Social Policy

Departmental website:

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Taught: 297
Research: 45

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent):

94 per cent of the Department's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Old Building

About the Department

Social Policy at LSE is about the design, analysis, and evaluation of public policies. We cover a wide range of policy areas including crime, education, health and social care, housing, migration, population, social disadvantage and inequalities, social security and individual wellbeing. The issues underpinning our work are global in application. What determines the needs, rights, and wellbeing of citizens and non-citizens? What is, and what should be, the roles of the state, the family, the market, and civil society?

Social Policy as a discipline was founded here, and the Department continues to lead the discipline in our teaching and research. Former departmental staff such as Richard Titmuss, Peter Townsend, Brian Abel-Smith, and David Donnison, actively contributed to the development of social policy and the British welfare state. Our work today is international and comparative in outlook and applications, and this is reflected in our research-led teaching. We are actively engaged in local, national and international policy debates, and provide analysis and advice to government and non-governmental organisations around the world.

Our research centres, such as the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), LSE Health and Social Care, the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, and other units such as Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis(ALPHA) and the Education Research Group, have outstanding national and international reputations. 

MPhil/PhD Social Policy
MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies

Visiting Research Students

The Department has approximately 60 research students and is able to offer supervision in a wide range of specialist topics. Students are members of a vibrant and exciting research community. The LSE Library has a full collection of UK, US and EU public documents, parliamentary papers and statistical data. High class networked computer facilities dedicated to research students exist in the Social Science Research Laboratory within the Department. A wide range of computer packages for quantitative and qualitative analysis are available.

You will attend a seminar series run by the doctoral programme director and are also encouraged to take courses in the Department of Methodology and in the Department of Social Policy. In the first year, you will register initially for the MPhil programme, and undertake specific training in research methods as required. In subsequent years, you will continue your research under the guidance of your supervisors, participate in seminars and present your work from time to time, by giving seminar presentations and conference papers.

Taught programmes

Programmes on health and health policy

Programmes on population studies

Programmes on social policy

Social Policy is also available as a specialist field in the MSc Social Research Methods (Social Policy) and MSc Social Research Methods (Population). See MSc Social Research Methods.



MPhil/PhD Social Policy
MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies
Visiting Research Students

Application code: L4ZA (MPhil/PhD Social Policy), M9ZD (MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies), L4EA (VRS) (check availability)

Start date: 21 September 2017

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

Entry requirement: 2:1 degree, high merit in a master’s degree (or equivalent), preferably in social policy, health policy or public policy

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE PhD Studentships (see Fees and Financial support), ESRC funding (see Economic and Social Research Council)

Application deadline: 30 June 2017. However please note the funding deadlines: 9 January (LSE PhD Studentships & ESRC) and 26 April 2017 (LSE PhD Studentships). Selection for funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents