Research Degrees: MPhil and PhD programmes

The Institute provides programmes of study for MPhil and PhD degrees in the history, politics and sociology of Latin America, the US, Canada and the Caribbean, according to the research specialisms of the academic staff.  Interdisciplinary research is also supported by the Institute  where students have a good grounding in one or more disciplines.

Programme structure

Research degrees are programmes of supervision, available on a full- or part-time basis. Students will be registered initially for the MPhil degree and subject to satisfactory work, will subsequently be upgraded to that for the PhD degree.

Guidelines: the PhD shall be a piece of work which can be researched and written within three or a maximum of four years (full-time students) and six years (part-time students). The outcome of the degree is an original piece of work. The maximum word length for a PhD thesis is 100,000 words, and ideally it should not be much less than 90,000. Consult your supervisor for advice.

Academic staff research specialisms

Professor Jonathan Bell, Professor of American History, Director of UCL-IA. Modern US political history, policy history, history of political ideologies, LGBT history, the state in US history.

Professor Maxine Molyneux, Professor of Sociology. Gender, public policy, development, globalisation, human rights, citizenship, and social policy in Latin America.

Professor Iwan Morgan, Professor of United States Studies, Deputy Director of the Institute and Director of the United States Presidency Centre. Modern US political history (from the New Deal onwards); US political economy – historical or contemporary; or the US presidency – past or present.

Professor Kevin J. Middlebrook, Professor of Latin American Politics. Comparative and international political economy (labour rights in the context of free-trade agreements and globalization, state-labour relations in Latin America), regime change in Latin America (political cleavages, conservative parties, democratization), US foreign policy and US-Latin American relations.

Dr Paulo Drinot, Senior Lecturer in Latin American History. History of Peru in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; labour history and state formation, racism and exclusion, gender and sexuality, the social history of medicine, and memory and historiography. 

Dr Par Engstrom, Lecturer in Human Rights of the Americas. The Inter-American Human Rights System; judicialization of politics; transitional justice; the international relations of the Americas; human rights, humanitarianism, and foreign policy; theories of international relations, particularly relating to international law and institutions; and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of human rights. Country-specific research expertise on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia.

Dr Tony McCulloch, Senior Fellow in North American Studies. The concept of a ‘North Atlantic Triangle’ between Canada, the US and the UK, both historical and contemporary; Canadian politics and foreign policy, especially Canada-UK and Canada-US relations; the political career of William Lyon Mackenzie King; Canada’s role within the Organisation of American States and its relations with Latin America; US politics and foreign policy, especially US-UK and US-Canada relations; the political career of Franklin D Roosevelt.

Dr Kate Quinn, Lecturer in Caribbean History. Political history of the post-independence Anglophone Caribbean; Black Power in the Caribbean; the Caribbean left; intellectuals and the state; culture and nationhood; intellectual movements. Country-specific research on Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean.

Dr Graham Woodgate, Principal Teaching Fellow in Environmental Sociology of the Americas. Agroecology and food sovereignty in the Americas; Agrarian reforms in Latin America; Globalisation and natural resource use and conservation in the Americas; Political ecologies of the Americas; Climate change vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation in the Americas; Ecotourism in the Americas; Environmental social movements and direct action environmentalism in the Americas.

Research proposals

Applicants should write and submit an outline of their research proposal, giving some indication of the relevance of their chosen topic and current state of the work in that field. Useful information about identifying and contacting a supervisor, and preparing a research proposal is available here:
The proposal should then be forwarded, before a formal application is submitted, to the PG Programmes Officers.

An Informal interview will be arranged with the prospective supervisor(s). In the case of an applicant living outside the UK and being unable to attend an interview, particular attention will be paid to the research proposal.

Entry requirements

Please consult UCL's entry requirements for Research programs.

Current research students' projects

Learn more about the variety of projects our current research students are working on.

Also visit the the UCL Americas Research Students Network, whose objective is to build an awareness and active engagement for all research students across UCL that work on the Americas.

English level requirements

All students whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programmes for which they have applied.

Research programs at UCL-Institute of the Americas currently require English level: GOOD. As an indication, this would mean that the standard minimum IELTS requirement for studying at UCL-Institute of the Americas is 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests. Learn what other qualifications and levels are recognized by UCL

Tuition fees

UK/EU Full time £4,635
UK/EU Part time £2,315
International Full time £16,690
International Part time £8,500



These are the funding schemes currently available to UCL Institute of the Americas research students:

This scheme is open to UK and EU applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. Applications open on 1st December 2016. if you are interested in applying for this funding please contact your potential supervisor well before this date. Further information on this scheme is available here:

The Institute had great success in 2015/2016 with two PhD offer holders each being offered a AHRC studentship. In addition, one of these candidates was also offered a Wolfson Scholarship and the other one, a GRS award. For other sources of funding please consult the UCL Scholarships and Funding page.

NB: Applications for 2016/2017 have now closed. This page will be updated as soon as information on the application cycle for 2017/2018 becomes available.

[#wolfson: Wolfson]

Postgraduate Scholarships in Humanities. Applications for 2016/17 are now open. This scheme is open to UK and EU applicants who meet the eligibility and discipline criteria. To apply please submit an online PhD admissions application including a research proposal of no more than 1000 words, and also notify our Postgraduate Programmes Officers at that you wish to to be considered, along with a letter from your potential supervisor confirming that they are willing to supervise the specific project outlined by 5pm on 21st January 2016. Full details of the scheme can be found here.

NB: Applications for 2016/2017 have now closed. This page will be updated as soon as information on the application cycle for 2017/2018 becomes available.

For other sources of funding please consult the UCL Scholarships and Funding page.

NB: Applications for 2016/2017 have now closed. This page will be updated as soon as information on the application cycle for 2017/2018 becomes available.


Awards available to excellent candidates applying for Masters programmes for 2016/17 entry.


Many of our Master’s students undertake fieldwork in order to carry out research for their dissertation projects. The Institute has available £15,000 per session that all students that wish to undertake fieldwork abroad can apply to. The funds are awarded on a competitive basis on the criteria of academic performance to date, the quality of the research proposal and the importance of fieldwork for completing the research.

Below are some reflections from two alumni on their fieldwork and how this was beneficial to their individual projects.

Dominic Barker - MA in US Studies: History and Politics

Alice Essam - MSc Globalisation and Latin American Development

  • The Miller Bursary

Due to the generous donation from Professor Nicola Miller and matched funding from the Institute of the Americas we are able to offer one £4,000 bursary towards tuition fees for any of our MA and MSc Programmes. This scheme is open to UK and EU fee status applicants. To be considered for this award you must complete an admissions application and the funding application available to download here. Applications for 2016/17 have now closed, deadlines for next year will be announced shortly. 
Completed funding applications should be sent to the Postgraduate Programmes Officer The award will be made based on both financial need and academic merit.

NB: To complete the funding application you will need to either download the application from the above link and open with Adobe Acrobat or if given the option 'Open with alternative view', then open with Adobe Acrobat.

Applications for 2016/2017 have now closed. This page will be updated as soon as information on the application cycle for 2017/2018 becomes available.

Other Funding

For a full list of scholarships/bursaries please consult:

UCL Scholarships and Funding page

Other sources of relevant information

These are other sources of information that prospective candidates to a place in a research programme at UCL-Institute of the Americas may find of interest:

For further information please contact the Institute's programmes team: