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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 First Year Review and Upgrade processes, students have an annual review meeting with both supervisor and advisor to discuss progress and plan the following year.  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, 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.


Phd-handbook-2012-13 PhD Handbook current version for the year 2012-13.  This will be updated as and when, and is the most updated version available  (version amended 30 October 2012).

Courses Taken

Students take the lecture course GI400, 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 take 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 programme 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 Methodology Institute 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.



1st year assessment

Students go through ‘First Year Review' in the ST of their first year, by submitting a draft chapter and a research proposal following the ESRC research funding template. Successful students proceed to their 2nd year; unsuccessful students have one more attempt before the end of September of the same academic year.

Upgrading from MPhil to PhD

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD status takes place the following year, by the end of MT. Students are required to submit a detailed outline for the thesis (including the anticipated division into chapters), two substantive draft chapters (usually the introduction setting out research hypotheses and methodology, and a second one situating their work within the wider literature), a timetable for completion. A completed LSE research ethics questionnaire will be carried out the summer beforehand with student and supervisor. Upgrade vivas take place at the end of term and include supervisor, advisor and a third person. Where the PhD programme director is supervisor or advisor, it is usual for them to be the third person. Expectations for a successful upgrade also include satisfactory completion of courses.

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 GI400 post-upgrade (agreed by GSSC), and marking on core and option units.
  • Paid work as induction, conference and workshop organisers.
  • Encouragement to give conference papers and submit work to journals. There is an annual 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.

Final Year Review

A final year review is held at the beginning of the fourth year, to assess the student’s plan for completion and identify any problems that might delay submission of the thesis.


Students are normally expected to complete their PhD thesis within three years 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 including a pleasant 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.