Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis MPhil/PhD
This programme is likely to appeal to students interested in modelling aspects of cities, social or physical, or in understanding the impact of new technologies on an evolving society. CASA gives students the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects from complexity to smart cities, from a theoretical or applied perspective pertinent to contemporary problems.
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme startsResearch degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications acceptedApplications are accepted on a rolling basis.
A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.
The English language level for this programme is: Level 1
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.
About this degree
Studying at CASA gives students a unique opportunity to develop research within a strong academic centre, linking different areas, such as geography, mathematics, physics, urban planning and architecture, in collaboration with different national and international universities. CASA also has partnerships with industry and the government, facilitating insertion within these areas.
Who this course is for
What this course will give you
CASA is a leading research centre within the UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. It has a world-leading PhD programme which has welcomed over 70 students since 2007.
Its multidisciplinary perspective, ranging from urban planning and policy, to complexity theory, gives the student a wider overview than more traditional programmes with a specific focus. As a result, many CASA alumni now have successful academic careers, or have become key advisers to government and industry. The programme is intensive as students are encouraged to contribute to CASA’s research community alongside taking any taught courses they may wish to.
In REF2021, 51% of The Bartlett's research was rated 4* (world-leading), with a further 40% recognized as 3* (internationally excellent). The Bartlett submitted the largest quantity of 4* world-leading research outputs of any university submitting to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel. Furthermore, 67% of our impact case studies were rated 4*, and the Bartlett received the highest score for its Research Environment - which grades the vitality and sustainability of the research environment - of any institution submitting to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel.
The foundation of your career
Studying for a CASA PhD offers unrivalled opportunities to interact with world-leading researchers in a truly interdisciplinary environment. We frequently host visitors from around the world and encourage attendance at leading conferences across a range of disciplines. There are also opportunities to present and network as part of our seminar series as well as hear about the research of others. Much of our research is applied in the commercial and policy context and so our graduates develop the expertise to secure demanding roles at top-level organisations. Many often return to CASA as visiting researchers to further strengthen our links with the academic, commercial and government sector.
CASA graduates have gone on to work in world-leading universities (in the US at Berkeley, University of California, George Mason, University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University; and in the UK at King’s College London, the Universities of Bristol and Liverpool), where they lecture and set up their own research centres. Graduates moving into the private sector have become key players in geospatial organisations (Transport for London, Dr Foster and AGI) and advisers to large government departments including the Ministries of Defence and Transport, and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
As a part of London's "Global University" there are a huge number of networking opportunities for CASA students to benefit from. We have a weekly seminar series and social event that attracts people from across London to hear about the latest cities research. This provides a relaxed atmosphere in which CASA students can get to know one another and the CASA research network. In addition, our students are encouraged to represent CASA at key events, such as academic conferences, where they become known to the broader community. Finally we are keen to attract funding and students who have commercial or government partners.
Teaching and learning
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of independent research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.
Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.
Research areas and structure
- Complexity: spatial network analysis, scaling and explanatory mechanisms
- Design and visualisation: GIS and datavis; CAD, multimedia and 3D models; virtual cities; virtual and augmented realities
- Geodemographics: neighbourhood profiling; health; crime; public service delivery
- ICT in society: web-based cities; the spatial organisation of the internet; social media; the Internet of Things
- Simulation: agent-based models, spatial models, land use transportation models.
The UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) is a research centre within the Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment. We aim to provide you with opportunities to interact with researchers in an interdisciplinary environment. We frequently host visitors from around the world and encourage attendance at leading conferences across a range of disciplines. There are also opportunities to present and network as part of our seminar series as well as hear about the research of others. We have a weekly seminar series and social event that attracts people from across London to hear about the latest cities research. This provides a relaxed atmosphere in which you can get to know other students and the CASA research network. In addition, you will be encouraged to represent CASA at key events, such as academic conferences, where you may become known to the broader community.
Our main areas of research are: complexity (spatial network analysis, scaling and explanatory mechanisms); design and visualisation (GIS and datavis, 3D models, virtual cities, virtual and augmented realities); geodemographics; ICT in society; simulation (agent-based models, spatial models, land use transportation models).
The length of registration for the research degree programmes is normally 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time. You will normally register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an 'upgrade' assessment, typically between 9-18 months after initial registration.
Primarily, you are expected to conduct independent research, with guidance and supervision. The programme places emphasis on a close one-to-one working relationship between you and your supervisor. Your supervisor may suggest that you enrol in, or audit, an additional taught module. Taught models do not form part of your MPhil/PhD programme and so are not formally assessed.
Fees and funding
Fees for this course
|Tuition fees (2023/24)||£5,860||£2,930|
|Tuition fees (2023/24)||£26,200||£13,100|
The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas.
The Built Environment Faculty Office provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund, Bartlett External Training Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Funding your studies
UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Deadline: 12 May 2023Value: Full fees, plus £19,668 maintenance (Normal duration of programme)Criteria Based on financial needEligibility: UKDeadline: 13 January 2023Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial needEligibility: UK
Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL's Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).
Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.
Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.
Choose your programme
Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.
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