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European Institute

Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute 

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Research: 18 

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 18

85 per cent of the Institute's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Cowdray House

About the Institute

The European Institute (EI), established in 1991, is internationally recognised as a leader in the study of contemporary Europe. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Institute was ranked first nationally for research in Area Studies. Student evaluations consistently praise the quality of its teaching and the support which it offers its students. The Institute has an unrivalled programme of public lectures and events on issues facing contemporary Europe, attracting large audiences. It offers a range of lectures and seminars by leading policy practitioners from across Europe, which add an important dimension to its teaching. Its vibrant and well-networked environment offers a unique student experience and a strong launch pad for future careers. The Institute is a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. 

The EI focuses on the study of processes of integration and fragmentation in contemporary Europe. To this end it has prioritised the following themes: governance and democracy in the European Union; political economy in Europe; European society; and Europe beyond the EU. With its pan-European focus and multidisciplinary perspective, the EI relates each theme to the ‘Big Questions’ facing Europe's decision-makers today. The individual themes also provide the basis for the Institute to work with other parts of the School: the Institute collaborates closely in its teaching with the Departments of Government and International Relations.

There are approximately 25 academic staff members in the European Institute from a range of disciplines, including economic history, geography, political economy, political sociology, international relations, political science, law, philosophy, the history of ideas and social policy.

The Institute hosts a number of research units: The Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies; The Catalan Observatory; The Forum for European Philosophy; The Hellenic Observatory; and LSEE (LSE Research on South East Europe). It also runs ten different seminar series, including a lunchtime seminar series dedicated to doctoral research and an 'EU in Practice' seminar including politicians, senior EU and national officials, analysts and journalists. There are 25 doctoral students. Students supervised by European Institute staff have won the UACES prize for best doctoral thesis three times in recent years.

The Institute also boasts a very lively programme of public lectures, seminars and conferences on issues relating to contemporary Europe. It hosts over 100 events a year with a wide range of high-level speakers from politics and public administration, including the presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and finance ministers of many EU member states; the president of the European Council; the president of the European Parliament; and the president of the European Commission, along with many scholars of international distinction.

Opportunities for research

Applications for research are welcome in one of the Institute’s four broad research themes: governance and democracy in the European Union; political economy in Europe; European society; and Europe beyond the EU. We encourage applications to our MPhil/PhD programme in European Studies from outstanding students who wish to undertake research that falls within the expertise of at least one of our permanent faculty members and within the themes listed above.

Admission to the MPhil/PhD is conditional on obtaining a good merit on a previous MSc degree, normally defined as an overall average of 65 per cent or above and 70 per cent or above on the dissertation (a distinction). Students who have not already taken a master's degree or equivalent will normally be recommended to apply for one of the Institute’s own taught masters programmes.

Qualifying students should submit a short research proposal (not more than 2,000 words) outlining their main research question(s), methodology, and sources with their application. This proposal will allow us to assess the strength of the proposed project and the availability of appropriate supervision within the Institute. We also require applicants to submit a sample of marked written work. A short list of applicants will be invited to attend an interview at the School. Where an interview cannot be conducted in person, Skype interviews can usually be arranged instead. Applicants should also include a personal statement in their application. At the beginning of this personal statement, applicants need to state which one of the four broad research themes of the European Institute (as mentioned above) their research proposal falls under.

All students are initially registered for the MPhil degree and every student must follow the Research Workshop in European Studies course. Students are required to take at least one research methods course from either the European Institute or a relevant LSE department.

In their second and third years, all PhD students should still follow the Research Workshop in European Studies (optional for the fourth year). In addition, students working in themes of European economy and political economy are required to take the European Political Economy Seminar.

Every student must conduct research under the guidance of their supervisor(s), regularly submit written work to their supervisor(s) and provide the materials required for annual reviews.

The degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words or a series of three connected publishable articles on an approved topic, and an oral examination.

There are Erasmus doctoral research exchanges with the Central European University, Budapest; and the European University Institute, Florence.

Taught programmes

Other programmes with a focus on Europe, or which (through options) provide an opportunity to study related topics:


MPhil/PhD European Studies
Visiting Research Students

Application code: M1ZE (MPhil/PhD), M1EU (VRS) (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: MPhil/PhD 3-4 years (minimum 2), VRS up to 9 months (renewable)

Entry requirement: Merit in a taught master's degree in related discipline with a distinction in the dissertation

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 MPhil/PhD European Studies is part of the Political Science and International Studies group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding (see ESRC)

Application deadlines: 1 June  2016, but please note that the selection process for LSE PhD and Research Council Studentships will take place in two rounds, and all students are advised to aim for the first round if possible. The funding deadlines are 11 January and 27 April 2016. Selection for funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents