PhD study in DIS
UCL Department of Information Studies is a leading centre for research in librarianship, information science, archives and records management, digital humanities and publishing. Students benefit from conducting research within the UK’s largest library school at one of the world’s top universities and are supervised by experienced and internationally known researchers. At UCL a doctorate is a research-based 3 to 4 year programme (5 years part-time) awarded on the basis of a thesis of approximately 100,000 words culminating in an oral defence (viva) in front of two examiners.
We welcome applications from excellent students whose research interests fit with those of the various Research Groups and Centres in DIS. Think about why you really want to study for a doctorate, what you hope to get out of it and where you think it might take you. A good fit means that we can provide appropriate expert supervision for your topic: have a look at the research interests of our academic staff. You are welcome to get in touch with any of our academics (by email is best) if you want to discuss your proposed research with them before you apply. Alternatively, you can email an abstract of your research proposal and a one page cv to the Departmental Graduate Tutor to check whether the subject area is covered in DIS. Contact the Research Administrator by email (email@example.com) with any queries.
To apply formally for the PhD, please complete an application form, which should include full transcripts of previous academic studies and appropriate references, at least one of which must be from an academic. A copy of your research proposal should also be included. Applicants need to write a research proposal of around 1500 words. The proposal will be an important part of your application and enables us to see whether we can supervise your topic. The proposal should include a provisional title, the purpose of the research to be undertaken or research questions you are hoping to investigate, a proposed methodology and initial bibliography. International Students must also provide evidence of English Language proficiency, for example, IELTS overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests. Applications should be made to the UCL Registry using the online application system and not sent directly to DIS. We are not able to give you a formal response about your proposal unless you apply with full details.
For entry in September 2015 the application deadlines are:
- 15 January 2015 (Scholarship candidates and open competition)
- 15 June 2015 (open competition candidates)
Normally, DIS research students begin at the start of the new session, that is in the autumn term i.e. late September/ early October each year.
Once we have received your application, it will be reviewed by the Graduate Research Tutor and by academics in the relevant subject area or research group. If your application is not strong enough or if we think your subject is not one we can supervise, we will let you know after the shortlisting process. Some applicants will be invited to an interview with the Departmental Tutor and potential supervisors. Interviews can be conducted by Skype or telephone for applications resident abroad. You will be notified as soon as possible of the outcome of your application after the interview by a formal letter from UCL. The offer may be conditional, for instance on obtaining a certain grade in an academic or language examination. If you have any questions about your offer before you accept it, do ask.
- DIS academic staff
- How to apply for graduate study at UCL
- International students wishing to study at UCL
- Tuition fees
Scholarships for doctoral students in DIS
The earlier application deadline (15 January of the year of entry) is designed in particular for those who wish to be considered for scholarships available through UCL or who need an early decision for an independent scholarship application, such as to the British Council or Commonwealth Scholarships Commission.
DIS is part of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership which will fund doctoral scholarships each year from October 2014. Please see the web site at:
Nominations for these scholarships will be considered as part of the application process for places on the doctoral programme. If you wish to be considered, please make a note of this in your application papers. Please note the earlier deadlines for these scholarships.
If your research is in the area of science and engineering in arts and heritage, you might want to apply for a scholarship in the EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) at UCL. Please see the website at:
DIS has been successful in obtaining occasional scholarships for students to undertake research in specific areas. There have been several Collaborative Doctoral Awards funded by AHRC in the field of archives and records management. The CDPartnerships may be suitable for research which has a cultural application: see details at http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/Collaborative-Doctoral-Awards.aspx. There is usually an early December deadline for an application to go to the cultural partner.
Industry-funded scholarships are occasionally available. These are advertised when they are available and interested applicants are invited to apply specifically for the funded place.
UCL has a small number of Research Scholarships available through open competition for both UK and international students, but none are ring fenced for research students accepted in DIS, and you should be aware that competition is extremely fierce. If you wish to be considered your name has to be put forward by the DIS Graduate Tutor: you cannot apply directly. If you wish to be considered, please indicate this in your application.Limited FIGS (Faculty) PhD funds are available, see information at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ah/figs/funding/pg-research-studentships
Many of our research students are funded by scholarships which they have obtained themselves from in-country or regional competitions; some others are self-funded. A few part-time students have obtained financial support from their employers. It is very important that you think about how to finance your studies when you apply to us. You will need a robust funding plan since doctoral study is an expensive undertaking!
For information on tuition fees, please see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-study/fees-funding
We offer our research students a vibrant research culture and the opportunity to engage with researchers from different disciplines. An important part of the DIS programme is the weekly research methods seminar programme for doctoral students, at which researchers share their own experience in research methods, publication, networking, career development and public engagement with students. The classes help to foster the research culture, to build research skills and to prepare students for milestones such as upgrade and their future research careers. Doctoral students also engage with other researchers in DIS fortnightly research seminars, which provide a supportive environment for students to present and receive feedback.
You can have a look at the current research student handbook here, but please bear in mind that it does change. You will be given the up-to-date version as part of your induction in DIS, should you come to study with us.
The Research Administrator can be contacted by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any queries relating to research studies in the Department.
Page last modified on 09 dec 14 11:01