PhD FAQ

MPhil / PhD Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

NOTICE: The School is aware that some email software is filtering LSE emails to the spam/junk or ‘Deleted Items/Bin’ folder. Accordingly, we recommend that you do two things:

- Please make sure to check these folders for emails from LSE. 

- If you do find any of our emails in any of these folders. Please make sure to add the domain @lse.ac.uk to your ‘Safe Senders’ or ‘Never Block’ list.

It is essential that you do this, as admissions and scholarships-related deadlines cannot be moved.

Admissions process and funding announcements (September 2021 and January 2022 entry)

The funding process - 2021/22 announcements

1 May

Admissions
The department’s MPhil/PhD programmes remain open for applications. However, as the department’s scholarships process is now complete, if you apply now, you will be considered for admission only, and not for scholarships.

Scholarships

The department has notified all successful applicants (i.e. those who are to receive an offer, a reserve listing, or a nomination) in relation to all of its scholarships offers.

Accordingly, if you have not already been contacted, you have not been successful in acquiring funding for September 2021/22 entry to the Department of Geography and Environment.

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes all scholarships, including ESRC 1+3 scholarships.

As noted above, we are aware that some emails from ‘@lse.ac.uk’ accounts are being filtered into spam/junk folders. Accordingly, please check your spam/junk/clutter folders to ensure that you have not missed an email the School. We also advise that all applicants add ‘@lse.ac.uk’ to the ‘safe senders’ list (or equivalent) for the email account they used to register with the LSE’s graduate applications system.

Given the above, candidates are also welcome to contact geog.phd@lse.ac.uk to ask for definitive confirmation.

For information on your options if you have not been offered funding, please see below under the following headings.

If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will I be allowed to register?
If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will I be allowed to register and apply for funding as a continuing student?
If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will the department help me to find funding elsewhere?

PhD programmes coordinator office-hours for offer-holders

PhD programmes coordinator office-hours for offer-holders

The department’s PhD programmes coordinator runs office-hours for PhD programmes offer-holders every month from January onwards. These sessions are provided to allow offer-holders to ask questions about the department’s admissions and scholarships processes, and the department’s PhD programmes more generally. Sessions are currently scheduled for the following dates and (UK) times.

  • Thursday 28 January, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30
  • Thursday 25 February, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30
  • Thursday 25 March, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30
  • Thursday 29 April, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30
  • Thursday 29 July, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30
  • Thursday 26 August, 09:30-10.00 and 16:00-16:30

NB:

  • There is no need to tell us in advance if you plan to attend one of these sessions. Please simply click on the link (emailed to all offer holders from geog.phd@lse.ac.uk as part of their offer-documentation) and join the call at the advertised time.
  • These dates and times may change to account for staff-absence. Where changes occur, the schedule above will be updated in advance.

These office hours are offered on an individual basis, for offer-holders only. Callers will be admitted to the room individually, and admitted in the order in which they joined the ‘caller-queue’.

 

The scholarships/funding process

How does the scholarships/funding process work in the Department of Geography and Environment?

Decisions about School-administered funding opportunities are made at the departmental level by the Department of Geography and Environment (G&E) Research Degrees Funding Panel (‘the department panel’). The department panel is composed of the department’s five programme directors, plus the G&E Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Almost all scholarships are now awarded directly by the department panel. The only exceptions are as follows:

- The School’s Analysing and Challenging Inequalities scholarships, which are awarded on the basis of nominations by departments to a bespoke panel associated with the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute.

- Scholarships awarded by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment are awarded by the Grantham Research Institute’s scholarships committee, on the basis of recommendations from departments.

As competition for admission is intense, and competition for scholarships is even more intense, the department cannot provide School-administered funding to all offer-holders. Accordingly, all applicants are required actively to explore all potential sources of funding at all stages in their application, including before and during the LSE’s funding consideration process.

What is an ESRC 1+3 scholarship, and how can I apply for one? Is it the same as an MRes/PhD programme?

Information about how to apply for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship can be found here.

ESRC 1+3 scholarships are a funding stream which supports students in undertaking an MSc, followed by an MPhil/PhD programme. It is important to understand that ESRC 1+3 scholarships are not a combined programme, and are not an MRes/PhD programme. (The Department of Geography and Environment does not offer MRes/PhD programmes.) 1+3 scholarships are solely a funding stream, offered only by the ESRC. It is therefore only possible to apply for admission on the '1+3' mechanism via the ESRC 1+3 scholarships process, and it is not possible to apply for 1+3 admission on a self-funded basis.

