MPhil/PhD Application Information

Application Codes: 

  • P4ZM MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications; 
  • P3ZM MPhil/PhD in New Media, Innovation and Literacy; 
  • P4E1 Visiting Research Student 

Duration: PhD: 3-4 years full-time; Visiting Research Student: up to one academic year.
Student offers/applications for 2014/15: 15/74
Financial Support: See Financial Support Office

For further details, download a copy of the Department of Media and Communications Doctoral Programme Handbook.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 91% of the Department of Media and Communications' research output was ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent, as was our research environment. 

Selection for funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents – by the deadline

Interested in gaining feedback from faculty on a prospective research proposal? Express your interest by providing your details here


Media and communications research is developing rapidly, both theoretically and methodologically, in keeping with the vast expansion in the penetration, technological diversity and social significance of the media globally. Media and communications research is essentially interdisciplinary, drawing on the theories and methods of a range of social science disciplines as they apply to the media, both old and new.

With 91% of its research output judged to be "world leading" or "internationally excellent" (REF 2014), the Department of Media and Communications provides an excellent research-based education to its doctoral students. Its mission is to guarantee the highest quality graduate research training in media and communications and to undertake original social science research in the field, emphasising in particular the relationship between media, technology and social change.

The Doctoral Programme of the Department currently has approximately 35 students, offering each one of them the opportunity to develop their research skills and ideas in a global centre of excellence in media and communications research.

Application details

Applicants to either of our doctoral programmes 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 it equivalent elsewhere and preferably a distinction for their Master's dissertation. Graduates from the Department's own Master's degrees must normally have achieved an average mark of 68% or better (pass mark, 50%) and a distinction in their dissertation to eligible for admission to either of our doctoral programmes.

The criteria for selection include:

  • the degree of precision, motivation for and insight of the research proposal (see below), as well as its implications (theoretical, empirical and practical)
  • the candidate's past educational background (both its subject matter and standard)
  • the degree of support expressed in the references provided
  • the appropriateness of the proposed research topic for supervision by members of the School
  • the availability of a member of staff with appropriate expertise to supervise the proposed research

Applications are handled by Graduate Admissions. They will provide an application form and other information, and these should be returned directly to them and not to the Department of Media and Communications.

The department requires the submission of a 2-2,500-word essay summarising and justifying your proposed research, to be attached to your formal application. The project proposal should feature the following sections:

Introduction/Research questions: What question(s) will you attempt to answer?

Literature Review: Summarise the relevant literature and the field(s) you intend to contribute to.

Methodology: How will you address the empirical aspects of the research?

Conclusion: What is the added value of the project?

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in person, by phone or via Skype.

Required courses

Students are normally required to attend in both first and second years of study, MC500 Research Seminar for Media, Communications and Culture. They will also normally be required to attend and pass in the first year at least one full unit of advanced research methods training, MC5M2 Advanced Methods of Research in Media and Communications (one unit), which includes a choice of qualitative and quantitative research methods courses and workshops (some compulsory and some chosen after consultation with their supervisor and with the approval of the PhD programme director).

Students on the MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications without the requisite closely related background in media and communications theory will be required, in addition, to attend and pass (by coursework only) MC408/MC418 Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications.

Students on the MPhil/PhD in New Media, Innovation and Literacy will be required, in addition, to attend and pass (by coursework only) two of the following: MC413 New Media, Information and Knowledge Systems, MC418 Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications II, MC402 The Audience in Media and Communications, MC409 Media, Technology and Everyday Life, MC424 Media and Communications Governance, MC425 Interpersonal Communications.

Students are encouraged and expected to attend other graduate seminars and courses relevant to the subject of their research in their first, second and subsequent years.

Evaluation and progress

Students will be required to submit a full thesis proposal of 10,000 words to their Thesis Committee by 1 June in their first year (Part-time students can submit their Proposal by 1 March in their second year. This paper will include a substantive statement of the aims, theories and methods proposed for the thesis, a tentative chapter outline, an indicative bibliography and a timetable for its completion.

Together with the examination or other assessment in Methods (MC5M2) and in core theoretical taught causes as detailed above, this paper will form part of the evaluation process, and, together with an oral examination based on the Thesis Proposal, will determine whether students are permitted to upgrade from MPhil to PhD and continue into their second year.

All students will be expected to complete their PhD within 3 years or the equivalent for part-time students.


Students are assigned by the Research Tutor to a principal supervisor with requisite knowledge in the student's chosen field and to an appropriate second supervisor. Supervisors are normally members of the Department of Media and Communications faculty . If appropriate, a second or joint supervisor may be from another Department, Institute or Programme.

Each student will be assigned a Thesis Committee consisting of their two supervisors and a senior member of the Department's faculty as Chair.. This Committee will act as the review panel at the end of the first year of registration and in the decision to upgrade a student from MPhil to PhD. The Thesis Committee also provides feedback on draft chapters submitted at the end of Year 2 and remains responsible for over-viewing the student's progress in subsequent years

Current PhD students

See the list of current PhD students

How to apply

For full details see How to apply. Please also note section above on Application Details

Financial support

For information on financial awards and scholarships for 2014 entry, consult the Financial Support Office or the 2014 LSE PhD Studentships page.

There is intense competition for all forms of financial support and MPhil/PhD applicants are urged to begin exploring all possible sources of funding internationally and in their own countries, as early as possible.

More information

For more information, consult Graduate Admissions