UCL Institute of Mental Health


How to apply


Applications for September 2022 are now closed and we are unable to accept late applications.

If you submitted an application, we will contact you by the end of February to let you know if you have been shortlisted for interview.

The next round of applications (for a September 2023 start date) will open in November 2022.


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 should not include the applicant’s name or any demographic information (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity).

Applications are now closed. If you have any queries in relation to your submitted application, please contact mhphd@ucl.ac.ukInterviews will be on 8th and 9th March 2022.

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. We use this information at the shortlisting stage to ensure that our application process is not systematically biased against specific groups in relation to protected characteristics. At the interview stage we consider ethnicity information only in relation to the ring-fenced place for candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds. Applications that do not include the diversity form will not be disadvantaged in any way, although it is not possible to be considered for the ring-fenced place for candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds if ethnicity information is not completed.

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 primary supervisors for this programme are those listed at: Supervisors and steering committee.

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, including (but not limited to): psychology, neuroscience, social science, education, biology, biochemistry, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computer science. We are keen to attract candidates with a background in the humanities and social sciences; and we also welcome neurodivergent applicants, and will make adjustments to the recruitment process to help overcome specific challenges. It is necessary to have an undergraduate degree (or be expecting to receive one before the start of the next academic year), 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).

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 (including allied health professionals) 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 which are designed for those intending to complete a PhD in the context of clinical training.

Several criteria will be used to assess applications (see below). Some experience of research is a requirement for the programme, either through academic training, employment or an internship. Having a Master’s degree is not an entry requirement.

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.