FAQs for Taught Students

All information has been reviewed and updated where necessary on Monday 7 March 2022.

The University is committed to looking after the health, well-being and academic progress of our students. The overriding principle is that we will be led by Public Health recommendations, maximising your safety and the safety of the whole University community. 

Please visit this link to get up-to-date information on a range of campus amenities, facilities and supports. 

New Students

What do I need to do to protect myself and others from COVID-19 whilst studying on campus at UCD?

  • Vaccination: Avail of the COVID-19 vaccination programme if you have not done so already, unless medically contraindicated.
  • Mask: Although the mandatory requirement to wear masks in University buildings is now removed, we strongly encourage the continued wearing of masks.
  • Santitise: Clean your hands regularly either by washing them or using the sanitising stations provided.

Can I defer for more than one year?

Deferral is normally allowed for one year only. However, in exceptional cases requests to extend deferral may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

I've already accepted my place can I still defer? 

It may still be possible to defer if you have accepted during the first few weeks of term. You must contact us immediately explaining via the form on the deferral website why you wish to defer now. It is important that you do so as early as possible because if you're deferring, the place needs to be made available to somebody else.  After mid-September (exact date TBC), deferral requests will only be considered in extenuating circumstances such

If I start the trimester but want to defer later, who do I contact? 

You should contact your Student Adviser and College/Programme Office if you want to defer by following UCD procedures in the usual way.

What is a Trimester and how long is it for?

UCD uses the term trimester as part of its Academic Calendar.  Each trimester includes a 12-week teaching period.  Trimesters are referred to as Autumn, Spring and Summer.

When will I know my timetable?

Your personal timetable will be available when you register.  In some modules where limitations on the numbers of student who can attend particular classes, you will be provided additional details on your on-campus schedule by your Module Coordinator.  You will be informed of when to register when you have accepted your place.

Where will I find my timetable?

When you log into your student account you will be able to access your timetable.  

What is UCD Horizons?

UCD Horizons is the name given to the modular and credit-based structure for taught degrees at UCD.

What does Stage mean? 

UCD uses the term stage to identify students at undergraduate level.  As a new student starting a programme in UCD you will be in Stage 1 of that programme. 

I don’t understand what modules are?

Modules are the units with a course (or in UCD terminology, programme). For most programmes you will take 12 modules per academic year, worth 5 credits each, so a total of 60 credits per year.  The majority of your study (between 10 of the 12 modules) will be in your chosen degree programme; some may be compulsory ‘core’ modules, others will be ‘option’ modules, where you choose modules that interest you from a list of modules in your degree subject(s). Where you choose to take up to 2 modules outside of your programme, these are referred to as “electives”

You have the choice to take additional option modules within your programme to deepen your learning, or elective modules outside your programme to if you want to broaden your horizons. The choice is yours – we hope you’ll benefit from the freedom and diversity it offers you.

What are elective modules?

As a Stage 1 undergraduate student you can register for your electives in the Spring Trimester.   Most undergraduate degree students can take elective modules.  Electives give you the chance to study modules from outside your programme area. Always read the information about a module to see if you will be interested in it and if you meet the module requirements. The Module Spotlight gives you a list of interesting elective modules that have places available. You can also choose to take Structured Electives. This means taking your elective credits in a structured manner over the course of your programme to form a recognised block of learning in a subject area amounting to a minimum of 15 credits – typically three 5 credit modules. There is a range of Structured Electives available from Languages to Statistics so make sure you explore the available choices before making your decision.  Discovery modules are an exciting addition to the range of elective modules on offer. Each module is taught by more than one school and is designed to deepen students’ understanding of different disciplinary perspectives on topics of significant importance. The content of the modules includes cutting-edge research and all relate to an issue of historical or current global significance. Read more about Discovery modules in UCD.

How do I register for an Elective Module? 

As a first year undergraduate, you can register to an elective module in the Spring Trimester.  If you want an elective module, simply click ‘Select Elective’ under it. Your choices will be recorded in the Electives Modules section of the electives page. If you see Provisional beside an elective choice, it means that places for that module will be randomly allocated. Electives that are provisional do not add up in the Credit Information box on the right-hand side of the electives page. If you get a place, the status will change to Confirmed and your credits will accumulate. 

