Division of Infection and Immunity MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

We offer research training of the highest standards in the UCL Division of Infection & Immunity with the aim of forming the future leaders in the field. The Principal Investigators offering projects are internationally recognised leaders in infection and immunity, providing a unique opportunity for networking and furthering the students' careers.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
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.

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: Standard

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

The Division of Infection & Immunity is an internationally renowned centre for research and graduate training in human immunology, pathogen biology and the host-pathogen interaction. The division includes the Research Department of Infection and the Institute of Immunity & Transplantation. It has strong international links with American, European, and developing world research centres, including the newly established African Health Research Institute in Durban. We are committed to research-based teaching and host a dynamic community of postgraduate students. Our PhD programme provides research training in basic and translational science and the offering reflects our broad-ranging research expertise. We also have a strong track record in training clinician scientists, supported by fellowships from the Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

In addition to a vibrant and collaborative research community, we have weekly internal seminars and a yearly PhD colloquium where PhD students present their results. A postgraduate club runs on a termly basis where invited speakers, who are leaders in their field (academia, pharma, biotech, law, politics, etc.), discuss their career experience. These initiatives facilitate networking and help students to become part of a community in the division.

In addition to the primary supervisor, there is a thesis community composed of more than two senior staff members with expertise in the area of the project. Through regular meetings with the student, the thesis committee provides advice and support.

The foundation of your career

A strength of the Division is its position at the interface between basic research and clinical medicine, fostered by UCL Partners, a consortium bringing together UCL with major hospital trusts in the area. Basic research in infection and immunology is also strong in the Division. About 60% of our graduates carry on in academia and another 25% choose the medical field as clinician scientists or research scientists in translational research areas. UCL's reputation also benefits those graduates who choose to enter clinical trial management, science writing/publishing, biotech/pharma, or intellectual/property/patent law.


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


Doctoral research training is always supervised by leading international experts in their fields, and the research is routinely presented at the major international meetings in each discipline. As a result, students are provided with direct personal contacts to the key people in their areas of expertise, and regularly obtain postdoctoral appointments at the most prestigious research centres (for example, Harvard and Stanford). The opportunity to spend periods of time in other laboratories worldwide (recent examples include Yale, Stanford and Cape Town) also offers strong opportunities to broaden the student contact base.

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 is an internationally recognised centre of research excellence. Bringing together world-leading basic, applied, clinical and translational researchers, you will study the mechanisms that cause and spread disease. Through understanding these mechanisms we aim to improve prevention, diagnosis, intervention and treatment of disease. Research within the Division is linked to our education programmes to advance knowledge, and support clinical services within hospitals associated with UCL. The division includes the Department of Immunology and the Department of Infection. The Department of Infection has over 4,500 square feet of dedicated laboratory space within the Cruciform building in UCL. The department of Infection is one of the largest recipients of Wellcome Trust personal grants and Fellowships for virology.  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 partly based at the newly 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), Director Prof Hans Stauss, an international centre of excellence in immunology research. The research activities of the IIT are grouped in three research clusters, with each cluster containing two related programs of research: Immune tolerance, Immunotherapy and Inherited disease.

UCL and the Division of Infection and Immunity are partners, along with the Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in the newly formed Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), based in Durban, South Africa (total funding for AHRI is $51M). AHRI aims to become a source of fundamental discoveries into the susceptibility, transmission and cure of TB and HIV and related diseases, seeking always to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The Director, Prof Deenan Pillay, is a member of Infection and Immunity staff and the Division has close ties with AHRI with other academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students carrying out work in South Africa. 

The UCL Division of Infection & Immunity offers you research training of the highest standards with the aim of forming the future leaders in the field. The Principal Investigators offering projects are internationally recognised leaders in Infection and Immunity, providing a unique opportunity for networking and furthering the students' careers.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for 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 12 -18 months after initial registration.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis.  

Within three months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method and a realistic plan of work. 

In your second year you will be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit an upgrade report and present your research during one one of the Divisional Internal Seminars. You are also required to have an upgrade viva.

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within three years for full-time students, and over five years for part-time students. If you are not ready to submit at the end of the third year, you may be able to go onto CRS. 


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 Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £27,480 £13,750

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

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

UK/EU students can apply to MRC studentships to do a PhD in the Division of Infection & Immunity via the UCL-Birbeck MRC Doctoral Training programme.

In addition, we 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

UK/EU/EEA nationals who have been resident in the UK for a period of 3 years or more prior to application may apply to the Birbeck-UCL MRC Doctoral training programme within the themes of “Fundamental mechanism of Disease” or “Experimental and Personalised Medicine”. Applications to other PhD schemes may start at any time of the year. In this case, deadlines are dictated by individual funding arrangements. PhD students typically start in September. For more information see our How to apply page.

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

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

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