NB:

- Admissions and scholarships processes in the Department of Geography and Environment are entirely separate. This means that you will only be considered for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship if you are offered a place to study with the department on one of our MSc programmes first.

- If you are being considered for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship, you will be interviewed. If you are not interviewed, you are not being considered for a 1+3 scholarship.

- If you are offered admission to on one of our MSc programmes, but are not offered ESRC 1+3 funding, your admissions offer will still be valid.

- If you accept your offer of a place to study on one of our MSc programmes without securing ESRC 1+3 funding, you will be able to apply for admission to one of our PhD programmes while studying.

- Guidance about research proposals for ESRC 1+3 applicants can be found below, under ‘What guidance does the department provide on research proposals?’.

- There is no 'LSE scholarships' version of the 1+3 funding stream.

How competitive is the scholarships/funding process?

The LSE doesn’t publish School-wide information on funding-application success rates. However, over the past two years (September 2019 and September 2020 entry) the Department of Geography and Environment received nearly 500 applications for doctoral study. Of those, only 26 (just over 5%) were subsequently admitted to our PhD programmes with a scholarship.

We don’t say this to discourage anyone from applying. Rather, this is intended to encourage applicants to be realistic about their chances of securing School-administered funding, and to actively pursue all potential sources of funding at all stages of the admissions process.

If I'm offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will I be allowed to register?

Yes.

The admissions and scholarships processes are entirely separate at LSE. Admissions decisions are therefore made before, and separate from, scholarships decisions. However, the department strongly recommends that offer-holders only register to begin their studies with us if they have a robust finance-plan covering all four years of study in place at the point at which they register.

‘If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will I be allowed to register and apply for funding as a continuing student?

You will be allowed to register, but you will not be allowed to apply for funding as a continuing student.

Certain subject-specific, externally funded, School-administered scholarships require the department to consider applications from continuing students. However, the department will only consider continuing students if no suitable candidates are discovered via the admissions process. Very few of these scholarships exist. Where they exist, they are generally only awarded once every four years. To date, the department has also never awarded a scholarship to a continuing student. Accordingly, we discourage applicants in the strongest possible terms from registering in the hopes of securing funding from the School as a continuing student.

NB: This answer applies solely to MPhil/PhD admissions offer holders. Information on this question for MSc applicants who were unsuccessful in securing ESRC 1+3 funding can be found under ‘What is an ESRC 1+3 scholarship, and how can I apply for one? Is it the same as an MRes/PhD programme?’.

Will the department accept admissions applications from those who have already secured external funding?

Yes, of course!

If you have already secured external funding, please state this in your application. If you secure external funding after your application is submitted, please notify geog.phd@lse.ac.uk as soon as possible.

If I’m offered a place on a PhD programme, but I’m not awarded funding by the School, will the department help me to find funding elsewhere?

In general, it is offer-holders’ own responsibility to seek out funding to support your studies. Consequently, the department is not able to seek out funding from external sources on offer holders’ behalf. However, if you do find a funding opportunity that you would like to apply for, if you have already been offered a place to study on one of our programmes, your prospective supervisors will generally be willing to consider supporting your application. If you would like to ask for support in making an application, please contact your prospective supervisors directly.

Beyond the School administered scholarships mentioned at the top of this page, the following organisations have previously supported our students.

-       The Anandamahidol Foundation

-       The Arts Promotion Centre Finland

-       The Brazilian Government

-       The Centre for European Policy Studies

-       The China Scholarship Council

-       The Commonwealth (Commonwealth Scholarships scheme, funded by the UK Department for International Development)

-       CONACYT (Government of Mexico scholarships)

-       The Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education

-       The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee

-       The Peruvian Ministry of Education

-       The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology

You may also wish to check the following webpages for funding opportunities.

-       The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

-       FindaPhD – funding page

NB: In general, the department will only support applications to third-party funding bodies if applicants have already been offered a place to study on one of the department’s MPhil/PhD programmes. Accordingly, if you are planning to apply to a third party-funding body, please first apply to the department. As the department’s admissions processes will usually take no less than one month from the point at which you submit your application to the School, and can take six weeks or longer during periods of peak business, please make sure that you apply for a place to study with us in plenty of time to accommodate any external funding body deadlines. 

