The Department of Social Policy
The social policy group within LSE is one of the largest in the UK, with an international reputation for excellence. Its work has earned it the top ranking of all UK institutions submitting research to the social policy unit of assessment in the Research Assessment Exercise 2008. It is able to a offer supervision in a very wide range of specialist topics, and, with its various research centres and over 80 current research students, provides a vibrant and exciting research community.
Areas of specialisation within the department are:
Analysis of poverty and social exclusion; Welfare Rights and Redress; Area deprivation; Housing and urban design; European social policy and comparative social policy; Global social policy; Social policy in developing countries; Civil society and non governmental organizations; Education policy; Crime and Criminal Justice; Employment issues and work; Health policy in the UK, Europe and internationally; Health Economics; Social security, pensions and welfare reform; Gender and social policy; Ethnicity and Social Policy; Social services for children and families, risk management, evaluation, complaints and user perspectives; Discourses of welfare; Youth policy; Family change and its consequences; Demography, reproductive health, international population trends, changing population structures and their implications for social policy.
MPhil/PhD Social Policy
All students register initially for the MPhil programme which is a substantial and valid qualification in its own right. During their first year, (MPhil) students meet their supervisor(s) to refine their individual research topic and question. The research degree is intended to provide a training in research methods so students attend courses to improve their knowledge and research skills. They attend the Research Students Seminar course (SA550) led by the Doctoral Programme Directors, are normally required to attend seminars provided by the Methodology Institute on research methods, and are also encouraged to attend other graduate seminars relevant to the subject of their research.
At the end of the first year, students undertake a major review of their research. A PhD registration is a significant step and the Department needs to be sure, before students transfer to a PhD, that they have a research topic and methodology that will meet that standard. Students prepare a 10,000 word document of work which should be of a standard expected for a chapter of the final thesis. This submission forms the basis for a discussion with a panel consisting of two members of the Department. If successful, students are transferred to the PhD programme, and at this point their registration is backdated to the date of their initial registration.
In subsequent years, students continue their research under the guidance of their supervisors and are encouraged to present their ongoing work from time to time, which might include seminar presentations and conference papers. Each year students are asked to write reports on their progress for their supervisors, the Department and the School. Continued registration depends on satisfactory progress.
The thesis for the PhD degree of no more than 100,000 words is expected after three or at most four years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study. A three+ paper format is acceptable for topics that fall within economics, demography or cognate disciplines.
Visiting Research Student programme
The Visiting Research Student programme is for those who do not wish to proceed to a higher degree, but want to pursue their own research with a supervisor who can support them in this research. Visiting research students can also be research and doctoral students registered at overseas universities wishing to undertake some aspect of their research in the UK.
Please refer to the Visiting Research Programme web page.
ESRC Studentships (1+3 and +3)
The 1+3 scheme provides funding for a one year research training Masters linked to a three year PhD and is designed for students who have not already completed an ESRC-recognised programme of research training.
LSE has been awarded ESRC Doctoral Training Centre status and offers a total of 36 studentships a year spread across disciplines. The following programmes are eligible for funding within the Department of Social Policy:
Transfer from the one-year MSc programme to the three-year MPhil/PhD programme is dependent on obtaining high marks in the Masters.
Information about ESRC funding and how to apply is available via the LSE's Financial Support Office.
The Department welcomes applications from students who have, or expect to obtain, a good master's degree, together with an upper second or first class honours degree from a UK university or its equivalent abroad. Applicants will normally need master's degree marks equivalent to an LSE high merit grade, with an overall average of 65% in their MSc (or equivalent) and 65% in their dissertation (or equivalent); any conditional offer for a place on the MPhil/PhD programme will be subject to obtaining such marks.
Part-time registration is available to students who need to spread their studies over a longer period because of outside commitments, and can provide documentary evidence of their need.
Please refer to the Graduate Prospectus for full information on programmes, courses and entry requirements. For information on fees please refer to the Table of fees. Please note that fees are paid in each year (academic session) for which you are registered, and normally rise in each year. They do not stay the same as the year in which you started.
If potential applicants are interested in establishing whether the Department currently has staff working in the proposed area of research, they will find details of the research interests of all staff within the LSE Experts Directory or on the Department's Who's Who webpages.
Potential applicants for the MPhil/PhD Social Policy are not expected to contact potential supervisors in advance of their application. Identifying supervisors is part of the selection process. Due to the high volume of enquiries, potential supervisors are unlikely to be able to provide feedback on enquiries and outline proposals. Applicants should submit formal applications with research proposals that fully cover the elements required.
Potential applicants for the MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies, should contact the supervisor s/he is interested in working with including a CV and a brief description of research interests or research proposal. If research interests are a suitable match to those of population cluster members, the potential applicant will then be asked to submit an application. For a list of possible supervisors please refer to Population at LSE.
For MPhil/PhD and Visiting Research Student programmes
Applications should include a written proposal of no more than 2500 words, which gives details of the proposed research question(s), the relevant literature and previous research in the field, planned research methods and theoretical/conceptual framework to be adopted. This will enable the Department to make an informed decision about the proposal and, equally important, to establish if there are appropriate supervisors for the planned research. Two supervisors are normally identified at this stage.
For entry from 2012 onwards, the Department will interview all shortlisted applicants before any offer of a place on the programmes is made (unless the applicant is already well-known to the Department).
Applications are normally only considered for a Michaelmas Term start, i.e. to start at the beginning of the academic year in September/October.
For the ESRC 1+3 programme
If you wish to be considered for a 1+3 programme, you must include an outline research proposal of 1500 words with your application for the relevant MSc. 1+3 candidates for the MPhil/PhD Social Policy programme should apply for the MSc Social Policy (Research). 1+3 candidates for the MPhil/PhD Demography/Population Studies programme should apply for the MSc Social Research Methods (Population).
Applicants wishing to be considered for ESRC funding should ensure they have submitted a complete application for admission, including transcripts and references, by 11 January 2013.
Please refer to LSE's Financial Support Office ESRC Funding web page for guidance.
LSE's Financial Support Office administers a variety of scholarships and award schemes for which different deadlines apply:
All enquiries should be addressed to the Programme Administrator.
Acting Programme Administrator:
Sarah Helias: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doctoral Programme Director:
Professor Anne West