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 outlook and experience in transferable research skills, collaboration and networking.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
October 2024
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree and/or a Master’s degree (preferably with a merit or distinction) in a relevant discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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.

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 GOS ICH and the adjacent Zayed Centre for Research, a world-leading centre of excellence dedicated to discovering new ways to treat and cure children with rare diseases. Your research will be hosted in one of the following  academic Research and Teaching departments:

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 GOS ICH Unfunded Project Portfolio.

The foundation of your career

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.  


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

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.

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 a 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.

You should expect an absolute minimum of one in-person meeting with your supervisors per month and you are expected to attend regular group meetings and departmental seminars. Core working hours are 10 am to 4 pm. Contact hours and hours of self-study are agreed between you and your supervisors at the beginning of your research degree and should be reviewed on a regular basis. With agreement of your supervisors, contact time can be on-site or remote working depending on the nature and stage of the project. Full-time Research students can take 27 days of annual leave, plus eight days of Bank holidays and six UCL closure days. For part-time students, annual leave is pro rata.

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. GOS ICH was part of a UCL return to the Clinical Medicine sub-panel 1, and Public Health, Health Services, and Primary Care.  93% of UCL's research was rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent. In the assessment of research power, UCL’s performance was top in the UK for research power in the main panels of ‘medicine, health and life sciences’ and ‘social sciences’. The NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) supports experimental medicine research for children and young people at GOS ICH/GOSH, and in 2022 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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

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

Some 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, lab 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 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 8-10 studentships funded by the Child Health Research Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CHR 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

Research degrees typically start on the 1st of October, but may also start on the 1st of February or the 1st of May. Prospective students should apply at least 4 months before their intended start date, but if you require a visa we recommend allowing for more time. In most cases, you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information please see our page how to make a GOS ICH PhD application. Please also see UCL's 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: 2024-2025

Year of entry: 2023-2024

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