Do I need to submit a separate application in order to be considered for School-administered scholarships/funding?

You do not need to apply separately for School administered funding opportunities unless specifically stated on this page under ‘Scholarships - what’s available?’. All applicants are considered for all School-administered funding opportunities for which they are eligible, and which are available at the point at which they apply.

Do I need to submit my financial undertaking form in order to be considered for a scholarship?

No. This is not necessary. 

 

Scholarships, what's available?

LSE PhD scholarships and ESRC +3 studentships

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Allocation method: Department panel direct allocation.

Number of scholarships awarded for 2020/21 entry (indicative information): x6

Number of scholarships available for 2021/22 entry: x6

Further information: Further information: LSE PhD Scholarships and ESRC studentships

NB: For these scholarships, the department makes awards and reserve nominations. Offers will generally be made by the LSE’s Financial Support Office, on the department panel’s behalf. If award offers are declined, they are re-offered to reserve candidates. The department does not rank its reserve candidates, as these decisions are affected by a number of factors, with an overarching focus on ensuring that each of the department's PhD programmes is able to recruit at least one School-funded student. In addition, as other scholarships decisions are made elsewhere in the School and by external funding bodies at a variety of different points in the year, we cannot guarantee that any declined LSE PhD schoalrships or ESRC studentships will be immediately re-offered.

LSE PhD Scholarships on 'Analysing and Challenging Inequalities'

Programme eligibility: Any G&E MPhil/PhD programme.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2020

Allocation method: The International Inequalities Institute (III) permits departments to make nominations to its scholarships panel ('the III panel') for ACI scholarships in two rounds. Though the department is not guaranteed to receive any ACI scholarships, it has a strong track record of securing these.

Nominations permitted for 2020/21 entry: x2

Awards made for 2020/21 entry: x1

Nominations permitted for 2021/22 entry: to be confirmed

Further information: Analysing and Challenging Inequalities

NB: If you would like to apply for this funding stream, please reference in your application how your research will fit into the themes of this funding, as set out in the further information page linked to above.

ACI 1st round: 1st round nominations are made in February, with decisions made by the III panel in March, and results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in April. Alongside awards, the ACI panel lists a school-wide 1st round reserve ranking. This means that if any ACI scholarship offers are declined before the 2nd nomination round begins, they are re-offered to the next-ranked reserve candidate in the School-wide reserve list.

ACI 2nd round: 2nd round nominations are made in May, with results announced by the School's Financial Support Office in June. 

It is also vital for applicants to understand the application deadline for those who would like to be considered for ACI scholarships at any point in the funding process is 17 December. Those who apply after 17 December are not eligible for consideration in the 2nd ESRC nomination round.

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Scholarships

Programme eligibility: The MPhil/PhD in Environmental Economics and the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Allocation method: The doctoral programme directors for the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Economics and the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development are invited to discuss eligible candidates from G&E's applicant pool with the GRI's scholarships panel. Though the department is not guaranteed to receive any GRI scholarships, it usually receives at least one each year, and often two.

Further information: GRI funding. Decisions about GRI funding are generally made by the GRI scholarship panel at the end of February/beginning of March.

Please also remember that the application deadline for those who would like to be considered for GRI scholarships via G&E is 17 December. Those who apply after 17 December are not eligible for consideration in the 2nd ACI nomination round.

The Warnford scholarship

Programme eligibility: The MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography.

Application deadline: 17 December 2020

Department release deadline: 4 January 2021

Number of scholarships available for 2021/22 entry: x1

Allocation method: Direct allocation by a specially convened sub-panel of the department panel.

Further information: The Warnford Scholarship is allocated once every four years, for a period of up to four years. Applications for this scholarship are invited from those working in the field of real estate economics. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the department's Economic Geography cluster page to understand the department's specific research interests in this area, and check the department's 'Our people' page to understand our faculty's real estate related research interests.


Applying – how, when, and what to submit

I’ve noticed there are three deadlines – one in December, one in January, and one in May. When should I apply?

To be considered for a direct-entry MPhil/PhD scholarship, you must submit your application by 17 December 2020. If you apply for direct entry after 17 December 2020, you will be considered for admissions only. If you are an MSc applicant seeking ESRC 1+3 funding, you must submit your application by no later than 14 January 2021.

Which documents do I need to submit in order to apply?

Information on this can be found at the following School webpage

Do I need to submit a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) with my application?

