Home Menu
Neuroscience research aims to understand the nervous system and how changes in the nervous system due to disease or accident can be devastating and life changing. A neuroscience PhD training equips students with problem-solving and technical skills, numeracy and analytical confidence, as well as an appreciation of what makes us human.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time: 8 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT) N/A (PT)
£22,180 (FT) N/A (PT)

Application dates

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit 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.
Fees note: All fees quoted are for new students only for 2016 entry. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase by approximately 3-5%.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university in a relevant discipline 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:


We promote the very highest-quality PhD training with links across UCL providing opportunities from molecular and cellular neuroscience to systems neuroscience and behaviour. We promote interdisciplinary work and student opportunities to forge collaborations by combining techniques such as studying disease models using in vivo imaging of neural activity and neural network modelling or combining molecular biology with electrophysiological techniques.

Research areas

  • Cellular, molecular and structural neuroscience: synaptic transmission and ligand-gated ion channels; transporters; G-protein coupled receptors and signalling pathways; voltage- and calcium-gated ion channels
  • Systems and translational neuroscience: neuronal network behaviour; pain; in vivo electrophysiology; optogenetics
  • Intercellular signalling: inflammation; systems physiology.


Across the UCL Division of Biosciences there are three Wellcome Trust four-year programmes; MRC and MRC CASE, BBSRC four-year PhD, BBSRC quota and CASE three- and four-year studentships; NERC; and others.

There may also be funding opportunities through individual research grants and Charity studentships as well as through other programmes such as those offered by CoMPLEX, UCL Excellence studentships, UCL Grand Challenges and UCL IMPACT studentships.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Many graduates will take up positions in academia. Others are employed as senior scientists or medical writers, teachers or as editors with publishers.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Research Assistant, University of Bristol
  • Senior Insight Analyst, Acxiom
  • Science Liaison Executive, Havas Life Medicom
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Cambridge


Postgraduate education at UCL Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (UCL-NPP) provides an excellent scientific background accompanied by an impressive set of transferable skills, including analytical, presentation and communication skills. This, together with the outstanding reputation of UCL research in neuroscience and collaborative links with other major academic institutions and companies, provides numerous opportunities for our PhD students to find leading science roles in academia and industry. Additionally, several NPP postgraduates have transferred the excellent skills acquired at UCL-NPP to the fields of consultancy, scientific publishing and teaching.


PhD students at UCL-NPP take an active role in the department, participating in the seminar series that includes outstanding guests from the UK and abroad. PhD students are encouraged to propose speakers and host events. Additionally, UCL-NPP PhD students organise their own regular meetings and receive departmental support to invite speakers from different fields (academia, industry, consultancy companies, charities, publishers) to give them insight and advice on various career options. They also take part and give presentations at national and international meetings, which in most cases include networking events.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The success of our PhD programmes is based on the very high-calibre students we recruit and the exceptional training opportunities embedded in the truly multidisciplinary neurosciences subject area at UCL. Our research training is widely viewed as making as being an outstanding contribution to UCL's PhD opportunities.

The department has a uniquely broad portfolio of research laboratories, where students may acquire a diverse range of techniques to use in their PhD project. This breadth promotes interdisciplinary research in a manner not achievable by a PhD programme with a narrower range of research topics.

Student / staff ratios › 37 staff › 76 research students

Department: Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology

Degree reviews

Alumni review

"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."

Dr Jaime McCutcheon

Neuroscience PhD (2007)
University of Leicester
Student review

"My degree programme (Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD in Neuroscience) has been extremely valuable to me. It is small so we got to know a lot of the academic staff very well, and the opportunity to try our hands at multiple areas of neuroscience at the highest level has been incredible."

Elizabeth Engl

Neuroscience 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

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit 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.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

Life and learning

At UCL we're proud of our pioneering history, our distinguished present and our exciting future. UCL is a great place to be a student.

  • World-leading reputation
  • Extensive connections that benefit your study and career
  • The best and brightest staff and students from over 150 countries
Find out more