Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Doctoral study at UCL's Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Public Policy (STEaPP) offers the opportunity to become a world-class interdisciplinary researcher at the interface of science and public policy. Students investigate and experiment with the ways science and engineering knowledge shapes decision-making and helps to address today's major global challenges.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
£3,985
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£25,960
£17,690
Duration
4 calendar years
6 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 Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, 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: 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.

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

Doctoral study at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Public Policy (STEaPP) offers the opportunity to become a world-class interdisciplinary researcher at the interface of science and public policy. Candidates investigate and experiment with the ways science and engineering knowledge shapes decision-making and helps to address today’s major global challenges.

Research at UCL STEaPP is focused on co-production: we bring together academic, governmental, civil society and industry partners to tackle the pressing opportunities and challenges facing our societies today. Doctoral research is embedded within the different research groups. STEaPP draws together expertise on the technical and analytic tools of the natural and engineering sciences, as well as the frameworks of social/political science and policy analysis that help illuminate and understand the societal systems through which knowledge flows (or doesn’t) and in which it is used (or not).

 

Who this course is for

Doctoral degrees at UCL STEaPP start in September. There is a rolling application deadline, but the application deadline for places with departmental funding is usually in February (please check the departmental website for actual deadlines). Note that places may be very limited for applications after this early deadline (depending, among other factors, on the availability of supervisors).

What this course will give you

UCL STEaPP aims to be a global leader engaged in exploring, experimenting with, and improving the ways in which scientific and engineering expertise and knowledge inform public decision-making and policy processes, across all levels, sectors and cultures of our interdependent societies.

STEaPP's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a training pathway for doctoral candidates aspiring to a policy-oriented career, as academic or practitioner, or both. Candidates are expected to undertake original academic research.

The foundation of your career

Students acquire a body of knowledge on the role of science, engineering and technology in public policy decision-making, together with solid training in research methods and designing and executing research initiatives that are relevant and usable for external partners. This skill-set is ideal for a career path either as an academic or a senior-level scientific adviser.

Employability

The PhD aims to foster world-class interdisciplinary researchers. Graduates may choose to concentrate on an academic career or are likely to be attractive to employers as scientific advisers.

Networking

UCL STEaPP's approach emphasises impact-oriented research and designing and executing research initiatives together with academic, policy and industry partners. The department collaborates, experiments and engages with key international stakeholders such as the World Bank, UN-Habitat, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (which became part of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since July 2016) and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, as well as local communities and non-governmental organisations.

Teaching and learning

Students are expected to undertake training elements (eight taught modules).

The programme consists of six core training elements (modules from STEaPP), two specialisation training elements (modules from STEaPP or a sister department with UCL BEAMS), a pilot project and a dissertation.

The PhD is a supervised research degree in which candidates carry out research under the guidance of two supervisors (one from STEaPP and one from a sister department within UCL BEAMS). The dissertation is between 60,000 and 100,000 words in length.

PhD candidates will also take professional and transferable skills modules and research ethics training alongside innovative modules on the role of science, engineering and technology in public policy.

Research areas and structure

  • Development
  • Digital technologies
  • Innovation
  • Research impact
  • Risk and uncertainty
  • Science advice
  • Science diplomacy
  • Sustainability
  • Urbanisation

    Research environment

    Research areas include development, digital technologies, innovation, research impact, risk and uncertainty, science advice, science diplomacy, sustainability and urbanisation.

    Academic staff – and doctoral candidates – within STEaPP are also strongly encouraged to develop collaborations with colleagues from other UCL departments and research units. A Subsidiary Supervisor from another BEAMS department is for instance required for each candidate.

    Full-time

    STEaPP’s Doctoral Training Programme consists of two routes, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) route and the Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) route. In the PhD route, candidates reside at UCL, except for their ‘fieldwork’ in policy-oriented organisations, and produce a thesis within four years (full-time) or six years (part-time). At the progression/upgrade viva (before 24 months for full-time programme), candidates are expected to defend their ‘pilot study’ and thesis proposal.

    The academic requirement for the PhD is to produce a PhD thesis (maximum length: 100,000 words).

    PhD candidates are expected to follow eight modules as training elements. Six of these modules are standardised compulsory modules for all candidates and are taken in year one (Literature Review, Parts A and B; Research Methods; Knowledge Systems, Public Policy and Management; Books Seminar, Parts A and B). The remaining two modules are specialisation modules, which can be taken in any year of the programme.

    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 £3,985
    Tuition fees (2022/23) £25,960 £17,690

    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

    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

    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

    Doctoral degrees at UCL STEaPP start in September. There is a rolling application deadline, but the application deadline for places with departmental funding is usually in February (please check the departmental website for actual deadlines). Note that places may be very limited for applications after this early deadline (depending, among other factors, on the availability of supervisors).

    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