Learning and Leadership MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Our MPhil/PhD programme provides a route for students to carry out their own research project: an investigation that will contribute to the field of knowledge within the field of education and beyond. Research students engage with the academic community both within our department and the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and benefit from participation in the comprehensive IOE Research Training Programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£7,580
£3,790
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£18,660
£9,370
Duration
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

The normal minimum requirement is a Master’s degree from a UK university in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed, or a qualification of equivalent standard appropriate to the programme to be followed awarded by a university (or educational institution of university rank) outside the UK. The majority of our successful applicants hold a Merit at Master’s level, and may have additional relevant experience. Students without a Master’s degree who have completed the UCL PGDip in Social Science Research Methods, obtaining a grade B or above in any two or more modules, may also be considered for admission to this programme.

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

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

The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) is a large specialist research and teaching department focused on:

  • how children learn through the processes of teaching
  • the role of leadership

DLL is home to Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO), Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (HHCP), UCL Centre for Educational Leadership and The International Literacy Centre.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021), the Institute was ranked first for education for the eighth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), we were number one for education research strength, with more world-leading researchers in education than any other UK University.  A quarter of UK education research is carried out at the IOE and we are home to many prestigious research centres and projects.

Doctoral students at the IOE have access to the wider UCL community as well as the education cluster constituting the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership. The Institute's programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.

Students work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research; supervisors also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support progress towards completion of the final thesis.

The foundation of your career

Students develop general and specialist skills in research methodology, academic writing and presentation, as well as experience of engaging with a wide range of practitioners across different sectors of education.

Employability

IOE doctoral graduates are found in a wide range of occupational fields. Career paths include education professionals in a wide range of settings, university research and lecturing, policy development and senior officer roles in government and NGOs, policy and professional roles in both the wider public sector (including health, youth work, international development) as well as in the private sector (including business and retail).

Networking

The Department of Learning and Leadership has a wide range of research seminars, where students can join discussion of our ongoing projects, as well as being the base for national and international conferences. Staff members are also significant figures in international conferences such as BERA and ECER. There are also opportunities to work with education practitioners and organisations beyond the IOE.

Teaching and learning

In addition to UCL's Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE's Centre for Doctoral Education provides a comprehensive Research Training Programme.

The Core Course aims to meets the needs of early stage doctoral students.

There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic academic skills courses, as well as student-led workshops and reading groups.

Research areas and structure

The department has an international reputation for its research concerning learning, teaching and leadership, including:

  • Curriculum leadership and innovation
  • Diversity, children’s rights
  • Early literacy, numeracy and science
  • Early years and primary / elementary education
  • Education policy and system reform
  • Inspection and accountability
  • Urban education
  • Play, creativity and the arts
  • Professional learning and research informed practice
  • School improvement
  • School and educational leadership
  • Special educational needs and inclusive education
  • Teacher development and wellbeing

Research environment

As a research student at the Department of Learning and Leadership, you can participate in the department's seminar programme which further enriches learning.  There are also seminars organised by research centres or according to interest groups. 

Since October 2014, we have also – in addition to the campus-based mode - offered the option to study online in a distance-learning mode. Choosing the distance-learning mode means that there are no residency requirements and it is not necessary to attend during doctoral study, although the viva examination is expected to take place in London. However, you are welcome to visit and use campus facilities including the library, attend seminars etc. In the first year of full-time study (and first two years of part-time study), distance learners take a series of compulsory research methods modules that are studied online. This typically involves provision of materials (articles, ebooks, videos etc.), forums to facilitate discussion of various tasks, and synchronous sessions to discuss the activities. Alongside these you will work with your supervisors on your research (e.g. using Teams/Zoom and email). In addition, there are other resources and training opportunities to support distance-learning students, e.g. sessions to develop generic skills.

Full-time

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

The IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time, and at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research student (CRS) while you finish writing your thesis.

Part-time

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

The IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time, and at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research student (CRS) while you finish writing your thesis.

Accessibility

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.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £7,580 £3,790
Tuition fees (2022/23) £18,660 £9,370

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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their thesis.

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

Applications for this programme are accepted throughout the year.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021