Interdisciplinary Societies, Arts and Sciences MPhil/PhD

London, Stratford (UCL East)

The future of research and new careers will require strong forms of interdisciplinarity which intersect ideas from the sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities. Our exciting new PhD programme is a critical part of this vision providing doctoral training to create a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers, thinkers and innovators.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 academic years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
January 2024
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper-second class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject, or a recognised taught Master’s degree. Overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution are also accepted. If your education has not been conducted in the English you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

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

The future of research and new careers will require strong forms of interdisciplinarity, which intersect ideas from the sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities.

Our PhD programme is a critical part of this vision providing doctoral training to create a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers. We advise you on developing research projects that are cogent, innovative and which integrate combinations of sciences, arts and societies. We provide you with supervision including where necessary seeking out specialist supervisors from across UCL, and we support you in acquiring training that will facilitate your research.

Examples of projects that join societies and arts and sciences include research into health, data science and philosophical ethics in understanding social justice, climate change science and media analysis. However, you can examine any combination of disciplines needed for your interdisciplinary project.

You will be able to be present your work at a departmental seminar for all staff and research students and at an annual away day. This takes place in a friendly and informal atmosphere and is designed to foster research communication skills and interdisciplinary thinking. You will be supported to work with academics in Arts and Sciences through research cafes, peer mentoring and training.

We will support you in developing conference and interdisciplinary networks with colleagues locally and internationally, involving you in the design and administration of these activities in collaboration with our academics and professional services staff. You will be encouraged to take part in conferences and seminars, in London and elsewhere. Where possible, we will also support you to apply for internship opportunities and other research exchange programmes nationally and internationally to develop your research and career opportunities.

Who this course is for

Applicants will have a strong interest and previous training in the disciplines required to begin their project. Applicants will have excellent written and spoken English. Applicants will be highly motivated and able to work independently.

What this course will give you

We are committed to supporting the development of our students. This will involve developing skills on independent and critical thinking, academic writing, research management, publishing in peer reviewed journals, presentation skills and networking.

This interdisciplinary research will provide opportunities for collaborative working within UCL Arts & Sciences (UASc), departments across UCL and externally. Students are encouraged to apply a range of qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods and creative approaches to their interdisciplinary research.

This will facilitate interactions between established and emerging researchers and offer interdisciplinary research training and career development opportunities for early-stage researchers and research students.

We are committed to supporting flexible and part-time working patterns and are happy to discuss these possibilities with prospective applicants.

The foundation of your career

As our MPhil/PhD programme will commence during 2023/24, more information on this will be available soon. However, it is expected that graduates of this programme will go on to positions in academia as well as careers across a multitude of sectors. Due to the unique interdisciplinary nature of the PhD, and depending on the student’s subject area, this could create new opportunities within the arts, humanities, health and physical and social science industries, thus likely to increase career options for graduates. Throughout the PhD programme, students will be supported to explore their career opportunities and engage with employability activities.


UCL is a world top ten research university (QS World University Rankings 2024) and our graduates seek careers in research, teaching, consultancy and management, in university settings and beyond. 

For students with academic ambitions, we will help them to apply for postdoctoral research fellowships. Supervisors and training will help identify professionalisation opportunities and pathways to the academic job market. Teaching and conference opportunities will normally be available.

With the advantage of having interdisciplinary training, graduates are likely to have opportunities in government, NGO and corporate settings. An interdisciplinary doctorate provides training in several disciplines and in communicating across disciplines, creating an advantage towards such positions. Support for such careers will be provided during the programme.


UCL Arts & Sciences (UASc) has a strong culture of collaboration between staff and students across multiple departments within UCL through its existing degree programmes. We also work closely with other national and international institutions and organisations. This working environment will create opportunities to engage with existing research training programmes, seminars and other activities. You will be supported to create new networks yourself, through online platforms and social media or in-person research groups, for instance. This is likely to foster a rich culture of innovative research for our doctoral students.

Teaching and learning

Supervision and access to different teaching methods on the UCL Doctoral Students Training Programme during the first year of study.