Will I have exams like I did in secondary school?

The UCD modular system ensures that you will be exposed to a range of different types of assessment. Depending on your School, your Module Coordinator will plan assessments for each module taking account of the learning outcomes to be assessed for that module. This will be explained in your module descriptor. It means that once you commence your studies you will be working towards your assessments through in-person exams, essays, project work, online activities, practicals, and laboratory work as relevant to your programme.

What are open book examinations?

Open book exams allow you to take notes, texts, or resource materials into an examination. They test your ability to find and apply information and knowledge.

I keep seeing references to continuous assessment.  What does that mean in UCD? 

Continuous assessment is the continuous and frequent analysis of the learning performance. Your lecturer/Module Coordinator will explain clearly what is required of you and how you will be assessed during the module. 

I always struggled with writing essays; is there anywhere I can get help?

UCD Writing Centre provides free, one-to-one tuition and a range of workshops on all aspects of the writing process https://www.ucd.ie/writingcentre/

I always needed support with Maths; is there anywhere I can continue to get support? 

The Mathematics Support Centre provides support to UCD students.  Details can be accessed here https://www.ucd.ie/msc/

How do I know if I am doing well in my studies? 

You will know from the grades that you are receiving.  All your assessments are graded according to the UCD grading scale.  The University uses three scales to determine a module’s grade:

  • Letter grade scale
  • Pass/Fail grade scale
  • Distinction/ Pass/ Fail grade scale

Each module descriptor will indicate the grading scale used.  Full details about UCD’s grading scheme can be accessed here: https://www.ucd.ie/students/exams/gradingandremediation/understandinggrades/

I am a mature student who just returned to study in College this year. I am worried I won’t be able to do all these modules at home on my own. Can I reduce my workload to two modules for this semester and not lose my grant?  

If you have any queries relating to disability support, financial supports, mature entry student advisory supports, or Open Learning please email all@ucd.ie or disability@ucd.ie

Teaching and Assessment

What is a Module Coordinator?

Each module is coordinated by a UCD faculty member who is there to answer any questions you may have in relation to the module that you are taking.  You will find their contact details when you register to each of your modules. 

Is it okay to email Module Coordinators/lecturers if I am having a problem with my studies?

Yes. Your lecturers are there to help you.  Many lecturers/Module Coordinators will be developing FAQs that pertain to your modules and programmes and it is important that you consult with those first to see if they address the issue that you have.  It is also important to remember that it may take some time for lecturers/Module Coordinators to reply due to the number of students that they are dealing with. 

Who should I contact in relation to information on my course?

You should make contact with your College and/or School Office.

How do I know what I have to study in each module? 

Each module has its own descriptor which you should read very carefully.  You can access all modules here 

Each module descriptor sets out clearly 

  • What you will learn?
  • How you will learn?
  • Whether you are eligible to take the module?
  • How you will be assessed?

It is important that you read each module descriptor carefully and refer to the learning outcomes and understand what is expected of you while studying the module. 

I keep seeing the term ‘learning outcomes’, what are learning outcomes?

Learning outcomes express what you will know, understand or be able to do after you have satisfactorily completed your modules and programme.   Learning outcomes focus on what you have achieved rather than merely focussing on the content of what has been taught. Learning outcomes in a module focus on what you can demonstrate at the end of a learning activity.   It also means that you are responsible for your own learning and you will have to be able to demonstrate attainment of key knowledge before being recognised as having successfully completed a programme of learning which includes all of the modules that you have studied. 

What is the online learning system called?


Who will show me how to use Brightspace?

Explore the 'Introduction to UCD' module when you first log in into Brightspace, your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The section called 'Discover IT' is designed to help you get started using IT@UCD. IT Services has developed a set of guides to help you with using Brightspace which can be accessed here.

If I can’t get into Brightspace who do I contact?

All students have an account in Brightspace and are automatically enrolled into their modules. You can access Brightspace through UCD Connect with your Connect username and password. If you have problems accessing your account, IT support is available. You can contact our IT Helpdesk at (01) 716 2700 or by emailing ithelpdesk@ucd.ie General hours of service are Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 17.30pm.

What browser should I use for Brightspace?

