MPhil/PhD in Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences

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Information about Research in the Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences Research Department

We are internationally recognised for the excellence of our research into the perception and production of speech. We combine basic research into the normal mechanisms of speech and hearing with applied research into problems caused by hearing impairment and by atypical perceptual and cognitive development. Our methodologies include behavioural experimentation, computational modelling, acoustic analysis and neuro-imaging. We provide scientific and technical expertise to a number of collaborative research projects at UCL and beyond. Within UCL we have particularly close links to the speech group of the ICN and to the Ear Institute as well as to the other research departments including Linguistics, Developmental Science, and Language and Communication.

Some major themes of current research include phonetic representations of speech and their development in both first and second languages; prosody in speech perception and production; auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and the role it may have in speech/language development and communication ability; translational research into auditory prostheses for speech communication involving study of the receptive capacity of the impaired auditory system for acoustic and electrical stimulation; speaker individuality and variability, as expressed in perceptual skills, production or accent.

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


General Information

Please select the links below for further information


List of staff here...


Applying for the MPhil/PhD in Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences

Before applying, 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.
  • Overseas applicants also need to satisfy the English Language requirement

If you meet the above criteria, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take MPhil/PhD students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff. You can find details of the areas of research activity and research interests of staff via the links at

Select one or at most two potential supervisors whose research interests are related to yours, and send them an email containing:

  •  a brief CV
  • a clear statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
  • a brief statement of your research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated.

Our academic staff are quite happy to receive approaches like this, in order that they can liaise with you to identify a potential research focus of mutual interest.

The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to apply formally. If they do not, there can be several reasons such as a full quota of research students, planned sabbatical leave and so on.

If you have difficulty identifying an appropriate supervisor, you can contact the relevant Graduate Tutor or Graduate Secretary in the Department to which you are applying. If you are invited by the potential supervisor to apply, you need to submit a formal application.

Formal Application

You need to complete:

  • The standard UCL graduate application form at: (Please note that we prefer online applications.)
  • a Research Proposal of 1000-1500 words in length, to be submitted with the UCL graduate application form. This is an extremely important part of your formal application. It should clearly state the research question, and its importance. It should provide the specific details of experimental or other kinds of studies and data that will be used to address the research question. 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 experiments or studies will lead onto further questions and studies in a coherent progression. The research proposal should be your own work, though the supervisor may give some advice. The word limit (minimum 1000 words, maximum 1500 words) includes all sections and appendices. Only key references rather than a lengthy reference list should be included.

In addition to the Research Proposal, we suggest that you use the 'Personal statement' section of the UCL graduate student application form to give any details on why you think you are particularly suited for your chosen area of research.

You will also need to submit a transcript for previous qualifications, references and, where applicable, an English Language test certificate.

Application Deadlines

Applications to the Division for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by  31 January in the year you wish to start. Applications must be complete with references, so please allow time for references to be completed and submitted. At that point you need to have identified a member of staff who has agreed to supervise you, should you be accepted. All applications are rated by 2 academic staff members. Suitable candidates are offered an interview, where they briefly present their research proposal and are questioned by academic staff. Offers of places are generally made within a month of interview. The MPhil/PhD programme starts at the beginning of the UCL autumn term.

If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by 31 January deadline, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, and not later than the last day of June for entry in September/October. Interviews for places not funded by UCL may take place at any time until late summer.


Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
Our FAQ may answer some of your questions, please click here. For any further information about a research degree in Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, please contact Natalie Wilkins.


Q: What are the fees for the research programmes?

Please go to this link here for more details for fees for 2011-2012/

Scholarship Opportunities

The following Research Council has in the past funded research students in Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences: ESRC. For this and other scholarship opportunities for UCL research degree programmes, please select the link below:

Other possible funders include: RNID, Wellcome Trust.