Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences MPhil/PhD

SHaPS is an international leader in the study of the perception and production of speech. Our graduates work in academia, industry, and the health and public sectors. We enjoy links to researchers around the world, as well as cooperation with major cochlear implant manufacturers and speech technology companies.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
£17,190 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 30 June 2015
Scholarship applicants
Close: 31 January 2016

Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or a taught Master’s degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a subject relevant to human-computer interaction. Such subjects include Psychology, Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering Design, or other cognitive or applied sciences. Applicants with other qualifications and sufficient relevant experience and background knowledge may be considered.

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:


Students carry out basic research within varied perspectives (phonetics, hearing, perception, neuroimaging, development, experimental psychology, speech technology and speech production), as well as translational research addressing hearing impairment, atypical perceptual and cognitive development, and language training technologies. The department use both behavioural and neuroimaging approaches for speech perception and hearing research and 'acoustic analysis' as an approach for speech production research.

Research areas

  • Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and its role in speech/language development and communication ability
  • Auditory prostheses for speech communication and the receptive capacity of the impaired auditory system for acoustic and electrical stimulation
  • Computational methods for improving the intelligibility of speech recordings
  • EEG, TMS and fMRI investigations of speech perception, production and hearing
  • Phonetic variability in connected discourse and its impact on perception
  • Plasticity in speech perception during first and second language learning
  • Quantitative modelling of tone, intonation, and rhythm
  • Sociophonetic analyses of accent change and development
  • Development of speech perception in infancy and childhood


ESRC funding is available for three-year MPhil/PhD scholarships and for 3+1 scholarships that include a year of Master's study.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed 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.


Recent graduates have secured academic teaching and research positions in speech, hearing science, and phonetics at UK and international universities, and at leading companies in the speech technology industry.


Our programme is distinctive in terms of the depth and variety of approaches to speech research, which gives our graduates varied employment opportunities in teaching, research, health, and industry.


We have strong collaborative links with external research groups, clinicians, and industry, including participation in a Marie Curie training network of European speech researchers. Students are encouraged to attend and present at departmental seminars, as well as participate in international conferences and workshops.

Why study this degree at UCL?

SHaPS focuses on speech research within an interdisciplinary context, with strong links to UCL Linguistics, Language and Communication, Developmental Science, Experimental Psychology, the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and the UCL Ear Institute, as well as international and industrial collaborations. The department shares a newly refurbished building and state-of-the-art laboratories, including facilities for adult and infant EEG, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and eye tracking.

Student / staff ratios › 18 staff including 8 postdocs › 16 research students

Department: Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences

Degree reviews

Staff review

"The environment at UCL for research in my field (neuroscience) is unparalleled. Across UCL, there is not only tremendous breadth in neuroscience (molecular, cellular, systems, cognitive, computational), but also amazing depth. UCL's neuroscience community is so large and so diverse that even after 10 years at UCL I am still discovering colleagues here whose work is somehow directly relevant to my own."

Dr Jennifer Linden

I supervise PhD and MSc students from the Ear Institute and also from the departments of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology; Cell and Developmental Biology; Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences; and the Institute of Ophthalmology. I also teach topics related to hearing on MSc and BSc modules in many of these departments.
Reader in Neuroscience
Student review

"UCL is a multicultural world-class research powerhouse, located in one of the most thrilling cities in the world. Choosing UCL for graduate study was the natural path for me, both for the academic environment my research department provides and the experience of living in London. The laboratories that students have access to are just outstanding."

Mauricio Figueroa Candia

Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
Student review

"I am doing research in phonetics in order to understand speech and sound deficits. Visits to clinical settings provided by UCL have provided the inspiration for me to develop specific treatment according to patient symptoms."

Christiane Hsu

Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences

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 2015
Scholarship applicants
31 January 2016
Applications for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by January in the year you wish to start. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by January, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, and not later than 30 June for entry in September/October.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now


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