The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) offers world-leading doctoral programmes in education and related social science. Our Education (Online) MPhil/PhD students undertake their research project, working closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of their research, whilst engaging in a tailored programme of modules and activities.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
The normal minimum requirement is a Master’s degree from a UK university in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed, or a qualification of equivalent standard appropriate to the programme to be followed awarded by a university (or educational institution of university rank) outside the UK. The majority of our successful applicants hold a Merit at Master’s level, and may have additional relevant experience. Students without a Master’s degree who have completed the UCL PGDip in Social Science Research Methods, obtaining a grade B or above in any two or more modules, may also be considered for admission to this programme.
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: Advanced
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.
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.
Select your country:
The IOE has specialised, research-active staff who are able to supervise students in education and related social sciences, including leadership, management, and teaching and learning in all phases of education, from early years through schooling and post-compulsory education to professional and lifelong learning. Other areas include health, the life course and economics.
Applicants to the IOE Education (Online) MPhil/PhD programme will be accepted into one of the six departments within the IOE:
- Culture, Communication and Media
- Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
- Education, Practice and Society
- Learning and Leadership
- Psychology and Human Development
- UCL Social Research Institute
Applicants are strongly encouraged to look at the departmental websites to find out more information about the work of each department, and if possible, to identify one or more potential supervisors.
About this degree
Education (Online) MPhil/PhD engages distance learning students in (i) individualized online supervision and (ii) peer group (cohort) learning, following a robust Online Research Training Programme (Online RTP).
The Online RTP comprises of six ‘core’ modules with asynchronous and synchronous learning activities introducing social science research in education. Modules build students’ critical perspective in: approaches to educational research, research and the theoretical field, research methods, qualitative and quantitative analytic procedures and academic writing and presentation. Learning activities engage students in developing their doctoral research through independent study, peer group study and module tutor feedback.
Students with prior learning have flexibility in opting to engage in advanced online courses from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, IOE Research Training Programme, Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network and other sources, as agreed with supervisors.
Full-time students typically study 2 modules per term over one year while part-time students study 1 module per term over two years. Modules run for 4-9 weeks and are awarded 6-10 ‘training points’.
Students also undertake two ‘core skills’ courses to: (i) introduce UCL and IOE academic regulations, prepare for upgrade and ethics application and, (ii) enhance students’ use of digital information and resources.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
IOE doctoral graduates progress to a diverse range of careers in research, policy, management and practice, within education, cultural sectors and related areas of social science.
Students gain experience of planning and implementing research methodologies, academic writing and presentation, management of their own research projects, and engagement with a wide range of researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and other groups relevant to their chosen topic.
The IOE is a leading centre for education and social science research. Students will have the opportunity to network with other doctoral students from around the world, as well as with world-leading academics within their field of study. The institute hosts several online seminar series as well as both national and international conferences. In addition, students are encouraged to take part in conferences elsewhere, expanding networking opportunities.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The IOE is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021), the institute was ranked first for education for the eighth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), we were number one for education research strength, with more world-leading researchers in education than any other UK University. A quarter of UK education research is carried out at the IOE and we are home to many prestigious research centres and projects.
There are no residency requirements and the programme has been designed so it is not necessary to attend, although the viva examination is expected to take place in London. However, students are welcome to visit and use campus facilities including the library, attend seminars etc.
Students are required to take six online core modules (Approaches to Educational Research; Research and the Theoretical Field; Research Methods; Qualitative Data Analysis; Quantitative Data Analysis; Writing and Presenting Educational Research) in their first year of full-time study or first two years of part-time study, and are then able to choose from a selection of advanced online modules.
Department: Institute of Education
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.