Division of Infection and Immunity MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

This PhD programme, available full-time or part-time, provides you with research training in basic and translational science from internationally recognised leaders in infection and immunity. Develop your research skills in world-class facilities, as part of a research team dedicated to improving prevention, diagnosis, intervention, and treatment of disease.

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

A first class degree, or a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from a Russell Group University, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or an appropriate Master’s degree.

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.

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

Learning from world-leading researchers, you will study the mechanisms that cause and spread disease, and work in close collaboration with scientists who are helping to improve prevention, diagnosis, intervention, and treatment on a global scale. Our graduate training spans human immunology, cancer immunology, pathogen biology and the host-pathogen interaction.

The UCL Division of Infection and Immunity is an internationally renowned centre of research excellence. It includes the Research Department of Infection and the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation. We have strong international links with American, European, and developing world research centres, including the newly established African Health Research Institute in Durban.

One of our key strengths is our work at the interface between basic research and clinical medicine, fostered by UCL Partners, a consortium linking UCL with local major hospital trusts. Our infection and immunology research is helping to advance knowledge and support clinical services in many of the hospitals UCL is linked to. We regularly train clinician scientists, supported by fellowships from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, BBSRC, Rosetrees Trust and others.

You will join a dynamic community of postgraduate students, and benefit from career development advice from supervisors and thesis committees throughout your programme.

What this course will give you

  • In-depth understanding of how to conduct world-leading research in infection and immunity.
  • The skills needed to become an independent researcher.
  • Knowledge of how to present your work to national and international conferences.
  • A focus on interdisciplinary research.
  • The support of a vibrant and collaborative research community.
  • Weekly internal seminars and a yearly PhD colloquium where students present their results.
  • A termly postgraduate club where invited speakers, who are leaders in academia, pharma, biotech, law, or politics, discuss their career experience and offer advice on career progression.

The foundation of your career

Most of our graduates carry on in academia, while some choose to work in the medical field as clinician scientists or research scientists in translational research areas. Other career pathways include clinical trial management, science writing/publishing, biotech/pharma, and intellectual/property/patent law.


Infection and immunity are rapidly progressing and expanding research areas which are attracting substantial investment from governments and the private sector.

Recent graduates have secured postdoctoral positions in universities or research institutions in the UK, Europe, the US, and Middle East. Others go on to work in research and development for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, or in scientific journalism, patent law, health consultancy and management.


Your research training will be supervised by leading international experts in their fields, who will routinely present their team’s findings at major international meetings in each discipline. As a result, you will be in direct contact with the key people in your area of expertise. This opens the door to postdoctoral appointments at the most prestigious research centres worldwide.

You will also have the opportunity to spend time in other laboratories around the world, such as Yale, Stanford and Cape Town, giving you the chance to network further.

In addition, our postgraduate club hosts informal talks and meetings with senior individuals from industry, biotech, and scientific writing, as well as entrepreneurs.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

Principal research areas are:

  • Autoimmune diabetes
  • Cancer and Leukaemia/Gene therapy
  • Computational immunology and bioinformatics
  • Herpes viruses
  • HIV and retroviruses
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • Immune regulation
  • Immunity to hepatitis
  • Immunology of ageing
  • Innate immunity
  • Primary immune deficiency
  • Tuberculosis
  • Virus evolution and drug resistance

Research environment

The Division of Infection and Immunity includes the Department of Immunology and the Department of Infection. It is an internationally renowned centre of research excellence offering graduate training in human immunology, cancer immunology, pathogen biology and the host-pathogen interaction. 

The Department of Infection is partly based in the Cruciform building on our Bloomsbury campus and is one of the largest recipients of Wellcome Trust personal grants and Fellowships. Large human sample/pathogen collections such as ICONIC (Infection Response through Virus Genomics) and BioAID (BioResource in Adult Infectious Diseases) provide invaluable resources for discovery and diagnostic science.

The Department of Immunology is based at the purpose-built Pears Building next to The Royal Free Hospital in North London. This section of the Division includes The UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT), under Director Prof Hans Stauss, an international centre of excellence in immunology and viral immunology research.

UCL and the Division of Infection and Immunity are partners, along with the Wellcome Trust and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), based in Durban, South Africa. AHRI is a centre of excellence for research into the susceptibility, transmission and cure of TB and HIV and related diseases, seeking to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. UCL academics and students in the Division of Infection and Immunity have close ties with AHRI academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students carrying out work in South Africa.

Several faculty members in the Division of Infection and Immunity sit on grant funding boards and panels, including MRC and Wellcome Trust.

The length of registration for the full-time programme is three to four years.

When you accept your place on the programme, you will initially register for an MPhil. Within three months of joining the programme, you will be expected to agree the basic structure of your research project with your supervisor and thesis committee, along with the appropriate research methods and a realistic plan of your work.

In your second year, you will be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD, you will need to submit an upgrade report 12-18 months after your registration date and to present your research during one of the divisional internal seminars. You are also required to have an upgrade viva.

If you are not ready to complete your programme at the end of your third year, you may be able to register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis. UKRI-funded students will not have this option.

The length of registration for the part-time programme is five years.

This route is usually for research assistants within the Division of Infection and Immunity or in the biotech or pharma industry who can spend most of their time on the PhD.

You will need to discuss specific agreements on timings with your supervisor before registering for the programme.


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.

Where you'll study

Chemist in laboratory

We offer taught and research degrees, plus a set of undergraduate-level modules that spans our research expertise. We aspire to teach what we specialise in ourselves. Our cutting-edge research and clinical practice informs and shapes the teaching we deliver, ensuring that our programmes cover the latest thinking.

We host a variety of facilities across our sites, at Bloomsbury campus in central London and the Royal Free campus in Hampstead. Our immunity and transplant experts are based in the new purpose-built Pears Building in Hampstead, with cutting-edge laboratories and facilities for patients.

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) £32,100 £16,050

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

Bench fees in the range of £10,000-£20,000 per year will be required, depending on the nature of the experimental work (computational projects may require lower bench fees). This must be agreed with the supervisor in advance.

The supervisor may be able to meet some of the bench fees.

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 has several large PhD scholarship schemes that allow the successful applicants to do a PhD in our Division. These are:

We also welcome applications from overseas students who have won competitive scholarships to train abroad.

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

Please note: for postgraduate research in our Division it is not necessary to have completed an MSc or MRes first. Some research experience is required and candidates should have demonstrated excellent research skills in their dissertation projects.

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

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.