Programmes

MPhil/PhD Cities

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Sociology
  • Application code L4ZB
  • Starting 2021
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The MPhil/PhD Cities offers the chance to undertake a substantial piece of research that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to urban studies. Students begin on the MPhil, and are upgraded to PhD status after meeting certain requirements.

The Cities programme, founded in 1998, is dedicated to the innovative exploration and analysis of urban society and urban change. Housed within the Department of Sociology, the programme offers an excellent environment for interdisciplinary graduate research on cities, space and urbanism. Students come to the programme from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, sharing an interest in linking the social and spatial study of urban issues. The doctoral programme includes training in research design, practice and presentation in the first year; access to relevant graduate taught courses to enhance general and project-specific skills; a range of student-led and international collaborations and initiatives; and opportunities for exchange and networking through other international partnerships. Research focuses on the academic expertise of staff within the Cities programme, the Department of Sociology, and LSE in general, addressing the spatial, social, economic and environmental aspects of cities and urban life.

Teaching and learning in 2021
We hope that programmes beginning in September 2021 will be unaffected by Coronavirus. If there are going to be any changes to the delivery of the programme we will update this page to reflect the amendments and all offer holders will be notified. For more information about LSE's teaching plans for 2020 please visit: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Prospective-students/Teaching-Methods and to view our Coronavirus FAQ's for prospective students please see: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/meet-visit-and-discover-LSE/COVID-19/Coronavirus-FAQs-for-prospective-applicants

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Cities
Start date 27 September 2021
Application deadline 14 January 2021
Duration Three-four years full-time. 

Please note that LSE allows part-time PhD study only under limited circumstances. Please see lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Prospective-students/Types-of-study for more information. If you wish to study part-time, you should mention this (and the reasons for it) in your statement of academic purpose, and discuss it at interview if you are shortlisted.

Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,517 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £20,136 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 14 January 2021)
ESRC funding (deadline 14 January 2021)
Minimum entry requirement Merit in a taught master’s degree in a related discipline and an upper second class (2:1) degree in sociology or another social science.
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 Cities

Merit in a taught master's degree (or equivalent) in a related discipline and an upper second class (2:1) degree in sociology or another social science.

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. 

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 14 January 2021. This is the same as the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

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 2021/22 for MPhil/PhD Cities

Home students: £4,517 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £20,136 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges home 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 or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education. 

Further information about fee status classification.

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 generous scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships, and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding. Selection for the PhD Studentships and ESRC funding 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 and ESRC funding: 14 January 2021.

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

Information for international students

LSE is an international community, with over 140 nationalities represented amongst its student body. We celebrate this diversity through everything we do.  

If you are applying to LSE from outside of the UK then take a look at our Information for International students

1) Take a note of the UK qualifications we require for your programme of interest (found in the ‘Entry requirements’ section of this page. 

2) Go to the International Students section of our website. 

3) Select your country. 

4) Select ‘Graduate entry requirements’ and scroll until you arrive at the information about your local/national qualification. Compare the stated UK entry requirements listed on this page with the local/national entry requirement listed on your country specific page 

Programme structure and courses

In your first year, you can choose to study a range of methods and specialist courses from a variety of institutes and departments at LSE. You must attend the first year research class for MPhil students SO 500 Aims and Methods. You may also be required or advised by your supervisor to take methods courses and specialist taught courses relevant to your topic. 

After the first year, you will spend more time on independent study under the guidance of your supervisors. This will involve the collection, organisation, analysis and writing up of data and ideas. You will also attend regular workshops and seminars related to your interests including a research class for MPhil and PhD students. You will be expected to make an active contribution to these by presenting papers and/or taking part in general discussions.

In addition to progressing with your research, you will be expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. 

First year

Training courses
Compulsory (examined)

SO500: Aims and Methods Research Class for MPhil Students
Aims to provide students with a conceptual and practical framework within which to think through planning their research.

You may also be required or advised by your supervisor to take methods courses and specialist taught courses relevant to your topic.

 Transferable skills courses

Optional (not examined)
Computing Packages for Qualitative Analysis
Provides research students with an appreciation of various computer packages through introduction and hands-on training in the use of these tools.

Workshop in Information Literacy: finding, managing and organising published research and data
Develops students' research skills and introduce the essential sources and tools when undertaking research, and the skills required to use them. 

Second, Third and Fourth years

Training courses
Optional (not examined)
Data Analysis Workshop
Provides a forum for MPhil/PhD students to gain data analysis skills by sharing their own PhD data with other students. Each student will present their data and have it analysed by the group. Students will gain confidence in analysing their own data by also analysing other students' data in a group setting.

