Postgraduate research degrees

Our research degrees cover areas like dementia, depression and anxiety, severe mental illnesses (including psychoses), intellectual disability and palliative care.

The Division is made up of four Research Departments: Mental Health of Older People, Mental Health and Neuroscience, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research, and Epidemiology and Applied Clinical Research.

Our students come from a range of academic backgrounds including nursing, medicine, psychology and social sciences.

How to apply

Expressions of interest

When you have formulated a PhD research idea and would like to discuss options for studying within the Division of Psychiatry, please approach a member of the Division who shares your interests (broad research interests can be found further down this page under 'Supervisors'). At this stage, you would be expected to share your research interests, thesis idea, training needs and the methods you would hope to use with potential supervisors. You may also want to ask supervisors about future grant proposals on which there might be PhD opportunities. 

Once you have contacted a staff member and have their agreement to be a supervisor, you should register your interest via the form below so that we can support your application. In this form you will be asked to provide contact information, list your supervisor(s), and tell us more about your project plan.  This form also includes the option of providing diversity monitoring information, which will only be used for internal purposes and will not be passed on to supervisors. This information will be stored following UK GDPR guidance.

Register your interest

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

MPhil to PhD

Under UCL regulations, all PhD students at UCL are initially registered as MPhil students, and must go through the process of an upgrade from MPhil to PhD status.

For full-time research students, this happens between 9 and 18 months after initial registration, and for part-time students, this is between 15 and 30 months after starting. We adhere to the standard UCL expectations for upgrade in the DoP. This involves submitting an upgrade report, presenting your work and future plans to the department and taking part in an upgrade viva.


See UCL Fees and Costs section for further information on fees.

We have over 70 PhD students in the division. Some are self-funded (often through working part time on studies within the division alongside study), while others have been awarded funding to cover fees and a stipend for living costs. 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.

Available funding opportunitities at UCL include:

Other main sources of funding for UK/EU applicants are studentships from:

Below are also some links to opportunities for funding by specialised charities:

Wellcome Trust
National Institute for Health Research

Cancer Research UK

Please check the information for prospective graduate students on the UCL web site for a full listing of funding possibilities. Another source of funding information can be found FindaPhD.com.

Overseas students are eligible to apply to a number of sources of funding, including The British Council, Commonwealth Scholarships and WHO Scholarships. In the majority of instances you must apply direct to the funding organisation and it is vital to make early enquiries (up to a year in advance).

Please also review eligibility for the funding streams listed by clicking on the links provided as conditions vary. If you have a query after checking all the information signposted below please contact us.


Please click a supervisors name to view further information regarding their background and contact details.


