Institute of Education


Social Science MPhil/PhD

The MPhil/PhD at the Department of Social Science (DSS) provides a route for students to carry out their own research project within a multidisciplinary and multi-method environment. Our research students engage with the academic community within UCL and benefit from a comprehensive research training programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £6,960 (FT) £3,475 (PT)
Overseas: £16,490 (FT) £8,260 (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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

The normal minimum requirement is an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, or an equivalent professional qualification. The majority of our successful applicants also hold a Master's degree with Merit (or equivalent), and would have relevant experience.

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.

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:


The Department of Social Science is one of the largest multidisciplinary social science research and teaching centres in London. Our staff include sociologists, psychologists and economists. We have research-active staff able to supervise research in our key areas of expertise.

Research areas

Our expertise at the Department of Social Science covers the following specialising fields:

  • Children’s rights and advocacy; childhood studies; child development; children in care; maternal and child health; reproductive health; health behaviours; health promotion
  • Families; family formation; parenting; work and family life; fatherhood; motherhood; food practices
  • Gender; sexualities and intimate lives
  • Longitudinal analysis; cohort studies cross-cohort and international comparisons
  • Lifecourse transitions; intergenerational studies; demography; youth and young adulthood
  • Social inequalities; intergenerational and intragenerational social mobility 
  • Education; skills and employment; labour market behaviour
  • Migration; transnational families; sociology of religion; culture and ethnicity
  • Cultural and social psychology
  • Social theory in political sociology and social movements
  • Advanced qualitative and quantitative methods; mixed methods and visual methods 


More information can be found on the department website: Social Science MPhil/PhD

Degree structure

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 units 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 IOE Research Training Programme, each unit being worth approximately one hour of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent.  Part time students fulfil 10 units of training activity a year.  Students may take additional training courses from the Programme, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisor.

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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Doctoral Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019

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


Social Science doctoral graduates are found in a variety of occupational fields and a wide range of career paths including education, social research, media research, marketing research, human resources, government, health, policy development, charities, NGOs, youth work and managerial posts in 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 Social Science has a wide range of research seminars where students can join discussion of our ongoing projects, and the UCL Institute of Education is the base for national and international conferences. The Centre for Doctoral Education holds two annual conferences for IOE doctoral students. There are also opportunities for students to offer specialist reading groups and workshops and to act as facilitators on courses within the research training programme.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This MPhil/PhD programme sits within the IOE's ESRC-recognised Centre for Doctoral Education. Students have access to the wider UCL community as well as the consortium of schools and colleges constituting the Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) which is led by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and includes SOAS, University of London; Birkbeck, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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: Social Science

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.

Application deadlines

Applications for this programme are accepted throughout the year.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information