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 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019

Tuition fees (2020/21)

£7,160 (FT)
£3,580 (PT)
£17,590 (FT)
£8,840 (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 a Master’s degree from a UK university in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed, or a qualification of equivalent standard appropriate to the programme to be followed awarded by a university (or educational institution of university rank) outside the UK. The majority of our successful applicants hold a Merit at Master’s level, and may have additional relevant experience. Students without a Master’s degree who have completed the UCL PGDip in Social Science Research Methods, obtaining a grade B or above in any two or more modules, may also be considered for admission to this programme.

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:


Students on the MPhil/PhD programme carry out research in the areas of developmental psychology (particularly in relation to education), mental health, special educational needs (SEN) and educational neuroscience.  Potential candidates are advised to explore UCL IRIS and the Psychology and Human Development department website to identify appropriate supervisors before submitting an application. 

We offer the largest group of psychologists in the UK dedicated to research in education, child and adolescent development. Neuroscience is at the cutting edge of psychology and we work in partnership with colleagues in UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Birkbeck to extend our reach in this area.

Research areas

  • Mental health in relation to education and SEN
  • Psychology and typical development, including classroom practices and their relationship with learning and the role of families, schools and neighbourhoods in emotional and behavioural development
  • SEN and atypical development areas of autism, eating disorders, hearing and visual impairment, perception disorders, Williams and Downs syndromes, sleep disorders, language, literacy and numeracy difficulties, learning difficulties and youth offending
  • Educational neuroscience, with a focus on neurocognitive processes underpinning learning
  • Behavioural and molecular genetics
  • International education development in collaboration with the London International Development Centre
  • Methodological expertise in experimental designs, longitudinal secondary data analysis, quantitative and qualitative methods

The following research centres and labs are of particular relevance:

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

About this degree

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

There are two compulsory courses, one which provides an introduction to doctoral study and the other which offers an overview of information and digital literacies needed for doctoral study; these run a few times each year in both face-to-face and online formats to ensure that they are available to all students. 

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil 20 ‘points’ 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 UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, the IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately one hour of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Part-time students fulfil 12 units of training activity a year. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count as research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

The Core Course on doctoral study 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.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE-ISH Centenary Doctoral Scholarships

Deadline: Monday 25 May 2020 (5pm London time).
Full tuition fees and accommodation (3 years)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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'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, the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the University of East London that form the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership.

Students will work closely with one or more specialist supervisors and in some cases be part of a group (Lab or Centre) 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

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Page last modified on 1 September 2020