No. However, if these reflect positively on your quality as an applicant, you may wish to consider submitting these.

I’m applying to more than one PhD programme. Should I submit different application documents for each programme?

For guidance on what to do in this situation, please see here.


Does the order in which I rank my programme choices matter?

Yes, this has two important consequences.

(i) Admissions applications are considered in series at the LSE, not in parallel. This means your application will initially be released only to the selector for your first-choice programme. It will only be released to the selector for your second-choice programme if you are rejected for your 1st choice programme, after the rejection decision is made. As some departments take quite some time to make admissions decisions, we regularly receive second-choice applications after the point at which we can consider them for School-administered funding opportunities. This is why we can only guarantee to consider your application for School-administered funding opportunities if you submit it by 17 December 2020, and list a Department of Geography and Environment programme as your first-choice.

(ii) In the past admissions two years (i.e. September 2019 and September 2020), first-choice applications were over seven times more likely to receive an admissions offer from the department than second-choice applications. During the same period, all of our funding offers went to applicants who listed one of our programmes as their first choice. This does not mean that we discourage applicants from listing our programmes as their second choice. We do make offers to students who list our programmes as their second choice. However, this does reflect the fact that we only have a finite capacity to admit new students each year, and first-choice applications tend to be much more adeptly tailored to our faculty’s research interests than second-choice applications. Accordingly, we recommend that you only list one of our programmes as your second-choice if you genuinely believe that your proposed research would represent a good fit with that programme. We recommend that you do not list any of our programmes as your second-choice solely as an ‘insurance policy’.

 

Applying – what happens to my application after I press ‘submit’?

Receipt of application by the School’s admissions service

During this phase, the School’s central admissions service conducts basic checks to ensure that you have included all of the required documents with your application.

NB: the department will not receive your application until you have supplied all of the required documents and the School has received your references. Accordingly, once you have submitted your application, it is important that you do everything you can to ensure that your referees respond to our reference requests promptly.

It is also important for applicants to understand that applications are considered in series at the LSE, not in parallel. This means that second-choice programme applications are only released the relevant selectors if their 1st choice programme rejects their application, after that decision has been made. To understand the implication of this, please see above, in the section entitled ‘Does the order in which I rank my programme choices matter?’.

Receipt and consideration of documents by the department

Once the department receives your application, relevant academic staff who may be interested in supervising your research will consider your application. Your application will be considered in relation to the following broad criteria:

a. Do your qualifications and experience meet the expected standard?
b. Does your research proposal have the potential to produce research of a sufficiently high calibre?
c. Do your research interests align with those of the department/prospective supervisors?*
d. Will the department be able to accommodate you?

* It is particularly important that applicants understand how important it is for their research interests to fit with those of the department. The reasons for this are as follows.

-       Our programmes tend to have distinctive methodological focuses, described on their respective prospectus pages. This means that if, for example, you submit a physical geographic research proposal, we will not be able to supervise you as we specialise in human geographic research. Similarly, if you research proposal is inconsistent with the methodological focus of your chosen programme, you are unlikely to be successful.

-       Our faculty’s research and teaching commitments, and the School’s rules, mean that they can only commit to supervising a limited number of research students at any given time. This means that they are likely to favour applications whose proposed research is most interesting to them, and which they feel most competent to supervise.

If our faculty consider that your application meets all criteria set out above, they will recommend to the programme director that you be interviewed. If your application does not meet all of the above criteria, your application will be rejected.

Interview 

Interview invitations are sent directly by the faculty members who will be conducting your interview. If you are invited to interview, this means that the department is strongly considering you as a potential candidate for doctoral study. All potential students are interviewed, regardless of any previous association with potential supervisors, the department, or the LSE. Interviews will generally be conducted remotely, by telephone or VOIP. Interviews will generally last 20-30 minutes, but may last longer than this. Interviews are not recorded, but your interviewers are required to record their assessment of your interview using a departmental interview record form. All interviews will conform to the expectations described here.

NB: the interview process is not supposed to be intimidating. Interviews are supposed to be rigorous and challenging. However, your interviewers will not be trying to catch you out or trip you up! Rather, this is an opportunity for you to discuss your motivation for doctoral study, your academic and professional background, and your research proposal with your interviewers. This is also be a chance for you to ask questions about the next stages of the application process, the particular MPhil/PhD programme to which you have applied, and the demands of doctoral study more generally.

