We select the best students for first-class training and prepare them to launch careers as the energy pioneers of tomorrow.
Research degrees prove the capacity to organise, carry out and write up a substantial piece of research, presented in a thesis that shows academic rigour and originality.
About the course
UCL-Energy is UCL's response to the global challenges of mitigating climate change and providing energy security in the 21st century. Our students work alongside experienced researchers, in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary environment.
The main and final product of this programme is the thesis, and your result rests on the examination of this.
At the end of your studies you’ll be awarded a UCL Energy Institute Research Degree with a sub category – Energy and (the Built Environment, Economics, Engineering, Health, Human Dimensions, Policy, Resources or Transport).
PhD students at UCL must first register for the MPhil qualification before upgrading to a PhD.
The MPhil/PhD normally extends over 3 years full time, or 5 years part time. You can also register for just an MPhil degree.
The PhD is assessed through a written thesis of no more than 100,000 words. It must:
- demonstrate the candidate's capacity to pursue original research in the field of study
- represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject, whether through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory or the revision of older views
- show the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both the candidate's own work and that of other scholars in the field.
The MPhil is assessed by a written thesis of no more than 60,000 words.
It must represent a contribution to the subject either through a record of the candidate's original work or a critical and ordered exposition of existing knowledge.
A typical timetable for a full-time PhD student:
UCL-Energy is developing different research themes that are independent but also interact, resulting in innovative approaches to energy-related problems:
Choosing a suitable research topic is a crucial decision that will be influenced by:
- your interests and capabilities
- the availability of appropriate supervisors (and other support)
- the relevance, significance and originality of the topic within the field and its suitability to form the basis of a feasible doctoral research programme
It’s up to you to identify an appropriate topic to research, although you’re encouraged to do so in consultation with potential supervisors.
Your research proposal will be crucial to the decision on your application, as it demonstrates your ability to identify and articulate an independent line of research inquiry.
In 1,000 to 2,000 words, you should explain:
- the subject of your proposed research
- the questions you hope to answer
- why you think this knowledge will be of value
- your intended method
- the sources you’ll use
You should also show that you have the ability and experience to carry out the research, and are familiar with the literature and appropriate methods of research.
The relationship between an academic Supervisor and a research student is a unique one, which evolves over several years to achieve a number of objectives, including:
- providing you with a thorough grounding in all aspects of research within the context of an academic discipline;
- creating a learning experience that is intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling within a stimulating and supportive environment;
- providing academic and pastoral support;
- ensuring you are able to complete your PhD in a timely manner;
- preparing you for a range of careers.
Your second supervisor is an additional source of support and advice. They will enhance the effective supervision of your work by contributing a second opinion or additional areas of expertise.
Below is a list of UCL Energy Institute (UCL-Energy) supervisors of MPhil/PhD and MRes projects sorted by Research Theme.
People & Energy
Policy & Law
Smart Energy Systems
UCL-Energy is partner institutes with UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. Potential supervisors include:
Below is a list of other UCL Departments who have staff currently part of the supervision team for UCL-Energy core or affiliate students. Please note this list is not exhaustive and our engagement with UCL Departments extends beyond this list.
Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
UCL Development Planning Unit
UCL Bartlett School of Construction & Project Management
UCL Department of Chemistry
UCL Department of Chemical Engineering
UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering
UCL Department of Civil, Environment & Geomatic Engineering
UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy
UCL Department Economics UCL Applied Mathematics
UCL Department of Geography
UCL Department of Law
Before contacting a potential supervisor you should consider how you will fund your studies, by:
- supporting yourself
- identifying and applying for studentships and scholarships
- industrial scholarships
For more information about fees and living expenses, visit the UCL Information for Prospective Students or the UCL Current Student pages.
The Bartlett also offers a small amount of competitive Postgraduate Teaching Assistantships for current PhD students. PhD and EngD students in their second and third year will be eligible to apply. The Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources (BSEER) also offers teaching opportunities on our postgraduate programmes.
Please see the UCL money pages for information about fees payable for University tuition, sources of funding and scholarship opportunities at the University.
What funding is available?
If you can’t fund yourself, the following options may be available:
- London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand studentships are available for eligible candidates each year.
- A small number of industry-sponsored studentships may be available on specific topics. These are usually advertised on the institute websites and the UCL Vacancies page.
- UCL Scholarships – visit the UCL Graduate Scholarships pages for more information. You should already have received an offer when you apply for this funding and nominations can only be made by BSEER.
To keep up to date with future opportunities, sign up to our mailing list.
Students should have a first-class or upper second-class (2:1) honours degree in a relevant subject, or an equivalent overseas qualification from a recognised higher education institute.
Possession of a Master's degree is highly desirable, though not essential. In exceptional cases, candidates without a master's degree may be admitted provided they have other suitable research experience.
Applicants with a lower second-class honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) must have a relevant Master's degree.
Your application should include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal.
Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships
You may apply at any time of year, although in some cases an autumn start date is expected. For some applicants, deadlines for funding applications may be crucial to the timing of your application.
You should prepare your application well before the date you hope to start.
If you’re applying from overseas, aim to apply a year in advance and do not leave for the UK until you have received and accepted a formal offer from UCL.
How to apply
Please read the BSEER Research Degree (MPhil/PhD) application guidance before applying.
Find out more in the UCL Graduate Prospectus.
For further guidance, email Mae Oroszlany, BSEER PhD Administrator.