Thesis 

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

Supervision

You will be assigned a lead supervisor and a second supervisor/adviser or two co-supervisors who are specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies. 

Progression and assessment

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 will register for the MPhil in the first instance. In week 6 of Michaelmas term in your second year, you will submit a 10,000-word research proposal for assessment, outlining the aims and methods of your thesis and providing preliminary data collection and analysis. The paper will be read by two members of the Sociology Department, who will conduct the viva voce. Successful completion of this assessment means that you upgrade from MPhil registration to registration as a PhD candidate.

By week 6 of Lent term in your third year, you will submit two draft chapters, a chapter outline for the thesis, and a schedule for completing the thesis. The submission will be read by two members of the Sociology Department, who will conduct the viva voce. Successful completion of this assessment means that you will be re-registered onto the programme into the fourth and final year.

Your final award will be determined by the completion of an original research thesis and a viva oral examination.

More about programme requirements.

Student support and resources

We’re here to help and support you throughout your time at LSE, whether you need help with your academic studies, support with your welfare and wellbeing or simply to develop on a personal and professional level.

Whatever your query, big or small there are a range of people you can speak to and who will be happy to help.  

Department librarians – they will be able to help you navigate the library and maximise its resources during your studies. 

Accommodation service  - they can offer advice on living in halls and offer guidance on private accommodation related queries. 

Class teachers and seminar leaders – they will be able to assist with queries relating to a specific course you are taking. 

Disability and Wellbeing Service – the staff are experts in long term health conditions, sensory impairments, mental health and specific learning difficulties. They offer confidential and free services such as student counselling, a peer support scheme, arranging exam adjustments and run groups and workshops. 

IT help– support available 24 hours a day to assist with all of your technology queries.  

LSE Faith Centre – home to LSE's diverse religious activities and transformational interfaith leadership programmes, as well as a space for worship, prayer and quiet reflection. It includes Islamic prayer rooms and a main space for worship. It is also a space for wellbeing classes on campus and is open to all students and staff from all faiths and none.  

Language Centre– the centre specialises in offering language courses targeted to the needs of students and practitioners in the social sciences. We offer pre-course English for Academic Purposes programmes; English language support during your studies; modern language courses in 9 languages; proofreading, translation and document authentication and language learning community activities.

LSE Careers ­- with the help of LSE Careers, you can make the most of the opportunities that London has to offer. Whatever your future career plans, LSE Careers will work with you, connecting you to opportunities and experiences from internships and volunteering to networking events and employer and alumni insights. 

LSE Library  Founded in 1896, the British Library of Political and Economic Science is the major international library of the social sciences. It stays open late, has lots of excellent resources and it’s a great place to study. As an LSE student, you’ll have access to a number of other academic libraries in Greater London and nationwide. 

LSE LIFE – this is where you should go to develop skills you’ll use as a student and beyond. The centre runs talks and workshops on skills you’ll find useful in the classroom, offer one-to-one sessions with study advisers who can help you with reading, making notes, writing, research and exam revision, and provide drop-in sessions for academic and personal support.(See ‘Teaching and assessment). 

LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) – they offer academic, personal and financial advice and funding. 

PhD Academy - is available for PhD students, wherever they are, to take part in interdisciplinary events and other professional development activities and access all the services related to their registration. 

Sardinia House Dental Practice - offers discounted private dental services to LSE students. 

St Philips Medical Centre - based in Pethwick-Lawrence House the centre provides NHS Primary Care services to registered patients. 

Student Services Centre – our staff here can answer general queries and can point you in the direction of other LSE services.  

Student advocates and advisers– we have a School Senior Advocate for Students and an Adviser to Women Students who can help with academic and pastoral matters. 

Student life

As a student at LSE you’ll be based at our central London campus. Find out what our campus and London have to offer you on academic, social and career perspective. 

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The campus 

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Life in London 

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Want to find out more? Read why we think London is a fantastic student city, find out about key sights, places and experiences for new Londoners. Don't fear, London doesn't have to be super expensive: hear about London on a budget

Preliminary reading

P Dunleavy Authoring a PhD: how to plan, draft write and finish a doctoral dissertation or thesis (Palgrave Macmillan, 20030. 

We recommend you read around your topic in leading urban journals such as International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Planning, Urban Studies, Antipode, and CITY. We also recommend that you examine the treatment of your topic in major sociology journals such as British Journal of Sociology, American Journal of Sociology, Theory and Society, Sociological Review and Sociology.

Careers

Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career. Our graduates have also gone on to work as architects, designers, planners, and other positions requiring advanced urban expertise.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations in the field 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.

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