SupervisorResearch interests
Dr Rick Adams
  • Causal inference
  • Genetics
  • Electronic medical records
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
Dr Emma Anderson
  • Genetic and environmental determinants of dementia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Mendelian randomisation
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Polygenic risk scores
Dr Becky Appleton
  • Children and young people's mental health
  • Health services research
  • Systematic reviews
  • Mixed methods research
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
Professor Steven Bloch
  • Communication and conversation in palliative care
  • Communication and conversation in terminal care
  • Conversation analysis
  • Interventions to improve conversation in health and social care
Dr Michael Bloomfield
  • Neuroimaging
  • Psychopharmacology and psychiatric treatment
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • PTSD and Complex PTSD
  • Trauma
Professor Elvira Bramon
  • Schizophrenia
  • Biploar Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Genetics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Biomarkers
Professor Anthony David
  • Insight into illness
  • Longitudinal studies of risk for psychosis using the ALSPAC cohort
  • Functional neurological disorders
  • Depersonalisation disorder
Professor Neil Davies
  • Causal inference
  • Genetics
  • Electronic medical records
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
Dr Jennifer Dykxhoorn
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Social determinants of mental health 
  • Severe mental illness, self-harm, and suicide
Dr Sally-Anne Francis
  • Palliative care
  • Medication management and pharmacy practice
  • Patient safety
  • Professional and informal systems of care
  • Health services research
Professor Rebecca Gould
  • Psychological interventions
  • Older people
  • Dementia
  • Physical health conditions
  • Clinical trials
  • Carers
Professor Angela Hassiotis
  • Health services research
  • Epidemiology
  • Qualitative research
  • Intellectual developmental disabilities
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Borderline intelligence
Dr Joe Hayes
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Prediction and personalisation
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Causal Inference methods
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia
  • Mood disorders
  • Physical health-mental health interface
Professor Paul Higgs
  • Sociology of ageing
  • Cultures of ageing
  • Personhood and later life
  • Medical Sociology
Professor Quentin Huys
  • Computational psychiatry
  • Treatment mechanisms
  • Neuromodulators
  • Cognition, metacognition and thought choice
  • Relapse mechanisms and prevention
  • Depression, anxiety and substance use disorders
Dr Artemis Igoumenou
  • Epidemiology and applied research 
  • Forensic Psychiatry/Forensic mental health 
  • Rehabilitation psychiatry 
  • Risk assessment and risk management 
  • Prison research 
  • Comorbidity of physical and mental health conditions in people with severe mental illness 
  • Education evaluation 
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
  • Mental health care for people with severe mental health problems, especially for early psychosis, bipolar or people with a "personality disorder" diagnosis
  • Crisis and acute mental health care
  • Loneliness/social connection and mental health
Professor Helen Killaspy
  • Rehabilitation Psychiatry
  • Health Services Research
  • Complex psychosis
Professor James Kirkbride
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia
  • Social and economic determinants of mental health
  • Immigration and ethnicity in mental health
  • Causal Inference methods
Professor Karoline Kuchenbaecker
  • Genetics
  • Depression
  • Diverse populations
Dr Nuriye Kupeli
  • Dementia care
  • End of life care/palliative care
  • Carer wellbeing
  • Compassion/emotion regulation
  • Psychological interventions
Dr Gemma Lewis
  • The causes, treatment and prevention of depression and anxiety
  • Self-harm and suicidality
  • Young peoples mental health
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 Natalie Marchant
  • Dementia prevention
  • Psychological risk factors
  • Subjective cognitive decline
  • Behavioural interventions
Professor Andrew McQuillin
  • Molecular genetics of schizophrenia
  • Molecular genetics of bipolar Disorder
  • Molecular genetics of alcohol Dependence
  • Molecular genetics of Wernicke Korsakov's syndrome
Dr Kate Merritt
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Neuroimaging
  • Brain development
  • Effect of social risk factors on the brain
  • Glutamate
Professor Joanna Moncrieff
  • Psychiatric drug treatment
  • Decision making in mental health
  • History of psychiatry
  • Critical psychiatry
Dr Nicola Morant
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Shared decision making for psychiatric medication
  • Experiences of medicine taking for mental health problems
  • PPI and Lived Experience Researcher support in mental health research
Dr Naaheed Mukadam
  • Dementia – risk factors, prevention, management
  • Ethnic inequalities in health pathways and outcomes
  • Health related behaviours
Dr Vasiliki Orgeta
  • Dementia prevention, treatment and care
  • Psychological interventions for older people living with and without dementia
  • Depression in late life
  • Traumatic stress and ageing
  • Domestic abuse in older people
  • Family carer well-being
  • Missing with dementia
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 Alexandra Pitman
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Suicide and self-harm: risk and protective factors
  • Understanding the suicidal mind
  • Interventions to reduce the risk of suicide
  • Loneliness and social isolation: associations with mental ill-health and suicidality
Dr Penny Rapaport
  • Dementia care and support interventions
  • Clinical trials in dementia
  • Qualitative research
  • Inclusion health
Professor Liz Sampson
  • Delirium
  • End of life care
  • Dementia research
  • Liaison psychiatry for older people
  • Pain
Professor Marc Serfaty
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Randomised clinical trials
  • End of life care
Dr Francesca Solmi
  • Eating disorders and body dissatisfaction
  • Autism and eating disorders, including ARFID
  • Social media and eating disorders
  • Inequalities in eating disorder treatment access and outcomes
  • Policy evaluation
  • Weight stigma and mental health
  • Causal inference methods
  • Epidemiology
Dr Andrew Sommerlad
  • Dementia
  • Social cognition
  • Social functioning
  • Epidemiology
  • Care home residents
Professor Paddy Stone
  • Palliative Care
  • Terminal Care
  • Prognosis
  • Symtom Control
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Palliative sedation
Dr Vaso Totsika
  • Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Family adaptation and well-being
  • Quality of life and well-being in ID and ASD (adults and children)
  • Challenging behaviours
Dr Bella Vivat
  • Wellbeing
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology of scientific knowledge
  • Mixed methods
  • Patient-reported outcome measure development
Professor Zuzana Walker
  • Dementia research
  • Treatment trials
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Neuroimaging
  • Subjective cognitive decline
Dr Sarah Yardley
  • Palliative care for potentially life-limiting illnesses when people are also living with severe and enduring mental illness
  • Interpretivist-constructionist socio-culturally orientated theoretical perspectives
  • Critical qualitative approaches to empirical research, secondary analysis, plus review and synthesis methods for complex interventions (e.g. realist, metanarrative and meta-ethnography methods)

