Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/philosophy
Degree webpage: lse.ac.uk/philosophy/the-phd-programme
Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 15
RAE: 65 per cent of the Department's research was rated world leading or internationally excellent
Location: Lakatos Building
About the Department
The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method is a world-leading centre for research in the following three broad areas:
Philosophy of science, especially philosophy of physics, biology, economics and the social sciences.
Decision, rational choice and game theory, including evolutionary theory and the philosophy of probability.
Moral and political philosophy, including public policy and democratic theory.
We are committed to research that makes a significant difference not only in philosophy and the philosophies of the various sciences, but also in the practice of the sciences themselves - from economics and political science to physics, biology and medicine. Our teaching is research-led: courses cover cutting-edge material and are taught by experts in the field.
The range of graduate master's degrees offered by the Department reflects its strengths: it offers four different MSc programmes, each dedicated to the teaching of one of its particular specialities. The MSc programmes are complemented by an MPhil/PhD programme which creates an active intellectual environment with students working in philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, philosophy of economics, philosophy and public policy, rational choice and scientific methodology.
The Department is closely associated with the Centre for the Philosophy of the Natural and the Social Sciences 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 in the UK.
The Department administers the prestigious Lakatos prize for an outstanding book in philosophy of science and hosts the annual Auguste Comte Memorial Lectures by a leading scholar in the philosophy of social science.
London provides a philosophical environment that is beyond compare. The Department is a member of the Institute of Philosophy of the School of Advanced Study of the University of London which organises a large number of conferences, seminars, and public lectures every year, and which supports lecture series such as the Logic and Metaphysics Forum and the Aesthetics Forum. Other London Colleges run seminars and lectures that are open to LSE students, and the meetings of the Aristotelian Society, the Royal Institute of Philosophy, as well as the British Society for the Philosophy of Science are held in London.
Upon graduation students pursue a wide variety of careers. For those who wish to pursue an academic career an MSc provides an ideal springboard for a PhD. But an MSc also opens doors to many other careers. Our students go on to work as consultants, bankers, journalists, civil servants, or teachers, and yet others work for NGO's or international organisations such as the UN or UNICEF.
In the most recent Philosophical Gourmet Report (2011), the Department was ranked first in the world for philosophy of the social sciences; joint second in the world for general philosophy of science and joint second in the world for decision, rational choice, and game theory. In the Complete University Guide 2015, LSE-Philosophy received the highest score of any philosophy department in the UK for graduate prospects in the university league and subject tables. In overall scores, LSE-Philosophy placed third with a score of 98.4, just below Oxford and Cambridge.
Opportunities for research
We accept students for MPhil and PhD research programmes in any of the fields in which the Department has special expertise – including philosophy of science, moral and political philosophy, philosophy and public policy, philosophy of social science, philosophy and foundations of physics, philosophy and foundations of economics, philosophy and foundations of decision theory, evolutionary and game theory, and philosophy of probability.
We aim to produce philosophers with a first rate thesis as well as teaching skills. A successful thesis, no matter how sharply focused, must be based on wider expertise. We therefore require students to take an element of course work in their first year as well as beginning work on their thesis. This involves a combination of examination courses (usually taken from one of our MSc degrees) and seminar courses with extended essays. In particular, students attend and write essays for research methods seminars given by members of the Department on frontier topics in the field.
We typically expect students to have completed a taught master's degree in philosophy, and to have obtained a distinction (or equivalent), both overall and in their dissertation.
All applicants also need to submit a sample of their work in English along with their application.
There are various opportunities for financial support, among them the LSE Research Studentships, including some that are specifically designated for students in the humanities. Please visit the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method for further information.
Philosophy is also available as a specialist field within the MSc Social Research Methods.