Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Speech, Hearing, and Phonetic Sciences (SHaPS) is an international leader in the study of the perception and production of speech. Our graduates work in academia, industry, and the health and public sectors. We enjoy links to researchers around the world, as well as co-operation with major cochlear implant manufacturers and speech technology companies.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
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

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or a Master's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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 department combines basic research into the mechanisms of speech and hearing with applications to speech technology and hearing impairment, and takes an interdisciplinary approach to this work including Linguistics and Experimental Psychology.

Our methodologies include behavioural experimentation; neuroimaging, neurostimulation and neurophysiology; acoustic and articulatory measurement of speech production; and computational modelling and machine learning.

We test early development (infants and children) as well as normal adults and aging; normal hearing, hearing impairment, and speech in noise; first and second language learning and bilingualism; comparisons across languages and accents; and evolution of sound systems over time.

Who this course is for

If you meet the entry requirements, it is important to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take MPhil/PhD students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.

You can learn more about our research themes and the projects within these themes in our Research section.

What this course will give you

SHaPS focuses on speech research within an interdisciplinary context, with strong links to UCL Linguistics, Language and Cognition, Experimental Psychology, the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and UCL Ear Institute, as well as international and industrial collaborations. The department shares state-of-the-art laboratories, including facilities for adult and infant EEG, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and eye tracking.

The foundation of your career

Recent graduates have secured academic teaching and research positions in speech, hearing science, and phonetics at UK and international universities, and at leading companies in the speech technology industry.


Our programme is distinctive in terms of the depth and variety of approaches to speech research, which gives our graduates varied employment opportunities in teaching, research, health and industry.


We have strong collaborative links with external research groups, clinicians, and industry. Students are encouraged to attend and present at departmental seminars, as well as participate in international conferences and workshops.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

  • Speech perception and production from infancy through later adulthood
  • EEG, TMS and fMRI investigations of speech perception, production and hearing
  • Hearing impairment and auditory prostheses for speech communication
  • Speaker recognition and paralinguistics
  • Sociophonetic analyses of accent change and development
  • Second-language learning and bilingualism
  • Quantitative modelling of tone, intonation, and rhythm
  • Models of the relationship between speech articulation and acoustics
  • Structural and kinematic characteristics of speech production

The full-time PhD typically lasts for 3 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student, and if the thesis is not submitted within this time then students may register as Completing Research Students (CRS) for 1 additional year.

Part-time students are normally required to be registered for 5 years, with 2 additional years as Completing Research Students (CRS) if needed.


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) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £24,200 £12,100

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

This programme has no 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

Applications for UCL competitive funding must arrive by late December/early January for entry in September/October the following year. See Graduate Research (GRS) and Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS).

You are strongly advised to contact and work with your potential supervisor when completing your application for funding. ESRC funding is available for three-year MPhil/PhD scholarships and for 1+3 scholarships that include a year of Master's study.

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

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department as early as possible to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

To be considered for competitive funding awarded by UCL application forms must arrive by late December or early January for a start date the following September.

Please contact potential supervisors and the department in the Autumn to discuss application procedures and deadlines for all of the funding opportunities. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by early January, but later applications can also be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible and not later than 30 June for September entry.

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

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