The recommended browser for the best experience of using Brightspace is the latest version of Chrome. The Brightspace Pulse App is also a useful way to receive alerts and notifications from Brightspace on your mobile device. Our institutional app, UCD Mobile, provides easy access to a range of information and services. 

What sort of PC/laptop do I need for my online activities?

As parts of our teaching will be online, you will need access to a computer and internet connectivity to fully engage in your studies. We will provide access to the software you need for online learning and support with how to use it. We are committed to ensuring that our teaching is accessible.  UCD IT Services will provide you with all of this information at https://www.ucd.ie/itservices/startoftermguide/

What UCD Library facilities are available? 

Details of Library services are available here, which includes links to essential UCD Library contacts, services and resources for UCD researchers, lecturers and students. It also contains information regarding the opening hours of the James Joyce Library.

I am worried that I will have no one to talk to about my studies?

There is no need to worry, there are many different people that you can talk to about how you are getting on in your studies.  Yes, university is very different to school, but we are here to help and support you in your studies. You can contact your Module Coordinator in relation to understanding content, your School and College Programme Office in relation to matters around eligibility to register for modules or to explain the process around choosing modules and how the credit system works. If you feel that you are not keeping up with your work then you can contact your Student Adviser.  

What are Extenuating Circumstances?
All the relevant information is available here.

I want to take time out this trimester who do I contact?

You should contact your Student Adviser and College or School Office if you want to take a Leave of Absence by following UCD procedures in the usual way.

Exams and Assessment

How will I know when my examination will take place or when my assignment is due?

Your official examination timetable for end of trimester examinations will be published and you will have access to it in good time.  Your lecturers / Module Coordinators will provide you with information on the timings and any submission date for assessments due to take place during this Trimester.

Where do I find out about examinations and assessment policies?

All information concerning examinations are located here. This is the only official source of information that you should use in relation to your teaching, learning, examinations, and assessments.   

If I know in advance that I will not be able to meet a submission deadline what do I do?

If you are not going to meet a submission deadline, the Late Submission of Coursework Policy applies.  The application should be made prior to the due date, and granting an extension is at the discretion of the Module Coordinator.

Is there a late submission of coursework penalty?

Yes. The Late Submission of Coursework Policy applies during this Trimester.  

When will my lecturer/Module Coordinator be in touch about my examinations and assessments?

Your module descriptor provides you with details on how and when you will be assessed during your module. You will receive clear comprehensive instructions on the assessment approaches and associated technologies during your module. 

How will assessments take place during this Trimester?

Your module descriptor provides you with details on how and when you will be assessed during your module. Your Module Coordinator will inform you of specific assessment arrangements in place for your modules. 

How do I submit my assignment?

You will submit your assignment through Brightspace. The instructions on doing this are here.

When I submit my assignment how do I know that my lecturer has received it?

When you submit your assignment you will receive a notification that it has been submitted successfully.

What if there has been an error in the assessment process?

If you believe that there has been an error in the assessment process, it may be possible to submit an Assessment Appeal. Please see the Assessment Appeals webpage https://www.ucd.ie/secca/assessmentappeals/ for further information on permitted grounds for appeal and on the Assessment Appeals process. Assessment Appeals may only be submitted following the release of final results.

What are my remediation options?

If you fail a module, normal remediation options will apply.  Guidance on remediation for each module is available in the module descriptor. Your lecturer/Module Coordinator will inform you of all your remediation options.

Can I resit an examination? 

The approach to resits is outlined in the module descriptor. If a resit is available, you will be required to undertake an assignment or an examination within the subsequent two trimesters. Your lecturer/Module Coordinator will inform you about your resit opportunities if they are required and they will be conducted in line with UCD regulations.

Health Support

Do I have to wear a mask? 

Although the mandatory requirement to wear masks in University buildings is now removed, we strongly encourage the continued wearing of masks. Please however respect the rights of those who decide not to wear them.

What precautions is the University taking to protect against COVID-19?

  • Free rapid antigen testing kits will continue to be provided.  An average of around 10,000 kits per week are being used by the student community and this is a very welcome sign of continued personal responsibility being exercised. 
  • Enhanced indoor ventilation continues without change. 
  • Physical COVID-19 protective measures such as screens, hand sanitising stations, etc will remain in place and PPE will continue to be provided by the University.

