Child Health MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Our PhD research programme provides excellent training, giving you comprehensive opportunities in fundamental and translational research of childhood health and disease. The UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UCL GOS ICH) aims to produce highly employable post-doctoral graduates with an ambitious and resilient outlook and experience in core research skills, collaboration and networking.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

Science graduates must have an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree (or equivalent work experience) in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Clinical candidates must have a registerable qualification appropriate to the programme to be followed in Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Studies.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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

UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH) is a world-class Institute, together with its partner, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (GOSH), forming the largest concentration of children’s health research in Europe.

Our close relationship with GOSH means that much of our research and teaching is carried out jointly and is translationally relevant. You will benefit from excellent facilities in both laboratory and non-laboratory subjects in the following academic programmes:

  • Developmental Biology and Cancer
  • Developmental Neurosciences
  • Genetics and Genomic Medicine
  • Infection, Immunity and Inflammation
  • Population, Policy and Practice

In addition, GOSH and UCL are pleased to celebrate the completion of The Zayed Centre for Research, a world-leading centre of excellence dedicated to discovering new ways to treat and cure children with rare diseases.

A PhD at GOS ICH will provide you with excellent training, giving you comprehensive opportunities in fundamental and translational research of childhood health and disease. You will have access to an outstanding research and transferable skills development programme, with training provided to support your personal, professional and career development. You will have the opportunity to network and share your research ideas with fellow students and colleagues via journal clubs, research seminars and symposia, poster competitions and student events such as the 3-Minute Thesis. You will be expected to attend and present your research at national and international conferences where networking is developed with peers and research leaders in academia, medicine and the private sector.

Who this course is for

The UCL doctoral school values candidates with a desire to challenge the status quo openly and freely but rigorously; an openness to pushing frontiers of disciplinary knowledge within and beyond conventional disciplines; a desire to make impact with the fruits of research; to work with integrity; to be sensitive to diversity; and to engage with society beyond academia.

What this course will give you

As a promising student with a first-class or upper second-class bachelor's degree, and normally a Master's degree, the Child Health Research PhD programme will provide you with excellent training to PhD level. We are committed to high quality postgraduate education with a diverse range of study opportunities, and have a strong track record of training and support for students and supervisors. A wide range of projects are available for prospective PhD students who are either self-funding or who can secure sponsorship for 3-4 years; examples of currently available projects at UCL GOS ICH can be found on GOC ICH Unfunded Project Portfolio.

You will be undertaking a PhD at an institution that is internationally recognised for its fundamental, translational and clinical research and which, together with its partner Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, forms the largest concentration of children's health research in Europe. You will also benefit from joining one of the largest research student cohorts at UCL, allowing you to participate in Institute-level skills training as well as the world-class training provided by the Doctoral School.   

The foundation of your career

We recognise that alumni are the Institute's greatest ambassadors and that the continued engagement of alumni is essential to establishing the UCL Great Ormond Institute of Child Health community, not only in the United Kingdom, but all over the world.

Dr Bryony Mathew, GOSH ICH alumna PhD student, first woman to be appointed as British Ambassador to Iceland.


Non-clinical PhD graduates typically move on to grant-funded postdoctoral research positions or fellowships either at UCL or other national or international institutions. Clinical PhD graduates usually go on to complete their clinical and/or research training, and many progress on to successful academic clinical careers.


A modern research career is based on research skills and collaboration. Effective networking skills also greatly benefit students in their future careers. To instil these, students are supervised by internationally recognised and well-connected research leaders.  As a PhD student at GOS ICH, you will be given the opportunity to attend and present at local, national and international scientific meetings, workshops and conferences where networking is developed with peers and research leaders in academia, medicine and the private sector.  You may also have the opportunity to visit overseas academic institutions, for example through collaborative student exchanges or travel fellowships.

Teaching and learning

You are initially registered for an MPhil, upgrading to a PhD typically towards the end of the first year of your studies (full-time), subject to satisfactory academic progress. For a successful upgrade to PhD, you must prepare a written report, give an oral presentation and pass an oral examination. Further details of the upgrade process can be found here. The final assessment of your PhD is based on written thesis which is examined by independent experts in the field during a viva exam. Examiners may ask you to make corrections to your thesis, which will be published in the UCL library once approved.

Research areas and structure

The institute has academic Research & Teaching Departments that provide very broad opportunities to study with world-class experts in the research areas below:

  • Developmental biology, birth defects research, childhood cancer, stem cells and regenerative medicine
  • Developmental neurosciences (clinical, cognitive and molecular), neuropsychiatry, developmental imaging and biophysics
  • Genetics and Genomics Medicine, including inborn errors of metabolism, molecular basis of rare diseases, genome biology and precision medicine and cilia disorders
  • Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation, including immunobiology, immunology, rheumatology, respiratory medicine, critical care and physiotherapy
  • Population, Policy and Practice, including clinical and life-course epidemiology, nutrition, mental health, palliative care and biostatistics

Research environment

The mission of GOS ICH is to improve the health and well-being of children, and the adults they will become, through world-class research, education and public engagement. The great strength of UCL's research was reaffirmed in REF 2021. ICH was part of a UCL return to the Clinical Medicine sub-panel 1, and Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care sub-panel 2. In both sub-panels, 93% of UCL's research was rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent and UCL was ranked overall at No.2 in the UK for research power. The NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre, which supports experimental medicine research for children and young people at GOS ICH/GOSH, recently secured £35.3 million to take it into its fourth term, running for five years.

The length of registration for the research degree programme is 3 years full-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

Throughout your research degree, you will be required to undertake skills training via the Doctoral Skills Development Programme.

Within three months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, appropriate research method(s) and a realistic plan of work, and to present this plan to your Thesis Committee. 

In your second year, you will be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD.

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within three years for full-time students, and over five years for part-time students. Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) if you are not ready to submit your thesis at this point.

The length of registration for the research degree programme is 5 years part-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 15-30 months after initial registration.

Throughout your research degree, you will be required to undertake skills training via the Doctoral Skills Development Programme.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Leading into the Future: GOS ICH Postgraduate Research Showcase

Interested in studying at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health? Join our free postgraduate research showcase to find out more about our postgraduate degrees. What to expect: keynote speech from Dr Pia Hardelid who has been at the forefront of ground-breaking research in child health informatics; hear from our postgraduate students as they discuss their innovative research projects; meet with our programme teams and ask your questions.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

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:

Additional costs

A minority of PhD students may have to pay an Additional Fee Element (AFE), also known as a bench fee. The AFE covers additional costs which are not included in the tuition fees, for example, consumables, field trips, specialist equipment and materials but not student visas.  Each PhD project is unique and therefore your academic supervisor will be able to confirm whether or not an AFE is to be charged and, if so, the level of AFE to be paid each year. You can also contact the GOS ICH Research Degrees Office for guidance. If an AFE is to be charged, the level of AFE will be confirmed in your offer letter.  Further information on the five bands for AFE charges can be found under Fees and costs - See, "What is the Additional Fee Element (AFE?)".

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

A number of studentships are available for MPhil/PhD research including 4-6 studentships funded by the Child Health Research CIO annually - see 'PhD Studentships' on the UCL GOS ICH website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the GOS ICH Research Degrees Office or Research & Teaching Department to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

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.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

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