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CASA has a world-leading PhD programme. Many CASA alumni now have successful academic careers, or have become key advisors to government and industry.

The programme is intensive as we encourage students to contribute to our research community alongside taking any taught courses they may wish to.

Why choose The Bartlett

We are:

  • located within the UK’s largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, in one of the world’s top universities
  • based in central London, close to world-leading architectural, engineering and creative practices, many of whom are partners
  • host to students from over 40 nations, many of them among the most sought-after in the world for their drive, creativity, and skills

About the course

The research degrees of PhD and MPhil are awarded for the most advanced level of study available at UCL. The aim is to make an original contribution to knowledge, leading to the enhancement of academe and practice.

We usually expect applicants to have a Masters degree in a relevant subject. Suitable subjects include:

  • Planning
  • Engineering
  • Geography
  • GIS
  • Computer Science
  • Physics

We also ask for a research proposal as part of the application process. This should be a close match to the expertise and interests of the potential supervisors.

Funding for PhD research is extremely competitive, so we can only rarely offer scholarships. When funding is available it will be advertised and we would be happy to work with applicants to secure their own funding from other sources.


Most students start in the September of each year and begin by taking relevant courses for their research alongside developing their interests. At the end of the first year, students “upgrade” from MPhil to PhD; this process requires a presentation to peers and the creation of a detailed written report that demonstrates the importance of the planned research and the key milestones required to achieve it. MPhil/PhD students should complete their research, submit their thesis and take the final examination within a period of 36 to 48 months of starting the programme. The minimum period of full-time registration for both degrees is two years, though most candidates complete their study for a PhD in around three.

At CASA, we place a great emphasis on independent study informed by a close working relationship between students and their supervisors. We also run a weekly seminar series that offers an important opportunity to hear about the latest research from CASA and beyond, as well as a chance to socialise with other students, academics and researchers.


Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith is Director of CASA and expert in the research fields of Smart Cities, Internet of Things, Urban Planning, multimedia and visualisation.

Professor Michael Batty is Chairman of CASA and a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society. His expertise is in urban and regional modelling and in visualisation.

Professor Sir Alan Wilson is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in CASA and a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society. He is an expert in urban and regional modelling and in research methods.

Dr Martin Austwick is expert in urban dynamics and nonlinear systems as well as visualisation methods using computer languages such as Processing.

Dr Hannah Fry specialises in designing and analysing mathematical models of complex systems.

Dr Adam Dennett is a population geographer, with an interest in using quantitative methods to address research questions in areas such as migration modelling, census analysis and geodemographics, spatial statistics, GIS , synthetic data estimation and social inequalities in urban, regional and global contexts. Adam is interested in receiving applications from students wishing to carry out research in any of the broad areas described above.

Dr Elsa Arcaute holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge and is interested in scaling laws, percolation theory and networks. 

Robin Morphet is an engineer/planner/statistician researching the interaction between land use and transport and the economic evaluation of land use transport plans.


To apply online, please visit this UCL Admissions page and select the course mode and year you are interested in.

The course code for our MPhil/PhD course is RRDCASSING01.

The following documents will help you in the application process;

For a list of potential supervisors in CASA, please see the 'supervisors' tab on the left.

Before completing an application form, please consider how you will fund your studies as UK universities rarely have funding for PhDs. Our overseas students are primarily self-financed or in receipt of a scholarship from their own country. Our UK students are generally in receipt of a scholarship from a UK Research Council, such as the EPSRC or ESRC.  Any funding opportunities we have are always advertised on our homepage.


All of CASA’s PhD students are provided with a desk and computer within the department and are given full access to its research facilities. In addition, there is a huge range of facilities available as part of UCL and the University of London.

UCL has 16 libraries  In addition to paper resources, thousands of specialised electronic journals and a growing number of books are available for UCL staff and students. The Library also provides access to a variety of bibliographical databases and full-text resources.

The University of London Research Library Services comprise the libraries at the heart of the University of London – the Senate House Library, and those of the Institutes of the School of Advanced Study. These include almost three million volumes and provide over 12 miles of open shelf access to collections. In addition to this, students registered in UCL have access to most academic libraries in London, including those of the London School of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, Birkbeck, etc.

The Graduate School's Skills Development Programme is open to all Graduate research students at UCL to help them expand generic research skills and personal transferable skills, intended to help in doing research and also to enhance life skills and employability. These are free to registered students.

Finally, a number of small grants are available for travel to conferences and other trips related to PhD study.


UCL publishes its Postgraduate Research Fee Schedule annually, the fee schedule relating to 2015/16 can be found here.

The fee schedule relating to 2016/17 can be found here.

The fees for MPhil/PhD research [programme code RRDCASSING01] starting in September 2015 are as follows:

Full-time (UK/EU students) - £4,635
Part-time (UK/EU students) - £2,315
Full-time (Overseas students) - £16,690
Part-time (Overseas students) - £8,500

The fees for MPhil/PhD research [programme code RRDCASSING01] starting in September 2016 are as follows:

Full-time (UK/EU students) - £4,770
Part-time (UK/EU students) - £2,385
Full-time (Overseas students) - £18,670
Part-time (Overseas students) - £9,550


Unfortunately, CASA rarely has funding available for PhD students, but when opportunities do occasionally arise we advertise them on our website.

Please find below a link to funding sources that may be available, although please also note that these awards are usually highly competitive: