Programmes

MRes/PhD International Development

  • Graduate research
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code Y2ZI
  • Starting 2021
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

This programme offers you the chance to undertake a substantial piece of work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to international development. You will begin on the MRes, and will need to meet certain requirements to progress to the PhD.

The Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary graduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change. The Department is dedicated to understanding problems of poverty and late development within local communities, as well as national and international political and economic systems.

The Department conducts research and teaching across seven broad themes: complex emergencies, security, and humanitarianism in war-torn societies; comparative politics of development; governance, civil society, and informal politics; development management; development economics; the demography of developing countries and the politics of global health. Faculty have considerable experience of living and working in the developing world, and most have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies or non-governmental organisations.

This is a vibrant MRes/PhD programme with students employing a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods from across the social sciences to research questions of development around the globe.

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

MRes/PhD International Development
Start date 27 September 2021
Application deadline 29 April 2021. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration Four to five years full-time: one year MRes, three to four years PhD
Students may apply to study part-time after successful completion of first year
Tuition fee Home: £4,517 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £20,136 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadlines 14 January 2021 and 29 April 2021)
ESRC funding (deadline 14 January 2021)
Minimum entry requirement Taught master’s degree with at least 65 or above overall and in the dissertation element, or equivalent
GRE/GMAT requirement Highly recommended but not compulsory
English language requirements Higher (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 MRes/PhD International Development

Taught master’s degree with 65 or above overall and in the dissertation element, or the equivalent.

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.

GRE/GMAT requirement

Highly recommended but not compulsory.

Find out more about GRE/GMAT

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
- GMAT/GRE
- outline research proposal
- sample of written work.

See further information on supporting documents

Your research proposal for the MRes/PhD International Development should be approximately 1500 - 2000 words. It should have a descriptive title to enable us to identify the broad theme of the project. You will also be prompted to complete the box for programme specific information, when filling out the online application form. You must include the following under programme specific information:

-the title of your research proposal
-a short summary of your research proposal
-the name of your proposed supervisor(s) in the department. (Please note: this does not mean you need to have made contact with supervisors or obtained their approval in advance, it simply helps us when assessing your application).

If any of this information is missing or incomplete, it may delay consideration of your application.

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 29 April 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 MRes/PhD International Development

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 the first round of LSE PhD Studentships and ESRC funding: 14 January 2021.
Funding deadline for the second round of LSE PhD Studentships: 29 April 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

Introductory course

Accepted students who are planning to use advanced quantitative analysis in their PhD research are required to take the summer Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics.

Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics
Provides the essential mathematical, statistical, economic and econometric background for the core Economics courses of these programmes.

First year (MRes)

The MRes programme is the entry point to the research stream and is designed to both train you in a common academic heritage and to provide significant flexibility to develop advanced methodological and theoretical skills within disciplinary specialisms appropriate to your research interests. 

In addition, you will develop any necessary language skills and background knowledge of specific topics related to your research. You will also participate in a research student seminar series.

(* denotes a half unit)

Development History, Theory and Policy for Research Students*
Integrates the concepts and perspectives of a range of disciplines to consider, among other things, major trends of development and change in modern history.

Research Design and Proposal in International Development
You will work with your academic supervisors to structure a doctoral research proposal that has the potential to make a significant contribution to knowledge and that reflects a sophisticated mastery of advanced theoretical and methodological tools from one or more academic disciplines related to international development.

Research Seminar in Development Studies
This non-examined course is designed as a forum for discussing theoretical and methodological issues in Development Studies research.

Methodology courses to the value of one unit

Methodology or theory courses to the value of 1.5 units

PhD

Subject to satisfactory performance, you will be upgraded to the PhD programme and will implement your research plan.

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) who is a specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies.

Progression and assessment

At the end of the first year you will complete the assessments for your courses and finalise your Research Prospectus, the provisional research plan for your PhD. If you achieve the required marks in your Research Prospectus and other assessments, as outlined in the progression requirements, you will be upgraded to the PhD part of the programme.

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

More about progression 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. 

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. Our graduates go on to secure tenure-track academic posts at major universities worldwide. Recent graduates have also gone on to work in a range of development, consultancy and research roles in the private and public sectors, including for example, in aid agencies and NGOs. Read more about our PhD placements on our department homepage.

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.

Find out more about LSE

Discover more about being an LSE student - meet us in a city near you, visit our campus or experience LSE from home. 

Experience LSE from home

Webinars, videos, student blogs and student video diaries will help you gain an insight into what it's like to study at LSE for those that aren't able to make it to our campus. Experience LSE from home

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Come on a guided campus tour, attend an undergraduate open day, drop into our office or go on a self-guided tour. Find out about opportunities to visit LSE

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Student Marketing and Recruitment travels throughout the UK and around the world to meet with prospective students. We visit schools, attend education fairs and also hold Destination LSE events: pre-departure events for offer holders. Find details on LSE's upcoming visits

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