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Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil/PhD

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) PhD students are based in a truly interdisciplinary institute. The ICN is situated within the School of Life and Medical Sciences with staff members belonging to different research divisions and departments. This diversity provides a unique learning and research environment which is also much valued by employers.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) £2,455 (PT)
£22,850 (FT) £11,420 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 30 June 2017
Scholarship applicants
Close: 30 November 2016

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Researchers at the ICN examine how the human brain accomplishes perception, memory, cognition, language, consciousness and action. A leading principle is the tight integration of behavioural methods with various cutting-edge approaches to record and manipulate ongoing brain activity. Our research has strong translational implications for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as the education, across the lifespan.

Research areas

  • Cognitive neurology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Cognitive neuropsychiatry
Areas of human cognition studied include:
  • Action and body
  • Applied cognitive neuroscience
  • Attentive and cognitive control
  • Awareness
  • Cognitive electrophysiology
  • Clinical neurophysiology and memory
  • Cognitive neuropsychiatry
  • Crowd cognition
  • Developmental
  • Metacognition and executive functions
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Social neuroscience
  • Space and memory
  • Speech communication
  • Visual communication
More information can be found on the department website: Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil/PhD


Funding is available from UK Research Councils, Wellcome Trust Studentships, the Brain Research Trust, ESRC studentships, teaching assistant studentships (demonstratorships), UCL graduate research scholarships.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


The vast majority of graduating PhD students have gone onto postdoctoral positions in leading universities such as UCL, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK, and UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley in the USA.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Vienna
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Oxford
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Executive Officer, UCL

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The key benefit of studying cognitive neuroscience at UCL is the outstanding research environment to which students have access. This includes the many UCL Faculty who are world experts in their respective fields; the taught courses offered by these members of staff; a large number of visiting speakers and also numerous workshops, summer schools and locally organised conferences. An additional reason to study cognitive neuroscience at UCL ICN is the high quality of fellow students that come from a range of different backgrounds. This creates a stimulating research environment.

Department: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Student / staff numbers › 64 staff including 46 postdocs › 45 taught students › 40 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Student view

"I recently returned from a three-month trip to the US, where I visited and collaborated with labs at Stanford, MIT, Berkeley and NYU. Cognitive neuroscience is an exciting and active area of research. Recently developed mathematical and computational tools allow deeper insight into cognition than has previously been possible."

Neil Ramley

Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil PhD
Student view

"The relationship between students and lecturers is strong, making it easy to ask questions during and between lectures and seminars. There is also strong encouragement to publish at UCL, which I found beneficial."

Peter Riefer

Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil PhD
Student view

"Psychology and neuroscience are relatively new fields with exciting developments happening all the time. I am inspired by translational research, and I am currently on an ESRC-funded placement at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. In this position I am contributing to research briefings for parliamentarians on new developments in science and technology and how these might bear on policy."

Leila Jameel

Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil PhD

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 June 2017
Scholarship applicants
30 November 2016

Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. The deadline to be considered for fellowship funding January for all students. Further applications can be considered after this point, but will not be eligible to be proposed for the UCL Doctoral School or ESRC studentship competitions.

You should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. Please see the research groups and email the group leader whose areas of research most closely match your own interests.

For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information


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