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Ophthalmology MPhil/PhD

The Institute of Ophthalmology is a vibrant learning environment in which to carry out postgraduate research. Postgraduate students are supervised by internationally renowned experts with access to state-of-the-art laboratories. Our close contact with clinicians in Moorfields Eye Hospital allows for rapid translation of basic research to address clinically relevant eye diseases and disorders.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)


Application dates

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

MPhil/PhD: candidates normally require a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university (or its overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject.

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: Standard

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:


The institute is committed to a multi-disciplinary research portfolio that furthers an understanding of the eye and visual system, linked with clinical investigations targeted to specific problems in the prevention and treatment of eye disease. Our research departments are grouped as follows: Ocular Biology and Therapeutics; Cell Biology; Genetics and Gene Therapy; and Visual Neuroscience.

Research areas

  • Cell science: angiogenesis; membrane trafficking; annexin biology; tight junction biology; cytoskeleton; cell signalling; leukocyte trafficking; chaperones; neurodegeneration; control of wound healing
  • Genetics and gene therapy: single gene and complex genetics of eye disease; genetic epidemiology; gene therapy for eye disease from experimental models to clinical trials
  • Multidisciplinary studies of disease: age-related macular degeneration; glaucoma; diabetes; retinitis pigmentosa; ocular scarring; neurodegeneration
  • Ocular immunology and allergy: applied ocular immunology; understanding basic mechanisms causing disease to identify novel therapeutic approaches; determining to what extent T-cells, eosinophils and mast cells damage the cornea and conjunctiva in allergic eye disease
  • Regenerative medicine: stem cell therapy for eye disease; transplantation strategies (corneal and retinal disease); optic nerve regeneration
  • Visual neuroscience: neurophysiology of central visual processing; imaging of retina and CNS; neuronal plasticity; evolutionary paradigms of vision; visual pigments.
More information can be found on the department website: Ophthalmology MPhil/PhD


Several studentships are normally available each year. These are usually advertised on our website, on jobs.ac.uk or on FindAPhD.

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


Recent graduates have taken up a number of academic posts at UK universities including UCL and Oxford. Others have pursued careers in industry or continued with clinical or other medically related careers.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Research Associate, UCL
  • Clinical Research Fellow, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pennsylvania
  • Clinical Director, VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies
  • Clinical Director, VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies


Postgraduate students are supervised by internationally renowned experts in their field with access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. In addition, our close partnership with clinicians in Moorfields Eye Hospital, who also contribute to our teaching, allows for rapid translation of basic research to address clinically relevant eye diseases and disorders.


Students are encouraged to attend diverse weekly seminars where they have the opportunity to meet with external speakers. PhD students also have the opportunity to attend overseas and national conferences where they are encouraged to present posters and network with key researchers in their field.

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 UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital are recognised globally and have an outstanding track record in basic biomedical research, much of which has been translated into important advances in novel innovative therapies.

Students will benefit from advanced facilities and high-level opthalmic practice.

The MPhil/PhD programme will provide unique opportunities to interact with leading clinicians from Moorfields Eye Hospital as well as from other prominent institutions.

Department: Institute of Ophthalmology

Student / staff numbers › 255 staff including 92 postdocs › 73 taught students › 100 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 Ophthalmology

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

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


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