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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
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 a half-day 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 towards 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 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.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Full tuition fees and accommodation (Up to 4 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 UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021), the institute was ranked first for education for the eighth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), we were number one for education research strength, with more world-leading researchers in education than any other UK University. A quarter of UK education research is carried out at the IOE and we are home to many prestigious research centres and projects.
Doctoral students at the IOE have access to the wider UCL community as well as the education cluster constituting the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership. The Institute’s programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.