Postgraduate Studies

Postgraduate Study at DCAL

Applications are invited for students wishing to study for an MPhil/PhD degree at DCAL.

DCAL is part of the Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences Research Department (CPB) at UCL.
Therefore many DCAL staff are appointed within CPB, some DCAL academic staff are appointed in other departments and universities.
DCAL academic staff who are available to supervise MPhil/PhD students are based within the UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences Research Department and City University Department of Language and Communication Science.
PhD students who study at DCAL generally apply through and register for a PhD within one of these departments.
Which department/university you apply to will depend on who your principal supervisor will be. For information about postgraduate study in these departments, see below. (Note that the UCL HCS postgraduate admissions page is particularly useful.)

UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences Research Department (CPB)

City University Dept of Language and Communication Science

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about postgraduate study at DCAL

1. How do I know if DCAL is the right place for me?
In order to do a PhD at DCAL, your topic must be one that fits in with the expertise of a DCAL staff member who would be available to act as your supervisor.
See the DCAL Research Themes page for information about what areas we cover. See also Associated Research and research interests of DCAL team members.

2. How does supervision work?
You will be required to have 2 supervisors, one principal and one secondary. At least one must have interests in the topic you want to research. Both supervisors must have PhDs. For information about DCAL staff research interests, see the DCAL team member pages.
See the DCAL Research Themes page for information about what areas we cover. See also Associated Research and research interests of DCAL team members.

3. What is an MPhil/PhD degree?
An MPhil degree (Master of Philosophy) is a research degree (i.e., there are no taught courses as part of this degree, see below) which is higher than other masters degrees (MA, MSc , MRes) but is a lesser degree than a PhD.
At most UK universities, it is customary for students who wish to enroll for a PhD to first enroll as an MPhil student, and then after a year or two, they can 'upgrade' to PhD level.
The MPhil may also be enrolled for as a terminal degree (i.e., students may stay enrolled in the MPhil and graduate with this degree if they wish).

4. What are the entry requirements for a MPhil/PhD degree?
Technically a 1st class, upper 1st class (2:1), or lower 2nd class (2:2) undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject are required for entry to an MPhil/PhD programme at UCL. In practice, students are expected to have graduated with a degree that falls in the top 40% of their class. In the UK this means a 2:1 or better. Exceptionally (e.g. if you have done some important research work yourself, but don't have a good degree), this requirement can be waived. Students cannot be accepted onto a research degree programme unless they already have an undergraduate degree.

5. Do I need to have a Masters degree to apply for a MPhil or PhD?
Students who have not yet earned a masters degree may want to consider applying for a masters degree at one of the above departments - e.g., either a MSc or a MRes. In the UK, MSc (Master of Science) and MRes (Master of Research) degrees, like undergraduate degrees, are taught programmes - that is, students enroll on a series of taught courses as a major component of the degree. MPhil and PhD degrees in the UK are research programmes, not taught courses. However, the first year or two of the MPhil/PhD, students are generally encouraged to sit in on relevant courses to gain experience or needed training before properly starting the PhD dissertation.

6. How long is an MPhil/PhD programme?
Most MPhil/PhD programmes in the UK are 3 years, with some allowing students to finish writing up their dissertation in the 4th year. In order to finish on time, students are expected to apply for the MPhil/PhD with a clear topic in mind. (This is unlike PhD programmes in other countries which can last for much longer)

7. Where do I find out about funding?
Note that your chances for funding will be significantly lower if you have less than a 1st class degree (or equivalent). Contact the admissions dept of UCL or City University to determine the equivalent degree class/grade point average for international universities.

Funding (and other useful information) for international students:
British Council

Information about funding for UK/EU students:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

If you have further questions about studying for an MPhil/PhD at DCAL, contact us at

Page last modified on 29 feb 12 12:15