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Centre for Doctoral Education



Information for prospective students

Applying for a doctorate at the UCL Institute of Education

Potential applicants for doctoral programmes at the IOE need first to pick one of the programmes that our departments offer. Before submitting an application, all applicants should develop a research proposal and identify a potential supervisor.

If you have difficulties during this process – for example, if you have tried to contact a supervisor but had no response for over a week – you can contact the relevant Departmental Graduate Tutor for support. Their contact details are given at the bottom of identify a potential supervisor.

After selecting the programme, the application process is laid out on UCL’s website. Students for whom English is not their first language should be aware that our doctoral programmes require advanced proficiency.

Please be aware that, although it is possible to start at any point during the year, we recommend that people start at the beginning of the Autumn term if they can. This is because events such as UCL’s induction are mostly offered early in this first term. Students who are not able to start then should start at the beginning of the spring or summer term if possible, so that they can take part in departmental inductions.


Students at the Institute of Education have access to a range of bursaries and scholarships to support their studies. General information about scholarships can be found on the UCL website. This resource allows users to filter available opportunities by their status and department.

These opportunities include:

Applicants for this year’s Graduate Research Scholarship scheme should be sent to Cathy McSweeney.

Visiting doctoral students

UCL offers a scheme whereby students registered at other institutions can visit for 3-12 months. Information on how to apply for this, requirements and tuition fees is provided on the UCL website. All potential visiting doctoral students should identify potential supervisors before submitting an application.

Transferring registration to the UCL Institute of Education

It is possible, although exceptional, for students who have begun a doctorate at another institution to transfer their registration to the IOE. For the MPhil/PhD programmes, applications should be made in the normal way, but noting the request to transfer prior learning within the application. Applicants may then be exempted from the required elements of the research training programme, some of the required period of study, or upgrading if a comparable process has been completed elsewhere. For the EdD, it is only possible to exempt applicants from up to two of the taught modules, if comparable modules have been successfully completed on another programme.

Note that all such requests are considered on a case by case basis by the chair of UCL’s research degrees committee.