UCL Graduate degrees


Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy MPhil/PhD

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years
Part time: 6 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£3,870 (PT)
£25,200 (FT)
£17,170 (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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

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:


STEaPP's research spans STEM and social sciences and is concerned with the role of STEM knowledge in public decision-making at the local, national and international levels. Doctoral students typically work across two UCL departments, with a public policy focus at STEaPP and an applied methodological focus in a sister department within UCL BEAMS (the UCL Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences, and Mathematical & Physical Sciences).

Research areas

  • Development
  • Digital technologies
  • Innovation
  • Research impact
  • Risk and uncertainty
  • Science advice
  • Science diplomacy
  • Sustainability
  • Urbanisation
    More information can be found on the department website: Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy MPhil/PhD

    About this degree

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.


    Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

    CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

    Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
    Based on academic merit

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


    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.


    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 resesarch initiatives which 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.


    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.

    Why study this degree at UCL?

    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.

    Department: Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy

    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.

    Application deadlines

    All applicants
    30 July 2021

    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).

    For more information see our Applications page.

    Apply now

    UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

    Page last modified on 28 August 2021