UCL Graduate degrees


Innovation and Public Policy MPhil/PhD

The programme aims to develop the next generation of world-leading interdisciplinary scholars in the economics of innovation, innovation policy and its governance. A key goal of the programme is to prompt doctoral researchers to blend and synthesise different disciplinary tools to offer truly interdisciplinary analysis on how innovation can be harnessed to tackle global challenges.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week. Part-time students normally attend half this amount. Research students are required to be in continuous attendance, apart from periods of leave.

Application dates

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £5,210 (FT) £2,605 (PT)
Overseas: £20,570 (FT) £10,440 (PT)

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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.

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: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

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:


Research areas

Our research programme is driven by three cross-cutting themes: innovation, public value and inclusive growth. Our current streams explore the following areas:

Public value and public purpose

Governance and digital transformation

The state's role in technological revolutions

Green economy for sustainable growth

Mission-oriented innovation policy

Patient finance, state investment banks and public finance

Rethinking health innovation

Risks and rewards

Space partnerships for mutualistic innovation eco-systems

More information can be found on the department website: Innovation and Public Policy MPhil/PhD

Degree structure

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.

Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.

The programme includes research skills training provision: a Doctoral Seminar series and a Research Methods series addressing methodological and ethical challenges.


Research students have the option of proposing a fieldwork to take place at private, public or third sector partner in the third year of their studies, aimed at developing specific policy engagement skills in a partner institution outside of UCL and within the particular remit of their doctoral research. The fieldwork would include engagement with a policy analysis or research division of a major policymaking organisation, and would be aimed at further developing policy analysis skills while also contributing to the broader research component of the programme.

Additional costs

As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas. The Built Environment Faculty Office provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund, Bartlett External Training Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition. 


UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

Any additional funding available from the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


This research degree programme aims to develop the next generation of world-leading interdisciplinary scholars in innovation theory, public policy, economics of innovation, innovation policy and its governance. 


Graduates from the programme will possess a unique analytical skill set in public policy, organisational and institutional innovation, new models of innovation policy (mission-oriented innovation), and dynamic capabilities in the public sector. Many public sector organisations, policy think tanks and other policy analysis organisations, NGOs and increasingly also large private organisations such as pharmaceutical companies, investment banks, etc, are looking for employees who are well versed and skilled in new ways of justifying, evaluating and implementing public policies


IIPP is committed to influencing public engagement on key strategic issues facing 21st century economies. Our partnership programme is called the Mission-Oriented Innovation Network or MOIN, which means ‘hello’ in many Northern European languages. The acronym reflects the peer-based learning that will allow global policy-makers to share their experiences around strategic priority setting, organisational innovation and dynamic evaluation tools – with the goal of empowering the pursuit of public-value- driven innovations. For more information and to get involved with the network, visit our Partnership page.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) leads a debate about the direction of economic growth and governments’ use of mission-oriented policies to confront the world’s most urgent challenges: from climate change to inequality and the problems facing aging societies. Our research uses multidisciplinary perspectives to rethink ways in which innovation leads to transformative change. Our main focus is on the development of capabilities and capacities needed within public institutions, and new forms of collaborations between actors in both private and public spheres, to drive innovation across society-wide missions.

The IIPP is directed by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, author of the highly-acclaimed The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths.

The programme includes research skills training provision: a Doctoral Seminar series and a Research Methods series addressing methodological and ethical challenges.

In REF 2014 46% of The Bartlett’s research was rated 4* i.e. “world-leading”, with a further 35% recognised as 3* i.e. “internationally excellent”.* The Bartlett submitted the largest quantity of 4* world-leading research outputs (156 items) of any university submitting to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel. On “Research Environment”, which grades the “vitality” and “sustainability” of the research environment, the Bartlett received the highest score for submission to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel.

Department: Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

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.

Application deadlines

You should prepare your application well before the date you intend to start. It is strongly advised that you identify and a contact a potential supervisor before making your application. For more information see our How to Apply page. Those applying for scholarships should take note of their application deadlines.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information