PhD FAQ

MPhil / PhD Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered on this page, please contact geog.phd@lse.ac.uk.

Coronavirus and admissions processes 

For information on the School’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year, please see here.

 

Admissions process and funding announcements 2020

The funding process - 2020/21 announcements

16 September 2020 - scholarship application deadlines

All those who wish to be considered by the Department of Geography and Environment for any School administered funding opportunity must apply by no later than 17 December 2020.

Those who apply after 17 December will be considered for admission only, and will not be considered for School administered funding opportunities.

Any exceptions to this rule will we be stated specifically below, under ‘2021/22 entry scholarships: what's available, and when should I to apply?’

 

The scholarships/funding process

How does the scholarships/funding process work in the Department of Geography and Environment?

Decisions about School-administered funding opportunities are made at the departmental level by the Department of Geography and Environment (G&E) Research Degrees Funding Panel (‘the department panel’). The department panel is composed of the department’s five programme directors, plus the G&E Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Some scholarships are awarded directly by the department panel. Others are awarded by the School’s PhD Scholarships Awards Panel (‘the School panel’) based on nominations by the department panel. Others are awarded in collaboration between the department panel and other sources of funding within the School. Scholarships funded by specific donors or associated with particular research projects are awarded by bespoke panels, convened to reflect the conditions associated with the funding. The different processes for each of the scholarships available for 2021/22 applicants are outlined.

Please also note that for most scholarships, the department can only guarantee to consider for funding those applications which meet the following criteria.
- You must list a G&E programme as your 1st choice.
- Your application must be submitted by 17 December 2020.
- Your application must be released to the department by the Graduate Admissions service by 4 January 2021.

If your application does not meet these three criteria, we will do our best to consider your application, but cannot guarantee this.

As competition for admission is intense, and competition for scholarships is even more intense, G&E cannot provide School-administered funding to all offer-holders. Accordingly, applicants are required actively to explore all potential sources of funding at all stages in their application, including before and during the LSE’s funding consideration process.

What is an ESRC 1+3 scholarship, and how can I apply for one?

ESRC 1+3 scholarships are a funding stream which supports students in undertaking an MSc, and then moving into a related MPhil/PhD programme. Information about how to apply for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship can be found here.

It is important to understand that this is not a combined programme. Rather, ESRC 1+3 is a funding stream which supports students to take two separate programmes (an MSc and then a PhD) consecutively. Applicants who are offered 1+3 funding are offered a place on the relevant MSc programme, which includes a conditional offer for admission to the relevant MPhil/PhD programme, subject to completion and award of the MSc to the required standard. If that condition is met, upon completion of the relevant MSc programme the student is automatically admitted to the relevant MPhil/PhD programme.

Answers to some common questions can be found below.

- All applicants who are being actively considered by the department for an ESRC 1+3 studentship will be interviewed by prospective supervisors for the MPhil/PhD phase of their studies. If you are not interviewed, you cannot be awarded ESRC 1+3 funding. This means that if you are not invited to interview, you are not being considered for ESRC 1+3 funding.

- Those who are not successful in acquiring ESRC 1+3 funding may still be offered a place to study with the department on the relevant MSc programme without funding.

- As set out above, only applications submitted before 17 December 2020 will be considered for ESRC 1+3 funding.

- Guidance about research proposals for ESRC 1+3 applicants can be found below, under ‘What guidance does the department provide on research proposals?’

How competitive is the scholarships/funding process?

The LSE doesn’t publish School-wide information on funding-application success rates. However, over the past two years (September 2019 and September 2020 entry) the Department of Geography and Environment has received nearly 500 applications for doctoral study. Of those, only 26 (just over 5%) were offered a scholarship.

We don’t say this to discourage anyone from applying. However, as we strongly discourage self-funded study, we encourage all applicants to be realistic about their chances of securing School-administered funding, and to actively pursue all potential sources of funding at all stages of the admissions process.

If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will the department help me to find funding elsewhere?

