UCL Institute of Mental Health


How to apply

Applications may only be made through the process described below. Any applications not made through this process will be returned to candidates and will not be considered.

Applications to the programme should be made using the online application form, which includes questions relating to training and experience, a statement of motivation for applying to the programme, personal information and questions to support diversity monitoring. The main application form must not include the applicant’s name or any demographic information (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity).

Please apply to the programme for September 2021 here. Applications will close on 10th January 2021. If you have any queries about the application form please email mhphd@ucl.ac.uk. Please note that this is the only process through which applications can be accepted, and no additional documents (e.g. CV, personal statement, transcript, reference) should be sent.

Completing the diversity monitoring form is not mandatory – this information is requested from applicants to help us evaluate our efforts at improving diversity within the programme. Applications that do not include the diversity form will not be disadvantaged in any way.

The statement of motivation is a particularly important component of the application. It allows the committee to assess why the applicant is interested in the programme, how they see the training contributing to their intended career, and in which areas they would be most interested in conducting research. Students might also use this statement to discuss training courses they would be interested in completing and potential supervisors for the rotation projects during Year 1. Applicants should feel free to contact potential supervisors to discuss possible rotation projects prior to submitting their application. Please note that eligible supervisors for this programme are those listed at: Supervisors and steering committee 

The application deadline is 23:59 (GMT) on 10th January 2021 and the interviews will be on 9th and 10th March 2021.

What the committee are looking for: There is no “ideal candidate” for this programme, and the committee will consider applicants from a broad range of academic backgrounds. It is necessary to have an undergraduate degree (or be expecting to receive one), and normally this (or a postgraduate degree) should be in a discipline relevant to mental health research - this could include a wide variety of different subjects (see description of the themes of the programme).

The committee would normally expect applicants to have at least a 2:1 degree at undergraduate level, or the equivalent of a Merit (60%) at Master’s level, but several criteria will be used to assess applications (see below). Experience of research is a requirement for the programme, either through academic training, employment or an internship.

If you did not conduct your degree within the UK you should explain on the application form how your grade corresponds to the UK system. Applicants who do not have a degree from an institution in a majority English speaking country will need to provide recent evidence of their English language proficiency. Candidates who rely on an English language qualification result for evidence (e.g. IELTS) must have achieved a Good level.

At the application stage we do not require proof of qualifications or references, and these should not be submitted with applications.

The criteria used by the committee to evaluate applications are:

  • Enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research training in mental health
  • Research ability and potential
  • Integrity and responsibility
  • Curiosity and open-mindedness
  • Academic track record
  • Personal and intellectual independence
  • Initiative and motivation
  • Resilience in the face of difficulty

Applicants will be assessed relative to these criteria based on the entire application.

This programme is part of Wellcome’s non-clinical four-year PhD studentships in science. We will not normally consider applications from people with clinical qualifications, and will only do so if they can demonstrate that they are committed to a career outside clinical practice. Wellcome funds several PhD programme specifically for clinicians (including one at UCL), which are designed for those intending to complete a PhD in the context of clinical training.