MPhil/PhD in the UCL Interaction Centre

Information About | Other Programmes in the Division


Information about Research in the UCL Interaction Centre Research Department

Research at the UCL Interaction Centre focuses on the effect of interactive systems on individuals, their working contexts and their broader social context. In particular, we are doing research on immersion in games, recognition of emotional states of users, cognitive models of menu navigation and multi-tasking, how interfaces promote or ameliorate human error and the design of ubiquitous technologies for nudging behavioural change.

For more information about the Research Department, including a list of members of staff and their research interests, please see


General Information about Studying for an MPhil/PhD in our Division

We welcome enquiries and applications from well qualified students with an interest in research in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI).  If you're interested in applying to study for a PhD in UCLIC, you should check that your research interests fit with those of UCLIC and discuss possible research ideas with the most relevant member of staff in the group.

PhD students are an integral part of our research team, each pursuing their individual research project within a vibrant, research-intensive environment. We have regular research seminars and working lunches, as well as impromptu social events. Students have access to facilities including an Interaction Research Lab with tools to facilitate building proto-type technologies as well as two Usability labs with eye tracking equipment, motion capture equipment and biosensors. There is a wide range of technical assistance available when needed, as well as excellent library and computing facilities in and around UCL. But the most important element is the people.

The MPhil/PhD programme usually commences in late September/early October for full-time students. The UCL regulations require that initial registration as a research student is (with rare exceptions) for the MPhil degree. As part of the programme students may take a range of courses designed to equip them for research. In particular, they take a selection of research methods courses appropriate for different backgrounds, designed to help them develop key research skills, such as the ability to evaluate critically the literature in an area or to perform advanced statistical analyses.

The full-time PhD typically lasts for 3 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student, and if the thesis is not submitted within this time then students may register as Completing Research Students for 1 additional year. A research student works with a staff member who is their principal supervisor, responsible for directing their research training, and a second supervisor. Other staff members, as part of a research group, may be closely involved with their work and students are encouraged to discuss their research widely with anyone having relevant experience. The Division of Psychology and Language Sciences and the Computer Science Department contain expertise on a wide range of topics, so that students usually have little difficulty in finding someone who can give good advice. The Graduate School also offers a range of skills development courses for graduate students. Many full-time research students take some part in departmental teaching by giving tutorials and/or demonstrating in practical classes; payment is made for this work.

Dr Anna Cox is the Graduate Tutor for UCLIC who is in charge of academic and pastoral arrangements for MPhil/PhD students. She can provide advice, support, and if necessary action, if any problems arise with respect to research, supervision or other academic problems.


Deadlines for applications

Application forms are available from Registry. Because UCLIC is an interfaculty centre, some of our research students are registered in Computer Science and some through Psychology and Language Sciences. For applicants wishing to be considered for UCL scholarships (expected start: September 2013) the closing dates for applications are:

31st January 2013 - via Psychology and Life Sciences

1st January 2013 - via Computer Science For applicants wishing to be considered for Computer Science departmental studentships (expected start: September 2013), the closing date for applications is:

1st May 2012 (tbc)

Please note that applications will ONLY be accepted before these deadlines, unless they are for advertised funded studentships. Furthermore, applicants normally apply for such funded studentships to the department directly using a specialised form, which is accessible from the advert or on our home page. Successful candidate(s) then apply formally to UCL using the online system.

All other applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible, especially if you wish to be considered for funding.  Late applications have very little chance of getting funding from departmental or central college sources.

Overseas students must also notify us of any external funding or visa deadlines when applying so we can take these into account.

Some practicalities about applying to UCLIC

The starting point is to identify a member of academic staff whose research interests are related to yours. You can find about more about our academic staff on our ‘people pages’. You should send them an email containing:

1.  A clear statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, including when you hope to start, and how you’re hoping to fund the research.

2.  An outline of your research question, and the methods of investigation you think appropriate to carry it out.

3.  A brief CV.

4. Any questions you might have about doing a PhD in UCLIC.

Our academic staff welcome approaches like this. UCL has produced a guide to help applicants with choosing a suitable supervisor, contacting academic staff and with producing a good research proposal.  You can download it here. The potential supervisor may give you feedback to help you better frame your personal statement prior to you applying formally to UCL.

