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Departmental Societies Spotlight

Departmental Societies Spotlight: English Society
Stasha Mohla reflects on her time as Treasurer of English Society, and shares her thoughts on the benefits of joining a departmental society at UCL.
Departmental Societies Spotlight: Geographical Society
Geographical Society President, Chiara Aylett, shares her thoughts on leading the society, and how students can benefit from joining their departmental society.
Departmental Societies Spotlight: Psychology and Education Society
Psychology and Education Society President, Tszyau Chiu, shares their experience of running a departmental society, and why all students should get involved.

What are departmental societies?

Departmental societies are student communities connected to a specific department at UCL. They provide a space for students to connect through their specific interests and develop a stronger sense of belonging.

We are keen for students to collaborate with their departments to form learning communities, offer and access new opportunities that are mutually beneficial, and create long lasting memories at UCL.

How do I get involved?

We have a growing number of departmental societies at Students’ Union UCL. Have a look at our clubs and societies directory to see if there are any that interest you.

If students do not have an existing departmental society in their department or faculty, we always encourage them to start their own. This can feel daunting at first, but simply gathering a group of like-minded students in your department and brainstorming your plans and priorities for a society is a great place to start. You might also want to talk to staff or Academic Reps in your department.

Affiliating a new departmental society

The following steps are required to successfully affiliate a new departmental society:

1. Gather a committee

This should consist of three mandatory officers – a president, treasurer and welfare officer. You can find out more about these roles in our Clubs and Societies Regulations.

Once you select the option to affiliate a departmental society rather than a standard club or society, a set of specific questions will appear. For advice on completing each of the questions, read our Affiliation Guidance.

2. Complete our webform

3. Collect 30 signatures

You'll need to collect 30 signatures in support of your society. Students who sign are not committing themselves to joining your society, but simply showing their support for its affiliation to the Union. You can upload your signatures in the template provided at the end of the webform.

Affiliating a pre-existing departmental society

Students may have already formed societies around their departmental interests, but might not be affiliated with the Union. Once a society becomes affiliated to the Union, they can access a range of benefits, resources, and support systems, including:

  • Union website access
    • Ability to sell and monitor membership
    • Ability to sell tickets for event
    • Ability to book rooms
  • Training opportunities
    • Event management
    • Health and Safety
  • Financial support
    • Ability to view financial statements
    • Eligibility for Departmental Society Grant
  • Access to a society email address
  • Dedicated stall at our Welcome Fair
  • Insurance policy
  • Union-facilitated elections
  • Dedicated support staff
  • Departmental Society Development Awards scheme

To affiliate a pre-existing departmental society, follow the same three steps as above.

Affiliation Windows

The Student Activities team and Activities & Engagement Officer will review affiliation applications throughout the academic year. You can find a timeline below of when you can expect affiliation to be completed, based on the timing of your application:

Applications made by Monday 17th October → we will aim to affiliate your society by the end of November

Applications made by Wednesday 30th November → we will aim to affiliate your society by the beginning of Term 2 (Monday 9th January)

Applications made by Tuesday 31st January → we will aim to affiliate your society by the end of February

Applications made by Friday 24th March we will aim to affiliate your society by the beginning of Term 3 (Monday 24th April)

Applications made by Sunday 30th April: we will aim to affiliate your society by the end of Term 3 (Friday 9th June)

Applications made by Thursday 31st August → we will aim to affiliate your society by Welcome Fair 2023

Departmental Society Grant

The Departmental Society Grant is open throughout the year for all affiliated departmental societies, who can apply for funding to support projects designed to fulfil your society’s core objectives and foster a sense of belonging in their department.

Here are some examples of how departmental societies have used the Grant in recent years:

The Bartlett School of Architecture Society ran a Welcome Week event in which they personalised Bartlett hoodies whilst getting to know fellow course members

Crook Society used the grant to subsidise an end of term ice-skating event. After a difficult transition back into face-to-face teaching, this event allowed students in a small course to bond and cultivate connections outside of the classroom

Other departmental societies have used the grant for initiatives such as alumni and guest speaker events, taster sessions from trained fitness instructors, workshops, and collaborations with other societies.

Development Awards

Our Society Development Awards scheme allows society leaders to work with union staff to identify, develop and improve their society's activities and aims through a structured development plan and tiered awards system.

Through this scheme, departmental societies have the opportunity to improve the standard and range of activities they offer their members, upskill society officers and volunteers, and raise the profile of their society within the wider UCL community. Societies can achieve a bronze, silver or gold award based on the strength of their nomination and supporting evidence.

Find out more and nominate your society here.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your departmental society, feel free to get in touch with us.