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Department of Mathematics

Columbia House

London School of Economics

Houghton Street

London WC2A 2AE, UK


Email: maths.info@lse.ac.uk

Tel: +44(0)207 955 7732/7925

Fax: +44(0)207 955 6877


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PhD-level Taught Courses

Please note: the most comprehnesive account of your studies can be found in your MPhil/PhD Mathematics Handbook.

First Year: MPhil status

All students registering for a programme of study leading to a PhD begin under MPhil registration. The opportunity to upgrade this registration to PhD typically comes in the second year.

During their first year, all Mathematics PhD students are required to attend four appropriate taught courses:

Student choices are, of course,dependent on the focus of their research and are agreed with their supervisor in advance of registration.  Some taught courses have associated examinations whilst others are assessed by attendance only.

Students must meet regularly with their supervisors and stay in regular contact; meetings are logged on the online PhD Log within the LSE for You system.  Development is monitored by progress reports during Michaelmas and Summer terms.  Students will be asked to present their research topics at Departmental seminars events.  A formal review of progress takes place at the end of the first year.

Second year: MPhil/PhD status

In the second year students become more deeply involved with their research topic, producing and writing up new results. During this time students will meet with supervisors on a regular basis to discuss their academic development. Students will present their current research at departmental seminars.

Upgrade to PhD

Assessment for progression to PhD is made by the Doctoral Programme Director (unless directly involved with the student's supervision) and the second supervisor.  The decision is based on taught course performance and, most crucially, research progress.

Third and fourth year: PhD

The third year demands considerable and rapid progress with research.  During the fourth year students should submit their entry form for PhD examination and should be close to submitting their thesis.


When a thesis is nearly ready for submission, the supervisor will nominate a suitable internal examiner and external examiner to the Research Degrees Unit (RDU). The internal examiner will be from the LSE or another college of the University of London, while the external examiner will be from another university. The appointed examiners will normally require at least two months to read a thesis once it has reached them from RDU. After the examiners have read the thesis, a date will be arranged for a viva examination (normally held in London). Students should expect to give a short presentation of their work and answer general questions on their area of research, as well as on the details of their thesis. Students may request the attendance of their supervisor at the viva, but the supervisor will speak only if asked to do so by the examiner.

At the conclusion of the viva, examiners will usually inform candidates of the unofficial outcome of the examination. In the best circumstances the thesis will be accepted without change or subject only to minor corrections. Once these are made, an electronic copy (PDF format) must be submitted to RDU and official confirmation of the award will follow. In less ideal circumstances, a student might be required to undertake more substantial revision of their thesis.

Please note that the maximum period of full-time registration is four years. We do not recommend pursuing a PhD while in full-time or part-time employment. We do not offer distance learning,


Alongside their studies, our research students are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in the the Department's seminar series. These include the Seminar on Combinatorics, Games and Optimisation (MA500) and the Joint Risk and Stochastics and Financial Mathematics Seminar.  In addition to those seminars organised within the department, we also co-host a joint seminar series with several other London-based universities entitled The London Mathematical Finance Seminar, details of which can be found on the London Graduate School in Mathematical Finance's website.

We also host seminars aimed specifically at research students.  The PhD Seminar on Combinatorics, Games and Optimisation is designed for students working in Discrete Mathematics, Algorithms, Game Theory and Probability Theory whilst the Financial Mathematics Reading Group (MA501) is aimed at those studying the field of Financial Mathematics.  Students are expected to attend all sessions of the relevant seminar and to contribute talks on their current research during the year. Although the two seminar series have a different focus, students are encouraged to attend talks at both whenever possible.  Other PhD events are held throughout the year, where students are encouraged to present and chair sessions.