In general, it is your own responsibility to seek out funding  to support your studies. (Securing external funding for research activities is also something that most academics will be required to do throughout their careers.) Consequently, the department is not able to seek out funding from external sources on your behalf. However, if you do find a funding opportunity that you would like to apply for, your prospective supervisors will generally be willing to consider supporting your application. If you would like to ask for support in making an application, please contact your prospective supervisors directly.

Beyond the School administered scholarships mentioned at the top of this page, the following organisations have previously supported our students.

-       The Anandamahidol Foundation

-       The Arts Promotion Centre Finland

-       The Brazilian Government

-       The Centre for European Policy Studies

-       The China Scholarship Council

-       The Commonwealth (Commonwealth Scholarships scheme, funded by the UK Department for International Development)

-       CONACYT (Government of Mexico scholarships)

-       The Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education

-       The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee

-       The Peruvian Ministry of Education

-       The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology

You may also wish to check the following webpages for funding opportunities.

-       The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

-       FindaPhD – funding page

NB: In general, the department will only support applications to third-party funding bodies if applicants have already been offered a place to study on one of the department’s MPhil/PhD programmes. Accordingly, if you are planning to apply to a third party-funding body, please first apply to the department. As the department’s admissions processes will usually take no less than one month from the point at which you submit your application to the School, and can take six weeks or longer during periods of peak business, please make sure that you apply for a place to study with us in plenty of time to accommodate any external funding body deadlines. 

Do I need to submit a separate application in order to be considered for funding?

You do not need to apply separately for School administered funding opportunities unless specifically stated on this page. All applicants who are offered a place to study with the department on an MPhil/PhD programme will be considered for all School-administered funding opportunities for which they are eligible, and which are available at the point at which they apply.

 

Scholarships, what's available?

LSE PhD Scholarships

Eligibility: New applicants to any G&E MPhil/PhD programme.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Allocation method: Department panel direct allocation.

Number of scholarships awarded for 2020/21 entry (indicative information): 4

Number of scholarships available for 2021/22 entry: to be confirmed

Further information: LSE PhD Scholarships

NB: When the department awards its LSE PhD scholarships, it also nominates an equivalent number of reserve candidates. (For example, the 2020/21 entry cohort, four scholarships were awarded, and four reserve candidates were listed.) If award offers are declined, they are re-offered to reserve candidates. The department does not rank its reserve candidates. This is because reserve offer decisions are made in light of 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 declined LSE PhD scholarships will be immediately re-offered.

ESRC PhD scholarships (including 1+3 scholarships)

Eligibility: New applicants to any G&E MPhil/PhD programme.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January

Allocation method: Department nomination to the School panel.

Nominations permitted for 2020/21 entry: x8 (x6 1st round, x2 2nd round)

Awards for 2020 entry: x2

Nominations permitted for 2021/22 entry: to be confirmed

Further information: ESRC PhD scholarship

NB: The School permits departments to make nominations to the School panel for ESRC scholarships in two rounds. Though the department is not formally guaranteed to be awarded any ESRC scholarships, it usually receives several each year.

ESRC 1st round: 1st round nominations are made in February, with decisions made by the School panel in March, and results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in April. The majority of ESRC awards are made the 1st round.

The School panel makes ESRC scholarship offers, and also lists a ranked set of 'ESRC reserves' per department. If any of the department's 1st round ESRC scholarship offers are declined before the 2nd round nomination process begins, they are be re-offered in sequential rank order to the department's reserve candidates. 1st round reserve rankings do not carry over into the 2nd round, though both the department and the School panel reconsider all previously nominated applicants.

ESRC 2nd round: 2nd round ESRC nominations are made in May, with the results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in early June. In the 2nd round, the department and School panels re-considers all eligible candidates. In the 2nd round, the School panel makes ESRC scholarship decisions using the same method as in the 1st round (offers and ranked reserves by department), with declined offers re-offered to department reserves in order of rank. As the ESRC 2nd round scholarship allocation generally only consists of scholarships which have been declined in the ESRC 1st round, there are often very few scholarships available in the ESRC 2nd round.

