Research Degrees

If you have a research idea and would like to discuss PhD options with a member of the Division, do feel free to contact any of us directly, having looked through the webpages describing individuals’ research interests. You may want to ask them about future grant proposals on which there might be PhD opportunities.


The quality of your experience as a graduate student is critical for your development and future career. To want to study in the Faculty you need to know that:

  • Your research interests match to the supervisory expertise on offer; and
  • The facilities, training, research environment and supervision provided match to your needs.

These pages outline the key areas you need to consider: supervision, facilities, the application process and the costs and availability of funding. If, after reading them, you need any further advice, or if you wish to pursue an application, please go to the 'Apply' page which provides further information.

Staff and students come from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds and work in diverse fields which include:

  • Social and Biological Psychiatry
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Anthropology
  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical trials
  • Statistical Analysis of Large Databases
  • Medical Sociology applied to Mental Health
  • Mental Disorders
  • Psychoses
  • Affective Disorders
  • Dementia
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Common Mental Disorders
  • End of Life Care
  • Liaison Psychiatry
  • Rehabilitation Psychiatry
  • Applied Mental Health Services Research
  • Methodology

The Division has an excellent record of winning fellowship awards for postgraduate study, with grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust and Department of Health.



All research students are assigned:

  • A primary supervisor, whose area of expertise is closely aligned with the student’s chosen research topic and who is responsible for directing their research training, and
  • A subsidiary supervisor, who is there to help assess progress, provide continuity of supervision and additional expertise;
  • A broader supervisory panel where appropriate, where research is cross-disciplinary or requires different critical skills – such as high level statistics expertise or health economics.

Supervisors do not necessarily need to come from the same division and can even be drawn from different institutions.

Further Support/Facilities

Having a base and access to peer and supervisory support are critical to your success. Every student is provided with full computing facilities and support and storage space within the department. The Unit Graduate Tutor is also available to lend a sympathetic ear and additional support.

Programme Structure: why research at UCL?

You will be provided with a range of courses to develop appropriate research and personal skills for your future career. Within your course of study you will:

  • Attend courses selected from the Graduate School Skills Development Programme, which provides generic (presentations, teaching, personal development, theses writing) and specific (qualitative and quantitative research methods, specific statistical processes and packages) skills training;
  • Attend modules from appropriate MSc programmes if required;
  • Attend local Seminar Programmes, which provide a supportive environment in which to develop theories and hypotheses and present draft papers;
  • Prepare and present a poster in the annual Divisional Poster Competition;
  • Be encouraged to present at national and, if appropriate, international conferences;
  • Be given the opportunity to gain teaching experience.

The multi-disciplinary and multi-faculty structure of UCL provides a rich and broad environment in which to train, with access to numerous seminar and open lecture programmes across the Institution: the only limiting factor for you is time.

Outside the Division, UCL provides a full network of support services, including the Health Centre, Counselling Service, Careers Service, International Office, Advisors to Women Students and the Dean of Students. Details of these can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-study/


This page includes a list of approved primary and subsidiary supervisors. Please click a supervisors name to view further information regarding their background and contact details.

Primary supervisors:

Dr Claudia Cooper (Graduate Tutor)

  • Dementia
  • Older People
  • Prevention
  • Carers

Dr Elizabeth Sampson (Graduate Tutor)

  • Delirium
  • End of life care
  • Dementia research
  • Liaison psychiatry for older people
  • Pain

Dr Afia Ali

  • Stigma and Discrimination in people with intellectual disability
  • Health inequalities in people with intellectual disability
  • Mental illness in people with intellectual disability

Dr Nick Bass

  • Genetics
  • Psychosis
  • Dementia

Dr Jo Billings

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Vicarious traumatisation
  • Wellbeing and resilience
  • Evaluating novel treatment interventions
  • Case series design research
  • Qualitative research

Dr Elvira Bramon

  • Schizophrenia
  • Biploar Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Genetics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Biomarkers

Dr. Janet Carter

  • Stem cell research
  • Mouse models of Alzheimer's disease
  • Pre-dementia risk states and predictive markers

Professor Angela Hassiotis

  • Health services research
  • Epidemiology
  • Qualitative research
  • Intellectual developmental disabilities
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Borderline intelligence

Professor Paul Higgs

  • Sociology of ageing
  • Cultures of ageing
  • Personhood and later life
  • Medical Sociology
Professor Rob Howard

Dr Sushrut Jadhav

  • Clinically applied anthropology
  • Cross-cultural psychiatry
  • Psychiatric ethnography
  • Cultural formulations in mental health
  • Caste & mental health in India
  • Mental health of marginalised populations across cultures

Professor Sonia Johnson

  • Evaluations of complex mental health interventions, especially in crisis care and early psychosis
  • Social associations with mental health outcomes

Professor Helen Killaspy

  • Rehabilitaion Psychiatry
  • Health Services Research
  • Complex psychosis

Professor Michael King

  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Randomised controlled trial methodology
  • Religion and health
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual orientation
  • Primary care mental health
  • Analysis of large community data sets

Dr James Kirkbride

  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia
  • Social and economic determinants of mental health
  • Immigration and ethnicity in mental health
  • Causal Inference methods

Dr Anne Lanceley

  • Innovative Psychological therapies in cancer care - their implementation and evaluation in the clinical setting
  • Emotions & cancer illness

Professor Glyn Lewis

  • Epidemiology and aetiology of depression
  • Relationship between reward and punishment mechanisms and the treatment and outcome of affective disorders

