Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) PhD students are based in a truly interdisciplinary institute. The ICN is situated within the School of Life and Medical Sciences with staff members belonging to different research divisions and departments. This diversity provides a unique learning and research environment which is also much valued by employers.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications closed

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or a taught UK Master's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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. 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

Researchers at the ICN examine how the human brain accomplishes perception, memory, cognition, language, consciousness and action. A leading principle is the tight integration of behavioural methods with various cutting-edge approaches to record and manipulate ongoing brain activity. Our research has strong translational implications for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as education, across the lifespan.

Who this course is for

If you are fascinated by cognitive neuroscience and want to pursue a career in research, you may wish to consider doing a PhD after your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Before applying for a PhD, you need to decide on a topic. This might be something you have already developed an interest in one during your undergraduate or Master's degree. Alternatively, you may want to get some ideas by taking a look at the research conducted by our academic staff.

What this course will give you

The key benefit of studying cognitive neuroscience at UCL is the outstanding research environment to which students have access. This includes the many UCL academics who are world experts in their respective fields; the taught courses offered by these members of staff; a large number of visiting speakers and also numerous workshops, summer schools and locally organised conferences.

An additional reason to study cognitive neuroscience at the ICN is the high quality of fellow students that come from a range of different backgrounds. This creates a stimulating research environment.

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*).

The foundation of your career


The majority of graduating PhD students have gone on to postdoctoral positions in leading universities such as UCL, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK, and UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley in the USA. Others have gone on to work in industry and professional roles.


PhD students at the ICN participate in peer-led forums with the opportunity to network with other students across UCL departments and present their work in a supportive environment. The ICN also hosts a weekly seminar series with prominent international speakers presenting cutting-edge research. PhD students are encouraged to attend the seminars and meet for informal discussion with the speakers.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

  • Cognitive neurology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Cognitive neuropsychiatry

Areas of human cognition studied include:

  • Action and body
  • Applied cognitive neuroscience
  • Attentive and cognitive control
  • Awareness
  • Cognitive electrophysiology
  • Clinical neurophysiology and memory
  • Decision making
  • Interoception
  • Metacognition and executive functions
  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Plasticity
  • Social neuroscience
  • Space and memory
  • Speech communication
  • Visual communication


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

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:

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

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

Funding may be available from UK Research Councils, teaching assistant studentships (demonstratorships), and UCL graduate research scholarships.

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

Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. The deadline to be considered for fellowship funding will be early January for all students. Further applications can be considered after this point, but will not be eligible to be proposed for the funding opportunities we can offer such as UCL graduate research scholarships. Students who wish to be considered for funding are advised to contact a potential supervisor well in advance of this deadline.

You should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. Please see the research groups and email the group leader whose areas of research most closely match your own interests.

For more information see our PhD Programmes page.

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.