University College London Neuroscience Phd

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University College London Neuroscience Phd

University College London Neuroscience Phd

UCL offers unrivalled opportunities for PhD research in all aspects of neuroscience, generating 30% of England’s contribution to the world’s most highly cited publications. Projects are offered by researchers who are among the leaders of their fields, using the most modern techniques to address important problems of basic and clinical neuroscience.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years
Part time: 8 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) N/A (PT)
£22,850 (FT) N/A (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 4 January 2017

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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:


The Research Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (NPP) includes the majority of UCL’s basic neuroscience community. In addition to excellent work in physiology and pharmacology, the department has a world-leading reputation for research, being ranked the highest in its sector in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. NPP’s outstanding academic reputation and links with other universities and industry greatly enhance our postgraduate students’ networking and employment prospects.

Research areas

  • Cellular, molecular and structural neuroscience: synaptic transmission and ligand-gated ion channels; transporters; G-protein coupled receptors and signalling pathways; voltage- and calcium-gated ion channels
  • Systems and translational neuroscience: neuronal network behaviour; pain; in vivo electrophysiology; optogenetics
  • Intercellular signalling: inflammation; systems physiology.
More information can be found on the department website: Neuroscience PhD


The Wellcome Trust offers 4 years’ funding to UK/EU students on this programme. Funding may also be available for Overseas students. For full details please see the department website.

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


Many graduates will take up positions in academia. Others are employed as senior scientists or medical writers, teachers or as editors with publishers.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford
  • Research Associate, UCL
  • Researcher, École Normale Supérieure


The programme provides an excellent scientific background accompanied by an impressive set of transferable skills, including analytical, presentation and communication skills. Alongside the training offered by the programme students will be able to take part in the dedicated Research Training Seminar. This, together with the outstanding reputation of UCL research in neuroscience and collaborative links with other major academic institutions and companies, provides numerous opportunities for our PhD students to find leading science roles in academia and industry.


Neuroscience PhD students spend their first year completing three lab rotations before settling in the department of the supervisor for their PhD project. This gives them increased contact with students and researchers from all over UCL as well as exposure to various techniques. Once students have chosen their PhD project they will participate in the various departmental seminars and events of their department as well as UCL’s Doctoral Skills programme.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The success of our PhD programmes is based on the very high-calibre students we recruit and the exceptional training opportunities embedded in the truly multidisciplinary neuroscience subject area at UCL. Our research training is widely viewed as making an outstanding contribution to UCL’s PhD opportunities.

The department has a uniquely broad portfolio of research laboratories, where students may acquire a diverse range of techniques to use in their PhD project. This breadth promotes interdisciplinary research in a manner not achievable by a PhD programme with a narrower range.

Department: Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology

Student / staff numbers › 50 staff including 89 postdocs › 67 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK’s higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology
83% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL’s research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Student view

“My degree programme (Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD in Neuroscience) has been extremely valuable to me. It is small so we got to know a lot of the academic staff very well, and the opportunity to try our hands at multiple areas of neuroscience at the highest level has been incredible.”

Elizabeth Engl

Neuroscience PhD

Student view

“UCL’s support of student societies, and extensive career services, have really impressed me.”

Archy de Berker

Neuroscience PhD

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
4 January 2017

There is a single deadline for applications each year; please see the departmental websitefor more information.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information