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 2021

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

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£22,670 (FT)
£11,510 (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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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: Advanced

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

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

About this degree

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.

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.


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.

The MPhil/PhD programme is one of independent research but your Principle Supervisor will establish a timetable of regular meetings with you at which all matters relating to your work can be discussed; such meetings should take place at least once per month.

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. 

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

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


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.


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 large private organisations 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 the 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 Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy and her forthcoming book, Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism.

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

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL’s Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).

Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021