Social Science MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The MPhil/PhD at the Social Research Institute provides a route for students to carry out their own research project within a multidisciplinary and multi-method environment. Our research students engage with the academic community within UCL and benefit from a comprehensive research training programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£7,580
£3,790
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£21,200
£10,600
Duration
3 calendar years
5 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

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.

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: Level 4

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

The Social Research Institute is one of the largest multidisciplinary social science research and teaching centres in London. Our staff include sociologists, psychologists, social scientists and economists. We have research-active staff able to supervise research in our key areas of expertise.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

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. We are home to many prestigious research centres and projects. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2022), the Institute was ranked first for education for the ninth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), we were ranked first for research strength and research power in Education, according to the Elsevier REF 2021 Results Analysis Tool. We attract extensive research funding each year and host many prestigious research centres and projects.

Doctoral students at 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.

The foundation of your career

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

Employability

Social Science doctoral graduates are found in a variety of occupational fields and a wide range of career paths including social research, media research, marketing research, human resources, government, health, policy development, charities, education, NGOs, youth work and managerial posts in business and retail.

Networking

The Social Research Institute has a wide range of research seminars where students can join discussion of our ongoing projects, and IOE is the base for national and international conferences. The Centre for Doctoral Education holds two annual conferences for doctoral students. There are also opportunities for students to offer specialist reading groups and workshops and to act as facilitators on courses within the research training programme.

Teaching and learning

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

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.

Research areas and structure

Our expertise at the Social Research Institute covers the following specialising fields:

  • Children’s rights and advocacy; childhood studies; child development; children in care; maternal and child health; reproductive health; health behaviours; health promotion
  • Families; family formation; parenting; work and family life; fatherhood; motherhood; food practices
  • Gender; sexualities and intimate lives
  • Longitudinal analysis; cohort studies cross-cohort and international comparisons
  • Lifecourse transitions; intergenerational studies; demography; youth and young adulthood
  • Social inequalities; intergenerational and intragenerational social mobility 
  • Education; skills and employment; labour market behaviour
  • Migration; transnational families; sociology of religion; culture and ethnicity
  • Cultural and social psychology
  • Political sociology and the study of social movements
  • Advanced qualitative and quantitative methods; mixed methods and visual methods
  • Systematic reviews of research evidence; study of how research evidence is used in policy, practice and decision making 
  • Time use research; time use data to study social life, gender, work/family balance, family and economics

Research environment

The Social Research Institute (SRI) is one of the leading centres in the UK for multidisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences. With more than 180 academic, research and professional staff, we work to advance knowledge and inform policy in areas including gender, families, education, employment, migration, inequalities, public health, health and child/adult wellbeing. At SRI, our postgraduate research students from all over the world work alongside supervisory teams, staff and current students. Students work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research; supervisors also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support progress towards completion of the final thesis. We offer a wide range of seminars and teaching opportunities. As research students, you will have opportunities to organise your own reading groups, workshops, and seminars, working with other research students in other departments in IOE and UCL.

In addition to the campus-based mode, we offer the option to study online in a distance-learning mode. Choosing the distance-learning mode means that there are no residency requirements and it is not necessary to attend during doctoral study, the viva examination take place in-person at UCL or online. However, you are welcome to visit and use campus facilities including the library, attend seminars etc. In the first year of full-time study (and first two years of part-time study), distance learners take a series of compulsory research methods modules that are studied online. This typically involves provision of materials (articles, ebooks, videos etc.), forums to facilitate discussion of various tasks, and synchronous sessions to discuss the activities. Alongside these you will work with your supervisors on your research (e.g. using Teams/Zoom and email). In addition, there are other resources and training opportunities to support distance-learning students, e.g. sessions to develop generic skills.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

The Centre for Doctoral Education at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil minimum 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, 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. 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.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you finish writing your thesis.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 5 years for part-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Part-time students are required to fulfil minimum 12 ‘points’ of training activity in each year of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, 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. 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.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you finish writing your thesis.

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 (2023/24) £7,580 £3,790
Tuition fees (2023/24) £21,200 £10,600

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

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their thesis.

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

UCL Graduate Research Scholarships & UCL Overseas Research Scholarships https://www.ucl.ac.uk/economics/study/postgraduate/funding/funding/ucl-research-scholarships-grs-and-ors

ESRC UBEL DTP (SRI leads on Social Policy, Quantitative  Social Science, IOE leads on Education) https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/

Please note, calls for the above scholarship applications are generally advertised once a year during the Autumn term with deadlines often coming in January. We recommend getting in touch with potential supervisors well ahead of the deadlines.  

For a more comprehensive list of funding opportunities check here https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/

 

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

Applications for this programme are accepted throughout the year. It is highly recommended that students start their programme at the beginning of the academic year (usually the end of September-beginning of October). Two supervisors must be identified and agreed upon prior to submitting a formal application. To identify potential supervisors, check the areas of research interest of staff from the departmental staff lists https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/departments-and-centres/departments/ucl-social-research-institute/

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.