I am a new / international student, do I need to register with a health service? 

All registered students are entitled to attend the UCD Student Health Service for their General Practice health services. ALL students, including international, are encouraged to apply for their PPS number which they are eligible for under education purposes. More information on how to apply for a PPS number can be found here.

I am concerned that I may have COVID-19. What should I do? 

If you have fever, chills, cough, alteration to your sense of taste or sense of smell or shortness of breath, you can call your own GP who will conduct a telephone consultation with you to decide if testing is indicated or you can self-refer to the HSE here.

Additional information regarding the COVID-19 virus is available on the HSE website

I am awaiting testing / a diagnosis, is there anything I need to do? 

Please follow the advice being issued by the HSE.

If you are currently a Resident on campus, we would ask that you let the Front of House team know about your status. They will be able to provide information on supports available to you as you self-isolate. 

I have received a diagnosis that I am COVID-19 positive. What should I do next and who should I inform at UCD? 

Please phone (01) 7167999 or complete the google form immediately to notify the University. Please refer to the up-to-date information on the UCD SIRC website.

I am in self-isolation / undertaking restricted movement and I am feeling very upset, what can I do?

Student support services remain available. If you are a campus resident, please to talk to the residential management team or residential assistants.

Student Advisers can be contacted by email and Zoom calls will be set up for individual consultations if necessary - Student Adviser contact details are available here.

Consult this link to helpful information provided by the UCD Student Counselling Service about how to cope during self-isolation https://www.ucd.ie/studentcounselling/workshops/resources/

A specially designed self-directed therapy programme called coping with COVID-19 is available you here SilverCloud

For information about the UCD Student Counselling Service, please see website https://www.ucd.ie/studentcounselling/

If you have any questions about the service and/or feel you need to speak with a professionally trained counsellor, you can contact student.counselling@ucd.ie

I am unable to attend campus because I am at higher risk from COVID-19, what should I do? 

If you are concerned about the health risk from coronavirus, especially if you fall into high risk groups, you should seek advice from your doctor on whether or not it is safe for you to attend the college campus. Students with ongoing conditions that put them at very high and high risk from the coronavirus may be eligible for disability support and should contact UCD Access & Lifelong Learning for further information by emailing disability@ucd.ie.

You are asked to notify your College/School/Programme Office of this situation in a timely fashion, by email, or your programme may have set up a local arrangement such as a notification form. You may need to apply for extenuating circumstances or a leave of absence depending on how much of your programme you are unable to attend.

Please also refer to the up-to-date information on the UCD SIRC website.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found at Student Health Services COVID-19 FAQs.

Please also refer to the up-to-date information on the UCD SIRC website.

General and Pastoral Student Support

Is the Student Desk open? 

Yes, you can check all the contact options at www.ucd.ie/askus.

Who is available to provide pastoral support and advice for students?

Student support services are offered as follows:

  • Student Advisersare available to offer support, information and advice to all students. Every programme has a designated student adviser and details of your adviser can be found on their web page. Appointments can be made for zoom meetings and telephone calls or face to face meetings.
  • UCD Access and Lifelong offers support to access students, including those on low income, with a disability, part-time, refugee-protection applicants and mature. Students can visit the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning centre or e-mail all@ucd.ie
  • UCD Chaplaincycontinues to play a vital role for students at this time.
  • UCD Global Experience teamare available to respond to queries by email and Zoom.
  • Support and advice is also available from the UCD Students' Union.

What are the opening hours for Student Health Services?

Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.00pm. Please note there will be a consultation fee for all telephone clinical consultations. Other charges may be incurred depending on the service required. COVID-19 related consultations are free to registered students.

I don’t have access to a GP. When is the Student Health Service open and how do I access it? Will it be open on public holidays and over the weekend? 

The UCD Student Health Service is open from Monday to Friday (except on public holidays) and opening hours and contact details are available here in addition to contact details for out-of-hour services. If your concern relates to the coronavirus and you are well, please phone HSElive at 1850 241 850 (or 041 685 0300).

I am feeling unwell and the Student Health Service is closed. Where can I get advice?

