Statistical Science MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The automation of manufacturing and service sectors is facilitated by advances in computing; however, this transition towards data-driven decision making requires more sophisticated use of statistics. Analysing larger volumes of data creates both challenges that can be addressed by existing statistical methods and also opportunities for the development of novel algorithms.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
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

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree, or a UK Master's degree in statistics, mathematics, computer science or a related quantitative discipline. Overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard are also acceptable.

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: Standard

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 demand for numerate graduates exceeds the supply in most areas. Many new and existing opportunities in industry, medicine, government, commerce, or research await science graduates who have supplemented their first degree with additional training in quantitative skills, such as those provided by the postgraduate programmes available within the Department of Statistical Science.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

While the department offers world-class expertise along with strong links to practitioners, its position within UCL provides breadth. Besides ties to other mathematical sciences, the department collaborates with researchers in engineering, management, and medicine. The opportunity to engage with leading researchers across disciplines while accessing London-based government and industry figures gives UCL students a distinct advantage.

More intangibly, by being in a truly multidisciplinary environment, UCL students gain an appreciation for knowledge and its societal impact. This leads not only to new insights but also to a readiness to critique the established order, which is both intellectually and personally fulfilling.

The foundation of your career


Graduates of the PhD programme are well placed to continue as researchers in both academia and the private sector. In particular, greater data collection has created a demand for enhanced methodologies for analysis, which is a strength of most recent graduates.


The department has strong connections with a number of inter-disciplinary research organisations (for example the UCL Centre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML), the UCL Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX), the Centre for Doctoral Training in Financial Computing & Data Science, the UCL Energy Institute, and the Alan Turing Institute). Staff members also collaborate directly with hospitals, power companies, government regulators, and the financial sector. Consequently, research students have ample opportunity to engage with external institutions in order to frame their work.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

The department’s methodological research is organised into six themes:

  • Biostatistics
  • Computational statistics
  • Economics, finance and business
  • General theory and methodology
  • Multivariate and high dimensional data
  • Stochastic modelling and time series

Research often cuts across these themes. For example, externally funded projects in the following application areas are in progress:

  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Ecology
  • Econometrics and finance
  • Epidemology
  • Environmetrics and hydrology
  • Machine learning
  • Population and systems biology
  • Statistical imaging

Much of this work is interdisciplinary and involves collaborations within and outside UCL.

Research environment

The Department of Statistical Science has played a major role in the development of the subject since its foundation in 1911 as the first department of statistics in the world, with Karl Pearson as its head. Since then, many famous names in statistics have been associated with the department, including Egon Pearson, R. A. Fisher and Jerzy Neyman. Today the Department is among the three largest statistics groups in the UK with more than 30 academic members of staff and a research grant income of over seven million pounds.

A particular feature of Statistical Science is its applicability to practical problems.  This is reflected in the wide range of current application areas, including cognitive neuroscience, ecology, econometrics, finance, epidemiology, environmetrics, machine learning, population and systems biology, statistical imaging, energy economics.  Much of this work is interdisciplinary, involving collaborations within and outside UCL. You will have the opportunity to present your research at external conferences and our student-run departmental PhD conference and can gain valuable experience by teaching on our taught course programmes.

The department has strong connections with inter-disciplinary research organisations, such as the UCL Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX), the Centre for Doctoral Training in Financial Computing & Data Science, the UCL Energy Institute and the Alan Turing Institute.  Staff members also collaborate directly with hospitals, power companies, government regulators, and the financial sector. 


You are initially registered for the MPhil degree. No sooner than nine months after registration, you are transferred to the PhD degree with retrospective effect if you show a capacity for original work. This will require the preparation of a substantial upgrade report describing the existing work in the area of investigation, giving details of the original work that you have performed so far, and setting out a plan for the remaining period of your research. It will also involve a viva.

The typical length of the PhD programme is three years for full-time students and five years for part-time students; an MPhil might be achievable in less.  If you are not ready to submit at the end of the third year, you may be able to register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis.

The MPhil/PhD has no required curriculum. However, you are expected to agree on a customised programme of study with your supervisor, which may involve specialisation courses (either at UCL or externally, for example, at the London Taught Course Centre or Academy for PhD Training in Statistics) or independent reading. Attendance at research seminars is encouraged, and after you have been upgraded to PhD status you are required to present your research in a seminar stream dedicated to this purpose. Finally, the UCL Doctoral School has its own requirements for training courses.  In particular, you are required to attend Research Integrity Training.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble 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 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £23,420 £11,720

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:

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific 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

Research Council funding may be available for UK and Overseas nationals. Other funding opportunities may also be available. For details visit

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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Value: Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit 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.

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