Planning MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The School is internationally distinguished within the planning field and offers a unique hands-on learning environment for students, involving interaction with some of the leading urban planning academics and practitioners, through close supervision, creative project work and teaching innovation.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
£2,845
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£23,350
£11,860
Duration
3 calendar years
5 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 and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.

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: Standard

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

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

Research students at UCL are heavily involved in the academic life of the department, organising and contributing to seminar series, interacting with renowned academics from across the globe and adding their own expertise to the body of work that the department produces.

In order to best prepare our students for academic life we offer funds for international conference attendance, for training in teaching and research (to complement other formal training sessions offered by UCL Doctoral School) and above all else, we embed the fundamentals of academic teaching by employing our research students in the teaching of undergraduate and Master's level students.

In REF 2014 46% of The Bartlett's research was rated 4* i.e. 'world-leading', with a further 35% recognised as 3* i.e. 'internationally excellent'.* The Bartlett submitted the largest quantity of 4* world-leading research outputs (156 items) of any university submitting to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel. On 'Research Environment', which grades the 'vitality' and 'sustainability' of the research environment, the Bartlett received the highest score for submission to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel.

The foundation of your career

At The Bartlett School of Planning our research informs our teaching. The school offers a unique hands-on learning environment for students, involving interaction with some of the leading urban planning academics and practitioners, through close supervision, creative project work and teaching innovation. These are the features that distinguish the School's teaching programmes within the planning field internationally. Through our undergraduate, taught Master's and doctoral programmes, students learn in a creative and highly stimulating environment about the form, planning, design and management of cities and about how to shape their future.

Employability

Students completing a research degree have been very successful in gaining subsequent employment. Graduates typically find employment with a wide variety of public and private employers in the UK and abroad, including universities, research institutes, consultancies and government organisations.

Networking

The school offers students numerous opportunities for networking with the professional community. Engagement with practising planners on taught programmes is reinforced through contact with visiting speakers in our extensive seminar series. Careers events are attended both by past alumni who have become successful planners and by employers seeking expertise within our student body.

Teaching and learning

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.

Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.

Research areas and structure

  • Economic development: diverse aspects of the economy in complex city-regions; processes of industry clustering and innovation; local and regional economic development; impacts of multinational companies; foreign direct investment and trade openness; political economy of urban regeneration
  • Housing, society and culture: housing design, development and planning; representation of space; questions of identity and the engagement of different groups in space; housing supply; affordability; mix and social cohesion
  • Property and regeneration: inter-relationship of property markets and planning; effectiveness and sustainability of urban regeneration in the UK, Europe and internationally
  • Spatial planning: planning systems, policies and processes in the UK, Europe and beyond
  • Sustainable development: lifestyle, consumption and production; investment and property development; eco-design and planning for climate change
  • Transport and infrastructure: sustainable modes of travel; inequalities in urban and rural mobility; delivering major infrastructure projects
  • Urban design: public space design and management; the design dimension of planning; questions of form, type and quality; the value of design

Research environment

The Bartlett School of Planning at UCL is one of the oldest and most respected in the world. It benefits from its location in Bloomsbury in the heart of London and additionally, London itself serves as an ‘urban laboratory’ providing a rich resource for urban and planning research: in its role as a world city, as a political and financial centre; with its historic city core and garden suburbs, the Docklands and Olympic park regeneration areas, and within close range are historically significant new towns such as Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City.

The school’s increasingly international and inter-disciplinary staff and student body are evidence of the distinctive reputation the Bartlett School of Planning has achieved, and is a testament to the school's commitment to excellence in planning-related education and research.

The school has made major contributions to socio-spatial knowledge that ranges from understanding the fundamentals of urban form, complexity, society and development, to critiquing the processes of planning, governance, regeneration and investment, and analysing the outcomes from planning as they affect urban quality, culture, sustainability and mobility. Staff and research student projects cover a vast range of UK, European and other international contexts, and relate to both the global North and South.

A PhD at The Bartlett School of Planning will allow you to pursue original research and make a distinct and significant contribution to your field. We are committed to the quality and relevance of the research supervision we offer and as an MPhil/PhD candidate. Furthermore as a research student, you will be an integral part of our collaborative and thriving research community. An end-of-first-year PhD workshop will give you the opportunity to present and discuss your research with peers and academic colleagues. Tailored skills seminars will provide you with a supportive research environment and the critical skills necessary to undertake your research. To foster your academic development we also offer additional faculty funds, which can assist you with the costs of conferences and other research activities.

Full-time

There is no taught element to the programme, however as a first year you will usually be offered workshops that typically include the following timetabled sessions:

  • Identifying your research topic
  • Refining your research question(s), objectives and/or hypothesis/es
  • Choosing your theoretical framing
  • Thinking theoretically
  • Choosing your methods for data collection and data analysis
  • Introducing the progress review and upgrade processes
  • Relations with supervisors
  • Time management.

In addition there are a range of seminars, public lectures and training events on offer within the Bartlett School of Planning for the research student community. 

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) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £23,350 £11,860

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

As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas.

The Faculty provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition. 

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

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

Any additional funding available from the Bartett School of Planning and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

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

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL's Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).

Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.

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