Experimental Psychology MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

We offer a world-class research environment with a focus on behaviour and its neural underpinnings. Our programme helps students develop academic or complementary careers including clinical or educational psychology, and consultancy or applied research. A strong benefit of studying here is exposure to these diverse careers.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Scholarship applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 08 Jan 2024

Applications closed

Self-funded applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 24 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree or a taught UK Master's degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. Overseas applicants also need to satisfy the English language requirements.

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

We offer an outstanding research and teaching environment providing opportunities for graduate students to work with world-renowned researchers across a wide spectrum of topics. Our research focuses on understanding the psychological and biological bases of behaviour, to improve the health and wellbeing of both individuals and society. Research in the department includes behavioural neuroscience, perceptual and cognitive sciences and cognitive neuroscience. We host several research centres and institutes including the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre, the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, and the Birkbeck/UCL Centre for Neuroimaging. Research facilities available to members of staff comprise state-of-the-art equipment for most types of behavioural research, scanning facilities (MRI), eye- and motion-tracking facilities as well as TMS facilities.

Who this course is for

If you are fascinated by Experimental Psychology and want to continue your career in research, you may wish to think about doing a PhD after your undergraduate or postgraduate degree. A PhD would demonstrate your ability to carry out scientific research. It is required for a career in academia and desirable for research positions outside of the university.

What this course will give you

Experimental psychology students at UCL receive unparalleled training in the design, implementation and analysis of psychological and biological experiments. Our research is recognised internationally for sophisticated experimental design and statistical approaches to the analysis of human behaviour, and brain work. We are 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*).

Students also benefit from embedded UCL research centres focusing on human brain imaging, brain stimulation, behavioural neuroscience, deafness and multi-modal communication. Our training and research environment allows students to work alongside elite academics and forge unique research agendas.

To find out more about Experimental Psychology's MPhil/PhD programme please visit our website.

The foundation of your career

Experimental psychology provides a number of career pathways. Many of our former students progress into academic research as postdoctoral researchers, and ultimately become professors. Many instead expand their training into complementary fields such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, consultancy or applied research. One of the major benefits of studying in experimental psychology is the opportunity to form long-lasting connections with other students who follow these diverse career paths.


Many students who complete a PhD in the department stay in academia, either going on to become postdoctoral researchers or research assistants, and ultimately professors. Some go on to further training in fields such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, consultancy or applied research. Others enter industry in consultant and professional roles. A PhD degree taken at UCL is recognised both nationally and internationally as a qualification of the highest status.


Experimental psychology PhD students take a prominent and active role in the department, including organising seminars, both independently and in concert with other academics and involving outstanding external guests. Our PhD students are leaders in the vibrant peer-led forums and yearly retreats that are supported by the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences and give presentations at high-profile national and international meetings. Additionally, they receive tailored career advice about a variety of fields, and the department has a strong history of research relationships with industry, NGO's and government, providing abundant networking opportunities.

Teaching and learning

Students on a research postgraduate degree will have their teaching and learning directed by their supervisor as appropriate. This will be discussed directly with them.

Students are assessed in the following ways: the Graduate Student Away Day (GRAD): 3-day event, to include research integrity training, Statistics, MSc modules (optional – exam and/or essay based), and the upgrade viva, submission of a thesis and viva examination.

The contact time that a student spends with their supervisory team, thesis committee members and on training courses varies from student to student depending on need throughout their PhD.

Each Research Department has a Graduate Tutor who is in charge of academic and pastoral arrangements for MPhil/PhD students. They can provide advice, support, and if necessary action, if any problems arise with respect to research, supervision or other academic problems.

Research areas and structure

  • Behavioural neuroscience
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Sensory systems learning and memory
  • Language
  • Cognitive and decision-making
  • Social cognition

Research environment

In Experimental Psychology, we provide facilities for psychology and language science research including, but not limited to, eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), EMG (electromyogram), galvanic skin response (GSR), functional magnetic resonance imaging (Birkbeck-UCL Centre for NeuroImaging (BUCNI), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), ultrasound, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) facility, and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), as well as several booths for behavioural studies and audiovisual recordings, and the multimodal lab which uses 3D motion tracking technology.

The MPhil/PhD programme commences in late September/early October for all students. As a research student in the Division you will find yourself using 'state-of-the-art' techniques in a very active research environment. You will be part of a lively and friendly group of graduates. There is a wide range of technical assistance available when needed, as well as library and computing facilities.

UCL regulations require that initial registration as a research student is for an MPhil degree. If satisfactory progress is demonstrated a student's registration is 'upgraded' to PhD. As part of the programme students take a range of courses designed to equip them for research. In particular, they take a selection of research methods courses appropriate for different backgrounds, designed to help them develop key research skills, such as the ability to evaluate critically the literature in an area or to perform advanced statistical analyses.

The full-time PhD typically lasts for 3 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student, and if the thesis is not submitted within this time then students may register as Completing Research Students (CRS) for 1 additional year.

You may also study your PhD part-time. Part-time students are normally required to be registered for 5 years, with 2 additional years in CRS if needed. Part-time study arrangements are to be agreed with the supervisor.


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

This programme has no 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

Students entering the Experimental Psychology MPhil/PhD programme may be supported by a number of funding sources. Several departmental demonstratorships/teaching assistantships are available. UCL has been selected as a Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and some students are supported by ESRC funded PhD studentships (UK/EU students only).

UCL also participates in similar DTCs such as those run by the BBSRC and MRC and the department hosts a number of students from each of these programmes. Finally, many researchers in the department have established collaborations outside industry, which help support several PhD studentships. Other sources of funding include the UCL Grand Challenges studentship programme, UCL Graduate Research Scholarships, UCL Overseas Research Scholarships, and the four-year Wellcome Scholarship.

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 for competitive departmental funding or otherwise awarded by UCL must arrive in January in the year you wish to start. Please contact potential supervisors and the department before January to discuss application procedures and deadlines. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by the January deadline, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, up to 12 months in advance of the start date and not later than 30 June for September/October entry.

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

Year of entry: 2023-2024

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