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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 PhD timeline


Research themes

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.


Principal Supervisor

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.

Subsidiary Supervisor

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.


Tadj Oreszczyn
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Andrew Smith (subsidiary supervisor only)
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Catalina Spataru 
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Energy Systems

Gabrial Ananandarajah
View Gabrial's profile 
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Hannah Daly (subsidiary supervisor only)
View Hannah's profile
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Paul Dodds
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Ilkka Keppo
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Xavier Lemaire
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Send Xavier an email

Neil Strachan
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People & Energy

Lai Fong Chiu (subsidiary supervisor only)
View Lai Fong's profile
Send Lai Fong an email

David Shipworth
View David's profile 
Send David an email

Michelle Shipworth
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Gesche Huebner (subsidiary supervisor only)
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Policy & Law



Mark Barrett
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Andreas Schafer
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Andrew Smith (subsidiary supervisor only)
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Tristan Smith
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Neil Strachan 
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Smart Energy Systems

Mark Barrett
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Send Mark an email

Cliff Elwell
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Send Cliff an email 

Bob Lowe
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Tadj Oreszczyn
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Send Tadj a message

David Shipworth
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Send David a message

Michelle Shipworth
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Send Michelle an email 

Catalina Spataru
View Catalina's profile
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UCL-Energy is partner institutes with UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. Potential supervisors include: 

Paul Ekins
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Send Paul an email

Paolo Agnolucci (subsidiary supervisor only)
View Paolo's profile
Send Paolo an email

Teresa Domenech (subsidiary supervisor only)
View Teresa's profile
Send Teresa an email

Matthew Winning (subsidiary supervisor only)
View Matthew's profile
Send Matthew an email

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. 

UCL 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


View of of our past and current PhD student profiles in our MPhil/PhD students pages and Alumni pages.

Funding Opportunities

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:

  • 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.

More information

Find out more in the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

For further guidance, email Mae Oroszlany, BSEER PhD Administrator.