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Psychoanalytic Studies, MPhil/PhD

This programme’s main focus is to conduct original research culminating in the submission of a doctoral thesis. The programme also includes a taught component, workshops and discussion groups.

The Psychoanalysis Unit in collaboration with Anna Freud is host to a successful PhD programme in Psychoanalytic Studies. This PhD programme aims to demonstrate how an academic understanding of psychoanalytic concepts (its theory or metapsychology) and/or the historical background to ideas should always be intertwined with its clinical precepts in line with the course’s principles that theory can only arise from a clinical and historical context. A basic understanding of psychoanalytic concepts and/or methods of psychoanalytic research is required.

The taught component requires that students attend a variety of classes and seminars to gain 80 credits prior to upgrading from MPhil to PhD. The benefits of these courses include experience with presenting current work to your peers, sharing difficulties and questions as they arise, gaining a deeper understanding of psychoanalysis and getting to know the rest of your cohort and what they are working on. The Doctoral School also plays an active role in offering courses in developing research skills and public engagement. To find out more visit UCL's website.

The Psychoanalysis Unit offers regular research seminars, events and conferences, including inter-faculty seminars which bring together staff at UCL with an interest in psychoanalysis.

One aim of the programme is to initiate a doctoral culture in interdisciplinary studies that use psychoanalysis. Students from other UCL faculties, including The Slade Art School, Documentary Film Studies, Medical Anthropology, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) have been involved in the programme.

Career prospects

The PhD is not a clinical programme, but provides an interesting background to formal clinical training and some students pursue this option. Some career advice can be offered to students in individual discussion with the Programme Director, who may be able to arrange for the student to have further discussion with colleagues, or to obtain fuller information about options (e.g. professional training) from relevant sources.

Please visit the UCL website for more information.


For all enquiries related to this course, please contact the Programme Administrator Helen King.


'An interesting and eclectic group of students and generous facilitation makes for very lively discussions of set texts and individual projects.PatriciaPart-time UK student

'A unique opportunity to experience collegiate life and pursue professional development at world class facilities. The program is exceptional.' Michael, Full-time student