Language and Cognition MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

We offer a world-leading research environment aimed at understanding human communication, speech, language and cognition. Students have the opportunity to study within a unique interdisciplinary group of experimental psychologists, linguists, speech and language therapists and NHS-based clinicians. Our graduates have an excellent record of employment.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 academic years
5 academic years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or a Master's degree in a relevant discipline 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.

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 are at the forefront of research in human speech, language and communication investigating core issues in the development of spoken and written language, the cognitive bases of language in children and adults, the interrelationship of language with other cognitive systems. We also focus on impairments of language and communication across the lifespan and on clinical interventions.

Who this course is for

If you meet the entry requirements, it is important to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take MPhil/PhD students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.

You can learn more about our research themes and the projects within these themes in the Research section of our website. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application.

What this course will give you

UCL provides an outstanding research environment in which to study for an MPhil/PhD. There are links to other research departments and specialist centres throughout the UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, providing the potential for collaboration with experts from related fields. The division provides access to a range of resources including EEG, fMRI, TMS and eye-tracking equipment.

We also have close links with Great Ormond Street Hospital, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and University College London Hospital.  Our Centre for Speech and Language Intervention Research brings together experts in speech, language and communication research, and promotes collaborations with practising speech and language therapists.

The foundation of your career

UCL Language and Cognition is a highly rated and regarded research environment. Recent graduates have typically been offered employment in the UK and internationally in academic posts, postdoctoral research, health services and third sector (voluntary) organisations, see our Language and Cognition department webpages for more information.


Postgraduate students use the skills they have acquired during their PhD training to follow a number of different career pathways. Many continue in academia as postdoctoral researchers and eventually full-time academics; others continue training or practising in related fields such as speech and language therapy or clinical and educational psychology.


Students access multi-tiered networking opportunities. We maintain strong links between researchers across UCL in psychology and language sciences and with specialist speech and language therapy clinicians through the Centre for Speech and Language Intervention Research and the on-site UCL Communication Clinic.

You will have opportunities to meet with international scholars visiting UCL, present your work at our annual departmental PhD Student Conference, and will be encouraged to attend and to present your findings at national and international conferences, with support from departmental and UCL Doctoral School funding.

Teaching and learning

Students will typically audit taught modules usually in research methods and statistics at appropriate doctoral levels, depending on their training needs.

Each student has an Upgrade Viva at the midpoint of their PhD. For full-time students this is usually between 9 and 18 months after initial registration; for part-time students this is usually between 15 and 30 months after initial registration. The purpose of the Upgrade Viva is to assess the student’s progress and ability to complete their PhD programme in a reasonable time frame.

At the end of their PhD, each student has to submit a written thesis of not more than 100,000 words, followed by a viva voce examination with two examiners, one who is internal to UCL and another who is external.

A typical full-time PhD student will spend approximately 36.5 hours per week working on their PhD.

The contact time that a student spends with their supervisory team, thesis committee members and training courses vary from student to student depending on need throughout their PhD. Part-time student hours are pro-rata.

Research areas and structure

  • Cognitive mechanisms in typical and atypical speech, language and literacy development
  • Speech, language and communication disorders and interventions
  • Conversation analysis and clinical/institutional interactions
  • Dysphagia, dysarthria and apraxia
  • ASD, deafness, bilingualism, AAC

Research environment

Language and Cognition is based in Chandler House. Here there are facilities for psychology and language science research including, but not limited to, eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), ultrasound, and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), as well as several sound treated booths for behavioural studies and audiovisual recordings. There is a dedicated Experimental Officer to support research.

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.

Part-time students are normally required to be registered for 5 years, with 2 additional years in CRS if needed.


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) £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:

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

Please contact potential supervisors and the department in the Autumn (Sept-Oct) to discuss application procedures and deadlines for all of the funding opportunities.

You are strongly advised to contact and work with your potential supervisor when completing your application for funding.

See also:

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

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department as early as possible to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation.

Please contact potential supervisors and the department in the Autumn (Sept-Oct) to discuss application procedures and deadlines for all of the funding opportunities.

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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