Though the department panel often re-nominates its 1st round ESRC reserves in the 2nd ESRC round, it is not obliged to do so, and does not always do so. Consequently, 1st round ESRC reserves should not necessarily expect to be re-nominated in the 2nd round.

Please be aware that the application deadline for those who would like to be considered for ESRC scholarships is 17 December. Those who apply after 17 December are not eligible for consideration in the 2nd ESRC nomination round.

LSE PhD Scholarships on 'Analysing and Challenging Inequalities'

Eligibility: New applicants to any G&E MPhil/PhD programme.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2020

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

Nominations permitted for 2020/21 entry: x2

Awards made for 2020/21 entry: x1

Nominations permitted for 2021/22 entry: to be confirmed

Further information: Analysing and Challenging Inequalities

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

ACI 1st round: 1st round 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 be re-offered in sequential rank order within the School-wide reserve list.

ACI 2nd round: 2nd round nominations are made in May, with results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in June. 

Please also remember that the application deadline for those who would like to be considered for ACI scholarships via G&E is 17 December. Those who apply after 17 December are not eligible for consideration in the 2nd ACI nomination round.

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Scholarships

Eligibility: New applicants to the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Economics and the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Allocation method: The doctoral programme directors for the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Economics and the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development are invited to discuss eligible candidates from G&E's applicant pool with the GRI's scholarships panel. Though the department is not guaranteed to receive any GRI scholarships, it usually receives at least one each year, and often two.

Further information: GRI funding. Decisions about GRI funding are generally made by the GRI scholarship panel at the end of February/beginning of March.

Please also remember that the application deadline for those who would like to be considered for GRI scholarships via G&E is 17 December. Those who apply after 17 December are not eligible for consideration in the 2nd ACI nomination round.

The Warnford scholarship

Eligibility: New applicants to the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography, and existing students enrolled in, the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography programme.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Number of scholarships available for 2021/22 entry: x1

Allocation method: Direct allocation by a specially convened sub-panel of the department panel.

Further information: The Warnford Scholarship is allocated once every four years, for a period of up to four years. Applications for this scholarship are invited from those working in the field of real estate economics. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the department's Economic Geography cluster page to understand the department's specific research interests in this area, and check the department's 'Our people' page to understand our faculty's real estate related research interests.


Applying – how, when, and what to submit

I've noticed that there are two deadlines - one in December, and one in May. When should I apply?

If you’d like to be considered for School-administered funding opportunities, you must apply by 17 December 2020. If you apply after that, you'll only be considered for admission.

When should I apply?

The department operates a rolling admissions system for MPhil/PhD programmes. However, funding opportunities offered by the LSE are subject to deadlines. Information on the deadlines relevant to each programme can be found on the relevant webpage for each programme, which can be found here. 

Which documents do I need to submit in order to apply?

Information on this can be found at the following School webpage

Do I need to submit a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) with my application?

No. However, if these reflect positively on your quality as an applicant, you may wish to consider submitting these.

I’m applying to more than one PhD programme. Should I submit different application documents for each programme?

For guidance on what to do in this situation, please see here.


Does the order in which I rank my programme choices matter?

Yes, this has two important consequences.

(i) Admissions applications are considered in series at the LSE, not in parallel. This means your application will initially be released only to the selector for your first-choice programme. It will only be released to the selector for your second-choice programme if you are rejected for your 1st choice programme, after the rejection decision is made. As some departments take quite some time to make admissions decisions, we regularly receive second-choice applications after the point at which we can consider them for School-administered funding opportunities. This means that we can only guarantee to consider your application for School-administered funding opportunities if you list submit it by 17 December 2020, and list a Department of Geography and Environment programme as your first-choice.

(ii) In the past admissions two years (i.e. September 2019 and September 2020), first-choice applications were over seven times more likely to receive an admissions offer than second-choice applications. During the same period, all of our funding offers went to applicants who listed one of our programmes as their first choice. This does not mean that we discourage applicants from listing our programmes as their second choice, and we do make offers to students who list our programmes as their second choice. Rather this reflects the fact that we only have a finite capacity to admit new students each year, and first-choice applications tend to be much more adeptly tailored to our faculty’s research interests than second-choice applications. Accordingly, we recommend that you only list one of our programmes as your second choice if you genuinely believe that your proposed research would represent a good fit with the department’s research interests.

