Division of Medical Education MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Medical education research is a rich, cross-disciplinary field of enquiry. On this full or part-time PhD programme, you will have access to high levels of pedagogical expertise for your development as a successful independent researcher. It will prepare you for a diverse range of careers in medical education within the NHS, University and with partner organisations.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£5,860
£2,930
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£32,100
£16,050
Duration
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 minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, plus Master's-level study in either education or medical education. A primary medical qualification is required for a clinically-orientated doctorate.

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

Medical education research is fundamental to improving medical and health professional's practice, and spans the medical education lifespan from medical school to postgraduate training and through to continuing professional development.

The Research Department of Medical Education at UCL Medical School has a significant and vigorous educational research profile, which draw on a range of qualitative and quantitative focusing on a range of methodologies.

Our teaching is informed by our research, and our research is informed by our teaching. We are also dedicated to contributing to the wider education community by sharing our research findings and involving key stakeholders in our educational research.

This research degree involves conducting a single piece of research driven by your own interests, resulting in a 100,000-word thesis. You will be supported by academics and research staff from a variety of backgrounds, including education, psychology, health, and social sciences, as well as clinical specialties.

You can complete this programme full-time over three years, or part-time over five years.

Who this course is for

This research programme is particularly suitable for students who have completed a postgraduate course in medical education or an equivalent subject.

We welcome applications from medical, dental, and healthcare professionals who are interested in undertaking either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method approaches to their work. It is also suitable if you have a background in health and social services, psychology, or education.

What this course will give you

  • Support from an internationally renowned group of medical education researchers with vast experience in a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
  • High-level education and supervision to support your development as a medical education researcher.
  • A research skills development programme delivered by the UCL Doctoral School.
  • Access to a series of online research methods modules focusing on medical education.
  • Supervision meetings in person and/or online.

The foundation of your career

This PhD will prepare you for a substantive career as an educational researcher. Graduates go on to high-level posts either as NHS consultants or academics in university settings, as well as roles in medical education with local/national and international influence.

Employability

Many graduates have continued to practise in healthcare while also playing a significant role in local education. You will be equipped for senior positions in other medical schools and in the postgraduate sector, or to go on to a research career.

Networking

The UCL Medical School offers events and activities that will give you the opportunity to network with medical educationalists across the UK and internationally. These will give you the chance to learn from their examples of good practice and their research findings.

You will also be encouraged to attend local, national, and international medical education conferences, such as the annual Association of Medical Education in Europe Conference.

Researchers are often involved in teaching our taught undergraduate and graduate programmes at UCL.

Teaching and learning

The following optional research methods modules are delivered via the University's online learning platform:

  • Approaches to educational research
  • Research and the theoretical field
  • Research methods
  • Qualitative data analysis
  • Writing and presenting educational research & Information and literature searching
  • Quantitative data analysis

Research areas and structure

  • Assessment in medical education
  • Clinical communication
  • E-learning in medical education
  • Equality and diversity in medical education
  • Fitness to practise of doctors
  • Interprofessional education
  • Peer-assisted learning
  • Professional identity
  • Selection in medicine
  • Medical revalidation
  • Transitions in medical careers
  • Work-based learning.

Research environment

The Research Department for Medical Education (RDME) is the research arm of UCL Medical School and one of the UK’s top medical education research departments. We draw together experienced doctors, nurses, psychologists, and educationalists to ensure that our work is based on strong pedagogical research foundations.

A key part of our ethos and research strategy is to ensure our research makes a difference. Our work on selection (including widening participation), postgraduate clinical assessments (including medical revalidation and differential attainment), mental health and well-being, and social justice broadly has had significant impact outside of academia. As a unit we uniquely submitted to the research excellence framework in 2014 and in 2021. Each time, our research led to impact case studies which have been rated highly.

Our award-winning public engagement projects ensure our work is informed by, and useful to, patients and the public. In 2021 we were awarded the Association for the study of medical education institution to citizenship, which is testament to our commitment to high quality research and high-quality research environment.

We help medical educators adopt evidence-based best educational practice and use our knowledge and experience to continually develop our undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes. We also work to aid development in other international institutions.

Our academic and research staff are from a variety of backgrounds, including education, sociology, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and medical ethics, as well as clinical specialties. They all contribute to our interdisciplinary educational research activities. Our research outputs and reputation are of national and international importance.

When you accept your place on the programme, you will initially register for an MPhil in Medical Education.

In your first year, your programme will include the following optional research methods modules as part of the Doctoral Skills Training Programme. These are all delivered via an online learning platform:

  • Approaches to Educational Research
  • Research and the Theoretical Field
  • Research Methods
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Writing and Presenting Educational Research and Information and Literature Searching
  • Quantitative Data Analysis.

You will be eligible to upgrade to PhD status between 9-18 months into your registration. Upgrade decisions are based on an evaluation of an upgrade report, which you produce with support from your supervisors, and a viva examination.

Throughout your programme, you will have the opportunity to play a full part in the life of the RDME.

When you accept your place on the programme, you will initially register for an MPhil in Medical Education.

In your first year, your programme will include the following optional research methods modules as part of the Doctoral Skills Training Programme. These are all delivered via an online learning platform:

  • Approaches to Educational Research
  • Research and the Theoretical Field
  • Research Methods.
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Writing and Presenting Educational Research and Information and Literature Searching
  • Quantitative Data Analysis.

You will be eligible to upgrade to PhD student status between 15-24 months into your registration. Upgrade decisions are based on an evaluation of an upgrade report, which you will draft with the support of your primary and subsidiary supervisors, as well as assessment by viva examination.

Throughout your programme, you will have the opportunity to play a full part in the life of the RDME.

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 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

Additional costs may include the printing and binding of your thesis, items such as books, and additional expenses whilst attending conferences.

Your research degree may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (also known as bench fees), which is payable by yourself or your sponsor. This covers the costs related to consumables, such as equipment and materials, which are not included in the tuition fee.

As each research project is unique in nature, this fee is calculated on an individual basis and is determined by your academic supervisor. It may also depend on whether you receive external funding to complete your degree.

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

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

Your deadlines and start dates will usually be dictated by funding arrangements so you will need to check with the department or academic unit to see if you need to consider these in your application. In most cases, you should identify and contact your potential supervisors before you apply.

Consider your choices

We recommend that you read these tips for studying medical education at doctoral level and familiarise yourself with our research staff to consider who might supervise your project.

Applying

If you decide to apply, you will need to send a CV and a research proposal of approximately 2,000 words to medsch.rdme@ucl.ac.uk.

The proposal should include your research interests and proposed topic and address the following:

  • The research problem and your research questions
  • Background, including a brief literature review
  • Relevant theoretical and methodological perspectives
  • Methods, including sample, recruitment, data gathering, data analysis
  • Your new contribution to knowledge
  • Timetable and bibliography.

If your proposal has potential and we believe we can match you to a supervisor, we will arrange an interview. This can take place online for applicants who are currently overseas.

If you are successful after this, we will invite you to apply using our application platform and to provide references.

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

Year of entry: 2022-2023

Got questions? Get in touch

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