UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Language and Cognition PhD Environment

We provide adminstrative and academic support to all our PhD students.  This makes attending academic meetings and networking with fellow students as convenient as possible.

Pastoral Support

Each Department has a Graduate Tutor who is in charge of academic and pastoral arrangements for MPhil/PhD students. They can provide advice, support, and if necessary action, if any problems arise with respect to research, supervision or other academic problems. The Graduate Tutor is also available to all students for support with personal/family/general life issues.


At the start of the first year, all students will attend the Language and Cognition Induction programme which includes Computing and Library Facilities and an introduction to the UCL online Research Log designed to keep track of progress.

The student and the primary supervisor will discuss training needs and appropriate modules will be suggested.  Students may audit modules taught for masters students across UCL.

Students are encouraged to take courses offered by the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme to expand their transferable skills to support their research, professional development and employability.  Many full-time PhD students take some part in departmenal teaching by giving tutorials and/or demonstrating in practical classes.

Preparation for the upgrade viva and the final viva examination is provided by the supervisors. You will be given an opportunity to have a mock viva.

Support for Part-time Students

By offering on-line learning, face-to-face and web-based supervision as well as class-based lectures and seminars, we encourage part-time students to become independent learners.  Where necessary, students who have been out of study for sometime are encouraged to take courses in academic writing and time management.  Part-time students conducting workplace-based research are encouraged to audit modules taught for masters students that will develop their knowledge and skills in applied research methods. Experienced academics in our department are able to supervise speech and language therapists, audiologists, specialist teachers, psychologists, or other professionals working within the field of communication development and disorder, including intervention in a clinical or education setting. A part-time research degree may be a particularly good option if you wish to investigate research questions arising from your own or your team’s practice. There are strong links between researchers in speech and language therapy, psychology and linguistics and specialist clinicians working in the field through the Centre for Speech and Language Intervention Research and the Literacy, Language, and Communication (LiLaC) research group.

Department Research Seminars

The Language and Cognition Research Department runs a regular series of interdisciplinary research seminars for all members of staff and research students.  The seminars involve presentations by speakers from other Departments and Universities, and speakers are drawn from a wide range of subject areas.  As a rule we expect all our research students to participate fully in these seminars and we also encourage them to make presentations during the course of their studies.

Annual Language and Cognition PhD Student Conference

All PhD students are expected to present either a poster, a 5 minute lightning talk or a longer presentation at the annual PhD Student Conference in each year of their registration.  This exercise provides valuable experience in designing posters, preparing and giving presentations and answering questions from the floor.

Post-doc and Early Career Researcher Preparation

Regular workshops covering a variety of topics to help prepare PhD students for life after they achieve their doctorate are provided by the UCL Doctoral School.  In Language and Cognition, we strongly encourage our PhD students to attend monthly seminars for all Early Career Researchers in the department.  These seminars are given by internal and external speakers and cover a range of topics including academic skills (e.g. paper writing), public engagement and post-PhD career paths.  Advice on wider career planning issues is provided by the UCL Careers Service.

National/International Conferences

With the support of their supervisors, students may apply to the School of Life and Medical Sciences for funding to attend a conference to make a presentation on their work.  From time to time supervisors may recommend attendance at a conference, without a paper being presented.  Each case is decided on its merits, and funding cannot, therefore, be guaranteed.

Writing papers for publication

Working with supervisors, PhD students are encouraged to develop a plan for disseminating their findings in the form of writing papers for publication.  This provides valuable experience in planning dissemination (needed for the viva) as well as in scientific writing.