These are the contact details of the out of hours services that are available to you for emergency or medical care. Please note there are charges for these services: 

  • EastDoc Telephone Number: (01) 221 4021
  • Doctor on Duty Telephone Number: (01) 420 0880. Opening hours 24/7

How do I access the UCD Student Counselling Service?

For the academic year 2021/22, the counselling service will offer counselling in a variety of ways including face to face and remot counselling. The team will discuss options with you to find the way that works best for your needs.  As things change rapidly these days, we will provide regular updates on our website to keep you informed about how the service is working for students and to give you access to helpful resources to use to support yourself through tough times. 

The UCD Student Counselling service is committed to responding to students as soon as possible, however there has been an increase in those seeking help so waiting times are longer than they would normally be. If you need help urgently, consider either contacting the Student Health Service or calling 999 / 112. Your Student Adviser can also offer support and can help you access counselling if necessary.

Please visit the UCD student counselling service website for information about how the service works and for resources about how to cope with COVID -19 and other challenges that impact on our mental health.

What if I need urgent help?

If you are feeling very distressed and need urgent mental health support, you need to contact your GP surgery to request an emergency appointment. Additional options for immediate assistance can also be found here.

Are there any other services available to me outside of the UCD Counselling Service? 

The following services that are free of charge may be of assistance: 

  • HSE primary care counselling services (CIPC) – accessed via GP/Doctor and free for medical card holders.
  • HSE adult mental health service (both the above are accessed through your GP) 
  • Pieta
  • Samaritans
  • Jigsaw
  • Spunout

UCD also provides all students with a free evidenced based CBT/self-directed support  tool called SilverCloud where you will find a wide range of helpful tools to support you to manage sleep difficulties, mood challenges, anxiety, stress, COVID-19 related stress, financial worries and body image concern to name but a few, check out SilverCloud 

What should I do if I experience a bereavement or illness and cannot engage with my studies?  

If you experience a bereavement or illness or any other issue contact your Student Adviser and let the College or School Office know as soon as you can. They will provide you with the support you need.

I have a disability and feel overwhelmed by new technologies. Where will I get help? 

UCD Access & Lifelong Learning has a wide range of resources to assist students to adapt to this new working environment. Students can contact support staff for help by emailing disability@ucd.ie.

Is there a UCD app that I can download? 

Yes, you can find campus and learning information on the UCD Mobile app, which you can download for free. You can access an interactive map of the campus to help you get around, as well as news updates, access to your virtual learning environment, an events calendar, dining options and much more. Available for Apple and Android devices. 

Are UCD Careers Network supports and services available? 

Yes, the UCD Careers Network continues to offer career coaching, personal and professional development opportunities, and access to job vacancies and other opportunities. 

How do I register for and achieve the UCD Advantage Award?

UCD Advantage is operating as normal. You can register for an online induction via MyCareer. The process for submission of your UCD Advantage Application remains the same. When complete, the achievement will be included on your UCD Diploma Supplement. If you have any queries in relation to your UCD Advantage application please contact skillsaward@ucd.ie.

Travel to Ireland for International Students

Do I need to be vaccinated before I travel to Ireland? 

We would encourage all students to avail of the COVID-19 vaccination before they commence their journey to Ireland.  For those who do not have access to COVID-19 full vaccination in advance of travel, you will be eligible to register for a vaccine on arrival. 

The following webpages have useful information for students:

If you have a PPS number, you can use the online registration portal to book your vaccination: https://vaccine.hse.ie/

If you don't have a PPS number, you will need to use the telephone registration helpline to register for a vaccination appointment: 1850 241 850 from Monday-Sunday, 8am-8pm. 

You will need to be resident in Ireland in order to book a vaccination appointment, and the health service will not permit you to book an appointment in advance, before your arrival here. You will be required to bring photo identification and proof of address with you when attending your appointment.

Although a PPS number is currently not required to book a vaccination appointment, it is recommended that you apply for one when you arrive in Ireland to give you better access to the Irish public health care system and other public services. gov.ie - Get a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number (www.gov.ie)


How can I obtain an EU Digital COVID Certificate?
There are a number of options available on the government website, please read though and select the appropriate option for you. You can apply for a digital cert via the following link:
If you do not have a PPSN number you will be asked to contact the DCC service centre via telephone on 1800 807008