Our MPhil/PhD programme provides a route for students to carry out their own research project: an investigation that will contribute to the field of knowledge within the field of education and beyond. Research students engage with the academic community both within our department and the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and benefit from participation in the comprehensive IOE Research Training Programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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.
The normal minimum requirement is a Master’s degree from a UK university in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed, or a qualification of equivalent standard appropriate to the programme to be followed awarded by a university (or educational institution of university rank) outside the UK. The majority of our successful applicants hold a Merit at Master’s level, and may have additional relevant experience. Students without a Master’s degree who have completed the UCL PGDip in Social Science Research Methods, obtaining a grade B or above in any two or more modules, may also be considered for admission to this programme.
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
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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:
The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) is a large specialist research and teaching department focused on:
- how children learn through the processes of teaching
- the role of leadership
The department has an international reputation for its research concerning learning, teaching and leadership, including:
- Curriculum leadership and innovation
- Diversity, children’s rights
- Early literacy, numeracy and science
- Early years and primary / elementary education
- Education policy and system reform
- Inspection and accountability
- Urban education
- Play, creativity and the arts
- Professional learning and research informed practice
- School improvement
- School and educational leadership
- Special educational needs and inclusive education
- Teacher development and wellbeing
About this degree
In addition to UCL's Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE's Centre for Doctoral Education provides a comprehensive Research Training Programme.
Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.
The Core Course aims to meets the needs of early stage doctoral students.
There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic academic skills courses, as well as student-led workshops and reading groups.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
IOE doctoral graduates are found in a wide range of occupational fields. Career paths include education professionals in a wide range of settings, university research and lecturing, policy development and senior officer roles in government and NGOs, policy and professional roles in both the wider public sector (including health, youth work, international development) as well as in the private sector (including business and retail).
Students develop general and specialist skills in research methodology, academic writing and presentation, as well as experience of engaging with a wide range of practitioners across different sectors of education.
The Department of Learning and Leadership has a wide range of research seminars, where students can join discussion of our ongoing projects, as well as being the base for national and international conferences. Staff members are also significant figures in international conferences such as BERA and ECER. There are also opportunities to work with education practitioners and organisations beyond the IOE.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2020), the institute was ranked first for education for the seventh year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), we were number one for education research strength, with more world-leading researchers in education than any other UK University. A quarter of UK education research is carried out at the IOE and we are home to many prestigious research centres and projects.
Doctoral students at the IOE have access to the wider UCL community as well as the education cluster constituting the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership. The Institute’s programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.
Students work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research; supervisors also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support progress towards completion of the final thesis.
Department: Learning & Leadership
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.