Applying – what happens to my application after I press ‘submit’?

(i) Receipt of application by the School’s admissions service.
During this phase, the School’s central admissions service conducts basic checks to ensure that you have included all of the required documents with your application. NB: the department will not receive your application until you have supplied all of the required documents and the School has received your references.

NB: applications are considered in series at the LSE, not in parallel. This means that second-choice programme applications are only released the relevant selectors if their 1st choice programme rejects their application, after that decision has been made. To understand the implication of this, please see above, in the section entitled ‘Does the order in which I rank my programme choices matter?’

(ii) Receipt and consideration of documents by the department 
Once the department receives your application, relevant academic staff who may be interested in supervising your research will consider your application. Your application will be considered in relation to the following broad criteria:

a. Do your qualifications and experience meet the expected standard?
b. Does your research proposal have the potential to produce research of a sufficiently high calibre?
c. Do your research interests align with those of the department/prospective supervisors?
d. Will the department be able to accommodate you?

NB: As the department specialises in human geographic research, we cannot supervise research in physical geography. Equally, if you apply to a programme which focuses on qualitative research methods with a primarily quantitative research proposal, or propose to study a topic which does not fall – broadly speaking – within the department’s research interests, you are unlikely to be successful. At the same time, the School limits the number of doctoral students which each member of staff can supervise, not all of our academic staff will be willing or able to take on new doctoral students every year, and the department’s resources are finite. Accordingly, the department cannot always accommodate every potential student, even if they meet the standard for admission.

If our faculty consider that your application meets all criteria set out above, they will recommend to the programme director that you be interviewed. If your application does not meet all of the above criteria, your application will be rejected.

(iii)  Interview 
Interview invitations are sent directly by the faculty members who will be interviewing you. If you are invited to interview, this means that the department is strongly considering you as a potential candidate for doctoral study. If that is the case, All potential students are interviewed, regardless of any previous association with potential supervisors, the department, or the LSE. Interviews will generally be conducted remotely, by telephone or VOIP. Interviews will generally last 20-30 minutes, but may last longer than this. All interviews will conform to the expectations described here.

NB: the interview process is not supposed to be intimidating – they are supposed to be challenging, but your interviewers will not be trying to catch you out or trip you up! Rather, this is an opportunity for you to discuss your motivation for doctoral study, your academic and professional background, and your research proposal with your interviewers. This is also be a chance for you to ask questions about the next stages of the application process, the particular MPhil/PhD programme to which you have applied, and the demands of doctoral study more generally.

(iv)  Post-interview consideration of application and offer-decision
After your interview has been completed, your interviewers will make a recommendation to the relevant programme director about whether you should be offered you a place to study with the department. This recommendation is taken very seriously, but you should be aware that the final offer/reject decision rests with the programme director, not your interviewers. If the department decides to offer you a study-place, the admissions service will produce and send formal offer documentation to you. If your application is unsuccessful, your will be informed of the outcome by the graduate admissions service. All candidates who are offered a place to study with the department are also considered for all funding opportunities offered by the School for which they are eligible, as described above, in the section entitled ‘How does the scholarships/funding process work in the department?’

 

Applying – entry standards

Entry requirements: Where can I find them? What if I don’t quite meet them? What if I’m not a ‘traditional’ applicant?

The entry requirements for each programme are listed on the prospectus page for each programme, which you can find by clicking here, and then clicking through to the programme that interests you. In general, the minimum entry requirement is a merit overall in a relevant masters degree programme with a 65%+ average, as well as a 70%+ distinction in the same degree programme.

Please note.

