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Geography and Environment

Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Research: 47

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 36

REF:  84 per cent of the Department's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

Location: St Clement's

About the Department

The Department of Geography and Environment was ranked amongst the leading departments in the country in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). It is a world-leading location for undertaking research in economic geography, environmental economics and policy, and urban and development geography. It has for many years been a recognised ESRC research training outlet.

The Department is distinctive in that it concentrates on the socio-economic aspects of the subject, places great emphasis on multidisciplinary teaching and research and focuses strongly on policy-relevant work.

Our vibrant research environment is organised around three research clusters which focus on: Economic Geography; Environmental Economics and Policy; and Urban/Development. The Economic Geography and the Environmental Economics and Policy clusters are closely associated with three large externally funded research centres: the ESRC Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (incorporating the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy). Staff in each of the three research clusters have responsibility for teaching specialist master's courses, ensuring that students benefit from the most up-to-date understanding of the issues involved.

Departmental staff are also actively involved with the School's other interdisciplinary institutes and research centres (including the Centre for Economic Performance, Department of International Development, LSE London, Media@LSE, Gender Institute, and Urban@LSE) and undertake collaborative research with colleagues in other cognate disciplines (particularly, but not exclusively, economics).

The Department runs four ESRC-recognised PhD programmes (available in either 1+3 or +3 routes) in Economic Geography, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy and Development, and Human Geography and Urban Studies, as well as a PhD programme in Regional Planning. There are two research-oriented master's degrees (MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research) and MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change) and a range of others focused on developing the ability to integrate theoretical developments with practical experience (MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc Environment and Development, MSc Local Economic Development, MSc Real Estate Economics and Finance, MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies, and MSc Urbanisation and Development).

Staff come from a wide range of subject backgrounds. Most of those involved in teaching graduate students have a wealth of experience in working for, or acting as advisers to, a range of international agencies – including the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Commission, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Wide Fund for Nature – and governmental bodies in Great Britain, South Africa, China and throughout the European Union.

Opportunities for research

We welcome applicants with good master's degrees to study for a PhD. We only accept PhD topics that are close to staff interests, so you should check our staff CVs, publications and current research agenda (our departmental web pages list key research topics). Broadly speaking this covers economic geography, spatial economics, regional development, environmental economics, environmental policy, climate change economics, human geography, political geography, globalisation, geographies of development, and urbanisation.

You should have a minimum of 65 per cent average mark in a taught master's degree (or equivalent) in a cognate field of study to your proposed research topic, with strong performance (70 per cent or higher) in the dissertation element, and have a background in geography, economics or allied subjects such as political science, development studies, sociology, anthropology, planning, environmental studies or regional science.

Selection is based upon your past academic performance, the quality of your research proposal, references, prior achievement, and the appropriateness of your research to the Department's research focus. Your research proposal should be three to four pages long (excluding references and appendix). It is essential that the research proposal addresses: research question; relevant literature and previous research in the field; potential contribution to knowledge; likely methods and theoretical approaches to be adopted; likely information sources and an assessment of their suitability and availability. An outline of a three-year research timetable must be included as an appendix. Applications that fail to address these points will not be considered. We normally interview prospective research students.

As part of their PhD training, new MPhil/PhD students will take a range of compulsory and optional courses. Specifically, students take core courses in human geography, economic geography, environmental economics or environmental policy (depending on which programme they are enrolled in) as well as relevant specialist MSc-level courses to take them to the leading edge of their chosen discipline and topic. Students can also select from courses offered by LSE's Department of Methodology. In addition, throughout the PhD programmes, we offer a series of study skills workshops, research seminar series where graduates present their current research to staff and colleagues, and research cluster seminars where visiting speakers and staff present their work. Exemption from parts of the graduate programme may be obtained if you have already undertaken recognised research training. Most elements of the graduate programme are completed in the first year. ESRC-funded students on a 1+3 route can take the MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change or the MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research) in their first year of study. It is also possible to take the MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc Environment and Development, MSc Local Economic Development or MSc Real Estate Economics and Finance if adequate research methods courses are taken as part of these programmes.

Personal supervision and continued review and monitoring are key elements of the PhD programme. You will be allocated a (principal) supervisor, backed up by either a second (joint) supervisor or a review supervisor. Under the guidance of the supervisors you will work on your research design, strategy and methodology, and the timetable and plans for dissemination of your work. You will receive regular feedback on your work and your progress will be monitored by a formal first-year progress review, an upgrade review in the second year, as well as yearly annual reviews.

Taught programmes

The Department runs a joint degree with Sciences Po, Paris:

MPhil/PhD programmes



MPhil/PhD Human Geography and Urban Studies
MPhil/PhD Economic Geography
MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics
MPhil/PhD Environmental Policy and Development
MPhil/PhD Regional and Urban Planning
Visiting Research Students

Application code: L8ZG (Human Geography), L8EG (VRS), L7ZQ (Economic Geography), L7ZR (Environmental Economics), L7ZS (Environmental Policy and Development), L8ZR (Regional and Urban Planning), L8ER (VRS) (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016. January/April start is available in exceptional circumstances 

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

Entry requirement: Taught master's degree in a related discipline and a background in geography, economics or allied subjects such as political science, development studies, sociology, anthropology, planning, environmental studies and regional science with a minimum of 65 per cent average mark and 70 per cent or higher in the dissertation component

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Financial support). LSE is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Centre. MPhil/PhD studentships are available as part of both the Environmental Energy and Resilience group of accredited programmes (MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics, MPhil/PhD Environmental Policy and Development and MPhil/PhD Human Geography and Urban Studies) and the Spatial Disparities, Economic Geography and Regional Development Group (MPhil/PhD Economic Geography) (see ESRC)

Application deadline: 27 April 2016. 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