Applying for Graduate Research Study at UCL

We've made this guide to help you to apply for graduate research study at UCL.

If you’re applying for Graduate Taught Study, see our separate guide.

Before applying

Selecting your programme

See our Graduate Prospectus for our available programmes.

Each prospectus page has information about a programme’s content, entry requirements and application deadlines. Find more specific information about a programme’s content from that academic department’s website.

Most opportunities (and potential funding) are not advertised or packaged as studentships. If you meet the entry requirements, be proactive to identify opportunities with UCL academics whose recent research closely match your interests.

There are three main ways to identify an appropriate supervisor to contact:

  1. Browse research programmes to find centres of research in your area of interest. Click through to the department or centre website to find staff profiles.
  2. Search for relevant academic units and potential supervisors by keyword using UCL’s Institutional Research Information System (IRIS). Not all academics are listed in IRIS but it is a good place to start.
  3. Search our online research repository (UCL Discovery) where all UCL’s research papers are published, subject to approvals. If you identify a research paper that particularly interests you, it is likely that one of the authors would be a suitable research supervisor.

If an academic is impressed with your research experience and proposal, they may be able to help you identify sources of funding (including from their own, or departmental, research funds). They can also nominate you for scholarships.

Not sure which programme to apply to or about life at UCL? Join one of our many recruitment events.

Check the academic and English language entry requirements

You need to check you meet the minimum academic and English language entry requirements for the programme. Entry requirements are clearly listed on each programme’s prospectus page.

Funding your studies

Carefully consider how you will fund your studies. This includes tuition fees and the day-to-day costs of being a research student.

See our scholarship and funding pages to check if you are eligible for UCL funding. This is a separate application and different deadlines apply.

Check if you need a visa to study

If you are an international student, you might need a visa to study at UCL. Please check our immigration and visas pages for more information about applying for a visa to study.

Transferring to UCL

For graduate research degree programmes at UCL, there may be the possibility to transfer into a programme from another institution or department. 

Preparing to apply

Check if your application requires references

The number of references needed to support your application can be found on the prospectus page for your programme. See selecting your references for details on who to choose.

Deciding when to apply

See your programme’s prospectus page for deadline information.

If your programme has a set application deadline, you must submit your application before 5pm (UK time) on the day of the application deadline.

If your programme has no application deadline, we recommend you apply at least 4 months before your intended start date.

Getting your supporting documents ready

As part of your application, you must provide the following supporting documents:

  • Your official transcript. Please read our guide on getting your academic transcript. This explains exactly what UCL can and cannot accept. Sending documents that cannot be accepted will delay your application being processed.
  • A research proposal. Your research proposal is an important part of your application. It should outline the area of research you wish to undertake, demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area and summarise the question you want to answer through your research.
  • If you need a visa to study at UCL you will need to provide a copy of your current passport. If you do not have a valid passport, you can complete our Missing passport document and provide your passport later.
  • If you meet our English language requirements (using a UCL-recognised test), you should upload your official test report form or qualification. If you cannot provide this evidence when you submit your application, your application will still be considered.

Submitting your application

Applications should be submitted online.

Before you submit your application, please carefully check the information you have provided or uploaded. Once you have submitted your application, you can only update your name, contact details, referees’ details (if applicable) and passport details (if you require a visa).

You should make sure:

  • You have selected the correct programme of study
  • Your names are entered exactly as they appear in your passport
  • You have entered the correct details of your academic qualifications. These should match the information on your transcript.
  • You have uploaded the correct version of each of your supporting documents and your official transcripts clearly show:
    • your name
    • your institution
    • a list of your modules and any grades you have received.
  • You have provided accurate details of any work experience or previous employment you would like UCL to be aware of, either in the employment section or as part of your uploaded CV.
  • You have uploaded any compulsory supporting documents required for your course to proceed.
  • If applicable, you have entered your referee details correctly and have provided institutional or professional email addresses.

If you are unable to apply online due to accessibility reasons, please contact Graduate Admissions.

We advise that you add to your list of approved contacts so that you receive any correspondence sent by the Graduate Admissions Office.

Further information