Education (Online) MPhil/PhD

Distance learning programme

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£7,580
£3,790
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£18,660
£9,370
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

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.

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 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.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

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.

The foundation of your career

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.

Employability

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.

Networking

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.

Teaching and learning

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.  

Research areas and structure

Applicants to the IOE Education MPhil/PhD programme must apply to 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; or the UCL Social Research Institute.

Applicants should look at the departmental websites to find out more information about the work of each department, and to identify one or more potential supervisors for their work. Even though applicants apply directly to the MPhil/PhD programmes in the department of their principal supervisor, the programme they follow once enrolled will be identical.

Research environment

You will have the opportunity to access to the wider UCL community. The Institute’s programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.

As a research student at the Institute of Education you have the opportunity to participate in the department's Research Students Seminar Group which further promotes collegiality and enriches learning, along with seminars organised by research centres (or Labs) or according to interest groups.

Full-time

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 9-18 months after initial registration.

The IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training includes online core programme courses and selected courses from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time, and at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research student (CRS) while you finish writing your thesis.

Part-time

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 9-18 months after initial registration.

The IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time, and at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research student (CRS) while you finish writing your thesis.

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.


Online - Open day

Graduate Research Open Events: IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Our Graduate Research Open Events are a great chance to find out more about graduate research programmes at IOE, meet our academics and join presentations where you'll be able to find out about your chosen programmes. You will also be able to put your questions to the programme leaders, and learn more about our world-leading research and how it informs our teaching.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £7,580 £3,790
Tuition fees (2022/23) £18,660 £9,370

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

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their thesis.

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

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

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

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021