  • You’re not required to meet the 65%/75% results requirement with your most recent masters-level degree. It is possible to satisfy this requirement with a previous degree’s results.
  • As the LSE is a world leading social sciences institution, in general, only candidates with a strong academic social sciences background are encouraged to apply.
  • As admission to the department’s PhD programmes is extremely competitive, meeting the minimum entry requirement for our programmes does not guarantee acceptance.
  • As the admissions process considers all applications holistically, you’re welcome to apply (i) if your academic qualifications don’t quite meet the entry requirements, or (ii) if don’t have the required academic qualifications but do have considerable, relevant professional experience.In these circumstances, applicants will need to provide evidence of other relevant professional/academic qualifications/experience to demonstrate that they will be able to succeed in our programmes. However, please do not ask us to tell you in advance whether your alternative/additional experience will be sufficient to warrant an offer. We can only judge applicants’ suitability for our programmes via the formal application process.

Where the admissions standards for qualifications state ‘taught master’s degree (or equivalent)’, what does this mean?

This means that your previous qualifications are of a comparable standard and syllabus to a taught master’s degree featuring an independent research component. Determining whether your qualification/s are equivalent to this standard requirement is the function of the admissions process, and the department does not pre-screen applicants’ documents. Please do not ask members of the department to do this for you.

What level of English language proficiency do I need to demonstrate in order to be eligible to study with the department?

Information on the LSE’s English language requirements can be found here.

 

Applying – research proposals and other supporting documents

Will you consider my application without a research proposal?

No. 

Will you recommend a research topic to me?

No. 

Does the department provide example research proposals?

No. When producing your research proposal, you should follow the School’s guidance for production of application documents.

What guidance does the department provide on research proposals?

The department does not provide additional guidance on research proposals, beyond that stated below, and provided by the School. If you are uncertain about what to do, you are required to use your own best judgement, based on your existing training. Please do not ask the department for further guidance, as it will not be issued. Detailed School-level information about research proposals can be found here.

Research proposals for those applying directly to MPhil/PhD programmes

In general, your research proposal is an indication of your research interests, how you developed them, and how you intend to pursue them. We recognise that your research interests will continue to develop while you complete our taught courses. Accordingly, your proposal is not a fully binding commitment, and you will be able to refocus and redefine your proposal later on in the programme before you begin work on the first chapter of your PhD thesis.

Research proposals for those applying to the ESRC 1+3 funding stream

Your research proposal should conform to the expectations set out above, and should be the same length as those required for our MPhil/PhD programmes. (Detailed information about research proposals can be found here.) If you successfully complete your MSc and are admitted to the PhD programme, and would like to diverge from the research proposal set out in your initial application for one of our MSc programmes, you will have to negotiate this with your supervisors. However, as we will expect you to mature as a researcher during the course of your studies, we fully understand and expect that your research proposal will mature, develop and change as well. Consequently, if you are successful in acquiring ESRC 1+3 funding, you will not be bound to fulfil every aspect of your research proposal in finite detail.

How can I find out whether my research interests are similar to the department’s?

Information on the department’s research interests can be found on the department’s research page.

How do your MPhil/PhD programmes fit within the department’s research themes?

As a research unit, the department is split into three clusters. Each of our PhD programmes is associated with one of our research clusters.

Economic Geography research cluster
- MPhil/PhD Economic Geography

Environmental Economics and Policy research cluster
- MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics
- MPhil/PhD Environmental Policy and Development

Urbanisation, Policy and Development (UPD)
- MPhil/PhD Human Geography and Urban Studies
- MPhil/PhD Regional and Urban Planning Studies.

For each programme, the department appoints a doctoral programme director (DPD). Doctoral programme directors are responsible for their individual programme, and also meet together to discuss matters which affect all of the department’s PhD students. As the Department of Geography and Environment is slightly unusual in having five MPhil/PhD programmes, to ensure coherency, consistency and cohesion, the department also appoints a director of postgraduate studies, who operates in an oversight capacity in relation to the department’s doctoral research programmes as a whole.

 

Applying – contacting faculty

Can I contact members of the department to discuss my research before submitting my application?

 Yes. When contacting our faculty, please remember that they are world-leading academics. Accordingly, they tend to be very busy, and therefore receive many requests for support. Consequently, we can’t promise that our faculty will respond to your emails.

