PhD applications - FAQs
Q: How do I investigate the possibility of doctoral research in Classical Studies at UCL?
A: The first course of action is to contact the Graduate Tutor, who can advise you whether a specialist in your proposed field could supervise you, and can answer any general questions about UCL that you may have. If we feel that we can provide appropriate supervision for you, we will ask you to submit a PhD application so that we can take up references and consider your written proposal.
Q: Should I contact a potential supervisor directly?
A: Most staff will refer enquiries to the Graduate Tutor. The decision to admit is a Departmental one.
Q: What are the academic requirements for admission to the PhD programme?
A: All applicants must have completed an MA programme or equivalent post-undergraduate degree, either at UCL or elsewhere. A good performance in the dissertation component of the MA is especially important (for example, in the London MA in Classics we would look for a mark at or near Distinction level).
Q: Do I need to submit a writing sample?
A: The Graduate Tutor can advise on this. Including a piece of writing such as an MA dissertation with an application is often helpful.
Q: What are the English language requirements for foreign students?
A: The UCL requirement in English for non-native speakers is an IELTS score at ‘good’ level or recognised equivalent. Details are available on the Graduate School website here. (Students who have an undergraduate degree from a university in the English-speaking world are exempt from this requirement.)
Q: Do many mature students take the MA at UCL?
A: Yes, there is always a sizeable minority of students who have not come immediately out of a BA programme; many join us considerably later in life. We welcome applications from people of all ages; admissions criteria are of course more flexible for mature applicants.
Q: Is it possible to do a PhD on a part-time basis?
A: Yes, around a third of our PhD students enrol as part-time students. It is the best option for students who need to work while doing the PhD, or who have other responsibilities. Part-time students have seven years rather than the standard four years to complete their dissertations (but may submit before then if they wish).
Q: How long does the decision whether to admit take?
A: After we receive a formal application, decisions are made quickly (typically within a month); an offer may specify certain minimum grades in an MA programme or equivalent.
Q: Is there a deadline for PhD applications?
A: No, but you should leave yourself plenty of time, especially if you need to apply for funding. For most of the common sources of funding (the AHRC and UCL studentships), you need to have an offer of a place at UCL before your application for funding can be considered. The deadlines for AHRC and UCL funding are typically in early February.
Q: I won’t know my MA results until October or November: can I start the PhD programme at the start of the academic session in September?
A: Most offers of a place are conditional upon MA results: students may be allowed to enroll provisionally in the College in September, on the understanding that this status will lapse if the required marks are not achieved.
Q: Do I have to start the PhD programme at the start of the academic session in September?
A: No, though an important advantage in starting at this time is that UCL lays on a number of induction sessions and training courses at the beginning of the year. Some of these are repeated in January for students who need to start then; but it is theoretically possible to start at any time.
Q: Is funding available for PhD research?
A: Universities in the UK cannot, unfortunately, offer automatic funding to all PhD students. Funding for research students in the Arts and Humanities at UCL comes mostly from two sources: the AHRC (a UK government body), and a limited number of studentships offered by UCL. Some students also win financial support from private foundations. See our guidelines on postgraduate funding.
Q: I am interested in ancient history and/or archaeology: should I apply to the Department of Greek and Latin?
A: Ancient history at UCL is located in the Department of History, and classical archaeology and art history are based in the UCL Institute of Archaeology: you should apply directly to the History Department or the Institute of Archaeology if that is where your primary research interest lies. However, many projects at PhD level are interdisciplinary: staff in the three Departments collaborate to offer a programme of study of the ancient mediterranean world. If your project includes the study of ancient language, literature, or philosophy as a major element, contact the Department of Greek and Latin: we will arrange for a co-supervisor in ancient history or archaeology as necessary.
Page last modified on 10 dec 14 19:54