The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


MPhil/PhD Development Planning

The MPhil and PhD research programmes involve self-selected academic study in development, focusing on its political, economic, social and institutional dimensions.


They embrace the DPU’s central research interests:

  • an interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach to urban planning, urban design, economic development, social development, housing, disasters, transport and urban agriculture
  • cross-cutting issues such as gender, culture, environment and poverty
  • trends such as globalisation, privatisation, climate change and increased socioeconomic inequalities

Why choose The Bartlett?

We offer:

  • access to a large range of world-class libraries, including those in UCL and other universities, and the British Library
  • easy access to a vast array of specialised lectures, conferences and other events relevant to DPU's research students around central London
  • the chance to gain a thorough knowledge of a particular subject area and an in-depth exploration of an empirical reality
  • equal emphasis on both the process and content of research, within the very highest standards of scholarship and academic rigour

About the course

The MPhil and PhD research programmes are self-selected academic study in international, national, regional and urban development. Successful PhD research in UCL should make a distinct contribution to knowledge.

Most doctoral research includes a period of fieldwork in a country relevant to the research, during which the PhD candidate acquires a thorough knowledge of the context and collects primary data.


DPU is committed to offering the highest quality education at the MPhil and PhD levels. Our programmes are highly competitive, with successful applicants coming from a wide range of backgrounds. The DPU’s staff and student body hail from every corner of the globe, bringing together a diversity of interests, experiences, and knowledge. 

For profiles of our current PhD and MPhil students, please visit our People pages. Within these pages you can also view the latest achievements of our current and recent PhD students.

More information

How to apply

The application for the DPU PHD Programme is a two-part process.
Step 1
We ask that you send to us a copy of your CV and a brief (2 – 3 pages) research proposal, outlining the work that you would like to accomplish with the DPU. You may also like to take a look at the profiles of our academics, to familiarise yourself with their work and research - http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/people/academics
If any members of academic staff stand out to you as someone with whom you may want to work, please mention this in your email to us. We will then send your CV and proposal to potential supervisors within the department. 
Please send your CV and proposal to Dr Colin Marx (c.marx@ucl.ac.uk) for initial evaluation, and we will be in touch shortly thereafter.
Step 2
If we are able to adequately supervise your research, we will then invite you apply formally to UCL – step 2 in the process.