UCL Medical School


Research Degree in Medical Education

The PhD involves a singular piece of research driven by your own academic interests.  If done full-time this takes three years and part-time takes five years and involves a 100,000 word thesis.

We recommend that you read the following article about embarking on a postgraduate research degree and considering the choice of degree that is right for you:

Gill, D. Griffin, A. Woolf, K. Cave, J. (2009) 12 Tips for Studying Medical Education at Doctoral Level, Medical Teacher vol.31,no.7, 601-604.

Another option for postgraduate research leading to a Doctorate in Education is the EdD. This is a professional doctorate, therefore you will investigate your own working practices; it typically has a taught element and has assessments along the way.  Like the PhD it takes five years part time and the final thesis of 100,000 words is made up of a portfolio of research.  We do not offer the EdD at UCL Medical School: this is offered by IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

UCL Medical School offers PhD supervision which covers a wide range of education interests. Research themes are:

  • Assessment in medical education
  • Clinical communication
  • E-learning in medical education
  • Equality and diversity in medical education
  • Fitness to practise of doctors
  • Interprofessional education
  • Peer-assisted learning
  • Professional identity
  • Selection in medicine
  • Medical revalidation
  • Transitions in medical careers
  • Work-based learning

Guidance on the application process

You should provide a short written proposal of about 2,000 words that addresses all of the following aspects:

  • The research problem and your research questions
  • Background including a brief literature review
  • Theoretical and methodological perspectives relevant to the project
  • Methods, to include: sample, recruitment, data gathering, data analysis
  • The contribution this study will make to new knowledge
  • Timetable and bibliography

The aim of this proposal is to demonstrate your research interests and proposed topic of study.  It is taken into account when considering your suitability for undertaking postgraduate research at UCL Medical School.  If you are successful in your application, you can expect to have further discussions with your supervisors to support you in generating a final research protocol for the duration of your research degree.  

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the research interests of staff at UCL Medical School in order to consider who might provide supervision for your project.  For a PhD, you require a Principal and Subsidiary supervisor.  It should be noted that we have limited supervision capacity.  Research staff can be found:

To apply to UCL Medical School, you should send your proposal and CV to: medsch.researchdegrees@ucl.ac.uk

On receipt of your proposal we will consider whether it is possible to match you with appropriate supervisors, depending on their availability.  If we consider that your proposal has potential we will arrange an interview.  For applicants who are currently overseas we will make arrangements for an online interview.

If you are successful at this stage you will be asked to formally apply via the UCL Admissions process and provide two references.  Prospective students should not apply via the UCL application portal until the application has been approved.