The PhD programme is run by the Psychoanalysis Unit, currently one of the leading research centres in psychoanalysis in the world, offering a unique combination of theoretical and empirical approaches. Based in UCL's Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEHP), the Department is part of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS) within the Faculty of Brain Sciences.
Headed by Professor Peter Fonagy, the Unit offers a unique research programme carried out by academics, the large majority of whom are psychoanalytically trained members of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Established faculty members include Mary Target, Juliet Mitchell, Patrick Luyten, Katerina Fotopoulou and Linda Mayes in addition to a number of honorary faculty members. The Unit also has access to the research projects and supervisory skills of psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic child psychotherapists at the Anna Freud Centre, as well as members of the Yale Faculty who have honorary professorial contracts with the potential to take on advisory responsibilities. The Unit is also interdisciplinary with input from other faculty within UCL and has strong research collaborations with other leading research centres worldwide. The Unit has a number of important national and international affiliations, including the Anna Freud Centre, the Menninger Clinic and leading scholars at Yale and Harvard Universities.
Seminars and Workshops
Both full-time and part-time students must attain 80 credits from relevant courses to enable them to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status. Within the programme there are two Core Courses which students are expected to attend:
The Discussion Group
Core Courses are collective experiences in which active student participation is all important.
Special Research Courses of 5 or 10 seminars are also offered. These are directed by an expert in each field.
Students engaging in empirical work may take courses offered by the Division of Psychology & Language Sciences including Statistics, Qualitative Methods and Computer Programming.
In addition all students are strongly advised to attend events listed under University-Wide programme (not credit bearing).
Upgrade from MPhil to PhD
First-year students are registered as MPhil students until they have qualified for an upgrading to PhD. Both full-time and part-time students must attain 80 credits from courses to enable them to upgrade. These credit bearing courses can be selected from within those offered in the Psychoanalysis Unit or from the wider Psychology & Language Sciences Division or the Brain Sciences Faculty recognized courses.
In addition students are required to complete 20 "Robert’s Points" per year by taking skills training courses run by the UCL Graduate School
The PhD Thesis
The requirement for the award of a PhD is the submission of a thesis of no more than 100,000 words (excluding references and appendices). Normally this reports an in-depth, original programme of work which makes a significant contribution to knowledge through the exercise of critical powers, and/or through the acquisition and interpretation of fresh data. Although publication is not a necessary criterion, it is expected that this work will be of sufficiently high quality to merit publication. The key requirement is the achievement of a significant contribution to knowledge.
The research work required for the thesis is generally carried out individually, but it can be a distinct part of work within a research group. In the latter cases, the candidate is expected to indicate and demonstrate that a substantial aspect of the work has been his or her own contribution. The UCL Graduate School offers a wide range of courses relevant to a PhD (e.g. planning and writing a PhD thesis, use of library and electronic resources, bibliographic reference software, tailored language courses, research methods and statistics, computer packages).
Completing the PhD: Thesis and Viva
Students are expected to submit a written PhD thesis at the end of their degree program. For full-time students, this lasts for three years while for part-time students, five years. If extra time is needed, students are permitted to apply for an extension for Completing Research Students (CRS). The maximum extension is one year for full-time students or two years for part-time students. Only one extension will be granted.