UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


MPhil/PhD in Psychoanalytic Studies

Students may pursue PhDs under any aspect of the general rubric. A basic understanding of psychoanalytic concepts or, alternatively, methods of psychoanalytic research or methods of historical analysis will be required. These will be introduced in a series of seminars and workshops. Research may be theoretical (conceptual), empirical, or historical or a combination of these.  The PhD does not qualify students for clinical work although a clinical training is highly compatible with pursuing the programme. The programme aims to demonstrate how an academic understanding of psychoanalytic concepts (its theory or metapsychology) and/or the historical background to ideas should always be intertwined with its clinical precepts in line with the course’s principles that theory can only arise from a clinical and historical context.


First-year students are registered as MPhil students until they have qualified for an upgrading to PhD.  Both full-time and part-time students must attain 80 credits from courses to enable them to upgrade. These credit bearing courses can be selected from within those offered in the Psychoanalysis Unit or from the wider Psychology & Language Sciences Division or the Brain Sciences Faculty recognized courses. In addition students are required to complete 20 "Robert’s Points" per year by taking relevant courses run by the UCL Graduate School.

The requirement for the award of a PhD is the submission of a thesis of no more than 100,000 words (excluding references and appendices). Normally this reports an in-depth, original programme of work which makes a significant contribution to knowledge through the exercise of critical powers, and/or through the acquisition and interpretation of fresh data. Although publication is not a necessary criterion, it is expected that this work will be of sufficiently high quality to merit publication. The key requirement is the achievement of a significant contribution to knowledge.

Research Topics

Research topics should be linked the supervisor’s research topics. More information can be found here:



Whilst this PhD is not a clinical programme, it provides an interesting background to formal clinical training and some graduates pursue this option. Taking a PhD is always an important step in pursuing an academic career.


For information on UCL scholarship opportunities: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/