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Information for parents & guardians

Encouraging students to consider higher education, and then preparing them for it, is an important task and the role of parents/guardians is becoming increasingly complex.

Choosing a course and university that provides the best prospects for the future involves much research and effort, but rest assured that there are lots of ways that we can help you and your sons/daughters prepare for the most exciting time of their life.

We take our commitment to looking after the well-being of our students very seriously.

This section gives you the essential information about us, the UCAS application process and student life issues.

If you have any further queries please contact: 

Amanda Hall
Marketing Manager (Schools & Colleges)

Tel: +44 (0)1895 265576
Email: amanda.hall@brunel.ac.uk  

We pride ourselves on having a safe and secure campus where students and staff enjoy living, learning and working in a community environment. Our security measures keep crime to a minimum and mean we boast some of the lowest crime figures in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

The Security Control Room is located in the Wilfred Brown Building on the main concourse opposite the pond. This is occupied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by uniformed security officers. Students will often see the security vehicle around the campus, as well as Security Officers on foot.

Direct Line: 01895 255786
Email: security-operations@brunel.ac.uk

Crime prevention

Crime is a fact of life and instances of petty theft and burglary do occur from time to time. Mobile phones, laptop computers, credit cards, bicycles etc are all attractive targets for theft, particularly when left in open view in cars, left in an unlocked car or in accommodation where doors and windows have not been properly secured. If a student would like specific crime prevention advice they should visit the security department or visit the Metropolitan Police Crime Prevention Bus that is on campus termly.


For the purposes of crime prevention and public safety, an extensive CCTV system operates throughout the campus. This is all monitored and controlled from the Security Control Room. Any questions about CCTV should be directed to a member of the security staff.

Swipe card and key access

All of our on-campus accommodation is secured by either having swipe card or key access.

Students will be issued with swipe cards and keys to allow them access to the various areas that they need whilst at the University. Students should look after their cards and keys and never lend them to anyone else or use them to let other people into areas for which they have not been allowed access.

We are very proud of the support system that we provide to students. University life can be daunting and we are here to support students through to graduation and progression to their desired career.

If you are worried about one of our students we would advise that you encourage them to seek support. Although we are always happy to speak to parents/guardians to hear your concerns, please be mindful that unless the student is under 18 we will not be able to give you any information about them without their consent. However we do respond appropriately to any concerns raised with us. You can reach us at: welfare@brunel.ac.uk.

We offer a variety of services to support our students throughout their time with us.

Personal tutor 
Each student is assigned a member of relevant academic staff to help with study and welfare matters.

Advice & Representation Centre (ARC), Students' Union
The ARC offer a free and confidential service offering practical advice about finance, housing/accommodation etc. They have a team of trained, professional advisers and a Community Legal Service Quality Mark. They are like a Citizen’s Advice Bureau for students.

Counselling Service 
The Counselling Service offers support to students in order that they achieve their full potential whilst at Brunel.

Disability and Dyslexia Service 
The Disability and Dyslexia Service provides confidential information and advice to disabled students and students with specific learning difficulties and mental health requirements.

Medical Centre
Students are able to register with the NHS surgery on campus provided with live within 2 miles of the campus. We also have the Brunel Pharmacy on campus.

Meeting House 

The University's meeting house is the multi-faith centre on campus. The Chaplains are on hand to speak with students of faith, or of none.

Professional Development Centre (PDC) 
The PDC supports students with all aspects of career development from part-time work, work placements and internships and graduate career preparation.

We are also very proud of our long tradition of developing students who employers want to recruit because we have placed great importance on integrating work skills and experience into our courses, and we work to provide our students with opportunities for real experience wherever possible.

The graduate employment market is becoming increasingly competitive so developing skills and links with employers will give students a great head-start in finding the graduate job that they want.

Many of Brunel's courses offer the opportunity to do a thick or thin sandwich placement.

  • A thick sandwich course means undertaking a one-year placement in the third year and then returning for the final year of study.
  • A thin sandwich course means undertaking one six-month placement at the beginning of the second year and one six-month placement at the end of the third year and then returning for the final year of study.

Even if the course does not offer a formal sandwich placement, students will still find opportunities to undertake shorter placements. Links with industry and the professions will feature highly in the students teaching and learning experience.

Many students find studying at university very different from school/college. There is much more of an emphasis on independent study and time management skills with support from academic staff.

The following is a basic glossary of terms that might be unfamiliar to students and also some of the key differences that our students say they found in making the transition to degree level study.

Lecture: a lecturer, or teacher, will talk about a relevant subject, theorist or issue and students take notes. Lectures can last for up to 3 hours (with a short break) and can include as many as 300-400 students.

Seminar: seminars are much smaller lessons with up to 20 other students. They give students a chance to digest the material discussed in the lecture and further reading they have done. Seminars can also include presentations by fellow students.

Tutorials: tutorials are a one-to-one discussion between students and lecturers. They will often look over individual essays or projects and provide feedback to the student. Some students will also have group tutorials with 3-4 others.

Labs, workshops and studios: some courses such as those related to engineering, design, sciences and arts, will also have teaching time in practical areas such as labs, workshops and studios. These spaces are also used by students outside of teaching time to work on projects they have been set.

Sandwich courses: these are 4-year courses that involve a work placement as part of the degree. See employability for further information.

Modules: these are the units of work that students are taught. A list of modules for each course can be found on the course webpage. Some modules are compulsory and others are optional. Courses that attract external accreditation such as psychology, tend to be more prescriptive in what a student has to learn.

Dissertation: this is also called a final year project and is the major piece of academic work completed as part of a degree. It accounts for a large percentage of final year work and is completed throughout the year. The length of a dissertation can vary, some may be 10,000 words others will be 20,000.

Students studying science related subjects i.e. biology, sport sciences or social sciences will often be asked to undertake a scientific based research study for their dissertation. Those students who complete a work placement are encouraged to base their dissertation on their experience and findings from their work experience. Students may also produce, deisgn or make something for their project in subject such as design, engineering and performing arts.

Marks - 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, fail.

Work at university level is marked and graded differently to school/college. The final degree will be awarded as a classification: either a first, upper second (2:1), lower second (2:2), third, or fail. Generally speaking work that achieves:
70% and above = 1st
60-69% = 2:1
50-59% = 2:2
40-49% = 3rd or a pass
39% and below = fail

Most students aim to get a 1st or a 2:1 and most graduate employers will require a 2:2 or above.

Time management: this is a vital skill to succeed at university, students will say that you have to learn how to work hard and play hard! Students are normally given up to 12 weeks to complete coursework and prepare for exams. Coursework deadlines are very strict and in some cases if the deadline is 4.00pm then anything submitted after this time without valid mitigation, will receive a capped mark of a maximum of 40%.

Lecturers rarely take registers and students won't be chased to attend but if they don't it is very difficult to meet deadlines and complete work to the required standard.

Hours of study per week: students often ask how many hours they will have in lectures each week. The answer will depend on the course they do.

Arts and social science courses depend on the student being able to grasp subjects and theorists and support their work with wider reading. They may have 8 hours per week in formal teaching and are expected to do this amount again if not more in individual or group study. Subjects such as engineering and sciences have a heavier timetable with up to 25 hours per week including lab time.

Get a Headstart, find out more about university study.