PhD Social Research Methods

The Department of Methodology welcomes applications from prospective students for the PhD in Social Research Methods, both full-time and part-time.

Information for prospective students

Applicants to the doctoral programme at in the Department of Methodology (Mphil/PhD in Social Research Methods) should possess, as a minimum, a high level pass in an appropriate Master’s degree, together with at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate subject from a UK university or its equivalent elsewhere. Graduates from the Department’s own Master's degree must normally have achieved an average mark of 65% or better overall (pass mark, 50%), plus preferably higher in their Dissertation, to be eligible for admission to the doctoral programme. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Please see the calendar for an outline of the programme structure.

For ideas on current and recent research topics, please see individual current student profiles.

Application procedures

Applicants are strongly advised to informally contact possible supervisors before they submit their application.

Applications are handled by the LSE Graduate Admissions Office. Official information about the application procedures can be found here.

Deadlines for submitting an application are tied in with deadlines for consideration for LSE research scholarships and Research Council studentships. In order to be considered for these scholarships, an applicant aiming to start in the autumn has to submit their completed application by 8th January 2018 for the first round of scholarship decisions and by 26th April 2018 for the second round. Early applications are more likely to be considered for funding. The deadline for the second round, on 26th April 2018, is also the last day when completed applications for MPhil/PhD in the Department of Methodology may be submitted, even for applicants who do not require funding from these scholarships.

The research proposal

The Department of Methodology requires the submission of a proposal summarising and justifying your proposed research, to be attached to your formal application. This will provide the selectors with an idea of the topics of interest, and help in matching candidates to potential supervisors.

The research proposal should include the following questions:

  • Why is the topic interesting? What is the central research question? Is there a theoretical and empirical 'gap' that your research will seek to fill? Is there a theoretical or empirical contradiction that your research will seek to resolve? How will your research take our understanding forward in your chosen field? What core theories and concepts will you draw on?
  • What are the relevant literature(s) and field(s) the work will contribute to? What are the main theories in the area? What are the critical empirical phenomena in the area? Specify the key references relevant to the proposed research.
  • How will you address the empirical aspects of the research? What empirical (qualitative and/or quantitative) information do you propose to collect, how, from where, and why? What methodology of analysis is appropriate and why? If the research question requires a combination of different methodologies, how will they be related? Do you foresee any practical difficulties in pursuing the research (e.g., finding suitable participants or data sources)? If so, how might they be overcome?

Writing sample

MPhil/PhD students are also required to submit with their application a sample of academic writing in English.


All candidates who are shortlisted as candidates for admission to the MPhil/PhD programme will be interviewed by their potential supervisors and/or the Doctoral Programme Director. Interviews can be conducted in person or on the telephone or via Skype/other video conferencing facilities. The department will contact the candidates to arrange the interview.

Funding opportunities

Please see financial support for more info.