MPhil/PhD Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

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The admissions cycle for 2021/22 entry is now closed. Applications for 2022/23 entry will be welcomed from October 2021.

How does the admissions process work?

Applications are checked by Graduate Admissions before they are passed to the Department for assessment. All necessary documents including references need to be submitted by the deadline in order to be passed to the Department on time. After applications are received, they are first checked for eligibility (meeting the entry requirements, aligning with the research interests of available supervisors). Applications are then reviewed by the Doctoral Programme Director before being passed to potential supervisors for assessment. After this stage, applicants may be invited to an interview (done virtually over Zoom, Skype or phone). Details on what to expect at interviews can be found here.

After interview, all approved applications are reviewed by a Departmental Selection Committee before offers are made to applicants. There are approximately seven places available. Overall this process can take a few months. Applications to the Cities programme are assessed in the same way.

How is funding awarded?

All applicants who are offered places are automatically considered for funding and are nominated by the Department for School-administered studentships. Competition for funding is very intense and we cannot provide funding to all offer-holders. Accordingly, all applicants are required to explore all potential sources of funding at all stages in their application, including before and during LSE’s funding consideration process.

If you have already secured funding from an external body, or if you secure external funding after your application is submitted, please notify sociology.phd@lse.ac.uk as soon as possible.

How do I apply?

What are the entry requirements?

We require a high merit (minimum 65%) in a taught master's degree (or equivalent) in a related discipline and a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Sociology or another social science. Competition for places at the School is high and there are limited places available on the programme. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirements, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK, please see the Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

If you do not meet the entry requirement at master’s level, but you feel you have other relevant experience intrinisic to the research project you wish to carry out, then please contact the Research Manager at sociology.phd@lse.ac.uk in the first instance.

Do I need a sociology background?

Sociology is an open discipline and does not require students to have sociology undergraduate or Masters degrees as prerequisites. Many of our doctoral students have not previously specialised in Sociology. In your application you should still explain why you want to study at LSE Sociology and the ways in which you see your project as being sociological.

Application requirements

Please see here for information on what to provide in your application. The Department does not provide guidance on preparing a research proposal. For information on the research interests of our academic staff, please see their research profiles on our people page.

Should I contact a potential supervisor before applying?

You are welcome to approach potential supervisors about your research proposal before applying, but please be aware that some academics do not respond to ‘cold’ inquiries. You are still able to apply even if you have not received an encouraging response. The ultimate decision on supervisor allocation is made by the Selection Committee.

Please do not approach any member of the department who has ‘not taking on new doctoral students’ under their profile. The Research Manager will not put you in touch with potential supervisors, this is the applicants’ responsibility.

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 official proof of your final degree results by the time you are required to register for the programme. We encourage applicants to complete a Master’s degree before applying.

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

The department will consider applications to transfer to part-time study after students have registered, but will not make decisions in principle at the point of admission.

Do you offer distance learning or online PhDs?

Under normal circumstances, 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. Applicants should make plans on this basis and expect to be required to study in London.

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

All registered doctoral students have two supervisors and at least one supervisor must be either an Associate Professor or a full Professor employed by the Department of Sociology. Other supervisors can be from elsewhere within the School.

External supervision (i.e. supervision by faculty from outside LSE) will not normally be permitted.  

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