Division of Psychiatry MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The UCL Division of Psychiatry is a world-leading interdisciplinary centre for research into mental health and illness. We offer a broad range of possible PhD supervisors to help you gain the skills you will need for a career in mental health research - from bench and biology to neuroscience, psychology and applied clinical research.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
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 recognised medical qualification, or a Master’s degree, or a minimum of an upper-second class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

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 UCL Division of Psychiatry will offer you a broad range of possible supervisors to help you gain the skills you will need for a career in mental health research. We represent a unique interdisciplinary grouping of international experts in psychiatry encompassing epidemiological, biological, genetic, social science and health services research as well as trials.

Close collaborations with UCL's Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Division of Infection & Immunity provide diverse academic resources and a rich study environment. The division also hosts the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department.

We offer unrivalled access to clinical and community samples in which to conduct cutting-edge translational research, having strong collaborative links with five NHS trusts operating within diverse, multicultural populations. For graduate research, detailed and considered discussions with prospective supervisors and the Graduate Tutor are provided prior to admission, to ensure research and career aspirations match each student's experience.

Who this course is for

The Division is made up of four Research Departments: Mental Health of Older People, Mental Health and Neuroscience, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research, and Epidemiology and Applied Clinical Research. Our students come from a range of academic backgrounds including psychology, medicine, nursing, and social sciences.

What this course will give you

The UCL Division of Psychiatry delivers a wide spectrum of research in mental health sciences, with world-leading research outputs and a friendly, collaborative environment.

The foundation of your career

Popular destinations for our postgraduates include academic institutions, health and social care, government services, international agencies, non-governmental organisations and healthcare start-ups.


Recent graduates have taken up academic posts in UK universities, positions in industry and Government, and others have progressed to senior clinical positions in NHS Trusts.


The UCL Institute of Mental Health facilitates networking across a range of disciplines applied to mental health, including an annual International Conference, symposia and Special Interest Groups. The division hosts networking events with postgraduates and invites speakers from a range of employers.

Teaching and learning

The main learning method of the PhD programme is through generating self-directed original research with input and support from a supervisory team and Thesis Committee. We have a Research Development Programme for learning needs that are common across our cohort of PhD students and students can arrange to audit relevant UCL MSc modules as necessary for their identified learning development. 

The UCL Doctoral Skills Development (DSDP) is designed to help doctoral candidates develop skills for research, professional development, and employment. Doctoral candidates are expected to spend 10 days every year on skills improvement. To maximise your development, please take advantage of a variety of activities on the programme.

Types of assessment undertaken on the DoP PhD programme include Thesis and viva. For an MPhil Thesis requirements, please follow Chapter 5 (pp.18 - 21). For viva examinations guidance, please follow this link.

Students accepted onto the PhD programme are expected to be independently motivated for self-directed study. Contact time will vary between supervisors, but will include 1:1 supervision, team, departmental and divisional meetings.

Research areas and structure

Staff in the department work in three thematic research groups:

  • Common mental disorders
  • Dementia and disorders of old age
  • Psychosis.

Each theme covers research across the whole range of methods. Our expertise covers the full range of mental health sciences research including biological psychiatry, neuroimaging, psychiatric genetics, epidemiology, health services research (including quantitative and qualitative methods), social psychiatry and clinical trials.

It extends to psychiatric genetics – covering schizophrenia, dementia, alcohol dependence and affective disorders – to psychiatric epidemiology, and to common mental disorders, psychosis and the mental health of older people, including dementia research.

Research environment

UCL is ranked first for research power in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience by the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), with more than two thirds of our research in these areas rated as world-leading (4*).

Our research is wide ranging, covering mental health, neuroscience, palliative care, epidemiology and applied clinical research. Our students come from a range of academic backgrounds including nursing, medicine, psychology and social sciences.

The Division is made up of four Research Departments:

Mental Health of Older People

The Division of Psychiatry is an international leader in dementia research, and we have major grant funding from the MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR, local trusts and industry.

Mental Health Neuroscience

Our research spans a range of mental health illnesses, investigating molecular genetics, cell biology and neuroimaging research – including neurophysiology.

Marie Curie Palliative Care Research

We focus on palliative care for patients with dementia and 'hard to reach' groups, systematic reviews, prognostication, communication and symptom control in end-of-life care.

Epidemiology and Applied Clinical Research

We are interested in the distribution and determinants of mental illnesses and research to develop the evidence base for interventions and services for people with mental health problems.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is three years full time and five 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 9 - 18 months after initial registration and then fulfil academic requirements to upgrade to PhD degree.

All research students are assigned a primary supervisor whose area of expertise is closely aligned with the student’s chosen research topic and who is responsible for directing their research training. A subsidiary supervisor who helps assess progress, provide continuity of supervision and additional expertise. A broader supervisory panel where appropriate, where research is cross-disciplinary or requires different critical skills such as high level statistics expertise or health economics.

Your supervisory team will help you devise a programme of suitable courses to develop appropriate research and personal skills for your future career. Typically you will attend:

  • Courses selected from the Graduate School Skills Development Programme which provides generic (presentations, teaching, personal development, theses writing) and specific (qualitative and quantitative research methods, specific statistical processes and packages) skills training.
  • Modules from appropriate MSc programmes if required.
  • Local Seminar Programmes which provide a supportive environment in which to develop theories and hypotheses and present draft papers.
  • Mandatory Dilemma game which gives insight into research integrity.

Part-time student programmes are generally five years and part-time students should submit within five years. Your supervisory team will help you to devise a programme of suitable courses to develop appropriate research and personal skills for your future career.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400 £17,200

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

You should discuss research costs with your supervisor. These may be covered by scholarships or supervisor grants, or you may be responsible for these if you are a self-funding student.

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

Examples of additional costs are:

  • Specialist materials/equipment
  • Laboratory equipment - Equipment specific to a project or piece of work
  • Study abroad/Fieldwork - travel, accommodation and subsistence costs
  • Conference costs
  • Placement costs
  • Poster presentation costs
  • Membership fees
  • Immunisations and vaccinations

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

All funding opportunities are advertised on the departmental website.

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

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. You should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. You should complete this form about your intention to apply, once you have discussed with a potential supervisor. For more information see our How to apply page.

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: 2024-2025

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