Both formal and informal assessment will be integral to the programme. Formal assessment includes written work submitted at upgrade to PhD status and a viva. Final award will be based on a doctoral level thesis and a viva. Informal assessment will include different kinds of submissions agreed between the student and their supervisor throughout the research project.

As a full-time student, you are required to spend approximately 40 hours a week studying which will predominantly be made up of self-directed study. Part-time students should expect to spend approximately 20 hour a week studying.

Research areas and structure

Research environment

Arts and Sciences provides a unique research environment focused on interdisciplinarity and the integration of disciplines across arts and humanities, social sciences and the sciences through projects and connections to research environments in other departments.

You will participate in a doctoral student seminar series entitled Research for Interdisciplinary Studies which will consist of topic-based seminars. At these seminars, doctoral students will be introduced to the formal requirements of doctoral study; to the theoretical and methodological approaches which frame interdisciplinary research and research design, and, where appropriate, to professionalisation into academia. The programme will include work in progress reports from all first-year students as part of their preparation for upgrading from MPhil to PhD status in Year 2. All doctoral students will be strongly encouraged to attend and contribute to these seminars.

Arts and Sciences will also host regular interdisciplinary research seminars involving a range of contributions, from both external and internal speakers and research activities. There will be an annual research away day that postgraduate research candidates will be invited to. This will introduce candidates not only to intellectual discussion but also to the organisational and professional context of UK higher education. Students will be supported to work with academics in Arts and Sciences through research cafes, peer mentoring and training for further support.

Working space for postgraduate research students will be provided through UCL Arts and Sciences, which is split-site located at UCL East in Stratford and at UCL's Bloomsbury campus.

The Department has a range of staff covering various disciplines with strong groups in the major areas of arts and humanities, social sciences, and the sciences. You will also collaborate with academics across UCL through joint supervision, which is very much welcomed. This wide range of staff supporting you will ensure postgraduate research candidates have access not only to their supervisors but an unparalleled range of expertise.

Year 1 full-time:

During your first year, you will work with your supervisors to establish the research project that will form the basis of your PhD thesis. You will be asked to undertake a training programme through our seminar series Research for Interdisciplinary Studies. This will consist of topic-based seminars during Terms 1 and 2 of the first year of study (irrespective of full-time or part-time status). At these seminars, first-year doctoral students will be introduced to the formal requirements of doctoral study and to the theoretical and methodological approaches which frame interdisciplinary research and research design. The programme will include work in progress reports from all first-year students as part of their preparation for upgrading to PhD status in Year 2. These seminars will foster the research culture, discuss the meaning of interdisciplinarity and build research skills. Candidates will have access to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and UCL Doctoral School training.

Year 2 full-time:

If progress during Year 1 has been sufficient, you will be upgraded to PhD status. If you are a full-time student, you should undertake the PhD upgrade after 9-18 months of registration. The exact timing will depend on when you are ready to meet the requirements.

Year 3 full-time:

Completing Research Status (CRS)

The formal minimum length of the MPhil/PhD is three years. If you are not ready to submit your thesis after three years you will be required to apply for Completing Research Status (CRS). If agreed, it enables you to be registered with UCL for a fourth year of study without payment of any fee.

At UCL Arts & Sciences (UASc) you may study part-time over a minimum of 5 years. This option may be most suitable if you require flexible working patterns. You may have to take the Research for Interdisciplinary Studies training programme over your first and second year and will not usually be ready to upgrade to PhD status until your second year. You will conduct your data collection over several years and will plan to write up and submit in your fifth year. If you are not ready to submit then, you may have two years of CRS status if granted.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble 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) £28,100 £14,050

Additional costs

There may be additional costs to students depending on research activities and requirements of the research programme. Examples may include field trips, conference attendance, international visits, and external training programmes not available at UCL. However, we will support students to investigate funding opportunities to meet these additional costs wherever possible. These should be discussed at application stage.

Students will also be required to fund their travel between the Bloomsbury and UCL East campuses.

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

As part of your application, you are required to provide a 1,000 word project outline, which must include a summary of your research area, an indication of supervisors and what each supervisors' relevant expertise is, your proposed methods and an indicative bibliography.

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

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