Division of Infection and Immunity


PhD Infection and Immunity

A PhD in Infection and Immunity offers an opportunity to work with world class scientists and to develop your skills as an independent researcher.

Image shows gloved hand holding up PCR tube containing sample

We offer a wide range of projects across the fields of infectious diseases, virology and immunology. A strength of the Division is its position at the interface between basic research and clinical medicine, fostered by UCL Partners, a consortium that links UCL with major hospital trusts in the area. Through our PhD programme we aim to:

  • Teach students how to conduct world-leading research in infection and immunity
  • Prepare them to become independent researchers
  • Foster interdisciplinary research

UCL is a world leading university and a dynamic and exciting environment for your studies. The Division offers research training of the highest standard with the aim of forming the future leaders in the field. Our Principal Investigators are internationally recognised leaders in infection and immunity, providing students with a unique opportunity for networking and furthering their careers.

Key information and entry

Full-time: 3-4 Years
Part-time: 5 Years

Optional qualifications
This degree is also available as a MPhil.

Entry requirements
Please refer to the UCL Graduate Degrees Entry requirements webpage to see if you have the necessary qualifications to apply to study for a research degree.

Students must have obtained a First Class degree or equivalent from a good Institution. Candidates with an Upper Second class (2:1) degree or equivalent can also apply but in this case the standing of the Institution awarding the degree will carry more weight, along with A-level (or equivalent) results. Please note: for research degree study in our Division it is not necessary to have completed an MSc first. Previous research experience will be taken into account.

Overseas students should visit the UCL International Students website for guidance on academic degree equivalence. Overseas students must also demonstrate English language proficiency and meet UCL's English language requirements. For further information visit the UCL Prospective Students Graduate Research Degrees website.


Our PhD programme focuses on:

  • Infection, which includes a strong virology community, both basic and translational (HIV-1, retroviruses, herpesviruses, hepatitis B and C viruses), and clinically oriented research in bacteriology (mycobacterium tuberculosis)
  • Immunology, which includes T cell development and function, aging, innate immunity, host responses to infection, and autoimmune diseases (diabetes)
  • Leukaemia and gene therapy approaches to treat cancer.
Principle research areas
  • Autoimmune diabetes
  • Cancer and leukaemia/ gene therapy
  • Computational immunology and bioinformatics
  • Herpes viruses
  • HIV and retroviruses
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • Immune regulation
  • Immunity to hepatitis
  • Immunology of ageing
  • Innate immunity
  • Primary immune deficiency
  • Tuberculosis
  • Virus evolution and drug resistance
Projects and supervisors
Seminars and events

UCL offers a large selection of seminars and events with invited speakers from top Institutions worldwide. Students are encouraged to attend seminars that are relevant to their studies and their scientific interests. The Division organises bi-weekly external seminars in the fields of infection (virology, parasitology, bacteriology) and immunology, which students are expected to attend. The Division also organises weekly internal seminars where PhD students and postdoctoral fellows present their research to colleagues and faculty members.

A PhD Colloquium is held every year in June where all our PhD students present their research. Prizes for the two best presentations are awarded. A prominent scientist is also invited to give a keynote lecture covering their scientific discoveries and career. A Postgraduate Club is organised by students with the support of the programme Committee.

Fees and funding

There are a number of PhD Funding Schemes available via UCL. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, visit the UCL Scholarships and Funding website. Overseas students (non-EEA nationals) must obtain independent funding that covers tuition fees for 3 years, subject to yearly increments, and living expenses. Funds to cover consumables for research are desirable but may not be necessary.

You must inform your prospective supervisor how you propose to fund your studies. If at this stage you have not secured funding, please indicate where you intend to seek funding from. It is essential you know exactly what costs are involved with studying a research degree.  The basic costs can be broken down into:

  • Student fees
  • Materials/ research costs
  • Living costs.

For further details regarding fees visit the UCL Graduate Research Degrees website.


We are currently unable to offer studentships. However, we welcome applications from individuals who have secured, or intend to apply for their own studentship. Alternatively, you can apply to join one of the PhD programmes below. Once you have been accepted on to these PhD programmes, you will be able to choose a research project in Infection & Immunity.

General PhD funding schemes
Schemes for clinicians

It is important to ensure that our students work in the most suitable research group and supervisor. Prospective students should look at our PhD Projects and supervisors list to decide which group topic you have the most interest and expertise in, and the investigator who subsequently you will nominate as your principal supervisor. Once you have discussed your plans with your prospective supervisor and you have both agreed that you should apply to study in their group, you will need to apply to UCL Admissions for a formal letter of offer to study. Please refer to the UCL Graduate Degrees Applying and entry webpage for further guidance and to apply online.

Students must apply via the online prospectus. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed either in person or via Skype. Alternatively you can apply directly to the aforementioned PhD Funding schemes and if offered a scholarship you will be able to register with the Division of Infection and Immunity. If you would like to discuss your options, in person, regarding PhD applications, potential projects or supervisors, please contact Satinder Ruprai (pgr-infection-immunity@ucl.ac.uk) to arrange a visit to the Division.


Recent graduates have secured postdoctoral positions in universities or research institutions in the UK, Europe, the US and Middle East. Others work in research and development for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies or in scientific journalism, patent law, health consultancy and management. Career development advice will be provided throughout the PhD by supervisors and thesis committees. Our Postgraduate Club host meetings with senior faculty members who provide advice on career progression. In addition, the Club hosts informal talks and meetings with senior individuals working in industry, biotech, scientific writing and entrepreneurs.

UCL has a dedicated Careers office that offers advice on various aspects of the career progression, including preparation for job interviews and self-promotion. For further information visit the UCL Careers website. Through its Doctoral Skills Development Programme, UCL offers a vast choice of targeted courses for skills training, including communication skills, writing grant proposals, assertiveness, ethics, etc.

In addition to the social events organised by the Division, UCL offers a wide choice of leisure and social activities, including many clubs and societies and sporting facilities. For further information visit the UCL Study Abroad Guide: Life at UCL website. The Division has been awarded a Silver Athena Swan Award and is committed to supporting diversity in science.