MPhil / PhD Admissions and Funding

in the Department of Geography and Environment

phd admissions process image


We offer five PhD programmes and a visiting research student (VRS) scheme. Students are only admitted in fields where there is a strong fit, in terms of interest and expertise, with the focus and capacity of the research clusters.

Guidance on PhD admissions and funding can be found below.

For any questions regarding PhD admission to the department, please refer to our frequently asked questions [PDF] or contact

Funding Announcements (September 2024 entry) 

Announcements for 2024/25 applicants

Awaiting scholarship allocation from central school.

Application Guidance 

Identifying supervisors

The department welcomes applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff in the department. We recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

Please note: Prospective candidates are not expected to contact potential supervisors in advance of their application. Due to the high volume of enquiries, potential supervisors are unlikely to be able to provide feedback on all enquiries and outline proposals.

Completing your application

The Department of Geography and Environment offers five PhD programmes. Programme details and general application requirements can be found below:

Full information on how to apply. For more information on our Visiting Research Scheme, please see the ‘Visiting Research Scheme’ section below. All prospective research students must apply using the LSE Online Application System

Alongside your application form, you must include:

  • details of academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
  • a statement of academic purpose
  • a CV
  • a sample of written work
  • an outline research proposal
  • 2 academic references

When completing your application and supporting documents, please follow the guidance listed on the School’s supporting documents page.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not been taught entirely in English at degree level, are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. The most common qualifications are the IELTS or TOEFL tests.

Applicants do not need to have the required marks when they apply, but successful award of the qualification would form a condition of any offer issued and would have to be achieved before registration. For research level, candidates are expected to meet the research programmes requirement. See our English language requirements.

Application and funding deadlines

Applications for the MPhil/PhD programmes will open in early October 2023 and close at the end of May 2024. For any prospective applicants that wish to be considered for funding, please note the deadline below.

Funding deadline: 15 January 2024

Please note: There is no separate application for funding. Funding is allocated by nomination and you will automatically be considered for the award you are eligible for, provided you submit your application for admission by the funding deadline.


Interview invitations are sent directly by the faculty members who will be conducting your interview. If you are invited to interview, this means that the department is strongly considering you as a potential candidate for doctoral study. All potential students are interviewed, regardless of any previous association with potential supervisors, the department, or LSE.

Interviews will generally be conducted remotely, by telephone or VOIP. Interviews will generally last 20-30 minutes but may last longer than this. Interviews are not recorded, but your interviewers are required to record their assessment of your interview using a departmental interview record form. All interviews will conform to the expectations described here.

Admissions and funding outcomes

We aim to process all complete applications in a timely manner, however the application process for research programmes can take up to three months. This is to enable the department to make an informed decision about your proposal and to establish if there is appropriate supervision available for your research.

Admissions and funding outcomes are decided separately, therefore you should expect to receive an outcome on your application for admission before receiving an outcome on the allocation of funding. The Department of Geography and Environment Research Degrees Funding Panel (‘the department panel’) normally convenes in February, and funding outcomes are communicated shortly thereafter.

Please check the funding announcements section above to stay up-to-date with the latest information.


Eligible applications received by the funding deadline will be considered for the opportunities below:

LSE PhD studentships and ESRC +3 studentships

Application deadline: 15 January 2024

Allocation method: Department panel direct allocation

Number of scholarships awarded for 2023/24 entry (indicative information): x6
Number of scholarships available for 2024/25 entry: TBC
Further information: LSE PhD Scholarships and ESRC studentships

For these scholarships, the department makes awards and reserve nominations. Offers will generally be made by LSE’s Financial Support Office, on the department panel’s behalf. If award offers are declined, they are re-offered to reserve candidates. The department does not rank its reserve candidates, as these decisions are affected by a number of factors, with an overarching focus on ensuring that each of the department's PhD programmes is able to recruit at least one School-funded student. In addition, as other scholarships decisions are made elsewhere in the School and by external funding bodies at a variety of different points in the year, we cannot guarantee that any declined LSE PhD scholarships or ESRC studentships will be immediately re-offered.

LSE PhD scholarships on ‘Analysing and Challenging Inequalities’

Programme eligibility: Any G&E MPhil/PhD programme

Application deadline: 15 January 2024

Allocation method: The International Inequalities Institute (III) permits departments to make nominations to its scholarships panel ('the III panel') for ACI scholarships. Though the department is not guaranteed to receive any ACI scholarships, it has a track record of securing these.

Number of scholarships available for 2023/24 entry: TBC
Nominations permitted for 2023/24 entry: TBC
Awards made for 2022/23 entry: 0
Further information: Analysing and Challenging Inequalities

Please note: If you would like to be considered for this funding stream, please reference in your application how your research will fit into the themes of this funding, as set out in the further information page linked to above.

Nominations are made in February, with decisions made by the III panel in March, and results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in April. Alongside awards, the ACI panel lists a school-wide 1st round reserve ranking. This means that if any ACI scholarship offers are declined before the 2nd nomination round begins, they are re-offered to the next-ranked reserve candidate in the School-wide reserve list.

ESRC 1+3 studentships for prospective MSc applicants

Students may wish to apply for one of the below programmes, as appropriate, with a view to applying for an ESRC 1+3 research studentship. If successful in obtaining an ESRC grant, a student would be entitled to continue to the relevant MPhil/PhD programme upon satisfactory completion of the Master’s.

Information about how to apply for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship can be found here. 1+3 scholarships are only offered by the ESRC. It is therefore not possible to apply for 1+3 admission on a self-funded or externally funded basis.

Application deadline: 15 January 2024

Please note:

  • Admissions and scholarships processes in the Department of Geography and Environment are entirely separate. This means that you will only be considered for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship if you are offered a place to study with the Department on one of our MSc programmes first.
  • MSc offer holders who are being considered for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship will be interviewed. Further guidance can be found here.
  • If you are admitted to one of our MSc programmes, but are not offered ESRC 1+3 funding, your admissions offer will still be valid.
  • If you accept your offer of a place to study on one of our MSc programmes without securing ESRC 1+3 funding, you will be able to apply for admission to one of our PhD programmes while studying.
  • Guidance about research proposals for ESRC 1+3 applicants can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of frequently asked questions, please see our FAQs PDF

Visiting Research Student (VRS) Scheme

The Visiting Research Student (VRS) scheme allows research students from other universities to spend up to 3 terms in the Department of Geography and Environment. Visiting research students are normally research and doctoral students registered at overseas universities wishing to undertake some aspect of their research in the UK. The department offers the following VRS programmes:

An advisor is assigned to every VRS and advice and direction offered as necessary. Note that Visiting Research Students do not have access to any LSE taught courses.

How to apply

The procedure and requirements for the VRS programmes are the same as for the MPhil/PhD programmes. Please refer to the ‘Application guidance’ section above.

Standard offers will be from September for three terms. If you intend to visit on ‘non-standard’ dates, please include the intended start and end dates of your visit in your statement of academic purpose.