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Studying at the Gender Institute

All students have a main supervisor and an advisor (or joint supervision in rare cases). The supervisor is the main point of contact for the student during their studies, with whom they meet 2-3 times termly (usually 3 times in the first year). Students use online PhD logs to provide a record of meetings and to check common understanding of agreed actions on both sides. In addition to the First Year Upgrade process, students have formal reviews in the second and third years.  Though some students will be supervised entirely from within the Gender Institute, we occasionally draw on the research specialisms of staff in other parts of the LSE, so the supervisor may be a member of the Gender Institute or of another LSE Institute or Department. In all cases, students will be drawn into the research community of the Institute, joining with the other research students in the first year taught courses, working together with second and third year students in the Ph.D. research seminar GI500, and participating in the Institute's regular seminar series. We hope students will also be able to share interests and knowledge with the Institute's Research Fellows, particularly when their areas of research overlap.

 Courses Taken

Students audit the lectures of course GI424, Gender Theories in the Modern World, which provides a critical understanding of the field, and provides the basis for the development of appropriate interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks Students play an active part in the course GI402, Gender: Knowledge and Research Practice and participate in seminars and research workshops. The course provides training in research design with a particular focus on research ethics. Students take GI500, the Doctoral Workshop, a fortnightly research seminar run by the PhD doctoral director throughout their studies. The workshop is based on student work in progress, and builds professional skills through the integration of ‘paper respondents’. ST workshops are focused on professional training such as writing job applications, CVs, publication and conference guidance and marking training.

phdDinnerStudents choose from the full range of GI courses to audit in discussion with their supervisory team. Where appropriate to their topic, students choose courses in the Department of Methodology such as Foundations in Social Research, Advanced social Research Methods and Drafting a PhD, which provide a range of key skills necessary to writing a PhD.





First year students will be formally assessed towards the end of their first year when the department makes the decision on whether to upgrade a student from the MPhil to the PhD programme. The upgrade review includes the submission of written work and progress documents together with an oral discussion (viva) of the research project with a panel - normally the supervisor, advisor, and a doctoral programme director or non-supervisory member of faculty).

Students are required to submit:
(i) draft chapter of 8,000-10,000 words (e.g. literature review, theoretical approach, substantive analysis of research themes);
(ii) research design document of 4-5 pages outlining the research rationale, research question and objectives, and the ethical, epistemological, methodological issues relevant to the research (see box below);
(iii) 2 page chapter outline of the thesis with an indication of chapter contents;
(iv) timeline for completion.

Students will also be formally assessed in their second and third years.  Please see the 2015/6 handbook for further details.

Professional Training

  • GI500 Doctoral Workshops
  • Short course provision (e.g. ‘writing in gender studies’ 2009) and workshops with visiting speakers
  • GTA opportunities for seminar teaching on GI424 post-upgrade (agreed by GSSC.
  • Paid work as induction, conference and workshop organisers.
  • Encouragement to give conference papers and submit work to journals. There is an annual third year GI PhD students research panel that is part of our events programme.

Students who are supervised by staff outside the Gender Institute may discover that the procedure and requirements for upgrade vary slightly between departments. Please note that as a student of the Gender Institute, you will come within our regulations, even if your main Supervisor is based elsewhere. Having successfully upgraded from MPhil to PhD, you will then be reviewed annually to ensure that your work is progressing satisfactory.


Students are normally expected to complete their PhD thesis within three or four of registration (maximum six years/18 terms) and an MPhil within two years. Part time students must complete by their eighth year of registration - a deadline which also applies to students who have studied a mixture of full and part time.


Requirements for a PhD

LSE PhDs are examined under LSE regulations. These regulations specify the criteria for a PhD.

You will be guided by your Supervisor to ensure that your work is compatible with the criteria for a PhD. It is still useful however to read these regulations as you embark on your PhD and subsequently from time to time to ensure your work remains on track.
Three points in particular are worth highlighting here however 

The thesis shall:

(a) consist of the candidate's own account of his/her investigations, the greater proportion of which shall have been undertaken during the period of registration under supervision for the degree;

(b) and form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical power;
(c) and be an integrated whole and present a coherent argument;

The PhD Director has final responsibility for the MPhil/PhD programme. This means she is responsible for admissions, the allocation of supervisors, overseeing the upgrade from MPhil to PhD, monitoring ongoing progress, and arranging the final submission. She also arbitrates in cases of difficulties with supervisors, or problems with general training.

At the Gender Institute, we are fortunate in being able to provide an open-plan study room for research students with computer facilities and work desks, and use of a pleasant open space for coffee breaks/quiet conversation. There are currently nine networked PCs, and connections for two further laptops/computers as well as wireless facility. The desks are available on a 'hotdesking' basis (that is, students use whichever desks are empty at the time) but there is plenty of shelving space so that students can leave books and reference material there.