Along with many areas of UCL, the DoP are introducing thesis committees from October 2019. These are basically expanded supervisory teams. All research students therefore must have:

  • A Principal Supervisor, whose area of expertise is closely aligned with the student’s chosen research topic and who is responsible for directing their research training.
  • A Subsidiary Supervisor, who is there to help assess progress, provide continuity of supervision and additional expertise.
  • At least two additional supervisors with relevant academic experience. Only one of the three non-primary supervisors can be from the same team as the Primary Supervisor. These members may be UCL staff or external to UCL, but at least one of your subsidiary or additional supervisors should be a member of UCL academic staff.
  • Your Principal and Subsidiary supervisors will discuss the composition of your thesis committee when you start and this will be approved by one of the Graduate Tutors.

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

The UCL Doctoral Skills Development programme runs training sessions on supervisory relationships, for example “Getting the Most Out of Your Supervisory Relationship”, and confidential one-to-one problem-solving sessions. You can find the full list and sign up on the training sessions webpage. Resources on Good Supervision are also available. If you are having any difficulties with your supervisor, you can speak to the divisional graduate tutors (Claudia Cooper or Liz Sampson).

Training & development 

Personal development

The UCL Doctoral Skills Development programme offers personal and professional development training courses tackling topics such as ‘Building up Emotional Strength as a Researcher’, ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ and ‘Managing the Anxieties of a PhD’. You may find these helpful for your wellbeing as a PhD student. You can find the full list and sign up on the website.

Doctoral training school

There is a mandatory UCL Doctoral School training session that runs in Term 1 called Introduction to Doctoral Skills Development and the Research Student Log. This induction provides an outline of the policy on transferable skills training for doctoral students and the national Researcher Development Framework that informs UCL’s programme. The session will explain how the Research Student Log and the Skills function work together, and how students may record their academic progress and skills development during their degree. 

Support and wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing support

If you are struggling with your mental health or personal issues, there is a range of support available specifically for UCL students:

  • UCL 24/7 Student Support Line is a free, confidential wellbeing support service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 
  • UCL Student Support and Wellbeing: a team of expert wellbeing, disability and mental health advisers, offering a range of support for students, including confidential meetings, daily drop-in sessions and advice on extenuating circumstances and interrupting studies. You can call 0207 679 0100, email student.wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk, or find more information on the student support and wellbeing page.
  • UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services: a free service providing short-term counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychiatric support and psycho-educational groups to help you deal with a range of personal, emotional and psychological concerns.
  • PhD students can access some additional sources of support from UCL Workplace Health, on top of what's offered for all our students, including SilverCloud, an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) platform, that offers wellbeing support to UCL staff and PhD students.
  • UCL Student Funding Advisors: confidential financial support, advice and guidance for UCL students struggling with money management or complex funding issues. Current students can raise a query on the askUCL system. Prospective students can email: studentfundingadvice@ucl.ac.uk

Quiet room

In Wing B there is a quiet room, which can be used for breastfeeding, expressing breastmilk, prayer, or simply as a quiet space. The room is on the left hand side of Wing B, behind meeting room 8.

See what it's like to study a PhD at UCL 

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Planning a Research Career

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The Research Process

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UCL's Research Culture

Postgraduate research training and clinical academic careers

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