Developmental and Stem Cell Biology (4 years) MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

This programme offers a unique environment with one of the largest and strongest concentrations of high-quality developmental and stem cell biologists anywhere in the world. For more details please see our departmental website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biosciences/study/phd/cdb

UK students International students
Study mode
Full-time
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£27,750
Duration
4 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

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or a recognised Master’s degree in an appropriate subject.

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

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.

ATAS statement

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place.

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

This programme provides training at the interface between developmental and stem cell biology and can be taken in either three or four years. The four year version includes a first year with rotations in three laboratories; both include working in the lab and active, small group training in key skills including good writing, experimental design, reviewing papers and many modern techniques.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

The groups at UCL are world leading, generating seminal contributions to their fields of study.  Students working in the laboratories are welcomed into vibrant groups of enthusiasts, exposed to a wealth of expertise in an extraordinarily open and collaborative scientific community.

The four year programme comprises three lab rotations and a taught component in the first year, providing the basis for an informed choice and an excellent platform for progression in the research project in years two to four. The three year version also contains small group workshops to learn important skills but there are no rotations.

The foundation of your career

UCL is an internationally recognised and respected institution. A graduate degree from UCL opens up numerous national and international employment opportunities. Our students work with renowned mentors and are immersed in research at the cutting-edge of basic and biomedical science, emerging well-trained and well-rounded with outstanding skills, poised to take up posts in leading groups around the world. Most of our graduate students pursue very successful careers in science and medicine. Two of our recent students have been awarded the Beddington Medal.

Employability

Many of our recent graduates have taken up postdoctoral positions, e.g. in the UK at UCL, the Francis Crick Institute, the University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Cancer Research; and in Europe at the Danish Stem Cell Center in Copenhagen.  Others have taken up analyst, consultant and specialist positions at Cancer Research UK, Amazon, Costello Medical in London, Merck Ventures BV in Amsterdam and the Boston Consulting Group in Berlin.

Networking

UCL and its extended network of research institutes are located in the centre of London and surrounded by numerous other research institutions, including the Francis Crick Institute and the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour. Students are encouraged to meet and collaborate extensively with members of these institutions. Regular seminars and training courses encourage interaction across London, the UK and Europe. You'¿ll regularly attend international conferences, workshops and retreats, providing opportunities for networking with colleagues and potential future employers.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

  • Cell fate determination and pattern formation
  • Cell migration
  • Cell signalling and signal transduction mechanisms
  • Early development (e.g. fertilisation, gastrulation, embryonic induction)
  • Evolution and development
  • Gastrulation
  • Induction, tissue interactions
  • Left-right asymmetry
  • Live imaging
  • Morphogenesis, tissue patterning
  • Neural development and neural cell biology
  • Regeneration and repair
  • Stem cell biology
  • Tissue engineering
  • Twins

Research environment

This programme offers a unique environment with one of the largest and strongest concentrations of high-quality developmental and stem cell biologists anywhere in the world. It provides training at the interface between developmental and stem cell biology. For more details please see our Departmental website

Research areas

  • Biological clocks in development, differentiation, disease and regeneration
  • Cell fate determination and pattern formation
  • Cell migration
  • Cell signalling and signal transduction mechanisms
  • Early development (e.g. fertilisation, gastrulation, embryonic induction)
  • Evolution and development
  • Gastrulation
  • Induction, tissue interactions
  • Left-right asymmetry
  • Live imaging
  • Morphogenesis, tissue patterning
  • Neural development and neural cell biology
  • Regeneration and repair
  • Stem cell biology
  • Tissue engineering
  • Twins

 

Full-time

This programme can be taken in either 3 or 4 years. The 4 year version includes a first year with a taught component and rotations in 3 laboratories providing the basis for an informed choice and an excellent platform for progression in the research project in years 2-4. The 3 year version is available in laboratories in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department (please see the separate programme summary RRDDSCSING01 for this version).  Both include active, small group training in key skills including good writing, experimental design, reviewing papers and many modern techniques as appropriate to the project.

  • First year: 3 rotations of 3 months each in different laboratories, and a weekly journal club, overseen by all supervisors on the programme (4 year programme only).  At the end of each rotation you will be required to write a report and give a presentation.
  • Second year: thesis work starts in August/September of the first year. In the second year, an advanced modern microscopy course and an intensive workshop to develop writing and reviewing skills take place in parallel, with a small group of 5-7 students.  Upgrade from MPhil to PhD – write report and give presentation.
  • Third year: continue thesis research work, complemented with experimental design workshops.
  • Fourth year: complete research project, write up thesis. Workshops on funding, career planning and other skills tailored to each student.  Give final year presentation.

The 3 year version of the programme starts from the “second year” above.

During your programme you will have regular meetings with your supervisors and graduate tutor, and are required to complete a number of progress points which are recorded in the mandatory Graduate Research Student Log. 

You will be expected to attend Divisional seminars relevant to your research and participate fully in the activities of the research group to which you belong, including participating in meetings of the group and presenting data to the group as required. You will also be encouraged to take advantage of subject-specific National or International Society meetings every year to show-case your work and to meet and discuss your work with your peers in related areas; these meetings provide a valuable way to make contacts for future career opportunities.

You will have access to the Doctoral Skills Development Programme which offers free practical skills training courses and workshops to give you the opportunity to expand your research and transferable skills in order to support your research, professional development and employability. You are expected to take full advantage of the training on offer and should be aiming to participate in the Doctoral Skills Development Programme and/or appropriate other activities equivalent to two weeks of training per year.

You will have the opportunity to be employed as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant to assist in the running of undergraduate student tutorials and practical demonstrations.  This not only counts towards your skills development, but is a valuable addition to your CV. 

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within four years. If you are not ready to submit at the end of the fourth year, you may be able to go onto Completing Research Student status – up to one year free of fees.

Accessibility

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.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690
Tuition fees (2022/23) £27,750

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.

Additional costs

Your research degree may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (AFE).  The AFE (also known as bench fees) is an additional cost, incurred by yourself or your sponsor.  It is levied to cover the costs related to consumables, equipment and materials etc which are not included in the tuition fee.  As each research project is unique in nature, the AFE is calculated on a student by student basis and is determined by your academic supervisor.

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

Applications from self-funded candidates are welcome. Please note that there is no funding attached to this programme, but you may apply for a UCL scholarship.

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

This programme commences in September each year. The application deadlines are usually mid-December for candidates applying for a UCL Scholarship, and end March for self-funded candidates. For more information please see our department's website 

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021