This MSc gives students a grounding in the nature, history, content and context of psychoanalytic theory, as used by practising psychoanalysts. It provides a comprehensive introduction to current psychoanalytic thinking, rooted in the history and development of ideas and with attention to the application of psychoanalytic ideas to other fields.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,140 (FT) £5,060 (PT)
- £24,860 (FT) £12,380 (PT)
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. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
Normally a minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in any 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.
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:
About this degree
Students learn about the medical and cultural context in which psychoanalysis began, through to contemporary clinical and theoretical perspectives. The teaching programme has a firm basis in the works of Sigmund Freud, but represents the breadth of the British psychoanalytic traditions, as well as major international contributions, the interface with the arts, and how psychoanalysis fits in with modern science.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core taught modules (120 credits) and a conceptual research dissertation (60 credits).
- Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Theory
- Major Schools of Psychoanalysis
- Core Psychoanalytic Theory
- Applications of Psychoanalysis
Students accepted on to the Foundation Course at the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London can request to be assessed on the Foundation Course by UCL as part of the Foundation Course Optional Pathway. This assessment will count as one module of the MSc Theoretical Psychoanalytical Studies programme.
Those given approval can choose to register for the 99PSGFC1 Foundation Course MSc module in place of the Applications of Psychoanalysis module.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. The various seminar series are organised by experienced psychoanalysts or academics who are experts in the field concerned. Student performance is assessed through unseen written examination, coursework in the form of essays, and the dissertation.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
This MSc provides a very good background to formal clinical training in psychoanalysis, adult or child psychotherapy or counselling and nearly half of our graduates pursue these options. A similar number continue with their academic studies either at UCL or elsewhere, often registering for a PhD in either psychoanalytic theory or empirical research. Some graduates progress to the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, often at UCL which has the largest programme in the UK.
Top career destinations for this degree
- PhD in Psychoanalytic Studies, UCL
- Systems Psychologist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
- Support Worker, Turning Point
- Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology
- Lecturer, Kingston University and studying PhD in Philosophy, Kingston University
This programme acts as a springboard especially for further clinical or theoretical training in the field (although it is not itself a clinical qualification). The teaching is organised and provided by eminent academics and psychoanalysts with international reputations. The option to take the Institute of Psychoanalysis Foundation Course, part of which counts towards the degree, helps with that career path. Many other able students go on to research posts in the unit or with our large network of clinical research collaborators in London and around the world.
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 Psychoanalysis Unit is a thriving academic centre for psychoanalytic research, with its own MPhil/PhD programme alongside the MSc. It has affiliations with the International Psychoanalytic Association, the Institute of Psychoanalysis, the Anna Freud Centre, the Menninger Clinic, and leading scholars at Yale and Harvard Universities. The unit is based within UCL's Division of Psychology & Language Sciences which undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour and language.
Our work attracts staff and students from around the world, creating an outstanding and vibrant environment. Opportunities for graduate students to work with world-renowned researchers can exist in all areas of investigation, from basic processes to applied research. The division offers a supportive environment including numerous specialist seminars, workshops, and guest lectures.
Department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
Student / staff numbers
› 181 staff
including 173 postdocs
› 780 taught students
› 440 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
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: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
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.
Who can apply?
This MSc welcomes students from very diverse backgrounds. We accept good degrees in any subject, and many students come from overseas. Some come after psychotherapy clinical training to deepen their psychoanalytic knowledge. Many have little background in psychoanalysis, but are perhaps considering clinical training in the future, or a related PhD.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies at graduate level
- why you want to study Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies at UCL
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.