The UCL Research Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (NPP) brings together scientists undertaking world-leading interdisciplinary research into the nervous system, from molecules and synapses to circuits and behaviour. The department has an outstanding academic reputation and its links with other universities and industry provide strong support for our postgraduate research students’ networking and employment prospects.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
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: Good
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.
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.
Select your country:
Students joining NPP enter this outstanding postgraduate training environment. NPP brings together scientists working in world-leading interdisciplinary research specialities related to structure and function of single molecules, synaptic signalling in the nervous system, understanding of circuits in the brain underlying behaviour, pain and inflammation, metabolic disorders and the function of channels and transporters in cell membranes. Academic research in NPP is conducted at molecular, cellular, organismal and systems levels and may involve animal models of disease or studies in humans.
- Cellular, molecular and structural neuroscience: synaptic transmission and ligand-gated ion channels; transporters; G-protein coupled receptors and signalling pathways; voltage- and calcium-gated ion channels
- Systems and translational neuroscience: neuronal network behaviour; pain; in vivo patch electrophysiology; optogenetics
- Intercellular signalling: inflammation; cardiovascular system.
About this degree
Occasionally students undertake research-specific placements in Industry or in collaborator research laboratories as part of their programme. Some of these are funded by the prestigious Bogue Fellowship programme.
Additional Fee Element - (AFE)
Research programmes at UCL may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (AFE). The AFE is applied to cover additional costs related to consumables, equipment and materials and other items (excluding student visas) which are not included in the composite tuition fee listed in the fees schedule and is, therefore, applied to a minority of programmes.
As each PhD programme is unique in its nature, the AFE is calculated on a student by student basis and is determined by the supervisor. The AFE is banded into four fixed amounts: £1,000, £2,500, £5,000 and £10,000, with one further band for variable sums over £10,000. Please contact your supervisor directly for advice on whether or not your programme will include an AFE.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
NPP is part of the Division of Biosciences where we have a MRC four-year programme; MRC CASE studentships, BBSRC four-year PhD, BBSRC CASE three- and four-year studentships; NERC; and others.
There may also be funding opportunities through individual research grants and Charity studentships as well as through other programmes such as those offered by CoMPLEX, UCL Excellence studentships.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Recent graduates have taken up research positions in academia, including at UCL; Imperial College London; Oxford University; Queen Mary, University of London; University of California, Los Angeles; Kuwait University; Rockefeller University, New York; or within organisations such as the Max Planck Society, Cancer Research UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Others are employed as senior scientists or medical writers within industry, as teachers or as editors with publishers.
Postgraduate education at NPP provides an excellent scientific background accompanied by an impressive set of transferable skills, including analytical, presentation and communication skills. This, together with the outstanding reputation of UCL research in neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology and collaborative links with other major academic institutions and companies, provide numerous opportunities for our PhD students to find top science jobs in academia and industry. Additionally, NPP postgraduates have transferred the excellent skills acquired in NPP to the fields of consultancy, patent law, scientific publishing and teaching.
NPP PhD students take an active role in the department, participating in the seminar series that includes outstanding guests from the UK and abroad. PhD students are encouraged to propose speakers and host events. Additionally, PhD students organise regular meetings, where they informally discuss their research and invite speakers from different fields (academia, industry, consultancy companies, charities, publishers, etc) to gain insight on various career options. During the coronavirus these events have been organised online where possible. Students also give presentations at national and international meetings, which in most cases include networking events.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The department has a world-leading reputation for research in neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology, being ranked the highest in its sector in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
We live in a period of astonishing growth of understanding in the interrelated fields of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology. There is a vital need for well-trained researchers in these fields in order to achieve advances in medicine so that society can face the challenges of illness in the future with confidence.
Department: Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology
What our students and staff say
"The environment at UCL for research in my field (neuroscience) is unparalleled. Across UCL, there is not only tremendous breadth in neuroscience (molecular, cellular, systems, cognitive, computational), but also amazing depth. UCL's neuroscience community is so large and so diverse that even after 10 years at UCL I am still discovering colleagues here whose work is somehow directly relevant to my own."
Dr Jennifer LindenI supervise PhD and MSc students from the Ear Institute and also from the departments of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology; Cell and Developmental Biology; Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences; and the Institute of Ophthalmology. I also teach topics related to hearing on MSc and BSc modules in many of these departments.
Reader in Neuroscience
Application and next steps
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed below) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
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