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. This should then be forwarded, before a formal application is submitted, to the PostGraduate Studies Officer .

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


  • London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) AHRC doctoral training programme - applications for 2015/16 open on 1st December 2014. This scheme is open to UK and EU applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. Applications close on 30th January 2015. Additionally, you must have submitted an admissions application to UCL by 16th January. Full details can be found here.
  • The Jeremy Bentham PhD Studentship - details for 2015/16 will be updated shortly. 
  • Wolfson Scholarships – Postgraduate Scholarships in Humanities. Applications for 2015/16 are now open. This scheme is open to UK and EU applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. To apply please submit an online PhD admissions application including a research proposal, and also notify the Institute Manager, Abi Espie at that you wish to be considered, along with a letter from your potential supervisor confirming that they are willing to supervise the specific project outlined by 16th January 2015. Full details of the scheme can be found here.
  • UCL Graduate and Overseas Research Scholarships (GRS/ORS) - Applications for 2015/16 are now open. To apply please submit an online PhD admissions application including a research proposal. Additionally, you will need to submit a GRS/ORS application form to the Institute Manager, Abi Espie at by 16th January 2015. Full details of the GRS scheme can be found here, and the ORS scheme here.

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


The Institute has a number of awards available to excellent candidates applying for Masters programmes for 2015/16 entry.

Details for 2015/16 to be advised shortly.

The Santander Universities Awards offer a number of £5,000 scholarships for our MA and MSc Programmes. This award is for International Students applying from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico or Uruguay.

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 contact Laura Tunstall, Post Graduate Administration Officer