Post-interview consideration of application and offer-decision

After your interview has been completed, your interviewers will make a recommendation to the relevant programme director about whether you should be offered you a place to study with the department. This recommendation is taken very seriously, but the final offer/reject decision rests with the programme director, not your interviewers. If the department decides to offer you a study-place, the admissions service will produce and send formal offer documentation to you. If your application is unsuccessful, your will be informed of the outcome by the graduate admissions service. All candidates who are offered a place to study with the department are also considered for all funding opportunities offered by the School for which they are eligible, as described above, in the section entitled ‘How does the scholarships/funding process work in the Department of Geography and Environment?’

 

 

Applying – entry standards

Where can I find information about entry requirements? What should I do if I don’t quite meet the required entry standards?

The entry requirements for each programme are listed on the prospectus page for each programme. You can find these by clicking here, and then clicking through to the programme that interests you. In general, the minimum entry requirement is a merit overall in a relevant masters degree programme with a 65%+ average, as well as a 70%+ distinction in the same degree programme.

- You’re not required to meet the 65%+ average with a 70%+ dissertation results requirement with your most recent masters-level degree. It is possible to satisfy this requirement with a previous degree’s results.

- As the LSE is a world leading social sciences institution, in general, only candidates with a strong social sciences background are encouraged to apply.

- As admission to the department’s PhD programmes is extremely competitive, meeting the minimum entry requirement for our programmes does not guarantee acceptance.

Can I apply if I’m not from a ‘traditional’ background?

Yes! The admissions process considers all applications holistically. This means that you’re welcome to apply if your academic qualifications don’t quite meet the stated entry requirements, or if you’re from a professional background and feel you can meet the entry requirements via relevant professional experience.

In particular, we are also very keen to engender diversity in our PhD cohorts. Accordingly, we do not require you to have attended a world-leading academic institution in order to apply to study with us at the doctoral level. (This is because admission to many world leading academic institutions at the undergraduate level depends significantly on pre-existing forms of privilege that have nothing to do with applicants’ actual abilities.) This does not mean that we are un-interested in your academic history and performance. Rather, this means that we will assess your academic background in context, in light of the comprehensive guidance (covering education systems and highly regarded institutions in almost every country in the world) provided by the LSE’s graduate admissions service to our selectors, as well as any other information that you provide to us via your application.

Where the admissions standards for qualifications state ‘taught master’s degree (or equivalent)’, what does this mean?

This means that your previous qualifications and/or professional experience are of a comparable standard and syllabus to a taught master’s degree featuring an independent research component. 

What level of English language proficiency do I need to demonstrate in order to be eligible to study with the department?

Information on the LSE’s English language requirements can be found here.

NB: The department has no role in administering the language requirements system. If you have questions about the language requirements, please contact graduate admissions.

 

Applying – research proposals and other supporting documents

Will you consider my application without a research proposal?

No. 

Will you recommend a research topic to me?

No. 

Does the department provide example research proposals?

No. When producing your research proposal, you should follow the School’s guidance for production of application documents.

What guidance does the department provide on research proposals?

The School provides detailed guidance about research proposals here. This guidance covers all applicants, including MSc applicants seeking ESRC 1+3 funding. Applicants are required to follow the word limits set out on the School-level guidance page, and the department does not require applicants to address specific topics. This general guide is also strongly recommended reading.

In general, your research proposal should be an indication of your research interests, how you developed them, and how you intend to pursue them. We recognise that your research interests will continue to develop while you complete our taught courses. Accordingly, if you are offered admission to one of our programmes, your research proposal will be considered a ‘living document’ throughout your time with the department, and not a fully binding commitment. Expectations for ESRC 1+3 applicants are exactly the same, except that your application will be considered in light of the fact that you are earlier in your developmental trajectory than a direct entry applicant.

How can I find out whether my research interests are similar to the department’s?

Information on the department’s research interests can be found on the department’s research page.

How do your MPhil/PhD programmes fit within the department’s research themes?

As a research unit, the department is split into three clusters. Each of our MPhil/PhD programmes is associated with one of our research clusters.

Economic Geography research cluster
- MPhil/PhD Economic Geography

Environmental Economics and Policy research cluster
- MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics
- MPhil/PhD Environmental Policy and Development

Urbanisation, Policy and Development (UPD)
- MPhil/PhD Human Geography and Urban Studies
- MPhil/PhD Regional and Urban Planning Studies.