Before making an application, you should also meet the eligibility requirements as below. You should:

  • Have or expect to have a relevant first degree or Master's degree of 1st class or 2.1 standard in UK system, or equivalent for overseas degrees.
  • Have a commitment to and demonstrated ability in research. Often your previous experience and performance, such as in an undergraduate or a Master's research project, will show whether research is right for you and you are right for research.
  • Applicants with other qualifications and sufficient relevant experience and background knowledge may be considered.
  • Overseas applicants also need to satisfy the English Language requirement.

In deciding which department to apply through (you specify this in a box on the first page of the application form), you should take the following into account:

Your own academic background and research proposal might mean that you 'fit' more naturally into one department than the other.

Please note that the Personal statement/Research Proposal is an extremely important part of your application.  It should be 1-2 pages in length.  It should clearly state the research question, and its importance.  It should state the approach to be applied in the research.  Logical thinking, clear design of research studies, and relevant methodological knowledge are all key parts of a good research proposal.  Where appropriate, the research proposal should explain how initial studies will lead on to further questions and studies in a coherent progression.  The research proposal should be your own work. You should also give any details on why you think you are particularly suited for your chosen area of research. UCL has also produced a list of FAQs specifically for postgraduate applications, which you may find useful.

Please email our postgraduate administrator, Louise Gaynor, when you have submitted your application so that we are aware of your application - this must include your full name and the reference number supplied to you in the confirmation email from Admissions.

Another point to note is that we never make offers of places without receiving an official application and conducting a formal interview (which will involve the UCLIC postgraduate tutor, Dr Anna Cox, or equivalent from the relevant parent department). This holds however urgently you need a letter of support to submit with a funding application. Sorry!


What do people do with a MPhil/PhD in UCL Interaction Centre?

Our PhD graduates of UCLIC have gone on to pursue post-doctoral studies in different aspects of HCI as well as becoming lecturers in universities around the world. The interdisciplinary nature of the field has enabled others to move into different areas. Since UCLIC was founded in 2001, the following PhD students have successfully graduated:

  • Maartje Ament now studying medicine at Imperial College, London.
  • Eduardo Calvillo-Gamez returned to a lectureship at the Universidad Politécnica de San Luis Potosí.
  • Brock Craft moved to a post-doctoral position at the London Knowledge Lab.
  • Abdi Diriye moved to the HCI institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US as a post-doctoral researcher.
  • Sarah Faisal  is currently a visiting research associate.
  • Dominic Furniss had a short post-doctoral position at IFE Halden (Norway) then returned to UCLIC as a post-doctoral researcher on the CHI+MED project.
  • Stephen Hassard is currently splitting his time between his teaching duties at the University of Winnipeg and his job as the Research Co-ordinator for New Media Manitoba.
  • Chris Janssen is now working as a research intern at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, USA.
  • Charlene Jennett stayed at UCL to work with Professor Angela Sasse as a post-doctoral researcher.
  • Andrea Kleinsmith moved to a post-doctoral position at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Simon Li moved to a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Health Informatics, University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • Stephann Makri has returned to UCLIC as a post-doctoral researcher working on the Serena project.
  • Suziah Sulaiman returned to the University of Petronas, Malaysia, as a Senior Lecturer.
What current students say

I am very happy for having joined UCL to pursue my postgraduate studies. UCLIC, the research centre, is a multidisciplinary centre with formal support from Psychology and Computer Science. This mixture of departments, provides a new vision on research. It provides a knowledge-rich environment that has certainly benefited me. I have access to very different methods to approach problems, which have certainly expanded the way I understood the problem that my PhD thesis is solving


UCL Interaction Centre
Our FAQ may answer some of your questions, please click here. For any further information about a research degree in Human–Computer Interaction please contact  Louise Gaynor


Q: What are the fees for the research programmes?

Please go to this link here for more details for fees for 2012-13.

Scholarship Opportunities

The following Research Council has in the past funded research students in the UCL Interaction Centre: EPSRC. For this and other scholarship opportunities for UCL research degree programmes, please select the link below:

Demonstratorships may also be available