UCL Department of Computer Science


Section 11: Tutorials and supervision

11.Tutorials and supervision

Information on what students can expect in terms of academic and personal tutoring (Central and Local.)

11.1.Academic tutoring

Each programme has a tutoring strategy to suit the aims, curriculum and structure of the programme. Typically, the programme will include group tutorials, with students having the option of meeting with a tutor individually as needed. The tutorial arrangements are announced during the programme’s Induction Week.

All Programme Directors and Module Leaders will hold an office hour during term time and over the examination period. Students are welcome to drop in on members of staff during their office hour if there is anything they would like to discuss.

Further information:

11.2.Personal tutoring

UCL is committed to providing all students with the academic guidance and personal support that they need to flourish as members of our active learning and research community. As part of the wider support infrastructure provided by a programme, every undergraduate and taught postgraduate student will be assigned a Personal Tutor – a member of staff who can provide constructive academic and personal development guidance and support.

All students will be allocated to a Personal Tutor within the Department Computer Science by the end of induction week. Each Personal Tutor will contact their tutees to organise their initial meeting, during which arrangements for subsequent meetings will be discussed.

Personal Tutors take an interest in their tutees as individuals and offers guidance on their personal and professional development. If and when needed, a Personal Tutor provides a safety net for the students' physical, mental and emotional welfare; acting as a point of referral to avert crisis. However, the normal tutoring role provides facilitation and guidance on a more everyday basis, so that the student can independently integrate the academic and extracurricular elements of their learning and development.

Students should meet with their Personal Tutor at a minimum once per term. The tutor/ tutee relationship is an important one, and students should actively engage with this. Personal Tutors not only provide pastoral support and advice and guidance on academic issues, but often will act as the students’ academic referee in the future (and including post-graduation.)

For some programmes, personal tutor meetings take the form of small tutorial groups, where tutees meet with their personal tutor collectively.

Further information:

11.3.Departmental pastoral support

Students have access to a wide range of health and counselling services provided by UCL. In addition, the department has an experienced team who provide pastoral support, advice and guidance to students on a range of issues.

The Programme Administrators (based in MPEB 5.22) can help students with many issues relating to their studies, particularly those relating to UCL and departmental processes, including student records, module selection, coursework submission, extenuating circumstances, and complaints. Usually students would speak to the administrator for their programme, but they can seek advice from any member of the team.

Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officers (DEOLOs) can provide students with general information and advice, and specialist advice in relation to equal opportunities matters.

The Departmental Tutor plays a pastoral role for all students and coordinates the work of the Personal Tutors. The Departmental Tutor can be approached for advice on pastoral matters, for example if a Personal Tutor is unavailable. They can advise on academic matters such as module choices, a change of programme, interruption and withdrawal.

The Head of Department and Deputy Heads of Department each hold a regular open hour for students to raise and discuss any issues, concerns or suggestions they may have.

Further information:

11.4.Project/ dissertation supervision

Information on how project/ dissertation supervision operates and the expectations of both the supervisor and student.

11.4.1.About final project/ dissertations

All taught programmes have a substantial final project module that requires a dissertation to be written to document the results of the project work. The project will run over several months, which allows for in-depth and challenging work to be undertaken: undergraduate projects, which are in the final year of the programme, usually run from October to April; postgraduate projects usually run from June to September.

11.4.2.Finding a project

Undergraduate students will be advised on how to find a suitable project at the start of the academic year. Students may choose a project from a list of project proposals submitted by the department’s academic staff. Alternatively, students can propose their own project ideas to potential Project Supervisors. Arrangements for postgraduate projects are programme specific.

Ultimately, all projects must have a Project Supervisor who approves the project as suitable. Projects may be:

  • Individual projects: each student has an internal supervisor and weekly tutorial meetings.
  • Individual projects in collaboration with a person or organisation outside the department: each student has an external supervisor who they are in regular contact with and an internal supervisor for weekly tutorials.

And additionally, for postgraduates:

  • Placement projects where the student is located at an external organisation: each placement will have an external manager who monitors the student on a day to day basis, and regular but not necessarily weekly tutorials with an internal supervisor.
  • Industry projects where a student works with an industrial partner either individually or in a group: each project or group is in regular contact with the industrial partner, and has regular tutorials with the internal supervisor.

Students will be provided with a detailed set of guidelines for the project and the required content of the dissertation.

Further information:

11.4.3.Project supervision/ guidance

All projects have a Project Supervisor, who is usually a member of departmental staff and one of the internal examiners for the project (i.e. they will participate in marking the student’s work.) The primary role of the Project Supervisor is to monitor the progress of the project and to provide advice and feedback via tutorials. The Project Supervisor also checks that the dissertation structure and content is correct, and that it is written in a timely manner. Students are in charge of their project and are responsible for making the decisions to move it forward, taking into account the feedback from the Project Supervisor. The Project Supervisor will act if this is not happening, with the aim of getting the project back on track, but it is not their responsibility or role to run the project for the student.

Undergraduate students should meet with their Project Supervisor for one-to-one project tutorials each week during Terms 1 and 2. The student should use these meetings to outlines the work they have done since the last tutorial, and receive feedback and advice from their Project Supervisor. When the dissertation is being written the supervisor confirms that the structure and content are valid, and can review draft sections.

Postgraduate students should usually meet their internal Project Supervisor on a weekly basis, but there are variations between different programmes. Students undertaking group projects meet their Project Supervisor as a group.

If the Project Supervisor is away for more than two weeks, they should arrange a temporary supervisor to cover their absence. By default, tutorials are face-to-face but alternative arrangements, such as using Skype, are possible.

11.5.UCL Transition Programme

Information on the UCL Transition Mentors programme for first year undergraduate students (Centrally Provided.)

The UCL Transition Programme supports new first-year students at UCL, helping them to settle in quickly and achieve their potential. Each first-year student is assigned a Transition Mentor for their first term. Transition mentors are later-year students within each department who work with small groups of students on a weekly basis to help them settle in to UCL and London as well as focussing on academic issues and topics specific to their degree programme. First-year students meet their Transition Mentor during the first week of term at their department’s ‘Meet your Mentor’ session.

Further information:

Updated: 29-09-2017