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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 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 six are full-time paid positions where those elected take a sabbatical year and lead the entire Students’ Union.

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 six full-time sabbatical officers who lead the Students’ Union.
  • The 15 part-time officers, including the BME Students’ Officer and Women’s Officer, 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.

Earlier this year the roles of the Sabbatical Officers changed, a new position was created, two full-time roles became part-time, and all the roles had their responsibilities revised. The Sabbatical Officer team is now the Activities and Engagement Officer, Education Officer, Equity Officer, Postgraduate Officer, Union Affairs Officer, and the Welfare and Community Officer. You can read about the changes here.

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.

Read the full job descriptions here

​Nominations are open now, and close on the 2 March at 12:00 UK time. Register your interest using the button below and we'll get in touch to support you through the nominations process. 

Register your candidacy here

Once you've registered your candidacy, there's still time to change your mind or change the role you've registered for.

If you'd like to chat to us about standing and get advice on what position is best for you, then come along to our drop-in sessions on Zoom.

We’re running regular drop-in sessions on Zoom so you can come and ask us anything. We’re here to help you understand the roles, what you’ll be doing if elected, how to run your campaign and anything else you might want to know about the Leadership Race.

See all the drop-in sessions

Candidate training

We’re here to support you every step of the way with training sessions on digital marketing, manifesto writing, public speaking, film making, and more.

See all the training sessions

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.

Why have you changed the sabbatical officer roles?

Last term, we commissioned the governance consultancy MiraGold to lead a consultation on representation at UCL. They worked with students, current and previous elected officers, and the people at UCL that students and officers are seeking to influence. MiraGold are experts in their field and focussed around Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. They invited all students to take part in the consultation, through surveys and focus groups in term one this year. Their research report was presented to the Union’s Leadership Team in December and was developed into a set of proposals for the Union’s Executive Committee, made up of elected Sabbatical and Part-time Officers, to consider. 

On Monday 18 January, after an extensive Union Exec meeting in which the proposals were discussed, debated, and modified, a new Officer structure was unanimously approved. 

Read about what’s happened and why here.

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?

Only if they don’t sit on the same Policy Zone or both sit on Union Executive

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.

What are the rules?

In order for our elections to be fair, transparent and legally compliant, there are a number of rules and regulations that must be followed. We have condensed them to be as clear and easy to understand as possible. You can read the rules here.

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. 

Where will these roles be based?

The Sabbatical Officer roles will be UK based, working primarily from our offices at 25 Gordon Street in London, with some remote working.

Read the full Sabbatical Officer role descriptions here


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