Programmes

MPhil/PhD Philosophy

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method
  • Application code V7ZP
  • Starting 2018

The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method is a world-leading centre for research in three broad areas of philosophy: rational choice theory and formal epistemology; philosophy of science; and moral and political philosophy.

We accept MPhil/PhD students wishing to work in any field of research in which the Department has special expertise, including philosophy of the natural sciences (especially physics and biology); distributive justice and normative ethics; philosophy and public policy; philosophy of the social sciences (especially economics); decision theory, evolutionary and game theory; and formal epistemology.

We are committed to research that makes a difference not only to philosophy and the philosophies of the various sciences, but also to the practice of the sciences themselves – from economics and political science to physics, biology and medicine – as well as to the wider world. The Department’s teaching is research-led: courses cover cutting-edge material and are taught by some of the field’s leading scholars.

On this programme you will work towards producing a substantial piece of work that makes an original contribution to the subject and is of a sufficient standard to give rise to publications in professional academic journals.

You will benefit from the Department’s close association with the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, which hosts leading visiting scholars and supports a range of research projects, seminars and lecture series, and the Forum for European Philosophy, which runs a full and varied programme of philosophy and interdisciplinary events. You will also have the opportunity to attend and take part in the Department’s regular seminar and lecture series, including the Choice Group on decision theory and social choice, and the Sigma Club on the philosophy and foundations of modern physics.

As a Philosophy MPhil/PhD student you will be given the chance to teach the undergraduate discussion classes that are run in parallel with lectures. An essential part of becoming a good philosopher is learning how to teach, share and discuss ideas with those interested in philosophy at all levels, and the discussion classes you lead at LSE will provide ample opportunity.

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Philosophy
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline 26 April 2018. However please note the funding deadline
Duration Three to four years (minimum two) 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 (deadline 8 January 2018)
Minimum entry requirement Taught master’s degree in philosophy with a distinction overall and in the dissertation component
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

In addition to making progress on your PhD project, 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. All programmes of study should be agreed with your supervisor at the start of the year.

First year

The first “coursework” year prepares students for research in philosophy and the completion of a central thesis chapter. At the end of this first year the progress of students is reviewed, to establish that they are on track to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status. In consultation with their academic supervisors, PhD students also settle on a definite research topic by the end of the first year.

Training courses

Compulsory (examined/not examined) 
Philosophical Problems Seminar
Examines a range of classic papers in contemporary analytic philosophy that might not otherwise be covered in LSE Philosophy Department courses. 

Either
Reasoning and Logic
Aims to give a precise formulation of correct deductive reasoning – of what it means for a sentence to follow from a set of other sentences taken as premises – and to investigate on this basis other important logical notions such as that of consistency. 
Or
One further master's-level course not already taken

Either
one further master's-level course not already taken
And
Courses to the value of one unit of PhD Seminars
Or 
Three term units of PhD level seminars with associated coursework

Optional (not examined)
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Second year

Years 2–4 is the time when PhD students dive deep into the research and writing of their thesis. While writing the thesis students attend the Department’s Popper Seminar, but also any of the wealth of regular research seminars that may be relevant to their research.

Students in their 2nd year aim to write two or three further chapters beyond the chapter they completed in their first year.

Training courses

Optional (not examined)
Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Third year

In the 3rd year students produce a draft of the entire thesis, while writing papers, submitting to conferences, and getting to know the dynamic field of philosophy and their place in it. In the 4th year, students polish their material and prepare to go on the job market.

Training courses

Optional (not examined)

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Fourth year

Training courses

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Department of Methodology.

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

Supervision

PhD students in the Department work with two supervisors from the academic faculty, to ensure a wide range of advice. The choice of secondary supervisor can be quite flexible (and occasionally includes academics from outside the Department). The primary supervisor is a senior member of staff. Both primary and secondary supervisory arrangements can change in the course of the degree as your thesis develops. 

Progression and assessment

Successful completion of work required for each year is a necessary condition for re-registration in the following year; and for upgrading from MPhil to PhD status. During the first year you must write a first chapter of the thesis as well as an outline (research plan) of the rest of the thesis. The chapter should be around 40 pages; the research plan around ten pages. This upgrading will normally take place after the successful completion of Year One requirements in Case A, and after the successful completion of Year Two requirements in Case B. In both cases, once you are registered for the PhD that registration will be backdated to the start of your MPhil/PhD studies.

Careers

Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career. Recent doctoral graduates have also gone into careers in consulting, teaching and business. 

The Department maintains a placement record of its former PhD students.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

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)
- personal statement
- references
- CV
- outline research proposal
- 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 26 April 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 Philosophy

The minimum entry requirement for this programme is a taught master’s degree (or equivalent) in philosophy (or a sufficient relevant discipline). We normally accept only those who achieve the equivalent of a distinction overall and in the dissertation component of their master's degree.

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 Philosophy

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.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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. Selection for the PhD Studentships is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 

Funding deadline for LSE PhD Studentships: 8 January 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.

Find out more about external funding opportunities.

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