UCL Energy Institute MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

UCL Energy Institute delivers world-leading learning, research and policy support on the challenges of climate change and energy security. Our multidisciplinary research programme and strong industry links provide an excellent foundation for your Energy PhD study. Our graduates are employed by the world's foremost academic, industry and governmental institutions.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
October 2024
February 2025
May 2025
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Research degree students start their programme in BSEER in September or January each academic year. Starting at other times is by exception where a strong justification is made.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.

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.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place. Please note that ATAS processing times can take up to six months, so we recommend you consider these timelines when submitting your application to UCL.

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

Most energy problems are multidisciplinary in nature, spanning science, engineering and the social sciences. UCL Energy Institute brings together different perspectives in energy demand, energy supply, and energy systems research, transcending boundaries between academic disciplines to create world-leading research and policy support on the challenges of climate change, energy security, and social justice. 

As an MPhil or PhD student with us, you will conduct your own original energy related research. If you have a research idea that falls within our research themes, an MPhil/PhD at UCL Energy Institute could be the right path for you. To get started with your application, follow the four step process on our ‘How to apply for an Energy MPhil/PhD’ page.

Who this course is for

This MPhil/PhD is for applicants with a strong interest or background in energy issues who want to do multi-disciplinary research to solve societal problems and explore innovative solutions. For example, if your energy interests are at the intersection of policy and science; engineering and economics; or the social sciences and technology, this PhD could be for you. It is suitable for both recent Master’s graduates as well as early or mid-career professionals.

What this course will give you

Studying with us is about excelling at your own field of study, being exposed to new perspectives and methodologies, and developing communication and networking skills. PhD students are core to our activities and are a key priority in terms of current and future state-of-the-art energy demand, energy supply and energy systems research here in the UK and around the world.

We are part of The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, home to four specialist sustainability-focussed Institutes in UCL’s Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. Our degree programme offers students a unique opportunity to work alongside world-leading researchers across our School’s sustainability foci, giving you the opportunity to develop your research skills and opening new career opportunities in the broad field of environment, energy and resources.

We offer a world-leading research environment. In the latest national research assessment (REF 2021), our Faculty were number one for Research Power in the built environment, with 91% of our Faculty’s research was deemed ‘World Leading’ and ‘Internationally Excellent’. Much of our research is undertaken in partnership with government and industry to ground it in real-world impact.

The foundation of your career

The UCL Energy Institute aims to train highly employable graduates who are equipped with the required analytical capability, research knowledge, management skills, and professional values to become leaders and entrepreneurs in their chosen field. Leadership, communication, teamwork, language and business skills are refined in the high-quality multidisciplinary research environment through our taught programmes, workshops, and internal and external seminars.

Alumni Views

“About a year before I finished, I saw that the British Energy regulator, Ofgem, was advertising for someone with the same experience and skill set I’d been developing over my Masters and then PhD… I feel very confident that my PhD played a major role in making sure I was qualified for the role and hope that it will help me progress with my career in future too.” Moira Nicolson, UCL Energy Institute PhD Graduate


A PhD indicates a highly qualified researcher, capable of independent analytic thought. It is essential for those interested in pursuing careers in academia, and it is also a highly regarded qualification for those wishing to attain senior management positions in industry, non-profit and public sector organisations, and consultancies. Our alumni have gone on to careers in academic teaching and research as well as industry and policy organisations.


Supervision and mentorship is available from world-leading researchers with national and international contacts and collaborations across government, industry, non-profit and academic sectors. These links provide real opportunities to network and collaborate with a variety of external partners. Students have the opportunity to showcase their research at national and international conferences with support from the programme. Our students also gain access to networking events, career workshops, and national and international seminars held by the UCL Energy Institute and other institutes within the school. Students also sometimes self-organise their own networking initiatives, seminars, and workshops.

Teaching and learning

Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.

Full-time PhD research involves full-time study. You should expect to dedicate around 35 hours per week to your work. You should meet frequently with your supervisors and engage with the departmental and UCL communities more widely through events, training, and networking opportunities.

Research areas and structure

  • Energy and the Built Environment
  • Energy and Economics
  • Energy and Engineering
  • Energy and Health
  • Energy and Human Dimensions
  • Energy and Policy
  • Energy and Resources
  • Energy and Transport

Research environment

"I very much enjoyed doing the PhD, particularly as I had great support in a truly multi-disciplinary environment, and had the freedom to design and develop my own topic. The knowledge and skills that I gained during the PhD were an important part of helping me to put theory into practice through my current position" - Peter Warren, UCL Energy Institute PhD graduate

UCL Energy Institute is helping to build a globally sustainable energy system through training future energy leaders, innovative multidisciplinary research and impactful collaborations governments and industries. We have a large PhD cohort working on a wide range of projects across energy demand, energy supply, and energy systems. Our staff and students have a passion to make the world a better place, and a commitment to creating and communicating evidence to achieve this goal.

We offer a world-leading research environment. In the latest national research assessment (REF 2021), our Faculty were number one for Research Power in the built environment, with 91% of our Faculty’s research was deemed ‘World Leading’ and ‘Internationally Excellent’.

All students are initially registered for an MPhil degree. Those studying full-time for a PhD undertake a formal “upgrade process” between 9-18 months, including a presentation and viva, and if successful are registered as PhD students. Students have up to two upgrade attempts.
The PhD programme normally lasts a minimum of three years. Once you have completed this period, you are able to apply for  “Continuing Research Status” (CRS), with no further fees, if your studies are sufficiently advanced and you meet the CRS entry criteria. Some funders instead offer four-year scholarships with no possibility of entering Continuing Research Status. You can submit a thesis for assessment in an oral viva at the conclusion of your studies either at the end of  the 3 years,  the end of your funded period or during CRS.

Part-time students follow the same programme as full-time students, except that the programme length is five years, with up to two additional years in Continuing Research Status, and the first upgrade attempt normally takes place after 15 months of initial registration.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

Route code RRDEERSENR01

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

As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas.

Our Faculty provides financial support to students through The Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund and Bartlett External Training Fund. Our School also provides the BSEER Student Development Fund where enrolled students can apply for financial support. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition. You can find out more on our MPhil/PhD scholarships and funding page.

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

The Bartlett Promise Scholarship is a long-term project from our Faculty to attract students from a broader range of backgrounds and tackle the lack of diversity in the built environment. Please see the UK PhD scholarship page for more information on eligibility eligibility criteria, selection process and FAQs. You can also find out more about on our website.

We occasionally have funded studentship opportunities. These are advertised on the UCL-wide Funded Research Opportunities page. If you would like funded studentship opportunities sent to you via email, please register your interest in studying with us.

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

Bartlett Promise PhD Scholarship

Deadline: 19 May 2024
Value: Full fees, plus £19,668 maintenance (Normal duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 12 January 2024
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

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL's Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).

Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.

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: 2024-2025

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