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Frequently asked questions

  1. How does a British doctoral programme differ from a North American one?
  2. Why is the course called MPhil/PhD?
  3. What about supervision?
  4. How can I prepare myself for entry into the doctoral programme?
  5. What kind of career opportunities can I expect to after I complete my PhD?
  6. What is it like living in London?
  7. How much does it cost?
  8. Are there scholarships or grants available?
  9. Does the Department of Management help students with travel and conference fees?
  10. What is required of me to successfully complete a PhD?
  11. Any questions?
  12. Further information and advice?

 

1. How does a British doctoral programme differ from a North American one?

The British doctoral programme differs in many significant (and some superficial) ways from Canadian and US programmes.

Perhaps the most apparent difference is that there is no required coursework and no 'qualifying exams' for our PhD programme. Instead, we expect that all students entering the programme will have existing detailed research training. In general there is less structure to the programme. British programmes are predicated on the assumption that as a research student you are a junior participant in the research activities of the department and of the academic community. This places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of the student.

The nature of supervision is also different in that students usually develop very close relationships with their supervisors early on and benefit from an apprenticeship style of learning, in addition to their more formal studies. A useful guide to studying for a PhD in the UK is How to get a PhD by Estelle Phillips and Derek Pugh (Open University Press).

2. Why is the course called MPhil/PhD?

In the University of London all PhD students are registered initially for an MPhil (Masters in Philosophy). A student is registered as a PhD student when they have demonstrated that they are progressing well in their research. This is called the upgrade process. In the Department of Management, successful upgrade is dependent on passing the first year modules with Merit as well as the submission of a research proposal for formal assessment by the faculty.

3. What about supervision?

You will be assigned a supervisor when you enter the programme. In addition, when you are preparing your materials for consideration for upgrading from MPhil to PhD student status, you will be assigned two assessors who will read that material and judge your progress. Normally one of those two will then continue to act as your second supervisor. They will be available to you for informal consultations and be prepared to take over supervision if, for example, your supervisor takes sabbatical leave. Some students make formal arrangements for dual supervision, either with two members of the Group their track is within, the Department, or with someone from another department.

4. How can I prepare myself for entry into the doctoral programme?

The most important thing is to understand what it means to enter a life of scholarship. This means that you should prepare yourself mentally to focus your attention on your research, be ready to write constantly, and engage in critical analysis. Before entering the programme you will need a background in research methods in the social sciences and be familiar with the basic philosophical and conceptual issues which doctoral students need to ponder. Before entering the PhD programme, you should also have developed a research proposal. For more details please see the entry requirements|.

5. What kind of career opportunities can I expect after I complete my PhD?

Our graduates generally enter academic institutions or are engaged in some other research career. Some enter business, including consulting companies, but they generally have less opportunity to continue their research interests.

Most graduates of the doctoral programme engage in job searches in universities in their home countries and/ or North America. Currently the job market is strong with many opportunities especially for those who are able to combine good research using interesting theoretical approaches with an ability to teach undergraduate and/ or MBA courses.

6. What is it like living in London?

Enthusiasts of London life emphasise the extraordinary cosmopolitan character of the city, its fabulous cultural life and, in parts, its beauty. For doctoral students, the obvious advantages are the large academic community, excellent libraries and leading institutions of all kinds, including government departments, corporate headquarters, professional associations, and voluntary organisations. See the Student Services Centre website| for more information about living in London.

7. How much does it cost to live in London?

The perceived cost of living and studying in London is a concern for many students. However, it is possible to live economically in the capital by taking advantage of reduced price services and facilities on campus and beyond, making the most of student discounts and concessions in shops, restaurants and bars, and by avoiding touristy areas of the city. In fact the most recent Student Living Index, a survey published by the NatWest Bank, found that London is the most cost-effective place to study in the UK because of the range of part-time work opportunities available in the capital and the higher rates of pay on offer. 

LSE makes broad estimates of the costs of living in the London area. The School currently estimates that students should allow about £1,000-£1,200 per month for living costs, in addition to tuition fees.

8. Are there scholarships or grants available?

There LSE PhD Scholarship was established in 2008. To be eligible for a scholarship you must apply for the PhD programme by the end of January. Full details of these and other forms of support are listed on the Financial Support office website|.

9. Does the Department of Management help students with travel and conference fees?

The Department is able to provide some help towards the cost of attending conferences. The student is usually required to be presenting at the conference in question and must first apply to the School's Postgraduate Travel Fund|.

10. What is required of me to successfully complete a PhD?

Deep interest, stamina, and love of scholarship are the minimum requirements.

The doctorate is awarded on the basis of a completed thesis that has been passed by examiners, one of whom is external and one internal to the LSE. There is no other formal requirement, but before you are allowed to submit your thesis for examination you must have been upgraded from the status of an MPhil student to that of a PhD student.   

11. Any questions?  

Answers to most questions can be found on the Graduate Admissions| website; please go to the LSE website index for graduate applicants| or the Admissions Enquiries| page. The "How do I...|" page explains, for example, how to amend the information you have supplied, obtain certificates, apply for scholarships or accommodation and carry out the most common tasks and enquiries on line.

To find out the status of your application you should use the Track Your Application| webpage.

For remaining questions please contact the Graduate Admissions Office|.

To email Graduate Admissions you must first try to find the answer to your question by running a search on the Admissions Enquiries| page. You will then be offered the option, via a box at the bottom of the screen (headed 'To send a written enquiry') to email Graduate Admissions direct.

12. Further information and advice

If you have any questions about our MPhil/PhD programme that is not addressed on our website please contact:

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