MPhil / PhD Gender and Sexuality Studies

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, and involves staff from the faculties of Arts and Humanities, Social and Historical Sciences, Laws, and Built Environment, together with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the Institute of Education.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£22,230 (FT)
£11,190 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Applicants need excellent qualifications in a relevant humanities or social science discipline: a first or very good upper second-class (minimum average 65%) Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. We prefer candidates to have a distinction or indication of distinction-level work (e.g. a distinction mark for the dissertation) at Master’s level or equivalent.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Research students can specialise in any aspect of gender or sexuality studies for which suitable supervision is available. Potential supervisors’ disciplinary expertise comes from anthropology, architecture, development studies, education, geography, history, history of art, law, literary and film studies, queer studies, sociology and urban studies.

Research areas

Potential supervisors have a very varied set of research interests with a focus on different parts of the world in both contemporary and historical perspective. Their interests include nationalism and sexuality; gender and urban development in the Global South; contemporary gay and queer cinema; gender and sexuality in medieval and modern European and world literary or visual culture; feminism and social movements; historical, sociological and legal perspectives on intimacy, sexuality, care and the home; sexuality, migration and health; and cultural discourses of AIDS.

More information can be found on the department website: Gender and Sexuality Studies MPhil/PhD

About this degree


Fieldwork requirements will depend on the topic of study chosen.

Additional costs

A student planning to undertake fieldwork outside the UK will have to find funding to cover the costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Applicants may be eligible for funding from the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Centre, AHRC London Arts and Humanities Partnership, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission or UCL Overseas/Graduate Research studentships. Anyone applying for funding will normally need a first class first degree from the UK together with a distinction in an already completed UK Master's degree, or equivalent qualifications from elsewhere. We expect similar levels of academic performance from all applicants, together with excellent written English (IELTS 'Advanced' level).

For information about available scholarships please visit the SELCS/CMII Funding and Scholarships website. For information about ESRC or AHRC funding, please visit the UBEL or LAHP websites, respectively. Anyone seeking funding must submit their UCL application by December (earlier than for other SELCS/CMII programmes), after first discussing their plans with the programme director.

Please note that no references can be provided for candidates for Commonwealth Scholarship Commission funding unless they have already applied and been accepted for this programme.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship

UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


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 public and private sectors for highly qualified graduates with a broad theoretical background in gender and/or sexuality studies, a familiarity with equality issues from an intersectional perspective 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. Links with the Gender, Society and Representation MA offer 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 be possible.


An 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, 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 can participate in UCL's Gender and Feminism 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 and sexuality studies. Research students normally 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. Other former students were celebrated by UCL's Queer Tapestry exhibition; they include Jeffrey Weeks, one of the first UK academics and activists writing about sexuality from a sociological perspective.

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 participate in CMII research student seminars.

Department: Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

All prospective applicants must send the programme director an initial research proposal and curriculum vitae so that she 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 indication of the methodology to be employed. They should be sent to Professor Ann Varley, a.varley@ucl.ac.uk.

Those wishing to apply for funding should contact the programme director in October and submit the formal UCL application by 1 December. 

We recommend that you apply in the autumn to start the programme the following September.

For more information see our 'Need to Know' page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021