teaching and support

MPhil/PhD programmes

What we offer

The Social Policy Department is one of the largest in the UK, with an international reputation for excellence.  In the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment, the Department was ranked first in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research.

Contact details

All enquiries should be addressed to the Programmes Administrator.

 

Research degree programmes Administrator
Sarah Helias: s.helias@lse.ac.uk

 

Doctoral programme Director
Professor Anne West: a.west@lse.ac.uk

About our MPhil/PhD programmes

The MPhil/PhD programmes in Social Policy and Demography aim to provide research students with the skills and competencies to undertake a substantial piece of work that is of publishable quality and which makes an original contribution to the broad field of either Social Policy or Demography.

 In the first year students follow a compulsory seminar course (covering the MPhil/PhD process, ethics, risks, research skills etc.). They must also present their work to fellow students and staff, prior to updgrade to PhD status which follows a formal assessment of their proposed doctoral research. Students may attend courses in the Methodology Department. There is also a seminar course for second and third year students; the key element of this involves third year PhD students presenting their work to fellow students and staff in advance of submitting their Third Year Review.

Throughout the programme, students meet regularly with their supervisor(s) to discuss and gain feedback on their work. At the end of the programme, the student submits a thesis; this must form a direct contribution to knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical power.  

Research community

The Department is able to offer supervision in a variety of specialist areas, and, with its research centres and over 60 current research students, provides a vibrant and exciting research community.

Our Research students

There are a diverse cohort of students carrying out social policy research on topics including disadvantage and inequalities, international development, criminal justice, family policies, education policies, and demography/population studies. 

Meet our current PhD students
See our most recent PhD completions

Our programmes

MPhil/PhD Social Policy
MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies

The research programmes are now open for 2018/19 entry.

The application deadline for funded places is Monday 8 January 2018 (1st round) and Monday 26 April 2018 (second round if studentships have not all been allocated). 

After this deadline, applicants with their own funding only will be considered until 18 June 2018.

Information about funding is outlined below.

Application guidance 

Areas of specialisation

The Department is able to offer supervision in a wide range of specialist areas:

-   Analysis of poverty and social exclusion
-   Area deprivation
-   Children and Social Policy
-   Civil society and non-governmental organisations
-   Crime and criminal justice
-   Demography
-   Education policy
-   Ethnicity and Social Policy
-   European and comparative Social Policy
-   Family change and its consequences
-   Gender and Social Policy
-   Global Social Policy
-   Health Economics *
-   Health policy in the UK, Europe and internationally *
-   Immigration and integration
-   Migration
-   Multidimensional inequality and the future evolution of welfare states
-   Organisation and funding of long term care *
-   Population studies
-   Sexuality 
-   Social economics 
-   Social Policy in developing countries
-   Social rights in global (including European) contexts
-   Social security, pensions and welfare reform

* Subjects eligible to be transferred to the new PhD programme in Health Policy once it is approved by the School.

How to apply

All prospective research students must apply using the graduate online portal. Please read the information below before you begin the online application so that you have all the necessary documents ready for consideration. 

Completing your application

Your application must include:
- a CV
- a personal statement
- details of academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications with transcripts)
- 2 academic references
- sample of written work
- a research proposal of up to 4000 words

Your research proposal should give details of the particular issue/problem to be addressed; relevant literature and previous research in the field; the theoretical/conceptual framework to be adopted; the proposed research question(s); and the planned research methods to answer the research question(s).  This will enable the Department to make an informed decision about the proposal and, equally important, to establish if there are appropriate supervisors available to supervise the planned research. Two supervisors are normally identified at this stage.

See further information on supporting documents 

Application checklist

 - Use the correct application code

L4ZA MPhil/PhD in Social Policy
M9ZD MPhil/PhD in Demography/Population Studies
L4EA Visiting Research Student Social Policy

-  Do you meet the minimum requirements?

The minimum entry requirements for this programme are a 2:1 bachelor’s degree, plus Master’s degree marks equivalent to an LSE high merit grade (+ 65%), preferably in Social Policy or Public Policy, with an overall average of 65% (or equivalent) and 65 % in the dissertation (or equivalent).

-  Do you meet the English language requirements?

Applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not been taught entirely in English at degree level, are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. The most common qualifications are the IELTS or TOEFL tests.

