Lifelong Health MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Based within UCL's MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing (MRC LHA), this programme is for students who would like to conduct research around the biological and social factors that affect lifelong health, ageing and the development of chronic disease. The programme is funded by the Medical Research Council.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar 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

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject or a medical degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or a recognised taught Master's degree.

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

The MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing (MRC LHA) is part of the Department of Population Science and Experimental Medicine, within the Institute of Cardiovascular Science.

The MRC LHA aims to be at the forefront of population ageing research across the life course, exploiting both the wealth of cohort resource and expertise at UCL, including quantitative social science strengths at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, cohort current and future multi-omic characterisation, and our detailed phenotyping capabilities.

Who this course is for

This programme provides training for those looking for a career in cardiovascular science research, either in academia, a clinical setting or in industry. It is offer full time or part time, the latter option being suitable for those continue in employment while gaining a research qualification.

What this course will give you

This degree is fully MRC funded and provides a unique opportunity to work with leads in the field in Lifelong Health and Ageing (UCL's MC LHS research Group). UCL remains one of the world's leading universities and has one of the largest and most dynamic cardiovascular research bases in the UK. As a student, you will be based within UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science (ICS), a unique environment in which to study the biological and social mechanisms operating across the life course in relation to the life course and age-related disease. Our breadth allows engagement with colleagues with professional experience in genetic epidemiology, MRI imaging, (access to experts in brain and cardiovascular imaging), basic science expertise (in collaboration with the Institute of Healthy Ageing), big data and quantitative social science (Centre for Longitudinal Studies).

The foundation of your career


As well as post-doctoral fellowships (UK and abroad) ICS PhD graduates have gone on to form start-up companies, work for research organisations, teach, and work for Research Councils.


ICS runs symposia and local seminars that attract high-profile national and international external speakers. There is an annual careers event for students, which includes alumni, industry, healthcare and scientific publishing representatives. In addition, our academics have numerous national and international collaborations with academic and commercial organisations. Together with the student-led ICS postgraduate society, these provide students with broad opportunities for networking and career development.

Teaching and learning

PhD final assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your ability to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.

Your thesis must also represent your distinct and significant contribution to the subject, either through the discovery of new knowledge, through the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of a new theory, or the revision of older views.

Your thesis should reflect the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both your own work and that of other scholars in the field.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva. For a successful upgrade to PhD, you prepare a written report, give an oral presentation and pass an oral examination.

For a PhD award, you are examined on your submitted thesis, this involves a viva (an oral exam) with two independent examiners.

Research areas and structure

Main lines of research involved in the programme:

  • Cardiology/cardiovascular science
  • Musculoskeletal metabolism
  • Acute illness and chronic function
  • Genetic epidemiology or bioinformatics
  • Quantitative social science
  • Neurovascular imaging
  • Chronic disease epidemiology
  • Life course statistics and/or causal analysis

The length of registration for the research degree programme is 3 years for full-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. For a successful upgrade to PhD, students prepare a written report, give an oral presentation and pass an oral examination.

Within three months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method(s) and a realistic plan of work, and to present this plan to your Thesis Committee. In addition, throughout your research degree, you will be required to undertake skills training via the Doctoral Skills Development Programme.

Students are regularly monitored to ensure that they are making good progress, and that supervisory arrangements are satisfactory to both the student and supervisor. Once the student has completed their research and submitted their thesis, they have a viva (an oral exam) with two examiners.

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within three years. Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) if you are not ready to submit your thesis at this point.


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
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000

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

This programme is funded by the Medical Research Council.

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

Please follow our application guidelines

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.

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: 2023-2024

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