Professor Gill Livingston

  • Dementia
  • Family Carers
  • Neuropsychiatric Symptoms
  • Quality of Life
  • Trials
  • Technology

Dr. Brynmor Lloyd-Evans

  • Health services research
  • Social care research
  • Process and implementation research

Dr. Andrew McQuillin

  • Molecular genetics of schizophrenia
  • Molecular genetics of bipolar Disorder
  • Molecular genetics of alcohol Dependence
  • Molecular genetics of Wernicke Korsakov's syndrome

Dr Joanne Moncrieff

  • Psychiatric drug treatment
  • Decision making in mental health
  • History of psychiatry
  • Critical psychiatry

Dr Kirsten Moore

  • Dementia Care
  • End of Life Care
  • Carer Wellbeing

Dr Nicola Morant

  • Qualitative research
  • Shared decision-making in mental health
  • Acute mental health care
  • Implementation research

Dr Vasiliki Orgeta

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Psychological interventions
  • Depression
  • Randomised controlled clinical trials
  • Systematic reviews
  • Well-being in late life

Professor David Osborn

  • Epidemiology and randomised trials
  • Cardiovascular health in psychosis
  • Evaluation of interventions in severe mental illness
  • Interface between Mental health and physical health
  • Psychosis including schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder

Dr Marc Serfaty

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • randomised clinical trials
  • End of life care

Dr Carla Startin

  • Down syndrome cognition
  • Down syndrome
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Social cognition

Professor Paddy Stone

  • Palliative Care
  • Terminal Care
  • Prognosis
  • Symtom Control
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Palliative sedation

Dr Andre Strydom

  • Cognitive phenotype of intellectual disability syndromes
  • Down syndrome and Alzheimer's dementia
  • Autism spectrum disorders 

Dr Bella Vivat

  • Wellbeing
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology of scientific knowledge
  • Mixed methods
  • Patient-reported outcome measure development

Dr Zuzana Walker

  • Dementia research
  • Treatment trials
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Neuroimaging
  • Subjective cognitive decline


Funded PhD studentships are very competitive. Most previous successful applicants have had a distinction in an MSc or 1st at undergraduate level. Division of Psychiatry supervisors have a strong track record of supporting excellent students to secure funding from these sources. Most, but not all of the schemes below are restricted to UK/EU applicants – please check eligibility criteria carefully before commencing an application. It is always important to identify and discuss with a potential first supervisor at an early stage.

The main sources of funding current students are:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): The Division of Psychiatry hosts the Mental health and care pathway of the ESRC UBEL Doctoral Training Programme. This usually opens October/November and closes January for initial applications, for PhDs commencing the subsequent October. The round for PhDs commencing October 2019 has closed. For info ubel. Sonia Johnson and Claudia Cooper are Division of Psychiatry leads for this pathway.

UCL Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS), Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS), Jules Thorne Studentship and China Scholarships Council (CSC): These are UCL schemes that usually launch around November and close in January, to fund PhDs from the subsequent September. The round for funding of PhDs commencing September 2019 has closed. To apply students need to be in receipt of an offer to study at UCL, or currently undertaking a UCL PhD.

Medical Research Council (MRC): Students can apply for the UCL Birkbeck Doctoral Training Programme. This funds students for a 4 year programme. The scheme usually opens in October and closes in January, for PhDs commencing the following September. The round for September 2019 start has closed. For info MRC-DTP. Elvira Bramon and Andrew McQuillin are leads for this scheme within UCL Division of Psychiatry.  

Wellcome Trust: Students can apply for a doctoral fellowship, Welcome Trust. The current round, for September 2019 start, closes 26.3.19 (5pm). Please check website for details.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): Students can apply for a doctoral fellowship. This scheme usually opens in October and closes in December for PhDs commencing the subsequent September. The round for PhDs starting September 2019 start has closed.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Alzheimer’s Society

Dunhill Medical Trust

The MRC, Wellcome and NIHR also fund Clinical Research Training Fellowships for clinicians – please see their websites for details.


Expressions of interest

If you have a research idea and would like to discuss PhD options with a member of the Division, do feel free to contact any of us directly, having looked through the webpages describing individuals’ research interests. You may want to ask them about future grant proposals on which there might be PhD opportunities.

PGR Handbook 2017/18

If you're not sure who to approach, then the Division's PhD Administrator (Noorjaben Monowari) on dop.researchdegree@ucl.ac.uk would be pleased to receive your email. You should include: details of your research interests, with an outline of your research questions and hypotheses; and a curriculum vitae, including a full account of your education and relevant practical work/experience.

A prospective supervisor or a Graduate Tutor may then invite you to visit the department, to telephone and have further informal discussion, or to complete the UCL application form. At this stage it is essential for both potential supervisor and student to ascertain that a suitable subject area can be identified and that you are sufficiently interested, motivated and able to produce a doctoral thesis in three years. The interaction between student and supervisor can often be a crucial ingredient for the success of any research.

Further info:

Please contact the PhD/Division Administrator Noorjaben (Nuj) Monowari

Division of Psychiatry
6th Floor Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7NF.

Tel: 020 7679 9286 
Email: n.monowari@ucl.ac.uk


"The UCL research degree in Cultural Psychiatry provided an stimulating environment for my learning and career development as a researcher. Across the College, one has access to a range of specialist areas in mental health and social sciences, excellent research facilities and outstanding supervisory and pastoral support. In my time at UCL I was provided several important learning opportunities that complemented my doctoral research including involvement in international teaching and research initiatives. The UCL Graduate School provided useful courses in a range of soft skills as well as support to attend relevant conference" - Sumeet Jain