Degree types

UCL offers a number of programmes of study which include the opportunity to undertake substantial, in-depth research leading to one of the qualifications outlined below. Most research students begin their programme of study in September, although it is possible to enrol at any time.

Study for the MPhil and PhD, whereby students undertake a supervised research project, is offered in all UCL academic units.

PhD students at UCL are required to register initially for the MPhil qualification; the upgrade procedure from MPhil to PhD registration is an important step in your programme. The MPhil/PhD is normally designed to extend over three years full-time or five years part-time. However, certain PhD degrees are offered on a four-year full-time basis; please see departmental entries for details. It is also possible to register with the intention of graduating with the MPhil degree.

The PhD is assessed by a written thesis of no more than 100,000 words. This thesis must demonstrate the candidate’s capacity to pursue original research in their field of study and represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject, whether through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory or the revision of older views. It should show the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both the candidate’s own work and that of other scholars in the field.

The MPhil is assessed by a written thesis of no more than 60,000 words. This thesis must represent a contribution to the subject either through a record of the candidate’s original work or a critical and ordered exposition of existing knowledge.

Doctor in Engineering - EngD

The EngD has a duration of four years full-time.

It has been developed to provide business and technical expertise to complement doctoral-level research skills. About three-quarters of the programme is in the form of an industrial research project carried out within a company. The remainder of the programme involves taught courses in technical, business, managerial and personal skills.

Doctor of Medicine (Research) – MD (Res)

The MD(Res) is aimed specifically at individuals in clinical practice who wish to undertake a piece of supervised research associated with their employment.

Students must be registered for a minimum of two calendar years either full-time or part-time before submitting a thesis for examination. The thesis, of no more than 50,000 words, may deal with any branch of medicine, surgery or medical or dental science.

It must form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical thought.

Master in Philosophical Studies – MPhil Stud

This two-year research degree, offered in the Department of Philosophy, includes a significant taught component and represents the standard route for entry to a PhD in the department. It is examined by a thesis of 25,000 to 30,000 words plus 15 taught components over two years.

The MPhil Stud is the standard route for entry for a PhD in the department.

Professional doctorates provide an education at an intellectual level equivalent to that required for the PhD.

In addition to the substantial research component, examined by a thesis of 20,000 to 40,000 words depending on the qualification, the programmes also include elements of a practical, work-related and professional nature and taught components assessed by coursework.

Professional doctorates at UCL include:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic
  • Psychotherapy (DPsychotherapy)
  • Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)
  • Clinical Communication Science (Doctorate)
  • Dentistry (DDent)
  • Educational and Child Psychology (DEdPsy)
  • Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)
  • Paediatric Dentistry (DDent)
  • Trauma and Orthopaedics (Doc Orth).