Applicants do not need to have the required marks when they apply, but successful award of the qualification would form a condition of any offer issued, and would have to be achieved before registration. For research level, candidates are expected to meet the research programmes requirement. See our English language requirements

-  Identifying supervisors 

The Social Policy department welcomes applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

Please note: Prospective candidates for the MPhil/PhD in Social Policy are not expected to contact potential supervisors in advance of their application. Due to the high volume of enquiries, potential supervisors are unlikely to be able to provide feedback on enquiries and outline proposals.

-  Part-time study

Part-time registration is available to students who may need to spread their studies over a longer period because of outside commitments. You will need to provide documentary evidence. See Regulations for Research Students, paragraph 5. Students on a Tier 4 visa please check guidelines.

-  Application and funding deadlines

Application will open on 02 October 2017 with rolling admissions until 14 June 2018. Please note that the selection process for the LSE PhD and Research Council Studentships will take place in two rounds, and all students are advised to aim for the first round if possible.

The funding deadlines are 08 January 2018 and 26 April 2018. Selection for funding is based on receipt of a complete application (i.e including all supporting documents) by the deadline.

-  Apply early if you require funding

Early application to this programme is recommended particularly if you want to be considered for funding. If funding is not required applications should be received before 14 June 2018 to allow for consultations to take place within the Department. If places are still available, the Department may consider applications submitted after this date.    

-  When will I hear the outcome of the application?

We aim to process all complete applications in a timely manner, however the application process for research programmes can take up to three months. This is to enable the Department to make an informed decision about your proposal and, equally important, to establish if there are appropriate supervisors available for your research. 

-  Interviews

The Department normally interviews shortlisted applicants before any offer of a place is made.

-  Programme start

Please note that the Department accepts application for starters at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term only. 

Visiting Research Students (VRS)

Visiting Research Student (VRS) status allows research students from other universities to spend up to 9 months in the Department of Social Policy. Visiting research students are normally research and doctoral students registered at overseas universities wishing to undertake some aspect of their research in the UK. Certain seminars and classes can be attended subject to the advice and approval of the supervisor and teachers concerned.

A supervisor is assigned to every VRS and advice and direction offered as necessary. Visting Research Students can also take up to four full unit taught courses, but examinations are optional, and grades do not contribute towards a degree. A full transcript of studies can be produced at the end of the period of study.

How to apply to the VRS programme

The procedure and requirements are the same as for the MPhil/PhD. Please refer to the 'How to Apply' section above. Please ensure you use the correct code: L4EA- Visiting Research Social Policy.

FAQs

1- . Where can I check the equivalence of my non-UK qualifications?

The Student Recruitment Office provides information aimed at prospective applicants coming from outside the UK. It includes informaiton on international entry requirements.

Select the relevant region, click on the country of your choice and go to the entry requirements section on the left menu. 

2- Should I contact potential supervisors before I apply?

We do not expect applicants to identify potential supervisors beforehand as this is part of the selection process. If you are interested in establishing whether the Department currently has staff working in your proposed area of research, you can find details of the research interests of all staff within the Department's Who's Who webpages. If you feel that one of the academics in the Department has interests that fit with yours, you can name him/her in your application and he/she would normally be asked to consider your research proposal. 

Unfortunately, because of the high volume of enquiries, staff are not normally able to reply to requests for help with research applications or provide comments on PhD proposals. 

3 - Do you offer distance learning?

Our programme requires regular attendance at the LSE during their first year, to attend courses, supervisory meetings and seminars, so we cannot offer distance learning. In exceptional circumstances, students may be granted permission to reside outside the UK while continuing their research programme.

Please see Regulations for Research Students, paragraph17-18 for information on study time away from the School.

4. Can I apply for an MPhil programme rather than a PhD?

There is no a separate MPhil programme. First year students are registered as MPhil students only as part of their PhD programme. Once they pass Major Review at the end of their first year they upgrade to PhD status.   

Further details of alternative masters programmes is available here.

Funding

The MPhil/PhD Social Policy is part of the Social Policy group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding. LSE is an ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership.

The MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies is part of the Environment, Energy and Resilience group. ESRC-funded students may be eligible for additional funding for Advanced Quantitative Methods training during the MPhil/PhD.

Find out about scholarship opportunities available for the Department of Social Policy.