UCL Graduate degrees


Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil/PhD

The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) PhD students are based in a truly interdisciplinary institute. The ICN is situated within the School of Life and Medical Sciences with staff members belonging to different research divisions and departments. This diversity provides a unique learning and research environment which is also much valued by employers.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£26,680 (FT)
£13,350 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or a taught UK Master's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

International students

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.

Select your country:


Researchers at the ICN examine how the human brain accomplishes perception, memory, cognition, language, consciousness and action. A leading principle is the tight integration of behavioural methods with various cutting-edge approaches to record and manipulate ongoing brain activity. Our research has strong translational implications for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as the education, across the lifespan.

Research areas

  • Cognitive neurology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Cognitive neuropsychiatry

Areas of human cognition studied include:

  • Action and body
  • Applied cognitive neuroscience
  • Attentive and cognitive control
  • Awareness
  • Cognitive electrophysiology
  • Clinical neurophysiology and memory
  • Decision making
  • Interoception
  • Metacognition and executive functions
  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Plasticity
  • Social neuroscience
  • Space and memory
  • Speech communication
  • Visual communication
More information can be found on the department website: Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil/PhD

About this degree

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


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


Funding is available from UK Research Councils, the Brain Research Trust, teaching assistant studentships (demonstratorships), UCL graduate research scholarships.

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


The majority of graduating PhD students have gone on to postdoctoral positions in leading universities such as UCL, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK, and UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley in the USA.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The key benefit of studying cognitive neuroscience at UCL is the outstanding research environment to which students have access. This includes the many UCL academics who are world experts in their respective fields; the taught courses offered by these members of staff; a large number of visiting speakers and also numerous workshops, summer schools and locally organised conferences. An additional reason to study cognitive neuroscience at the ICN is the high quality of fellow students that come from a range of different backgrounds. This creates a stimulating research environment.

Department: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

What our students and staff say

Student review

"Psychology and neuroscience are relatively new fields with exciting developments happening all the time. I am inspired by translational research, and I am currently on an ESRC-funded placement at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. In this position I am contributing to research briefings for parliamentarians on new developments in science and technology and how these might bear on policy."

Leila Jameel

Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil PhD
Student review

"I am working with a research group which focuses on dementia in adults with Down's Syndrome, and I love that we approach our work in a cross-disciplinary way: I visit participants' homes to complete thorough cognitive assessments, but also collect samples for genetic and cellular information. Working on my PhD part-time alongside a research assistant post, and having two supervisors who are both happy for me to manage my time in a way that suits me has been extremely valuable."

Rosalyn Hithersay

Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil PhD

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. The deadline to be considered for fellowship funding will be early January for all students. Further applications can be considered after this point, but will not be eligible to be proposed for the funding opportunities we can offer such as UCL graduate research scholarships. Students who wish to be considered for funding are advised to contact a potential supervisor well in advance of this deadline.

You should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. Please see the research groups and email the group leader whose areas of research most closely match your own interests.

For more information see our PhD Programmes page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021