Developmental Science MPhil/PhD

UCL Developmental Science offers a world leading research environment aimed at understanding the psychological basis for human development, communication and its disorders. Students have the opportunity to study within a unique interdisciplinary group of Experimental Psychologists, Linguists and Clinicians. Our graduates have an excellent record of employment (see careers).

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£4,635 (FT) £2,315 (PT)
£21,530 (FT) £10,765 (PT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
30 June 2015
Scholarship applicants:
31 January 2015

Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or a taught Master’s degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject.

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: Good

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:


Our research is distinctive in its interdisciplinary approach to the study of typical development and developmental disorders, viewing perception and cognition, visual and auditory pathways, and linguistic and psychological processes as necessarily intertwined. We also carry out leading research with clinical and educational application, evaluating possible interventions to enhance outcome.

Research areas

  • Dyslexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: perception, attention and social communication
  • Development of Language and Mathematical Skills
  • Psycholinguistic Assessment and Intervention for Deaf Children
  • Development of Children’s Understanding of Causality
  • Assessment and Intervention for Children with Speech Production Difficulties
  • Perception, Language and Communication in Deaf Children
  • Auditory Processing and Language in Children with Mild to Moderate
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss
  • Lexical Retrieval Difficulties in Children
  • Social Cognition in Non-Speaking
  • Children with Complex Motor Impairments
  • Outcomes of Alternative and Augmentative Communications (AAC) Interventions
  • Normal and Abnormal Visual Brain Development
  • Models of Language Acquisition


There are a number of different sources of funding to support students entering the MPhil/PhD program in Developmental Science. Demonstratorships (teaching assistantships) are available. There are also PhD studentships available through the Doctoral Training Centres at UCL that are supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), either four years of funding (including 1 year Masters degree) or three years of funding. There are also four-year MRC/ESRC interdisciplinary studentships.

Other sources of funding include the UCL Grand Challenges studentship programme, UCL Graduate Research Scholarships, UCL Overseas Research Scholarships, and the four-year Wellcome Scholarship.

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


Postgraduate students use the skills they have acquired during their PhD training to follow a number of different career pathways. Many continue in academia as postdoctoral researchers and eventually full-time academics, others continue training in related fields such as Clinical and Educational Psychology or Speech and Language Therapy.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • University Lecturer, Institute of Education (2009)
  • Scott Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford (2009)
  • Postgraduate Research Assistant, ESRC Centre for Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) (2010)
  • Clinical Psychology Training, Institute of Psychiatry (2010)
  • Postgraduate Research Assistant, UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences (2012)


During the programme you will gain practical research experience, designing experiments and conducting research with children either in a clinical or non-clinical setting. Taught elements include advanced research skills, for example in statistics, research methods and programming. Students also attend elective MSc modules, gaining theoretical expertise in their chosen field (e.g. autism, SLI, deafness).


Research students have a fantastic opportunity to network with the many different world-class researchers and research teams at UCL. There are also close connections with staff and clinical units at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Institute of Neurology and the Institute of Child Health. Top international researchers from across the world regularly give talks in the Research Departments in our Division (Psychology and Language Science) and throughout UCL.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Developmental Science provides an outstanding research environment in which to study for MPhil/PhD. There are links to other Research Departments and Specialist Centres throughout the Division of Psychology and Language Science, providing the potential for collaboration with experts from related fields. The Division provides access to a range of resources including EEG, fMRI, TMS and eye-tracking equipment. We also have close links with Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London Hospital. There is a dedicated infant/child experimental laboratory based at Chandler House.

Student / staff ratios › 17 staff › 0 taught students › 13 research students

Department: Developmental Science

Degree reviews

Student review

"I have attended a few scientific meetings during my first year at UCL; a particular highlight was attending the Royal Society Discussion Meeting on language in developmental and acquired disorders. London is a brilliant place for attending national events. "

Francina Clayton

Developmental Science PhD
Staff review

"UCL is a remarkably vibrant and friendly place to work."

Professor Charles Hulme

Neuroscience and Language MSc, PhD
Professor of Psychology

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 June 2015
Scholarship applicants
31 January 2015
Applications for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by 31 January in the year you wish to start. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by the 31 January deadline, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, and not later than 30 June for entry in September/October.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

UCL-IoE merger

UCL and the Institute of Education merged on December 2, 2014. Learn about the study options available to you.

Find out more

Life and learning

At UCL we're proud of our pioneering history, our distinguished present and our exciting future. UCL is a great place to be a student.

  • World-leading reputation
  • Extensive connections that benefit your study and career
  • The best and brightest staff and students from over 150 countries
Find out more