The formal part of the course is followed by a 3 year PhD research project in an internationally competitive research environment. The choice of the PhD project is delayed until completion of the MRes year during which students are deliberately exposed to a wide variety of methods and styles of collaborative research, as well as potential supervisors, before making a final choice. Students will be asked to present their proposal to the Programme Management Team, which considers both the match between student capabilities and project demands and the match between student and proposed supervisor. All students have at least two PhD supervisors, one from the mathematical/physical sciences and one from the life sciences.
Upon being granted their PhD choice, students are expected to work within their supervisors’ Department. CoMPLEX works with a range of departments and researchers across UCL. The host department has the responsibility to oversee their day-to-day requirements and provide any general administration support that the students may require. The students however remain registered to CoMPLEX, and they should consult the Admin Office if they have any queries.

Students are encouraged to enhance the experience and skills acquired during the formal teaching of the MRes year by continuing to complete the Generic and Transferable skills requirements, which is set out by the Graduate School.

MPhil to PhD Upgrade

During the 12-18 month period after commencing their PhD, students are expected to upgrade from an initial MPhil award to an intended PhD award. Full details on how to upgrade, including forms and contact details can be found in the upgrade tab.

Thesis Submission

At the three-year period, students may be in a position to submit their thesis and prepare for their viva. Again their host department and supervisors will be able to help them organise this. Students will need to ensure to correctly and timely follow UCL Registry’s procedures, which can be found in the submissions tab.

CRS Status

The procedure is for students to liaise with their supervisors (both primary and secondary), the supervisors to contact CoMPLEX ( stating the length of CRS. CoMPLEX then e-mails student records. Requests for CRS have to come from the department. CRS can be requested once only and for a maximum of a year. CoMPLEX needs this info to ensure students complete within time. CRS can not be issued retrospectively. 

Interdisciplinary Research

The overriding principle of the CoMPLEX MRes/PhD is that at all stages of the programme students will interact with and obtain advice from researchers who have direct experience of collaboration between the life sciences and the mathematical/physical sciences as well as research students and post-doctoral research fellows who are at a more advanced stage of the same interdisciplinary training process.

The PhD Management Team, which oversees all PhD students, is made up equally of life scientists and mathematical/physical scientists, as well as two MRes programme directors, one from each discipline. The structure of the management team ensures that the training and direction they receive is at the leading edge of current interdisciplinary research.

Current Research

Our Research Page details the PhD projects of current CoMPLEX students. 


All students are expected to undertake their research according to UCL's Code of Practice. Full details on this can be found here:

Page last modified on 21 apr 13 11:21