Medicine MBPhD

London, Bloomsbury

The MBPhD allows students taking a five-year Primary Medical Qualification (MBBS, MBChB, etc.) to conduct a major research project and gain a PhD while continuing clinical tuition. The programme combines clinical training in medicine and research training in biomedicine and produces clinically qualified academics who will comprise the future generation of clinician scientists.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Fees to be confirmed
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Fees to be confirmed
3 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 01 Dec 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

The research element of the programme starts in September, following successful completion of MBBS Year 4.

Entry requirements

The programme is only available to students who are currently undertaking a primary medical qualification (MBBS, MBChB or equivalent) at a UK medical school.

At the point of application, candidates will have completed at least the first two years of a full five years' primary medical qualification and have achieved or be expected to achieve an upper-second or first-class honours degree (or iBSc). The candidate must satisfy the UCL MBBS academic and non-academic entry requirements.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

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 MBPhD programme enables medical students to combine a PhD with their clinical education. It provides a unique structure for working across traditional boundaries between the laboratory bench and the clinical bedside.

The programme sits between Year 4 and Year 5 of the MBBS programme. After completing Year 4 of the MBBS programme at UCL, MBPhD students switch to full-time research studies for three years. Students re-enter MBBS Years 5 and 6 after submitting their thesis.

Students register for the PhD in the Division of Medicine but may be working in other world-class departments in UCL (e.g. Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Division of Infection and Immunity and Institute of Neurology), the Francis Crick Institute or the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre. This assembly of biomedical scientists generates a vibrant, active, and stimulating environment and provides opportunities to undertake research in a wide range of contemporary fields.

Many students choose to undertake research in an area they have first explored during their iBSc or during a clinical placement. We provide a structured programme of continuing medical education in clinical medicine and surgery during their PhD studies. A fortnightly Journal Club helps our students maintain their clinical knowledge and develop critical thinking and presentation skills.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

  • Association with world-renowned hospitals (Royal Free Hospital London and University College London Hospitals) where much of our translational and clinical research is carried out.
  • A training environment that fosters collaboration across the interface of basic science with clinical medicine and its practice within our associated hospitals.
  • An entire range of activities, including supervised research opportunities and mentorship during the PhD to ensure continued links with the MBBS course. We monitor progression to help you towards timely completion, teaching engagement with extensive collaboration and network participation.
  • High completion rates of over 95%. Graduates have progressed into a variety of careers and roughly two thirds (65%) are engaged in both research and clinical activities in their professional careers.

The foundation of your career

Typical MBPhD graduates are slightly more mature than regular MBBS graduates. Their strong background in basic human biology with excellent presentation and problem-solving skills makes them excellent doctors who are welcomed throughout primary and secondary care in the UK and beyond.

In later years, they are particularly well-qualified for clinical research fellow posts and as academic specialty registrars/clinical lecturers where their scientific background gives them a head start over medical graduates without research training.

Many previous MBPhD students who were trained at UCL have since been recipients of major clinical science and research fellowships and progressed to senior clinical academic roles within universities and the NHS.


The intense research background makes MBPhD graduates highly eligible for careers not only in academic medicine, but also in industry, in health policy, and in the financial services industry.

Our graduates usually find employment in the NHS, universities, research institutes, the pharmaceutical industry, and with private sector employers. They usually pursue careers that have research and innovation as a central theme.

Most of our alumni enjoy clinical work as well as informing their academic pursuits. Roughly two thirds are engaged in both research and clinical activities in their professional careers, with a large proportion occupying either full-time NHS clinical or clinical academic research posts.

Most graduates proceed from medical school into junior doctor training posts, often in the 'Academic Foundation' higher stream. They later branch out into different medical specialties with varying involvement in fundamental science and translational research.


Studying clinical medicine at UCL will introduce you to many first-rate consultants and trainee doctors. You may also conduct your research in a laboratory with access to scientists working on cutting-edge research.

There are regular opportunities for scientific collaboration across London and in other parts of the UK and Europe. We encourage students to attend conferences and broaden their networks.

All students are expected to engage in departmental and faculty activities, including attendance and participation at seminars and meetings (with internal and external guest speakers), local workshops and networking events. The annual MBPhD symposium is an important gathering of students from across the scheme to provide progress talks, poster presentations and to network with colleagues and peers.

Teaching and learning

Students are initially registered for an MPhil degree. Upgrade to PhD registration is typically assessed via a written report and oral exam.

Research areas and structure

Research environment

The Division of Medicine is the largest department in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, forming one of the most sizeable concentrations of biomedical scientists in Europe in one of the world's leading universities. There are over 150 principal investigators (fundamental basic scientists and clinical academics) across eight research departments. Our clinical academics are active as physicians in partner hospitals, with national and international standing in major medical specialities. In the REF 2021 Clinical Medicine unit of assessment, we are first in the UK for our impact and research environment.

The Division of Medicine offers a broad range of basic and translational research training opportunities under the supervision of academics who are world experts in their fields. Collaborative interactions between scientists, clinicians and healthcare industries at national and international levels provide excellent networking and potential future career opportunities.

Over the first few months, you discuss and agree a deliverable plan and timeline for your research project with your supervisor(s). This plan can be revised as new results are obtained.

After around 12 months, you undergo an assessment to upgrade from MPhil to PhD registration. This is formed of a written report and oral exam following an upgrade presentation. You are also expected to keep up with clinical activities (approx. six half-days per year) alongside your research.

You will receive regular guidance and support from project supervisors and from an independent thesis committee across the full registration period.

You are expected to complete your PhD within three years and to submit your thesis by the end of July of the third year.


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) Fees to be confirmed
Tuition fees (2023/24) Fees to be confirmed

Additional costs

There are no additional costs associated with 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

The MBPhD years are funded by studentships from various sources, comprising a stipend, UK level tuition fees, and consumables. Many of these are charitable and may specify an area of interest for the research project.

You do not need to have funding in place prior to applying for the MBPhD programme. Successful applicants and their supervisors will be given guidance on potential funders.

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

You should apply for the MBPhD in the year before you begin MBBS Year 4 (or equivalent). For most students, this will be during the intercalated BSc year.

You will be applying to begin the PhD after MBBS Year 4 (i.e. September of the following academic year).

External students must transfer to UCL for MBBS Year 4. After completing Year 4, you switch to the PhD, before later completing MBBS Years 5 and 6 at UCL.

Applications are open annually from January until the end of March, with interviews in May, for a September start. An application form and further details are available on our website.

This programme requires at least two references. Further information can be found on the MBPhD application form.

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.

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.