers).

In your first year, you will meet with an academic tutor as part of a small tutorial group on a weekly basis. In your first term, these classes will likely be with your Personal Tutor. In your second term, these classes will be with a member of faculty from different research area, to give you a greater understanding of the breadth of geography. The programme of work is aligned with the modules Thinking Geographically I & II.  Over the year you will complete a range of formative and summative assessment for the module, in term one for Thinking Geographically I you will complete the following:

  • Formative assessment: 1 referencing exercise, 1 essay, and 1 essay plan. This work will be marked by your tutor and feedback given to you.
  • Summative Assessment: 1x 1,500-word essay on the history of Geography and 1x 1,500-word essay on a key-concept of your choice (‘Earth’, ‘Anthropocene’, ‘Space’, ‘Mapping’, ‘Landscape’)

In term two for Thinking Geographically II you will complete the following:

  • Formative Assessment: 1x 1,500-word essay on a key-concept of your choice to be agreed with your tutor and 1x answer in response to a mock exam question under exam-like conditions
  • Summative Assessment: 1x 1,500-word report on the 'Meet the Professor' interview and 1 x 2 hour exam, during the 2-hour exam you will be expected to answer 2 exam questions based on content from the course.

Marked formative essays will be discussed in individual meetings with your tutors. These provide an invaluable opportunity for you to be given individual feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your written work. They will be an opportunity for you to think about and be guided by your tutor on how to improve your essay writing skills and your critical analysis. In order to benefit as much as possible from these discussions, you should do the following:

  • always keep a copy of your essay and read it through before coming to the meeting
  • make a note of any questions that you would like to ask
  • take notes of the replies to these questions and think about them afterwards
  • when it is time to write your next essay, look over these notes and think about how to apply the suggestions for improvement to your next piece of written work.

During your one-to-one meetings with your tutor you will also be encouraged to complete your Key Skills Report in Portico which you should set up during your first weeks at UCL.

In addition to the academic support and feedback gained, these meetings are also part of your formal record of attendance and engagement with your degree and so it is important you attend all meetings and submit all the required essays.

In the second year you will have four meetings with your personal tutor including at least a one-to-one meeting each term. The first of these meetings provides an opportunity to go through your previous year’s exam scripts with your tutor and get feedback on them.

In your final year you will continue to meet with your personal tutor. During your meetings, they are able to provide feedback on past exam performance, initial advice about careers, feedback on your CV – and could even provide a reference for work or further study. Those students undertaking a dissertation will also be allocated an academic tutor (assigned in the final term of the second year), who will support you and give you feedback on your dissertation research and write-up. No draft work for dissertations is graded and so cannot serve as a substitute for essays in your third year tutorials.

Detailed arrangements for meeting with your tutor will be sent to you via email.  You are also encouraged to also see your Personal Tutor during their weekly Academic Support and Feedback Hours (formerly office hours).  If you want to consult your Personal Tutor at any other time, please make an appointment via phone or email.  Personal Tutors have other responsibilities, ranging from teaching and administration to research and publishing, so they will not always be available at short notice.