For each programme, the department appoints a doctoral programme director (DPD). Doctoral programme directors are responsible for their individual programme, and also meet together to discuss matters which affect all of the department’s PhD students. As the Department of Geography and Environment is slightly unusual in having five MPhil/PhD programmes, to ensure coherency, consistency and cohesion, the department also appoints a director of postgraduate studies, who operates in an oversight capacity in relation to the department’s doctoral research programmes as a whole.

 

Applying – contacting faculty

Can I contact members of the department to discuss my research before submitting my application?

 Yes. However, when contacting our faculty, please remember that as they are world-leading academics they tend to be very busy, and receive many requests for support. Consequently, we can’t promise that our faculty will respond to your emails.

Can I ask a faculty-member to recommend a research topic for me?

As doctoral degrees are a demanding and long-term commitment, we think it’s best that our applicants’ decisions about what they want to study are based on their own commitment to and interest in a particular research topic. Accordingly, we ask that you don’t do this.

Do I need to work on my proposal with a faculty-member before applying?

No. As with any piece of academic work, feedback helps. However, in procedural terms, it’s not necessary to work on your proposal with a faculty member before applying. We value the diversity of our applicant cohort, and don’t want to restrict this by requiring that you work with a faculty-member before applying, or secure their support in advance.

Do I need to get a faculty member to agree to supervise my PhD before I submit my application?

No. As we welcome applications from prospective students without a prior connection to the department, we do not require this.

Can I ask faculty or the department’s professional support staff to circulate my research proposal and/or CV to faculty who might be interested in supervising me?

We ask that you don’t do this, as considering applications is the purpose of the admissions process, and it is not procedurally necessary to secure support form a faculty member before applying.

Should I tailor the content of my email to the faculty member that I’m writing to, or is it okay to send a generic email to lots of the department’s faculty members?

You should always tailor the content of your email to the intended recipient. You’re much more likely to receive a response if your email specifically says why you think the person you’re contacting should be interested in supervising your project, and why your proposed research would fit within the department’s research environment. Accordingly, before emailing anyone, we recommend that you look through our faculty’s departmental profile pages, and look through the department’s research information pages.

How long should I wait before chasing a faculty member for a response?

We recommend waiting at least a full working week, and preferably two.

Is it okay to chase a faculty member for a response more than once?

We recommend that you do not do this. 

What does it mean if I email a faculty member and receive a response from geog.phd@lse.ac.uk?

This means that the faculty member you emailed has asked the PhD Programmes Coordinator to respond on their behalf. There are many reasons why a member of faculty might do this, so this shouldn’t dishearten you or stop you from applying to study with us. However, it does mean that our faculty member has chosen not to respond to you. As such, we recommend that you don’t chase faculty members for a response if this happens.

How should I address faculty when I write to them (i.e. should I call them Professor, or Doctor, or by their first name?)

There are no hard and fast rules about this, but we have provided some guidance below.

When you first write to a member of our faculty, you should always address them by their title, i.e 'Dear Professor [Surname]'. You can find our faculty's titles by looking at their personal webpages. If the faculty member you want to reach out to is described as 'Professor of [subject area]', you should address them as 'Professor [Surname].' If their webpage describes them as an 'Associate Professor' or an 'Assistant Professor', you should refer to them as 'Doctor [Surname]'.

If one of our faculty write back to you, please pay attention to how they sign their name. If they sign their email as 'Professor [Surname]' or ‘Doctor [Surname]’, you should continue to address them in that way. If they sign off their email with their first name, then it's probably okay to address them in your next email as 'Dear [first name]' 

Please remember that the above are not hard and fast rules, and you should always pay attention to the tone of our faculty's emails.

 

Applying – other common questions

Will my financial status play any role in the selection process?

No. Admissions decisions are based on academic merit alone, without any reference to an applicant’s financial situation. Applicants who are able to fund themselves or succeed in securing a scholarship or sponsorship from any source will be considered for entry to the programme in exactly the same way as applicants who have no funding in place. The same procedures and standards apply to all applicants competing for entry.

Can I apply to one of your MPhil/PhD programmes while I’m still studying for my masters/before my masters results are released?

Yes, as long as you will be able to prove official proof of your final degree results by the time you are required to register for the programme.

I can't afford to pay the administrative fee to apply. Can this be waived?

We understand that the fee is expensive for some of our applicants. Happily, a waiver process exists. To apply, click here.

