Programmes

MSc Philosophy and Public Policy

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method
  • Application code V7U8
  • Starting 2018

The MSc Philosophy and Public Policy provides a solid foundation in the conceptual and normative questions underlying public policy formulation.

This unique degree approaches philosophical issues in public policy through the lenses of historical and contemporary developments in ethical theory and political philosophy. From this programme’s specialised selection of courses you will acquire a thorough background in moral and political theory, while learning to apply this knowledge to issues in public policy.

LSE’s distinctive approach to philosophy and public policy is one in which philosophical analysis is continuous with the scientific study of political, social and economic problems. Topics span an enormous range of policy areas, including health care, development, social security and climate change. You will engage with science policy topics like the nature of evidence, objectivity and theory choice, and will examine different approaches to the study of society such as rational, social and public choice, in addition to classic topics of political philosophy such as democracy, liberal neutrality, equality, human rights, punishment and just war.

This programme provides the ideal springboard for employment in the public and governmental sectors, whilst equipping you with the skills needed to succeed in an incredibly broad range of careers, as well as further graduate work in philosophy.

You may also apply to the LSE Internships schemes in Parliament, or discuss internships and work experience opportunities in various institutions across London with LSE Careers.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Philosophy and Public Policy
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 147
Intake 2016 27
Availability UK/EU: Open
Overseas: Open 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £20,904
Overseas: £20,904
Financial support Graduate Support Scheme (deadline 26 April 2018), Imre Lakatos Memorial Scholarship
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline. You should also demonstrate a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (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 take the specialist course Philosophy and Public Policy, and choose between a further two philosophy courses. You will choose your other option(s) from within the Department or across the School.

In addition, you will take part in the non-assessed dissertation seminar, which will prepare you to complete your dissertation of 10,000 words on philosophical aspects of a public policy issue. 

(* denotes half unit)

Philosophy and Public Policy
Examines the design and evaluation of public policies from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. 

Research and Writing Seminar in Philosophy and Public Policy
A non-assessed course that will prepare you to write your dissertation. 

Dissertation
An independent research project on an approved topic of your choice, of 10,000 words. 

Courses to the value of one unit from a range of options

Either
Philosophy, Morals and Politics
Covers central topics in moral and political philosophy
Or
Evidence and Policy*
Advocates that good policy decisions – concerning climate, conservation, international development, poverty, education, medicine, health etc, require a rationally based view of whether the proposed policy will (or is likely to) bring about the intended outcome.
And
Courses to the value of one half-unit from a range of options

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.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Instruction consists of lectures, seminars and one-on-one supervision sessions. Seminar sizes are kept small (under 16 students). The average number of contact hours on this MSc is 180 hours. Hours vary according to courses and are listed in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its research and courses are taught by members of the faculty, who are research leaders in the field. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Assessment

All taught courses include formative (i.e. unassessed) coursework. This is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Extra-curricular activities and learning

The students in this programme typically form a tight social group. The Department, the School and the setting in London offer an interesting social environment.

Academic support

Your dissertation will be prepared with the guidance of a personal supervisor. You will be assigned an academic adviser within the Department who will be available to discuss your personal and academic concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Preliminary reading

J Baggini and P S Fosl The philosopher's toolkit: a compendium of philosophical concepts and methods (Wiley, Blackwell, 2010)

J Wolff An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2006)

T Nagel What Does it all Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1987)

J Wolff Ethics and Public Policy: a philosophical inquiry (Routledge, 2011)

R Harrison Democracy (Routledge, 1993)

R H Thaler and C R Sunstein Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness (Penguin, 2008)

D M Hausman and M S McPherson, Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Careers

The programme prepares you for PhD work in philosophy as well as for policy-oriented careers in governmental, non-governmental or international organisations. We have a very good record of students moving on to good PhD programmes and to high-level jobs with think tanks, in government, or in business. Our graduates are currently working or studying in the following branches: non-government organisations and think tanks, governmental organisations, PhD programmes, law school or legal practice, commercial enterprises, banking and finance, consultancy, international organisations, academic research and teaching.

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.

Student stories

Elma Dujso

MSc Philosophy and Public Policy
The Netherlands 

Elma_Dujso_170x230

I chose LSE’s MSc Philosophy and Public Policy for three main reasons. Firstly, the unique combination of philosophy and public policy was a decisive element for me. The programme teaches students to apply moral and political theories to public policy issues such as health care, social justice, affirmative action and climate change.

Secondly, the expert research of our teachers, which is reflected in the quality of teaching and the content of the courses. Finally, the focus on analytic philosophy, which has taught me that being consistent in your argumentation and writing in a structured and analytical way, is crucial to doing philosophy. Since the Department is relatively small, the teachers are approachable and the atmosphere is very nice.

 
David Kinney

MSc Philosophy and Public Policy
New York, USA

Watch David Kinney's video

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

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 predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, 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 MSc Philosophy and Public Policy

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline. You should also demonstrate a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc.

If your first language is not English, you must submit a writing sample of 5–10 typewritten pages.

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 graduate 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 MSc Philosophy and Public Policy

UK/EU students: £20,904
Overseas students: £20,904

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. 

However 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

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for further information.

Scholarships 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, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

This programme is also eligible for the Imre Lakatos Memorial Scholarship.

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

Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 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

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities

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