MPhil/PhD Psychological and Behavioural Science

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science
  • Application code L7ZP
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

This programme offers the chance to undertake a substantial piece of work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to the field of psychological and behavioural science. 

Project specifics are to be developed with academic faculty, and may explore topics in social psychology, health and communities, organisational psychology, evolutionary psychology, communication, and behavioural science. Our research addresses theoretical concerns within psychological and behavioural science, and is applicable in practical contexts (eg, organisations, developing countries, public policy).

You will benefit from our research partnerships with top institutions, and will have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in many settings including experimental laboratories, organisations and countries outside of the UK. You will be encouraged to present at international conferences and publish in international journals. Part-time positions for research, teaching and editorial assistance are often available, offering you valuable experience and publication opportunities.

Teaching and learning in Michaelmas Term 2020 
Information on how LSE will deliver teaching and learning in Michaelmas term can be found here.

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Psychological and Behavioural Science
Start date 28 September 2020. For January start contact the Department
Application deadline 27 April 2020. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration Three to four years (minimum two) full-time
Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,435 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £19,368 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadlines 10 January 2020 and 27 April 2020)
Minimum entry requirement Taught master’s with high merit (65+) and 2:1 bachelor’s degree in relevant area or equivalent
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Research (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for MPhil/PhD Psychological and Behavioural Science

The minimum entry requirement for this programme is an upper second class honours (2:1) bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), plus high merit (65+) in master's degree (or equivalent) in a relevant area.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission. Where an offer of admission is considered, this is always subject to an interview.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
- statement of academic purpose
- references
- CV
- research proposal
- sample of written work.

 See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 27 April 2020. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Programme structure and courses

The MPhil/PhD programme can include taught courses on both methodology and theory. The precise courses you may be required to attend will vary and exemptions may apply depending on your prior experience and qualifications. These matters should be discussed and agreed with your supervisor in your first formal supervision meeting. 

If you are studying full-time, then after 15 months of studying, you will be upgraded to PhD status if you satisfy certain requirements.

(* denotes a half unit)

Transferable skills courses

Current Research in Social Psychology - Compulsory (not examined)
Weekly seminars including plenary and specialist sessions in the Michaelmas term, Lent term and Summer term.

Training courses

Students are asked to complete 10 hours of research training each year. Courses are agreed with supervisors depending on a student's needs. Training courses are taught in departments across LSE, as well as through our PhD academy and with affiliate institutions. Access is subject to agreement with the relevant course convenors (eg according to space considerations).

Courses include:

Qualitative Research Methods*
Prepares students to design, carry out, report, read and evaluate qualitative research projects. Students learn how to collect data using methods including interviewing, focus groups, participant observation, and documentary and historical work.

Survey Methodology* 
Provides an introduction to the methodology of the design and analysis of social surveys. It is intended both for students who plan to design and collect their own surveys, and for those who need to understand and use data from existing large-scale surveys.

Applied Regression Analysis*
Focuses on  deepening the understanding of the generalized linear model and its application to social science data. The main topics covered are linear regression modelling and binary, multinomial and ordinal logistic regression. 

Multivariate Analysis and Measurement*
Examines the application of modern multivariate methods used in the social sciences, with particular focus on latent variable models for continuous observed variables, and their application to questions of measurement in the social sciences. 

Contemporary Social and Cultural Psychology*
Focuses on the relationship between individual-society and culture as a universal, and as a particular context for human cognition, emotion and behaviour. 

Organisational Social Psychology*
Focuses on understanding the interaction between organisations and the people who lead and work with them and in them.

The Social Psychology of Communication*
Examines core theories towards a social psychology of communication. Issues raised will refer to verbal and non-verbal, face-to-face, rumours and mass mediated, as well as private and public, communal and strategic forms of communication. 

Psychological and Behavioural Science (non-credit bearing)
Each week we tackle key debates for the social sciences through an examination of key theories in Societal Psychology

Psychology of Economic Life*
Focuses on the analysis of economic phenomena with a social psychological lens, beyond homo economicus.

Foundations in Behavioural Science
Introduction to the main concepts and tools of behavioural science.

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Supervision, progression and assessment


The supervisor you work with will be a specialist in your chosen research field, and will guide you through your studies. Prospective applicants should have the support of a potential supervisor before making a formal application to Graduate Admissions, to ensure an alignment of research interests. If contacting faculty, please be selective, and let faculty know if you are in contact with more than one member of staff.

Progression and assessment 

Degrees must be completed within a maximum of four years. The time taken to complete any research degree depends on your progress and individual needs and you must remain registered with the School until your thesis has been submitted.

You register for the MPhil in the first instance, and will need to progress satisfactorily to be upgraded to PhD status.

The first year Extended Essay and the second year Upgrade chapters (see below) are examined by a three-person thesis committee, which includes your supervisor, as well as two other academic colleagues.

Targets for progress

First year:
 Extended Essay of 6,000 words, submitted on first day of Lent Term.
Second year: Upgrade viva. Two draft chapters or papers of 10,000 words each (total of 20,000 words), submitted on first day of Lent Term. These chapters form the basis of an oral examination by a three-person thesis committee, usually four to six weeks after submission. Success in this examination results in upgrade from MPhil to PhD status.
Third year: Completed first draft by end of three years.

PhD formats: thesis and series of publishable articles

The Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science allows for two formats of PhD:

Thesis (aka monograph) format

This is the traditional PhD format. It entails candidates in effect producing several chapters examining a single subject in an integrated way. This is akin to the format and structure of a book.

Article format

This format entails candidates producing distinct papers which are combined with integrative material to address a single subject. The defining feature of this format is basically that some of the "chapters" can be articles which either have been published or prepared for publication. This format tends only to be suitable for PhD projects which comprise a series of distinct (but inter-related) empirical studies. 

Extra guidelines for article format PhD
The thesis should comprise three to six publishable articles framed by an introduction, critical integrating discussion and conclusion. Articles should be co-authored with supervisors (as are all papers written on your PhD topic while being under supervision). Articles and chapters both count as "papers" – the most important part is that they are publishable quality. They do not have to have been submitted, and even if they have been submitted and accepted this does not automatically entail that the Committee will find them suitable within the larger context of the project.


Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career. 

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Apurv Chauhan

MPhil/PhD Social Psychology
Sitamarhi, India 

If you are a social psychologist, the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE is the place you want to be. The Department is a vibrant community of scholars where some of the world leading research in societal psychology unfolds. Not only do academics partake in theoretical advancements, but they also hold a firm commitment towards solving real world problems at the grass root level. 

Fees and funding

Every research student is charged a fee in line with the fee structure for their programme.The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2020/21 for MPhil/PhD Psychological and Behavioural Science

UK/EU students: £4,435 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £19,368 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Scholarships, studentships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £13 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships. Selection for the PhD Studentships is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.

Funding deadline for first round of LSE PhD Studentships: 10 January 2020.
The deadline for the second round of LSE PhD Studentships: 27 April 2020

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

External funding 

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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