Programmes

MPhil/PhD Philosophy

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Philosophy Logic and Scientific Method
  • Application code V7ZP
  • Starting 2021
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method is a world-leading centre for research in three broad areas of philosophy: rational choice theory and formal epistemology; philosophy of science; and moral and political philosophy.

We accept MPhil/PhD students wishing to work in any field of research in which the Department has special expertise, including philosophy of the natural sciences (especially physics and biology); distributive justice and normative ethics; philosophy and public policy; philosophy of the social sciences (especially economics); decision theory, evolutionary and game theory; and formal epistemology.

We are committed to research that makes a difference not only to philosophy and the philosophies of the various sciences, but also to the practice of the sciences themselves – from economics and political science to physics, biology and medicine – as well as to the wider world. The Department’s teaching is research-led: courses cover cutting-edge material and are taught by some of the field’s leading scholars.

On this programme you will work towards producing a substantial piece of work that makes an original contribution to the subject and is of a sufficient standard to give rise to publications in professional academic journals.

You will benefit from the Department’s close association with the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, which hosts leading visiting scholars and supports a range of research projects, seminars and lecture series, and The Forum for Philosophy, which runs a full and varied programme of philosophy and interdisciplinary events. You will also have the opportunity to attend and take part in the Department’s regular seminar and lecture series, including the Choice Group on decision theory and social choice, and the Sigma Club on the philosophy and foundations of modern physics.

As a Philosophy MPhil/PhD student you will be given the chance to teach the undergraduate discussion classes that are run in parallel with lectures. An essential part of becoming a good philosopher is learning how to teach, share and discuss ideas with those interested in philosophy at all levels, and the discussion classes you lead at LSE will provide ample opportunity.

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 Philosophy
Start date 27 September 2021
Application deadline 14 January 2021.
Duration Three to four years (minimum two) 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 Home: £4,517 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £20,136 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 14 January 2021)
Minimum entry requirement Taught master’s degree in philosophy with a distinction overall and in the dissertation component
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 Philosophy

The minimum entry requirement for this programme is a taught master’s degree (or equivalent) in philosophy (or a sufficiently relevant discipline). We normally accept only those who achieve the equivalent of a distinction overall and in the dissertation component of their master's degree.

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
- outline research proposal
- sample of written work.

Research proposal

This is an important document, which should provide a description of your likely research topic for your PhD. (There is scope for changes in this topic during the first year. In consultation with your academic supervisor, you will need to settle on a definite research topic by the end of that year.) So long as you provide a brief summary of your entire research project at the outset, it is not a problem to exceed the suggested 1,500 word limit even by a significant amount. If you already have a well-worked-out PhD project, you are in fact encouraged to supply a detailed description, which may include chapter by chapter summaries. If you would like your project to be supervised by a particular member or members of the Department, please indicate this in your proposal. Contrary to LSE's general guidance on research proposals, you do not need to provide either a description of the methodology you will employ or case studies, as these particular guidelines are for dissertations in the social sciences rather than philosophy.

Please note that a precise research topic can be accepted only if someone in the Department is well-placed to supervise such a project.

Writing sample

This is another important document. It is not a problem to include a writing sample that exceeds 3,000 words even by a significant amount, so long as you indicate, at the outset, a 3,000 word subset of this longer piece of writing on which the selection committee should focus their attention. It is not necessary to provide a scanned copy of your writing sample. You may, for example, simply upload a Word file.

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 for further information.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 14 January 2021. 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.

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 Philosophy

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. 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 LSE PhD Studentships: 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 addition to making progress on your PhD project, you are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. You may take courses in addition to those listed and should discuss this with your supervisor. All programmes of study should be agreed with your supervisor at the start of the year.

First year

The first “coursework” year prepares students for research in philosophy and the completion of a central thesis chapter. At the end of this first year the progress of students is reviewed, to establish that they are on track to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status. In consultation with their academic supervisors, PhD students also settle on a definite research topic by the end of the first year.

Training courses

Compulsory (examined/not examined) 
Philosophical Problems Seminar
Examines a range of classic papers in contemporary analytic philosophy that might not otherwise be covered in LSE Philosophy Department courses. 

Either
Reasoning and Logic
Aims to give a precise formulation of correct deductive reasoning – of what it means for a sentence to follow from a set of other sentences taken as premises – and to investigate on this basis other important logical notions such as that of consistency. 
Or
One further master's-level course not already taken

Either
one further master's-level course not already taken
And
Courses to the value of one unit of PhD Seminars
Or 
Three term units of PhD level seminars with associated coursework

Optional (not examined)
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Second year

Years 2–4 is the time when PhD students dive deep into the research and writing of their thesis. While writing the thesis students attend the Department’s Popper Seminar, but also any of the wealth of regular research seminars that may be relevant to their research.

Students in their 2nd year aim to write two or three further chapters beyond the chapter they completed in their first year.

Training courses

Optional (not examined)
Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Third year

In the 3rd year students produce a draft of the entire thesis, while writing papers, submitting to conferences, and getting to know the dynamic field of philosophy and their place in it. In the 4th year, students polish their material and prepare to go on the job market.

Training courses

Optional (not examined)

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Methodology Institute.

Fourth year

Training courses

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences
This is a special topics course on the philosophy of physics. It meets weekly, and has two components.
The first component (roughly half the meetings) will consist in lectures on the philosophy of physics. The remaining component will consist in attending cutting-edge lectures by professional philosophers of physics, and in some cases by other philosophers of science.

Research Seminar in the Philosophy of Economics and Social Sciences
Covers philosophical issues in economics and the social sciences.

Research Methods in Philosophy
Covers topics in contemporary philosophy.

Optional (examined/not examined) 
Transferable skills courses offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre or the Department of Methodology.

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

PhD students in the Department work with two supervisors from the academic faculty, to ensure a wide range of advice. The choice of secondary supervisor can be quite flexible (and occasionally includes academics from outside the Department). The primary supervisor is a senior member of staff. Both primary and secondary supervisory arrangements can change in the course of the degree as your thesis develops. 

Progression and assessment

Successful completion of work required for each year is a necessary condition for re-registration in the following year; and for upgrading from MPhil to PhD status. During the first year you must write a first chapter of the thesis as well as an outline (research plan) of the rest of the thesis. The chapter should be around 40 pages; the research plan around ten pages. This upgrading will normally take place after the successful completion of Year One requirements in Case A, and after the successful completion of Year Two requirements in Case B. In both cases, once you are registered for the PhD that registration will be backdated to the start of your MPhil/PhD studies.

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. 

Student societies and activities

Your time at LSE is not just about studying, there are plenty of ways to get involved in extracurricular activities. From joining one of over 200 societies, or starting your own society, to volunteering for a local charity, or attending a public lecture by a world-leading figure, there is a lot to choose from. 

The campus 

LSE is based on one campus in the centre of London. Despite the busy feel of the surrounding area, many of the streets around campus are pedestrianised, meaning the campus feels like a real community. 

Life in London 

London is an exciting, vibrant and colourful city. It's also an academic city, with more than 400,000 university students. Whatever your interests or appetite you will find something to suit your palate and pocket in this truly international capital. Make the most of career opportunities and social activities, theatre, museums, music and more. 

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

Careers

Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career. Recent doctoral graduates have also gone into careers in consulting, teaching and business. 

The Department maintains a placement record of its former PhD students.

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.

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