UCL Graduate degrees


Psychology and Human Development MPhil/PhD

This MPhil/PhD programme provides a route for students to carry out their own research project: an investigation that will eventually contribute to the field of knowledge within the educational and social sciences. Students will work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research. Supervisors will also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support students' progress towards the completion of their thesis.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £6,960 (FT) £3,475 (PT)
Overseas: £16,490 (FT) £8,260 (PT)

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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

The normal minimum requirement is an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, or an equivalent professional qualification. The majority of our successful applicants also hold a Master's degree with Merit (or equivalent), and would have relevant experience.

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

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

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:


Our profile as a department focuses principally on psychology (particularly in relation to education) and special educational needs (SEN). Educational neuroscience is being developed within our psychology interests.

Our psychology profile is distinctive, offering the largest coherent group of psychologists in the UK working in the area of education, child and adolescent development. Neuroscience is at the cutting edge of psychology and we are working in partnership with colleagues in UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Birkbeck to extend our reach in this developing area.

Research areas

Our core areas of expertise include:

  • Psychology and typical development, focussing on classroom practices and their relationship with learning (science, mathematics, literacy, class size, grouping practices, deployment of teaching assistants, motivation)
  • Educational neuroscience
  • SEN and atypical development areas of autism, emotional disorders, hearing impairment, disorders of perception, Williams and Downs syndrome, sleep disorders, language difficulties, learning difficulties, literacy difficulties, numeracy difficulties, visual impairment and youth offending
  • Methodological expertise in experimental designs, longitudinal secondary data analysis, quantitative and some qualitative methods.

The following research centres are of particular relevance:

More information can be found on the department website: Psychology and Human Development MPhil/PhD

Degree structure

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

There is one compulsory course, which provides an introduction to doctoral study; this runs four times each year, in a variety of formats to ensure that it is available to all students. 

Full time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 units 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 IOE Research Training Programme, each unit being worth approximately one hour of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part time students fulfil 10 units of training activity a year. Students may take additional training courses from the Programme, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisor.

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. 

Additional courses may be found at the Doctoral Skills Development website.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Doctoral Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Psychology doctoral graduates progress to a range of career paths in: academia (both as university teachers and researchers); local and national government contexts supporting work related to education and psychology in the fields of policy and planning; school leadership; public sector research.


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


The Department of Psychology and Human Development offers a regular seminar series on a wide range of topics and each of the centres have separate specialist seminars. Doctoral students participate in active student seminar groups and we also hold specific support working seminars for doctoral students to enhance presentation skills before upgrades and vivas. We encourage our students to present at the two annual conferences for IOE doctoral students as well as other specialist conferences outside the UCL and IOE.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The MPhil/PhD programme, which is ESRC recognised, is situated within the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)'s Centre for Doctoral Education, which offers a comprehensive Research Training Programme. Our doctoral students are also part of the wider UCL community, with connections to the vibrant network of colleges, including the School of Oriental and African Studies, Birkbeck, and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, that form the UBEL Doctoral Training Centre.

Students will work closely with one or more specialist supervisors and in some cases be part of a group (Lab or Center) which will support them to develop each stage of their research; have access to specialist research seminars across all IOE and UCL departments; and join a vibrant and active community of doctoral students.

Department: Psychology & Human Development

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.

Application deadlines

This programme can be studied both face-to-face and online. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information