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What is the Leadership Race?

Each year in March, every student at UCL votes to elect the leaders of clubs, societies and the Students’ Union. 1,000’s put themselves forward and 1,000’s vote. The students you elect start work in the summer, and the spend the next academic year making more happen at UCL.

You can put yourself forward to lead a club, society or the Students’ Union, then encourage students to vote for you. The Leadership Race is open to all. 

Most of the leadership roles are voluntary, undertaken alongside your studies, but seven are full-time paid positions where those elected take a sabbatical year and lead the entire Students’ Union. More about all of this below.

Different ways to lead

The Leadership Race gives everyone the chance to choose who leads their club, society, and the Students’ Union.

During the Leadership Race you can stand and vote for:

  • The seven full-time sabbatical officers who lead the Students’ Union.
  • The 12 part-time officers, who volunteer their time to represent students.
  • The president or treasurer of your society.
  • The president or treasurer of your sports club.
  • UCL’s delegates to the NUS National Conference.
Full-time Sabbatical Officers

Sabbatical Officers work full-time for a year representing all students at UCL. Each Officer has a specific area of responsibility, like Education, Union Operations, or to represent Postgraduate students. They’re part of the Union’s Trustee Board, part of UCL’s Council, part of the committees and working groups that shape UCL, and part of all the decisions which are made that affect students. 

It’s a lot of responsibility, but Sabbatical Officers are supported by the staff team at the Union and get lots of training and development throughout the year. It’s a unique opportunity, strategically leading a charity, and one comparable to any grad scheme. If you want to know what it’s really like day-to-day, our current Sabbatical Officer team are here to talk.

Students have been leading the Union since 1893, the seven above were in charge in 2018-19. (We love this photo!)

What you’ll get as a Sabbatical Officer

  • Paid around £25,000 per year, with 27 days holiday.
  • Extensive training and development, and the opportunity to undertake additional training when you need it.
  • Influence at the very highest level of UCL and the Students’ Union.
  • A unique opportunity to build a network of leaders in higher education and beyond.
  • The support of a team of dedicated full-time staff.
  • The chance to make real and lasting change at UCL.
Ready. Set. Go

It's never too early to start thinking about standing, especially if you're thinking about a full-time position. 

Nominations don't officially open until 1 February, but if you're interested, let's arrange a time to chat.

Leave your details below

When it all happens

*dates may change slightly

Your questions, answered
How do elections take place?

Elections take place online. In 2021, all campaigning and voting will all take place online. Students will vote via a secure part of our website. You’ll be able to share a manifesto on your candidate page for voters to read, and take part in virtual question time events.

Will I get supported during the election?

Yes. We have a team of staff ready to help you. They can help you plan your election campaign, talk to you about the different roles, help you reach potential voters, and just be there when you need someone.

Can I stand for more than one position?

No, unless you are taking on a Club and Society position in addition to an officer role. 

Do I have to write something to support my nomination?

Not initially. We simply need your name the role you’re interested in to process your nomination. We’ll talk you through writing a supporting statement, or a manifesto, at the Candidate Briefing.

Can I run if I’m a postgrad?

Absolutely, we have lots of postgrads stand for election.

What happens if I win?

You’ll find out in March, and you’ll start your new role in July. We’ll give you lots of training and support and help you with any paperwork you might have to do, like applying to interrupt your studies.

Who can vote for me?

Everyone who is eligible to stand for a position is able to vote for that position. Some positions, like Education Officer, are open to all students and therefore all students will be able to vote. On the other hand, only those who self-define as a woman, and stand for the role of Women’s Officer, therefore only those who self-define as a woman can vote for the position. Eligibility criteria is listed on the role descriptions.

Can you share the role with another person?/Am I eligible for X position?/ What’s the time commitment?

The Part-Time Officer roles are eligible for a job share. To see the eligibility requirements and time commitment for each role please review role descriptions.

Will there be training and opportunities for personal development?

Yes, plenty. As all of our officers receive training which will cover a number of areas and skills including assertiveness, public speaking, working in a team and more. You will gain more experience just from being in the role. There will also be the opportunity to go to events and conferences relevant to your officer role as well as opportunities to work on projects that you are passionate about. 


We’ll update this page regularly over the next few months.

We’re here to help you. Ask us a question about the Leadership Race