Gender and Sexuality Studies MPhil/PhD

Gender and Sexuality Studies is an inter-faculty programme drawing on the unique breadth of disciplines for which UCL is renowned.

The degree is offered by the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII), and involves staff from the faculties of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences, Laws, Built Environment, and the Institute of Education.

Key Information

Modes and duration
  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: 5 years

Research students can specialise in any aspect of gender or sexuality studies for which suitable supervision is available. Potential supervisors’ disciplinary perspectives are drawn from anthropology, development studies, education, geography, law, literary studies, queer studies, sociology and urban studies.

Research areas

Potential supervisors have a very varied set of research interests with a focus on many different parts of the world. Their interests include nationalism and sexuality; gender and urban development in the Global South; contemporary gay/queer cinema; feminist perspectives on family law and the home; gender and sexuality in medieval and modern European literature and in Israeli literature: children in Chinese literature; sexuality, migration and health; gender in Chinese medicine; and cultural discourses of AIDS.


PhD students may go on to academic careers or careers in research. Gender is now an integral aspect of research and planning in a wide range of areas. The need to address different forms of discrimination has created a demand in both the public and the private sectors for highly qualified graduates with a broad theoretical background in gender studies, a familiarity with the issues facing women from different backgrounds, and a commitment to social change.


The PhD demonstrates the ability to produce original knowledge and ideas, to work independently and creatively on a substantial research project, and to construct convincing and well-founded arguments. The link between the PhD programme and the Gender, Society and Representation MA also offers research students teaching assistant opportunities that provide valuable academic experience in skills development, planning and organising learning and teaching, facilitating group-based learning and evaluating student work. PhD candidates can choose Gender Studies or Sexuality Studies as the field of study on statements confirming the degree award; other options may also be possible.


A vital additional benefit of studying at UCL is the opportunity to meet students from a wide range of national and disciplinary backgrounds. These links create valuable networking opportunities during and after the time spent at UCL, both in the UK and overseas. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme means that networking opportunities extend to the different contributing departments in which supervisors are based. Those working on gender-related themes are invited to participate in UCL's Gender and Feminist Research Network; those working on sexualities, the UCL LGBTQ research network.

Why study this degree at UCL?

As a multi-faculty institution in the heart of cosmopolitan London, covering an exceptionally wide range of disciplines, UCL offers an ideal environment for gender studies. Research students have a primary and secondary supervisor from different disciplines, so studying at UCL provides an opportunity to take full advantage of these interdisciplinary strengths.

UCL was the first British university to admit women on equal terms with men. Women associated with UCL have included family planning pioneer, Marie Stopes, novelists Stella Gibbons and A.S. Byatt, anthropologist Mary Douglas, architect Eileen Gray, crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale and artists Rachel Whiteread and Paula Rego.

Training programmes are designed on an individual basis by the student's supervisor, and generally involve participation in activities offered by the department of the primary supervisor. Students also take advantage of training provided by the UCL Doctoral School and CMII research student seminars.

How to Apply

All applicants must send the convenor an initial research proposal and a CV; the convenor can advise on who might supervise. Proposals should be 1,000-1,500 words long, with a title, an overview of existing scholarship related to the research aims and objectives, specific research questions and a description of the methodology to be employed. 

Candidates wishing to apply for funding should contact the programme convenor in October and submit the UCL application by 1 December. We recommend that you apply in the autumn to start the programme the following September.

Applicants may be eligible for the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Centre studentships, the AHRC London Arts and Humanities Partnership studentships, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission scholarships or UCL Graduate Research Studentships / Overseas Research Studentships. Anyone applying for funding is likely to need a first class first degree from the UK together with a distinction in a UK Masters degree, or equivalent qualifications. We look for similar levels of academic ability in all applicants, together with excellent written English (IELTS 'Advanced' level). For information about some available scholarships please visit the SELCS/CMII Funding and Scholarships website. For information about ESRC funding, please visit the UBEL website. Please note that no references will be provided for candidates for Commonwealth Scholarship Commission funding unless they have already applied and been accepted for this programme.