NB: The waiver decision process is solely controlled by the graduate admission service, not the department. For questions about this process, please contact the graduate admissions service.

How can I get help with the application process?

Questions about the mechanics of the application process should be submitted to LSE’s central Graduate Admissions Office via the online enquiries system, which includes an option to submit a written enquiry, and not to the department.

Before contacting the admissions office, please check to see if the information you are looking for can be found on the LSE’s graduate study webpage and the School’s general admission enquiries page. You can also track your application and find out how to carry out the most common tasks online using the admissions service’s ‘How do I…’ page.

If I am unsuccessful, will the department provide feedback on my application?

Applications rejected without interview - in general, if an application is rejected after initial consideration, our academic staff will indicate briefly via the admissions system why it has been rejected. This information can be requested from the admissions service. The department cannot provide this to you.

Applications rejected after interview - you are free to enquire with those who interviewed you about their reasons for deciding not to offer you a place to study with the department, and you are welcome to ask the graduate admissions service for a copy of your interview record form. However, our academic staff are under no obligation to provide feedback.

 

Where can I find information about the Department of Geography and Environment’s MPhil/PhD and Visiting Research Student programmes?

This can be found here.

Please note: the Department of Geography and Environment is not responsible for the PhD in Cities. This programme is delivered by the LSE’s Department of Sociology. If you would like to ask questions about the PhD in Cities, please contact sociology.phd@lse.ac.uk.

How much does it cost to study with the department?

Information on fees can be found on the page relevant to each programme, which can be found here.

What is the maximum period of registration?

The maximum period of full-time registration is four years.

Are MPhil/PhD courses in the department offered part-time?

The department expects all students to undertake the taught phase of their MPhil/PhD studies full time, without exceptions.

The department will only consider applications to transfer to part-time study after students have completed the taught phase of their studies (usually the end of the 1st year) and will not make decisions in principle at the point of admission.

Do you offer distance learning or online PhDs?

At present, the School is offering considerable flexibility to currently registered students, to allow them to study remotely. However, this is a temporary measure. The department does not plan to offer distance learning/remote/online PhDs on a permanent basis.

Under normal circumstances, all students are required to be in regular attendance at the School so that they can attend courses, supervision meetings and other seminars as required by their programme. Periods of study away from the School can be undertaken, but require departmental and central approval. Applicants should make plans on this basis, expect to be required to study in London.

Will the department allow me to have supervisors from another department, or another university?

The department’s rules for supervision are as follows.

(i) Students must have two supervisors.

(ii) At least one supervisor must be either an Associate Professor or a full Professor employed by the Department of Geography and Environment. NB: Staff employed by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment do not count for the purposes of this rule.

(iii) Other supervisors can be from elsewhere within the School.

(iv) External supervision (i.e. supervision by faculty from outside the LSE) will normally only be permitted where suitable supervision cannot be found within the LSE. This is normally only permitted where a supervisor leaves the School mid-way through a student’s time with the department, and not at the point of admission. If your research proposal cannot be supervised within the School at the point at which you apply, you are highly unlikely to be offered a place to study with the department.

Please note – it is the department’s responsibility to ensure that each student receives appropriate supervision. Consequently, it is ultimately for the department to determine which supervisors should be allocated to each student. 

When will I be required to register? (What is EC400 and do I need to take it?)

Registration for Geography and Environment PhD programmes will take place during late September 2021.

The only exception to this rule is for students taking EC400, ‘Introductory Course in mathematics and Statistics’. EC400 is a pre-sessional course run by the Department of Economics, which is a pre-requisite for many graduate level courses run by the Department of Economics. If you opt to take EC400, or are required to take it, you will be required to register earlier. Early registration for EC400 usually takes place in the 2nd half of August.

EC400 is mandatory for students on the MPhil/PhD Environmental Economics, and optional for students on the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography.

Why will I have to take courses in the first year of my programme? Am I able to skip this stage and apply for direct entry to the PhD stage of the programme if I already have a masters in a relevant discipline?

The department does not allow students to skip the taught phase of their doctoral studies.

Our programmes aim to produce world class researchers in the field. In order for students to be able to undertake research at this level, the department believes that students must have a sufficient range of 'tools' to do so. It therefore requires that its students complete, and pass to the required standard, a range of courses in order to provide them with these tools and techniques that can be applied in their research. Bottom of Form

 

 

If your question is not answered on this page, please contact geog.phd@lse.ac.uk.