Departmental website:|

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Research: 49

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 51

RAE: 60 per cent of the Department's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Location:  Connaught House

About the Department

The Government Department is one of the largest in the UK and covers almost all areas of politics. We offer a comprehensive range of academic approaches, from political theory and philosophy to public choice and comparative government, and the history of institutions and policy.

Being based within the only UK institution that specialises solely in the social sciences is a great benefit and our graduate programmes involve close collaboration with other departments and institutes in the School. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the Government and International Relations Departments together with the Department of International Development were assessed as one unit. The majority of the research was graded in the world-leading and internationally excellent categories.

We currently have students from all corners of the globe researching across the whole field of politics.

Opportunities for research

You will join a small and highly selective entering class, of about 8-12 students, most with full scholarships, chosen from applicants from a wide range of universities from around the world.

Together you will embark on the MRes/PhD in Political Science, which is a structured route to a PhD. In the first year, you will take a series of courses and prepare a Research Prospectus. You will be trained in research design and research methods and also take courses from a broad range of graduate specialisms in our Department and across LSE. You will study with acknowledged leaders in their fields and learn what political scientists know (and don’t know), what the key debates have been and where the discipline is going. 

At the end of the first year you will complete the assessments for your courses and finalise your Research Prospectus, the provisional research plan for your PhD. You will defend the prospectus at a committee of relevant faculty in September at the end of the first year. 

If you pass the exams and successfully defend the Prospectus you will be ‘upgraded’ to the PhD part of the programme. You will now be ready to implement your research plan, for example though fieldwork, data collection and analysis, theoretical work, or a combination of several approaches. You will participate and present your work in Doctoral Workshops with faculty and fellow researchers, and you will start to attend and present papers at international conferences. You will also be eligible to help teach undergraduate courses in the Department. 

There is no question that the first year is hard work. But you will learn fast and you will learn a great deal. Graduates of our programme are able to interpret, evaluate, and use research results across a broad spectrum of topics, well beyond the field of their specific doctoral research. The purpose of this combination of training and research is to produce a new generation of political scientists who upon graduation are qualified to take up important positions in our profession. The benefits of the programme are clear to see in the job placements of our graduates.

All of this takes place in one of the world’s great universities, located in the heart of the United Kingdom’s political, business, cultural, and intellectual capital. Furthermore, the School has one of the largest concentrations of social scientists in the world.

MRes/PhD in Political Science

The PhD programme is a four year degree with a 1+3 structure: one year of formal coursework followed by three years of research and writing.

During the MRes year (year 1) each student takes four units (a ‘unit’ is a two term course; a ‘half unit’ is a one term course) as follows: Research Design; Methods; Field Seminars; and a Research Prospectus.

Conditions for Upgrade to PhD

Students must obtain at least a merit in the MRes and in the Research Prospectus to be upgraded to the PhD

Second, Third and Fourth Year of the programme involves researching and writing a dissertation and participating in at least one Doctoral Workshop in the Government Department or elsewhere in the School in each year (unless officially away on fieldwork or further training). 

Taught programmes


MRes/PhD Political Science
Visiting Research Students

Application code: M1ZN (MRes/PhD), M1EG (VRS)

Start date: 24 September 2015 

Duration: MRes/PhD 4 years (minimum 2), VRS up to 9 months (renewable)

Intake/application in 2013: 7/195

Entry requirement: Good undergraduate degree and preferably a taught master's degree in Political Science or a closely related discipline

English requirement: Research|

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees|

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Financial support|). LSE is an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. The MRes/PhD Political Science is part of the Political Science and International Studies group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding (see Economic and Social Research Council|

Application deadline: 12 January 2015. Successful candidates will be notified in March. In exceptional cases, late applications can be considered until 27 April 2015, but candidates are advised that places for late admission are limited. Selection for funding is also based on receipt of an application for a place - including all ancillary documents - by 12 January 2015

Notes: Applicants must submit either two degree essays of 5,000 words or a dissertation