MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Social Policy
  • Application code M9ZD
  • Starting 2018

Demography is the study of human populations, past, present and future. It is concerned with how births, deaths, and migration determine change, and so determine key trends such as rapid population growth and population ageing. It includes the analysis of characteristics that determine the components of change and/or are affected by population structure, such as age, sex, marital and health status, and the composition of families and households.

This PhD programme aims to provide you with the skills and competencies that will enable you to successfully undertake original primary research worthy of publication in the field of demography. You will begin on the MPhil, and will need to meet certain requirements to be upgraded to PhD status.

You will be offered supervision in a wide range of specialist topics and become a member of a vibrant and exciting research community. You will have access to a full collection of UK, US and EU public documents, parliamentary papers and statistical data as well as use of high-class networked computer facilities dedicated to research students, in the Social Science Research Laboratory within the Department.

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline 14 June 2018. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration Three-four years (minimum 2) full-time
Availability UK/EU: Open
Overseas: Open
Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,299 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas £17,904 for the first year
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadlines 8 January 2018 and 26 April 2018)
ESRC funding (deadline 8 January 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 bachelor’s degree or equivalent, plus high merit (65+) in a master’s degree or equivalent, preferably in social policy, health policy or public policy
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Research (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

You will attend a seminar series run by the doctoral programme director and are also encouraged to take courses in the Department of Methodology and in the Department of Social Policy as necessary. In the first year, you will register initially for the MPhil programme, and undertake specific training in research methods as required. In subsequent years, you will continue your research under the guidance of your supervisors, participate in seminars and present your work from time to time, by giving seminar presentations and conference papers.

In addition to progressing with your research, you are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. You may take courses in addition to those listed and should discuss this with your supervisor.

First year

Training courses
Optional (not examined)

If not already taken previously:
Social Policy Research

Equips you with transferable research design skills, including the design of policy evaluations, and an in-depth understanding of the role of different types of research in the social policy-making process. 

Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design*
Introduces the broad range of design options and to foster an appreciation of these alternatives for particular research objectives.

Qualitative Research Methods*
Presents the fundamentals of qualitative research methods.

Introduction to Quantitative Analysis*
Provides an intensive introduction to quantitative data analysis in the social sciences.

Students will discuss with their supervisors any other methodological training that may be relevant for the successful completion of the MPhil/PhD programme. 

Transferable skills courses
Compulsory (not examined):

Research Student Seminar
Provides background sessions for MPhil/PhD students in their first year of study. It also provides the forum in which first year full-time and second year part-time MPhil/PhD students must present their work in advance of submitting their major review documents.

Optional (not examined):
Relevant courses provided by the Library, Teaching and Learning Centre and Methodology Institute

Second year

Training courses
Optional (not examined):
Applied Regression Analysis*
Focuses on deepening the understanding of the generalised linear model and its application to social science data. 

Multivariate Analysis and Measurement*
Examines the  modern multivariate methods used in the social sciences, with particular focus on latent variable models for continuous observed variables, and their application to questions of measurement in the social sciences. 

Transferable skills courses 
Optional (not examined):
Research Student Seminar
Provides background sessions for MPhil/PhD students in their first year of study. It also provides the forum in which first year full-time and second year part-time MPhil/PhD students must present their work in advance of submitting their major review documents.

Third year

Transferable skills courses 
Optional (not examined):
Research Student Seminar
Provides background sessions for MPhil/PhD students in their first year of study. It also provides the forum in which first year full-time and second year part-time MPhil/PhD students must present their work in advance of submitting their major review documents.

Fourth year

Transferable skills courses 
Optional (not examined):
Research Student Seminar
Provides background sessions for MPhil/PhD students in their first year of study. It also provides the forum in which first year full-time and second year part-time MPhil/PhD students must present their work in advance of submitting their major review documents.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar. 

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises. 

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Supervision, progression and assessment


You will be assigned a lead supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. You will also be assigned a co-supervisor/second supervisor. Lead-co supervisors guide you through your studies. During your first year you will attend and contribute to the Department's Research Student Seminars and research training courses. These are designed to strengthen your methodological skills, language skills or background knowledge of specific topics related to your research. During your second and third years you will also attend and contribute to the Department’s Research Student Seminar.

Prospective candidates for the MPhil/PhD in Social Policy are not expected to contact potential supervisors in advance of their application. Identifying supervisors is part of the selection process. Due to the high volume of enquiries, potential supervisors are normally unable to provide feedback on enquiries and outline proposals.

Progression and assessment

You are required to undertake Major Review in the summer term of your first year (second year for part-time students). For Major Review you must submit a 10,000 word document with a detailed proposal for  your thesis, your research question(s), a literature review, a description of your methodology, your plans for data collection and analysis and a timetable through to completion. You are interviewed on this document by senior staff who make the decision on upgrading. 

Each pre-Major Review student is required to make a presentation on his or her proposed research to the Research Student Seminar prior to the submission of the major review document and to address issues raised by the Doctoral Programme Director. 

Post-Major Review, each student is required to submit a 1,000- to 2,000-word progress report at the end of the second year.

In the third year (full-time), each student is expected to make a presentation to the Research Student Seminar of two substantive chapters/papers of the thesis prior to submission of the Third Year Review, which must be submitted at the end of the third year.

Continued registration depends on satisfactory progress.


Recent doctoral graduates have pursued careers in academia, in the government and public sector, in research, consultancy, education and teaching, NGOs and charities.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers

Assessing your application

We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

See the LSE Experts Directory for more information

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications with transcript)
- personal statement
- references
- CV
- outline research proposal as detailed on the Department MPhil/PhD webpage
- sample of written work.

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do. See our English language requirements for further information.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 14 June 2018. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Minimum entry requirements for MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies

The minimum entry requirement for this programme is an upper second class honours (2:1) bachelor's degree, and high merit in a Master’s degree (or equivalent), preferably in social policy, health policy or public policy, with an overall average of 65 per cent including the dissertation.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission. 

See international entry requirements

Fees and funding

Every research student is charged a fee for their programme. The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies

UK/EU students: £4,299 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students £17,904 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Scholarships, studentships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships, and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding. Selection for the PhD Studentships and ESRC funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.  

Funding deadline for first round of LSE PhD Studentships and ESRC funding: 8 January 2018.
Funding deadline for the second round of LSE PhD Studentships: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

External funding 

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

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