Can I ask a faculty-member to recommend a research topic for me?

No. It’s your own responsibility to decide on your research topic and draft your research proposal.

Do I need to work on my proposal with a faculty-member before applying?

No. As with any piece of academic work, feedback helps. However, in procedural terms, it is not necessary to work on your proposal with a faculty member before applying, and you are welcome to apply without first working on your proposal with a faculty-member.

Do I need to get a faculty member to agree to supervise my PhD before I submit my application?

No. As we welcome applications from prospective students without a prior connection to the department, we do not require this.

Can I ask the department’s professional support staff to recommend a supervisor to me, or to forward my draft application to potentially interested faculty?

As it’s not necessary to secure the support of a faculty member before applying and it’s applicants’ responsibility to decide on their proposed research topic, we ask that you don’t do this.

Does the department provide any tips or guidance about contacting faculty members about research proposals?

Yes.

- If you’re reaching out to members of the department, we recommend that you tailor the content of each email to the intended recipient, and don’t send exactly (or substantially) the same email to multiple faculty. You’re much more likely to receive a response if you say, in your email, why you think the person you’re contacting should be interested in supervising your project, and why your proposed research would fit within the department’s research environment. Accordingly, before emailing anyone, we recommend that you look through our faculty’s departmental profile pages, and look through the department’s research information pages.

- If you contact a member of faculty, please give them plenty of time to respond. We recommend waiting at least a full working week (and preferably two) before following up to ask whether our faculty member has read your email. We also recommend against repeatedly chasing faculty members who have not replied more than once.

- If you’ve emailed a faculty member and then received a response from geog.phd@lse.ac.uk, this means our faculty member has decided not to respond, and has asked the department’s professional administration team to respond to you on their behalf. There are many reasons why a member of faculty might do this, so this shouldn’t dishearten you or stop you from applying to study with us. However, it does mean that our faculty member has chosen not to respond to you. As such, we recommend that you don’t chase faculty members for a response in these circumstances.

- Our faculty members generally won’t circulate or recommends prospective applicants’ documentation (research proposal, CV etc.) to other members of faculty/amongst their colleagues. This is because it’s not necessary, procedurally speaking, to secure support from a potential supervisor before you apply, and because we circulate applicants documents’ among potentially interested supervisors as part of the formal admissions procedure. Accordingly, we recommend that you don’t ask our faculty to do this.

 

Applying – other common questions

Will my financial status play any role in the selection process?

No, admissions decisions are based on academic merit alone, without any reference to an applicant’s financial situation. Applicants who are able to fund themselves or succeed in securing a scholarship or sponsorship from any source will be considered for entry to the programme in exactly the same way as applicants who have no funding in place. The same procedures and standards apply to all applicants competing for entry.

Will the department accept applications from those who have already secured funding?

Yes, of course!

Can I apply to one of your MPhil/PhD programmes while I’m still studying for my masters/before my masters results are released?

Yes, as long as you will be able to prove your final results by the time you are required to register for the programme.

Can I apply to one of your PhD programmes while I’m still studying for my master’s degree (or other required qualification)?

Yes. So long as you will be able to provide official proof of degree results before the start date for our PhD programmes (see programme prospectus pages for details) your application will be considered.

I can't afford to pay the administrative fee to apply. Can this be waived?

We understand that the fee is expensive for some of our applicants. Happily, a waiver process exists. To apply, click here.

NB: The waiver decision process is solely controlled by the graduate admission service, not the department. For questions about this process, please contact the graduate admissions service.

How can I get help with the application process?

Questions about the mechanics of the application process should be submitted to LSE’s central Graduate Admissions Office via the online enquiries system, and not to the department.

Before contacting the admissions office, please check to see if the information you are looking for can be found on the LSE’s graduate study webpage, the School’s general admission enquiries page, or the Graduate Admissions Office’s tailored guidance pages for prospective applicants and applicants in progress. You can also track your application and find out how to carry out the most common tasks online using the “How Do I” page.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please first try to find the answer to your question by running a search in the online enquiries system, where you will be given the option to 'send a written enquiry' directly to Graduate Admissions.

