The Bartlett Development Planning Unit



All higher research degree candidates in University College London enrol for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree that, subject to satisfactory progress, is upgraded to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

The programme starts in September of each year with a six-month period of intensive structured study. MPhil/PhD students should complete their research, submit their thesis and take the final examination within a period of 36 to 48 months of starting the programme.

The minimum period of full-time registration for both degrees is two years, though few candidates complete their study for a PhD in less than three.

One-to-one support

The DPU programme, like all doctoral programmes in Britain, places great emphasis on a close one-to-one working relationship between the candidate and their supervisor.

This is supported, in the first year, by an introductory two-term taught programme which is compulsory for all first-year students comprising a Doctoral Seminar series and a Research Methodology Seminar series.

In addition, new participants must attend a two-term Specialisation Module selected from the broad range of MSc modules taught in the Unit. In some cases, supervisors may suggest that a candidate also enrols in, or audits, an additional taught module.


All students are initially registered for the degree of MPhil. Those wishing to pursue a PhD degree are expected to upgrade to PhD no later than 12 months after commencing their studies.

Following the upgrade, candidates maintain close contact with their primary supervisor and are expected to share the results of their work with other researchers, both within the DPU and elsewhere, particularly through academic conferences, as well as through articles for publication in refereed academic journals.