UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.

Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.

Staff books include:

Balmer - Britain and Biological Warfare spacerAthena Swan Bronze Award

PhD programmes

The next round of admissions will be in January 2017 for 2017/18 applicants (deadline to be confirmed).

Final round of admissions will be in May 2017 for the 2017/18 applicants (deadline date TBC)

This page provides information about PhD programmes and admissions:

  • PhD in History and Philosophy of Science
  • PhD in Science and Technology Studies

For PhD enquiries, contact us directly: sts@ucl.ac.uk

Students are registered as MPhil/PhD at the start of the programme.

If you are interested in our taught Masters (MSc) programmes, look here.

Basic information

The department offers both taught and research degrees at the graduate level. The MSc is a taught programme, open to students without a previous background in the field. The MPhil/PhD is a research degree, suitable for those with sufficient academic background and research interests compatible with those of the staff.

The department offers research degrees under two subject headings: History and Philosophy of Science, and Science and Technology Studies. Students may specialise in the history of science, the philosophy of science, the public understanding of science, the sociology of science and technology, science and technology policy research, or a suitable combination of those fields.

All graduate degrees can be undertaken on a part-time (50%) basis. Tuition fees for part-time students are pro-rata of the full-time fees. Details of attendance and supervision should be discussed with the Departmental Graduate Tutor at the time of application.

For MPhil/PhD, previous preparation at the level of a taught Master’s degree is expected. Non-native speakers of English will be required to present formal evidence of English language proficiency; further information can be found here.

PhD Programme

All research students are initially registered for the MPhil degree. Please note that the MPhil is not a taught degree and is normally only intended in our department as a temporary category of registration for PhD students in their early stages of work. On satisfying the department of sufficient progress, students can be transferred to the PhD programme at a suitable time after 12 months of full-time study (or equivalent). PhD students are expected to engage in high-quality original research, resulting in a dissertation of up to 100,000 words. The minimum period of full-time registration is three calendar years. Research students may apply to commence their study at the start of any term during the year (September, January or April); however, the usual time to start is at the beginning of the academic year in September.

Research students are required to participate in the department's Methodology and Academic Development programme, which includes masterclass seminars on "Key Concepts in STS", departmental research seminars offered by external speakers, and a variety of skills and methodology training sessions. Students are also strongly encouraged to take part in other research activities both within and outside the department, including reading groups and research seminars.

Applications and Further Information

Enquiries about the MPhil/PhD programme should be directed to Dr Chiara Ambrosio, Graduate Tutor, Department of Science and Technology Studies. Applications are submitted via UCL's online applications portal which can be found here.

All MPhil/PhD admissions decisions are made by the Departmental Graduate Committee, chaired by the departmental Graduate Tutor (Dr Chiara Ambrosio). Please note that a key component in the admission decision is the research proposal submitted with the application form. Since the MPhil/PhD is a research-only degree, we expect candidates to have a fairly well defined research proposal at the time of the application, and we strongly encourage candidates to contact potential supervisors in advance of submission to discuss their proposal. Candidates are also welcome to submit samples of their written work in conjunction with their research proposal.

From 2014 applications STS will be operating a simplified system for admissions with two deadlines. Applicants wishing to apply for either UCL's ORS and GRS funding, or for Research Council funding, should apply by January 2017 (tbc). All applications received by this date will be considered and a decision made within 2 weeks. Note that applications received prior to this date will not have a decision made until this time.
Final deadline for 2017/18 applications is May 2017 (tbc)

PhD students interested in visiting UCL

STS welcomes PhD students from other universities for a period of study under the supervision of a member of staff whose research interests overlap with the student's research project. Enrol as a 'Graduate Affiliate Student - Independent'. The application form is the same as for PhD applicants; fees are charged pro rata. All relevant information can be found here (link).

Financial Matters

Information on tuition fees can be found here.

Part-time fees are pro-rata of full-time fees.

A list of standard scholarships available to students applying to UCL is available here.

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

UK students with excellent academic records in history of science or philosophy of science are encouraged to apply for a studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Other EU nationals may apply for fees-only awards. Applicants applying for MPhil/PhD programmes in STS and wishing to be considered for the AHRC doctoral awards in the areas of either History of Science or Philosophy of Science should consult with the Graduate Tutor at the time of the MPhil/PhD application. AHRC grants are administered through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership of which UCL is a part . More information can be found on their website here.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The department has ‘+3’ and '1+3' recognition from the ESRC in the category of Science and Technology Studies. Studentships are available to UK and EU applicants intending to pursue a PhD and who have already received a foundation in research training (+3), or who wish to pursue a PhD after completing an ESRC-recognised MSc (including those within the department) (1+3). Applicants with such qualifications who are interested in the areas of public understanding of science, science policy research, social history of science, or the sociology of science and technology are encouraged to discuss the possibility of applying for an ESRC grant with the departmental graduate tutor at the time of their application. See the ESRC website for further details.

The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust promotes research in the history of medicine, and provides studentships at both the MSc and PhD levels. Overseas as well as UK students are eligible. Further details are available from the Wellcome Trust website.

UCL Graduate Research Scholarships

The UCL Graduate School offers some scholarships each year. All applicants for research degrees (MPhil/PhD), including overseas students, are eligible for these awards. Further details are available here. Please note that in order to apply for UCL Graduate Research Scholarships, candidates must have already been accepted for MPhil/PhD.

For overseas students only

In addition to the Graduate Research Scholarships, overseas students are encouraged to apply for Commonwealth and British Council Scholarships in those countries where they are administered.

Further information 

Graduate Tutor: Dr Chiara Ambrosio
Department of Science & Technology Studies 
University College London 
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT 
Tel: +44 20 7679 3521  
Fax: +44 20 7679 2328
Email: sts@ucl.ac.uk

Page last modified on 18 may 16 16:00 by Susan E Walsh

UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
0207 679 1328 office | +44 207 679 1328 international
sts@ucl.ac.uk | www.ucl.ac.uk/sts | @stsucl
postal address:  Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom
street address: 22 Gordon Square, London, WC1E 6BT | maps