If I am unsuccessful, will the department provide feedback on my application?

Applications rejected without interview - in general, if an application is rejected after initial consideration, our academic staff will indicate briefly via the admissions system why it has been rejected. This information can be requested from the admissions service. The department cannot provide this to you.

Applications rejected after interview - you are free to enquire with those who interviewed you about their reasons for deciding not to offer you a place to study with the department. However, our academic staff are under no obligation to provide feedback.

 

Information and common questions about our programmes

Where can I find information about the Department of Geography and Environment’s MPhil/PhD and Visiting Research Student programmes?

This can be found here.

Please note: the Department of Geography and Environment is not responsible for the PhD in Cities. This programme is delivered by the LSE’s Department of Sociology. If you would like to ask questions about the PhD in Cities, please contact sociology.phd@lse.ac.uk.

How much does it cost to study with the department?

Information on fees can be found on the page relevant to each programme, which can be found here.

What is the maximum period of registration?

The maximum period of full-time registration is four years.

Are MPhil/PhD courses in the department offered part-time?

The department expects all students to undertake the taught phase of their MPhil/PhD studies full time, without exceptions.

The department will only consider applications to transfer to part-time study after students have completed the taught phase of their studies (usually the end of the 1st year) and will not make decisions in principle at the point of admission.

Do you offer distance learning or online PhDs?

No. All students are required to be in regular attendance at the School so that they can attend courses, supervision meetings and other seminars as required by their programme. Periods of study away from the School can be undertaken, but require departmental and central approval.

Will the department allow me to have supervisors from another department, or another university?

Yes.

The department’s rules for supervision are as follows.

(i) Students must have two supervisors.

(ii) At least one supervisor must be either an Associate Professor or a full Professor employed by the Department of Geography and Environment. NB: Staff employed by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment do not count for the purposes of this rule.

(iii) Other supervisors can be from elsewhere within the School.

(iv) External supervision (i.e. supervision by faculty from outside the LSE) will normally only be permitted where suitable supervision cannot be found within the LSE. This is normally only permitted where a supervisor leaves the School mid-way through a student’s time with the department, and not at the point of admission. If your research proposal cannot be supervised within the School at the point at which you apply, you are highly unlikely to be offered a place to study with the department.

Please note – it is the department’s responsibility to ensure that each student receives appropriate supervision. Consequently, it is ultimately for the department to determine which supervisors should be allocated to each student. 

When will I be required to register? (What is EC400 and do I need to take it?)

Registration for Geography and Environment PhD programmes will take place during late September 2020.

The only exception to this rule is for students taking EC400, ‘Introductory Course in mathematics and Statistics’. EC400 is a pre-sessional course run by the Department of Economics, which is a pre-requisite for many graduate level courses run by the Department of Economics. If you opt to, or are required to take EC400, you will be required to register with the School at the end of August 2020.

EC400 is mandatory for students on the MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics, which means that offer holders will automatically be expected to register at the end of August 2020.

EC400 is optional for students on the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography, depending on their proposed research, which means that offer holders will be expected to register:

- at the end of August 2020 if they choose to take EC400; but,

- at the end of September 2020 if they choose not to take EC400.

MPhil/PhD Economic Geography offer holders will be required to confirm by the end of June 2020 whether they intend to take EC400. Consequently, Economic Geography offer holders are encouraged to discuss with their prospective supervisors whether they will need to take EC400 as soon as they receive their offer letter from the School.

Why will I have to take courses in the first year of my programme? Am I able to skip this stage and apply for direct entry to the PhD stage of the programme if I already have a masters in a relevant discipline?

The department does not allow students to skip the taught phase of their doctoral studies.

Our programmes aim to produce world class researchers in the field. In order for students to be able to undertake research at this level, the department believes that students must have a sufficient range of 'tools' to do so. It therefore requires that its students complete, and pass to the required standard, a range of courses in order to provide them with these tools and techniques that can be applied in their research.