UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Postgraduate Research at DCAL

Applications are invited for students wishing to study for an MPhil/PhD degree at DCAL

Potential MPhil/PhD students wishing to study at DCAL can apply through the research department where their primary supervisor is based. DCAL academic staff are based at the UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Linguistics, UCL Experimental Psychology and UCL Language and Cognition. For information about postgraduate study in these departments, see below.

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Frequently asked questions about postgraduate study at DCAL

1. How do I know if DCAL is the right place for me?

In order to do a PhD at DCAL, your topic must be one that fits in with the expertise of a DCAL staff member who is available to act as your supervisor. See research interests of DCAL core team members. Note that DCAL's expertise covers psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and child development.

2. How does supervision work?

You will be required to have 2 supervisors, one primary and one secondary. At least one must have interests in the topic you want to research. Both supervisors must have a doctoral degree. You should seek a potential primary DCAL supervisor first before a secondary supervisor, who would not necessarily need to be based at DCAL.

3. What is an MPhil/PhD degree?

MPhil and PhD degrees in the UK are research programmes, not taught courses.

In contrast, on taught courses in the UK - e.g. MSc (Master of Science) and MRes (Master of Research) degrees - students enrol on a series of taught courses as a major component of the degree, similar to undergraduate degrees.

At most UK universities, it is customary for students who wish to enrol for a PhD to first enrol as an MPhil student, and then after a year or two, they can 'upgrade' to PhD level. The MPhil may also be taken as a stand-alone degree i.e. students may stay enrolled in the MPhil and graduate with this degree if they wish.

4. What are the entry requirements for a MPhil/PhD degree?

Technically, a 1st class, upper 1st class (2:1), or lower 2nd class (2:2) undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject are required for entry to an MPhil/PhD programme at UCL. In practice, students are expected to have graduated with a degree that falls in the top 40% of their class. In the UK this means a 2:1 or better. In exceptional circumstaces this requirement can be waived (e.g. if you have done some important research work but do not have a good class of degree). Students cannot be accepted onto a research degree programme if they do not have an undergraduate degree.

5. Do I need to have a Masters degree to apply for a MPhil or PhD?

You do not necessarily need a Masters degree to apply for a MPhil or PhD but it is strongly encouraged.

During the earlier stages of the MPhil/PhD, students are generally encouraged to sit in on relevant Masters-level courses to gain experience and training they may lack in a particular area before starting the PhD dissertation.

6. How long is an MPhil/PhD programme?

Most MPhil/PhD programmes in the UK are 3 years, with some allowing students to finish writing up their dissertation in the 4th year. In order to finish on time, students are expected to apply for the MPhil/PhD with a clear topic in mind. This is unlike PhD programmes in other countries which can last for much longer.

7. Where do I find out about funding?

Funding options differ depending on which department you apply to, so consider potential supervisors and then explore the funding options available via their department. Note that your chances for funding will be significantly lower if you have less than a 1st class undergraduate degree (or equivalent). International students should contact the admissions department at UCL to determine the equivalent degree class/grade point average.

If you have further questions about studying for an MPhil/PhD at DCAL contact us at dcal@ucl.ac.uk