Founded in 1826, University College London is the oldest and largest college of the University of London. It was the third university institution to be set up in England, after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to admit students regardless of class, religion, race or sex. Over 38,000 students study in a variety of disciplines of this Russell Group school. The main campus is located in Bloomsbury, a very green and walkable part of London, which has many cultural attractions nearby.
London is one of the most exciting and dynamic places in the world to be a student - a city at the cutting-edge of developments in every field. With more than 8.5 million inhabitants and an incredible concentration of history and creativity throughout the city, you can find yourself among a sea of both British and worldwide cultures. For study purposes, London offers special advantages, including major libraries, museums and art galleries, the headquarters of learned societies, and research institutes in medicine, law and the humanities.
Did you know…?
UCL has more than 10 museums or collections on its campus, including ones focused on Egyptian archaeology, geology, and art.
Unlike most schools in the UK, UCL has a mascot, Phineas Maclino, or Phineas, a wooden tobacconist's sign of a kilted Jacobite Highlander stolen from outside a shop on Tottenham Court Road during the celebrations of the relief of Ladysmith in March 1900.
What do Alexander Graham Bell, Francis Crick, Mahatma Gandhi, Ricky Gervais, and Christopher Nolan have in common? All of them are UCL alumni!
The exchange programs at University College London are for history, economics, and urban studies majors only. If you are seeking College credit or are a SEAS student, please visit UCL’s study abroad program. Enrollment is limited and applications are competitive.
Minimum GPA Requirement: at least 3.3; varies by program
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): See specific requirements in the Academics section.
Other Requirements: Completion of at least two full years of undergraduate study by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is required.
Language of Instruction
A full course load at University College London consists of four classes per semester. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.
Economics Exchange Program at UCL (3.5 cumulative and major GPA required)
Teaching in Economics is delivered through a mixture of Lectures, Demonstration Lectures and Tutorial Classes. A significant amount of independent study is also expected, up to 40 hours per week. Penn Abroad participants are required to take a full course load during their enrollment at UCL, normally four courses per semester. Students must take at least 50% (two courses) of their course load within UCL's Economics department. The remaining two courses may be taken within the Economics department as well, or in other departments (there are some exceptions). Three college-level courses within Economics must be completed prior to the program, including at least intermediate microeconomics and intermediate macroeconomics and a background in mathematics and statistics is required.
History Exchange Program at UCL (3.4 cumulative GPA required)
The Department of History at UCL is one of the most prestigious in the UK. The breadth and depth of its interests are exceptional, stretching from the ancient world (including the Near East) to twentieth-century Europe and the Americas. The department has close links with other departments within UCL as well as other institutes, especially in the fields of ancient history, economic history, anthropology and history of art. Penn Abroad participants are required to take a full course load during their enrollment at UCL, normally four courses per semester. Students must take at least 50% (two courses) of their course load within UCL's History department. The remaining two courses may be taken within the History department as well, or in other departments (there are some exceptions). Three college-level courses in History must be completed prior to participating in the program.
Urban Studies Exchange Program in the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL (3.3 cumulative GPA required)
The Bartlett School of Planning at UCL is one of the world's premier planning schools and among the oldest in the UK. The school offers unique opportunities for students from outside the UK to attend undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of: urban studies; urban planning, design and management; urban spatial planning; urban regeneration and European property development and planning. These courses draw extensively on the wealth of urban issues in London and the challenges the city confronts as a world city. Penn Abroad participants are required to take a full course load during their enrollment at UCL, normally four courses per semester. Students must take at least 50% (two courses) of their course load within UCL's Bartlett School. The remaining two courses may be taken within the Bartlett School as well, or in other departments (there are some exceptions). Three college-level courses in Urban Studies must be completed prior to participating in the program.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.
Students admitted for the full academic year and for the Spring terms from January until June will be required to take the end of year examination in the Summer term. As students admitted for the Fall term only cannot take the examination in the Summer term, the Departments will arrange for these students to either take a special examination or produce extended essays for each course by the end of their studies in December.
Grades are reported to Penn on the University College London scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by University College London prior to the start of each semester. More information will be provided upon acceptance, but general information is on the International Student Orientation Programme page.
Penn students studying at University College London have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. More information can be found on the UCL Students’ Union website.
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.
UCL owns a number of student houses and halls of residence. The majority of these accommodations are within a few minutes’ walk of the College, with the furthest being about 2 miles away. Applicants must be willing to commute and to take public transportation as necessary. Single-semester study abroad students will normally be allocated housing provided that they have accepted their offer to study at UCL and have completed the housing application by the stated housing deadline, but this is not guaranteed. Full-year study abroad students will be guaranteed housing provided that they have accepted their offer to study at UCL and have completed the housing application by the stated housing deadline.
There are two Halls of Residence at UCL, Ifor Evans Hall and Ramsay Hall, which provide breakfast and dinner from Monday to Friday. These Halls have small kitchens on each floor for student use. Students are responsible for cleaning their own rooms. Students with specific dietary requirements, for whatever reason, are strongly advised to apply for self-catering accommodation (student houses) only.
There are 17 Student Houses which are self-catered (kitchens are provided in which students may prepare their own food, or meals may be bought from the various food outlets on the main UCL campus). Students will need to supply their own kitchen utensils. Some of the Houses are large and purpose-built, while others are converted private houses. Some are large and purpose-built, while others are converted private houses. All UCL student houses are non-smoking, including student bedrooms.
Information regarding accommodation can be found here and here.
Cost and Finance
Penn Abroad Financial Policies
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.
Financial Aid and Study Abroad
In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.
AASAP/UK Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship: Merit-based scholarship awarded to the applicant who demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience and who agrees to share how the scholarship helped to fulfil their academic and personal ambitions. The award is £500 for a semester abroad or £1,000 for a full year.
BUTEX offers eight scholarships to North American students studying at a university in the United Kingdom. The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university. Interested students should contact the appropriate Global Programs Manager in the Penn Abroad office.
For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.
To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.