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Cities Programme

Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/cities

About the Cities Programme

The Cities Programme is an innovative and interdisciplinary graduate programme that addresses the challenges of urban development and design in their social, economic, environmental and political contexts. Its central objective is to relate the physical and social organisation of cities and urban spaces. The Cities Programme takes a multidisciplinary approach to these issues, drawing on expertise and insights from the social and economic sciences, architecture and urban design, planning and environmental studies, and other fields. The Programme is the graduate education branch of the LSE Cities research centre, hosted by the Department of Sociology, and offers degree courses at MSc and PhD level.

PhD students researching in the fields of cities, space, architecture and urban studies are an important part of the Cities Programme culture. Our faculty and students come from a range of national as well as disciplinary contexts, enhancing the Programme's vibrant research and teaching environment. The LSE Cities research centre sponsors numerous public lectures, seminars and events on urban issues, hosts international scholars and speakers, and is linked into national and international urban networks. 

Opportunities for research

The MPhil/PhD Cities Programme offers an excellent environment for interdisciplinary graduate research on cities, space and urbanism. Students come to the programme from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, sharing an interest in linking the social and physical study of urban issues. The doctoral programme includes training in research design, practice and presentation in the first year, access to relevant graduate taught courses to enhance general and project-specific skills, a range of student-led and international collaborations and initiatives, and opportunities for exchange and networking through other international partnerships. Research focuses on the academic expertise of staff within the Cities Programme, Department of Sociology, and LSE in general, addressing the spatial, social, economic and environmental aspects of cities and urban life.

You should have a merit or higher in a master's degree from a British university or its equivalent in another country, in a relevant discipline within the social sciences, architecture and urban design, or related fields in the humanities. When you apply for an MPhil/PhD, you will need to develop a research proposal that sets out clearly the research problem you wish to investigate, potential research contexts or case studies, and describe the methods of research you propose to use. This will help us to evaluate your potential to embark on a research degree, and to identify a supervisor with similar interests and appropriate expertise. In considering your application, we may request submission of one or two pieces of written work that reflect your academic interests and abilities, and invite you for interview (including telephone interview where appropriate). If accepted onto the programme, you will be initially registered for the MPhil. You may transfer to PhD registration when you have completed preliminary written work of sufficient quality and quantity, usually within two years of full-time registration.

In the first year, you will be expected to take a range of methodology and specialist courses. These are selected in discussion with your supervisor, dependent on your research needs and interests, and may include courses from other institutes or departments at LSE. You must attend the first-year research classes for MPhil students taught within the Sociology Department and, unless you have already successfully studied research methods at master's level, you will normally be expected to complete graduate course units in methodology, on the advice of your supervisor.

At the end of your first year, you will produce a 5,000 word research proposal for assessment, outlining the aims and methods of your thesis. Successful completion of this assessment is the condition for progress to the second year.

After the first year, you will spend more time on independent study under the guidance of your personal supervisor/s. This will involve the collection, organisation, analysis and writing up of data and ideas. You will also attend regular workshops and seminars related to your interests. You will be expected to make an active contribution to these by presenting papers and/or taking part in general discussions.

Taught programme


MPhil/PhD Cities

Application code: L4ZB (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 3/4 years (minimum 2)

Entry requirement: Merit in a taught master's degree in a related discipline

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Financial support)

Application deadline: None, however, the first full round of applications will be considered in March, and potential candidates are encouraged to submit their applications in advance of this period. If you wish to be considered for LSE studentships and scholarships you should apply by 11 January 2016