Application process

To be considered for a Research degree (MPhil/PhD) you must complete an admissions application form. This can be downloaded from the UCL Graduate Studies website.

Your application must include:

  1. A completed application form
  2. A research proposal
  3. Two references
  4. Copies of your transcript
  5. An English Language Qualification if English is not your first language

Once the Department has received your admissions application you will be sent an email confirming receipt.

A decision as to whether you will be called to interview is normally made within two weeks of receipt of your application. If you are overseas this would be a telephone interview.

Once a decision has been made on your application you will be sent an informal email letting you know the outcome, normally within two weeks of your interview. An official offer letter will be sent by College Admissions. 

We can accept applications from November and you are advised to submit a complete admissions application no later than 1st May. We can accept applications after this date but they may take significantly longer to process as many of academics will be away on fieldwork during the Summer.

Applying online

Please note that if you apply online your application will not be uploaded until both referees have submitted their references. You can check the progress of your online application form at any point during the application process.

College Admissions can experience delays during busy times (especially during January to April). If you are also applying for funding please contact Lisa Daniel for advise.

Research proposal

In order to gain a place to undertake a research degree at the Institute you are required to provide a clear statement of your proposed project which should be 1500 words in length (excluding Key References). Particular emphasis will be placed on the quality of your proposal as part of the admissions process.

Your Proposal must describe your research project under the following subheadings (suggested word lengths for each section are an approximate guide):

Research Questions (c.700 words)

Please provide an outline of the research questions to be addressed, showing their originality and significance within the general field of the research topic referring to key publications. You should identify the key thematic and theoretical aspects of your project as you currently conceive them and then list further specific lines of enquiry that you intend to pursue. You may find it useful to number your specific questions (see Sources, Data and Methods below).

Sources, Data and Methods (c. 350 words)

Describe the sources of information/data that the research will draw upon and identify any ethical considerations. If possible, please identify which sources you intend to use to address your research questions. If your project will involve field, laboratory-based or museums work please state: (1) where and why; (2) how you propose to access these sources; (3) what permissions are required (identifying any likely difficulties or sensitivities); how the research work is to be funded (expenses other than UCL fees, living costs, etc.).

Research Skills (c.350 words)

Give an account of the knowledge and expertise that you already have which is relevant to the proposed research and, most significantly, any training you will need to aquire to undertake your project (for example, GIS skills, use of analytical instruments, statistical methods). Please bear in mind that certain analytical methods and techniques require considerable time and effort to acquire, so please pay particular attention to the appropriateness and feasibility of your research methods.

Time and Impact (c.100 words)

Please conclude your Research Proposal with a consideration of why it is important to undertake the research at the present time and how the potential outcomes of your project might impact both on specialists in the given field and the wider academic community.

Key References

Please list up to 12 key references with a brief note (one or two sentences) of their significance to your proposed research topic.


All applicants should submit two academic references.


A transcript is a breakdown of marks you obtained in each course/module you took at University.

Your University will be able to provide you with this.

If your transcripts are not in English you will need to provide an official translation. This can either be through your University, the British Council, the British Embassy or an official translator.

If you are a current UCL student please print off your current marks from your PORTICO record.

English Language Qualification

English language requirements are described here.

Entry Requirements

You must have, or be completing, a Masters in a relevant subject.

We normally look for a Masters degree with an overall grade of 70% or better, with at least 70% in the dissertation.

Bookmark and Share