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Social Psychology

Department website: lse.ac.uk/DPBS

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Research: 22

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 14

Location: Queen's House

About the Department

The Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE is a thriving centre for research for the study of social psychology and has an international reputation for its research-led teaching in a variety of fields. Founded in 1964 the Department is one of the largest concentrations of social psychologists in Europe with 14 full-time academic staff and over 150 graduate students currently enrolled on four specialist master's programmes and conducting research towards PhD.

The MSc degree in Social Psychology, now called MSc Social and Cultural Psychology, established in 1964, was the first specialised degree in social psychology in the UK. The MSc Organisational and Social Psychology was launched in 1990, the MSc Social and Public Communication in 2003, the MSc Health, Community and Development in 2005, and the MSc Psychology of Economic Life, is commencing for the first time in 2016. All our MSc programmes are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council as providing research training.

As teaching is research-led it emphasises the contribution of social and cultural psychology in the analysis of contemporary social, economic and political issues. Among the current wide range of interests are social representations, beliefs and attitudes, the interface cognition and culture, communication, health, community and development, consumption, science and society, new technologies, multiculturalism, ethnicity and race, gender and social identities.

Former students include professors, lecturers, researchers, and professionals in media and business now working all around the world. Many have entered a variety of occupations including local or national government, international agencies, social research, marketing, media and broadcasting, industry, personnel, consulting and teaching. About one in five graduates from master's programmes go on to complete higher degrees by independent research.

Opportunities for research

The Department currently offers research opportunities in health, community and development; social and cultural psychology; organisational social psychology; and social and public communication.

The stream that a student belongs to is flexible and open to negotiation and depends largely on the topic of research and the area of coursework. The streams overlap and students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary approaches to research.

Normally, you should have a high level of pass at merit level or better in an appropriate master's degree, together with at least an upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject from a UK university or its equivalent abroad. We also value professional experience outside university and mature students are welcome. 

Initially you will register for the MPhil and follow a programme which involves formally assessed coursework. This includes a broad training in research methods together with the core course from the corresponding master's programme. In addition you follow a specialised option course appropriate to the topic of your research (assessed by coursework). You may be exempt from some or all of these courses, depending on your qualifications. You must attend the Current Research Seminar.

At the end of your first year, progression will be determined by an extended essay of around 13,000 words, assessed by a thesis committee. The thesis committee includes your supervisor and a member of staff whose research interests differ from your research area. During your second year, the decision on whether your registration should be upgraded to PhD is made by your thesis committee, based on reading three draft chapters of your thesis, a plan for completion, and a viva voce examination. You will be provided with detailed feedback on your work and a tape recording of the examination.

The Department prides itself as being at the cutting edge of new methods in digital ethnography, for which equipment and support are available in-house, including subcams and sensecams. Students have access to a large range of software, from the classic statistical packages and CAQDAS to text and video mining. The licencing for much of this software enables students to install the software on their own computers for a nominal charge.

The Department has research partnerships with top institutions on all continents, and field work is often outside the UK. The editorial offices of three international journals are based at the Department.

Students are encouraged to present at international conferences and publish in international journals. Part-time positions for research, teaching and editorial assistance are often available, giving students valuable experience and publication opportunities.

We encourage transdisciplinary research, methodological triangulation, lab, online or real-world experiments, collaboration within and outside LSE, theoretical diversity and research that has an impact on society.

Taught programmes


MPhil/PhD Social Psychology
Visiting Research Students

Application code: L7ZP (MPhil/PhD), L7EP (VRS) (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016. For January start, contact the Department

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

Entry requirement: Taught master's with merit and 2:1 bachellseor's degree in an appropriate subject

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Fees and Financial support). LSE is an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. The MPhil/PhD Social Psychology is part of the Social Science group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding (see ESRC)

Application deadline: 27 April 2016, but please note that nominations for selection for LSE PhD and Research Council Studentships will take place in two rounds and students are advised to aim for the first deadline 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