MBPhD students undertake their projects within the School of Life and Medical Sciences and at the London Centre for Nanotechnology.
Select your supervisor
Selecting a supervisor is one of the most important things you will do in your academic career, so you need to take your time and do your homework!
In the first instance, you express an interest in a particular field. The MBPhD programme tutors will then guide you to appropriate potential supervisors or research groups.
Finding a supervisor is not hard, but many excellent supervisors will not be immediately obvious and you should carefully research each potential supervisor as well as meet with them, and most importantly with the members of their research group.
Ask around, use the links below and PubMed to draw up a short list. You can approach anyone on your short list easily; all supervisors receive many potential applications by email and so an email out of the blue is completely normal. Make sure you write a short but compelling email summarising your current position, your specific interest in a PhD. If the supervisor is interested in meeting with you then they will set up a short meeting. Don’t panic - you are not being interviewed and this is generally a friendly chat to establish interest. You should have some ideas about what you might like to do, but do not need a fully developed project.
Three golden rules
Remember three golden rules that should guide your search for a supervisor:
- Your potential research supervisor should have a track record of internationally competitive research, with high quality publications in a number appropriate for their career to date. Look at their PubMed entry and check that you can discern a clear theme to their research; check their research group website for further details of publications and citations. You want to be able to work in the research group of a world leader, or potential leader.
- Regardless of your potential supervisor’s publication track record and/or general fame in the field, you must meet them before making any decisions. The professional relationship between supervisor and supervisee will last several years, and for many people this will be the longest they have ever spent in one place. So you must meet with your potential supervisor, chat with them and get an idea about what sort of a supervisor they will be and whether you like them. Gut feelings are important here; you need to be able to get on with your supervisor, but also be inspired and guided by them.
- When you meet your potential supervisor, you must also meet existing students in the research group. If there aren’t any, this is generally a bad sign. Even research groups starting off usually have one or two members, although they may not be clinical fellows but might be basic scientists. That doesn’t matter; the purpose of meeting the research group members is to find out what the research group is like and how the group leader (your potential supervisor) treats them. It goes without saying that you need such a meeting to take place without the group leader being present, so you get an honest opinion!
For examples of the type of research projects within the School of Life and Medical Sciences which may be available, use the following institute links:
Faculty of Brain Sciences:
- The Ear Institute
- Institute of Neurology
- Institute of Ophthalmology
- Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
- Division of Psychiatry
Faculty of Life Sciences:
- Division of Biosciences
- Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
- MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology
- School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Medical Sciences:
- Cancer Institute
- Eastman Dental Institute
- Division of Infection and Immunity
- Division of Medicine
- Division of Surgical and Interventional Science
Faculty of Population Health Sciences:
- Institute of Cardiovascular Science
- Institute of Child Health
- Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care
- Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research
- Institute for Global Health
- Institute for Women's Health
- visit the Institutional Research Information System (IRIS). This is the research portal for UCL where you can learn more about researchers' activities, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks across the whole of UCL.
Each student has a Supervisory Panel consisting of one Principal and one Subsidiary Supervisors. These supervisors will be members of staff of UCL or members of staff of an institution with an approved agreement with UCL (e.g.g The Francis Crick Institute). All supervisors must be approved by their Faculty Graduate Tutor before they undertake supervision of research students
The Supervisory Panel may also include other persons, for instance members of collaborating bodies, e.g. persons with special expertise necessary for the research. The Supervisory Panel will meet as necessary and be involved at key milestones in the research degree (for example in the MPhil to PhD transfer process, and in the appointment of examiners).