Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit MPhil/PhD

Research areas:

  • Analysis of neural data
  • Neural dynamics
  • Perceptual processing of auditory and visual input
  • Population coding
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Statistical machine learning
  • Unsupervised learning

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IRIS department: Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a strong analytical background, a keen interest in neuroscience or machine learning and a relevant first degree at a munimum of upper second-class UK Bachelor's level or an overseas equivalent, for example in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology or Statistics. Students seeking to combine work in neuroscience and machine learning are particularly encouraged to apply.

English level expected: Good


Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.



A number of competitive fully-funded studentships are available each year. These cover payments of full fees, provide a generous stipend and are available to students of any nationality.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website


Most of our graduates go on to postdoctoral positions in academia, although a few students have been known to take up medicine or senior positions in industry. Recent graduates have taken up research posts at institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Princeton, Berkeley, the Peabody Institute at Harvard, Colorado, and ENS Paris and organisations including Microsoft Research and the Wellcome Trust.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • University of Cambridge, Post Doctoral Researcher, 2011
  • UCL Wellcome Trust, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2010
  • CRA International, Consultant, 2009
  • City University, Post Doctoral Research Assistant, 2009


Our students are extremely well trained - we offer a very intense, and very rigorous, programme, They therefore tend to get good jobs; over 90% of our graduate students get postdoctoral positions, and the ones that do get postdoctoral positions tend to go on to faculty positions.


There are significant networking opportunities both within and external to the Gatsby Unit. Within the Unit there are daily tea talks where members take in in turns to prepare a ten-minute talk to other members of the Unit. The unit also holds regular weekly seminars to wich eminent speakers are invited; these are open to other members of the University and there is an opportunity to meet speakers and attendees after the talk. Examples of recent speakers are Larry Abbott, Hain Sompolinsky, John Assad, Nicolas Brunel, and Zoubin Ghahramani. Students also run their own reading groups and all students have the opportunity to attend relevant conferences and other international events.

Next steps


Administrative Assistant

T: +44 (0)20 7679 1176


Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit

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"I have attended several conferences/seminars both internally and externally, which have provided excellent opportunities for meeting other researchers in my field. This has been invaluable both for discussing current research and for future opportunities/research areas."

Antonia Ford

Degree: Biological Sciences

Subject: Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Faculty: Life Sciences

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"UCL has been great for networking. At the major conferences I attend each year I meet friends and colleagues even though they might be in different sub-disciplines. I am still in regular contact with many people from UCL who are scattered throughout the world, especially in the USA."

Jaime McCutcheon

, University of Leicester, 2007

Subject: Cell and Developmental Biology, Faculty: Life Sciences