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MPhil/PhD in Demography (Social/Formal)

Programme Code: RPDESF

Department: Methodology

For students starting this programme of study in 2021/22

Guidelines for interpreting programme regulations

In addition to progressing with their research, students are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. Students may take courses in addition to those listed, and should discuss this with their supervisor.


Course number, title (unit value)

Year 1

Training courses

Optional (not examined):

In their first year, a student may be required to take specified courses in demography and/or research methodology which are most relevant to their PhD project. The courses most commonly required are:


DV476 Population Analysis: Methods and Models (0.5) #  (not available 2021/22)


MY500 Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design (0.5)


MY521L Qualitative Research Methods (0.5) 1


MY521M Qualitative Research Methods (0.5)


MY552L Applied Regression Analysis (0.5) # 2


MY552M Applied Regression Analysis (0.5) #


Students will discuss with their supervisors any other methodological training that may be relevant for the successful completion of the MPhil/PhD programme.

Year 2

Training courses

Optional (not examined):


Students are encouraged to audit or take for credit courses which are useful to them, with the agreement of their supervisors.

Year 3

Training courses

Optional (not examined):


Students are encouraged to audit or take for credit courses which are useful to them, with the agreement of their supervisors.

Year 4  

Training courses

Optional (not examined):


Students are encouraged to audit or take for credit courses which are useful to them, with the agreement of their supervisors.

Prerequisite Requirements and Mutually Exclusive Options

1 : MY521L can not be taken with MY521M

2 : MY552L can not be taken with MY552M

# means there may be prerequisites for this course. Please view the course guide for more information.

Progression and Upgrade requirements:

In the Summer Term of their first year, candidates will produce a 10,000 word 'first year review' that outlines the aims and methods of their thesis: this means summarising the key literature(s), motivating their specific research questions, and highlighting the planned contributions of their work. A first-year review document typically includes a general introduction, a comprehensive literature review (covering relevant empirical and theoretical work), a motivation of the research questions and hypotheses, and an indication of the literature(s) that the candidate is seeking to contribute to (i.e. the gaps in knowledge that will be addressed). Candidates will also give an oral presentation of their proposal at the Department of Methodology PhD day where all PhD students present their work, and which takes place in June each year.

Written and oral work will be assessed by two academics (not members the supervisory team), normally members of Department of Methodology staff, although sometimes from other Departments in the School. This work has to reach an acceptable standard to enable students to progress to the second year. It is particularly important that the first-year review clearly states the objectives of the doctoral research and indicates how the empirical work will be carried out. If the panel deems the first-year review to be not suitably clear, they can choose not to accept the submitted document and give the candidate up to a month to implement clarifications to the document. This decision will be taken maximum one week after the Department of Methodology PhD Day. Examples of unclear work might include (but not be limited to):

  • A first-year review that does not state clear research questions.
  • A first-year review that does not adequately review the specific literatures that the empirical work is contributing to;
  • A first-year review that does not give enough methodological detail, showing how the design will produce data that allows the candidate to address the theoretical issues at stake in a systematic and rigorous way.

 After the first-year candidates will spend more time on independent study under the guidance of their supervisor(s). This will involve the collection, organization and analysis of data, and writing up the results. During their second year of registration, they will typically submit three (minimum) draft chapters of their thesis plus a short introduction and a detailed plan for its completion. The three draft chapters will typically include a detailed literature review, specification of research problem(s) and two empirical chapters. If candidates are pursuing a paper-based thesis, their upgrading documents will typically include a short introduction, a literature review and at least two empirical papers. Whether a traditional or paper-based thesis, the material will be evaluated by an upgrading committee (two academics, not necessarily of the Department of Methodology or even the LSE) who will recommend transferral to PhD registration if their work is judged to be of sufficient quality and quantity.

Throughout the MPhil/PhD and PhD, candidates will attend the Institute's research seminar and other specialist workshops and seminars related to their interests. The student must present at every Department of Methodology PhD day.

Note for prospective students:
For changes to graduate course and programme information for the next academic session, please see the graduate summary page for prospective students. Changes to course and programme information for future academic sessions can be found on the graduate summary page for future students.