Before you apply (research degrees)

This page summarises the application steps and what you need to think about before applying for a research degree at LSHTM.

You can also find out about the doctoral experience, the fuller description of the different research degrees for MPhil/PhD and DrPH, and the programme specifications.

Additionally, Is a PhD right for me? is a free online course co-developed by LSHTM as part of the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange. The course topics include considering doctoral study, applying for doctoral study and life during doctoral study.

Admissions policies

Our admissions policies support the admission of students through procedures which are fair, transparent and applied consistently: 

You can also find out about equality, diversity and inclusion at LSHTM. 

What do you need to apply?

Below is a list of what you will need to apply:

  • Your full contact details
  • Your qualification details
  • Your employment details
  • Copy of passport (photo page) or EU national ID card
  • Your referees’ details (full names and email addresses)
  • Your personal statement
  • Research degree proposal (mandatory)
  • DrPH only - organisational and/or policy analysis outline (mandatory)
  • CV / resume
  • Academic transcripts
  • Degree certificates / relevant professional qualifications
  • Evidence of English language ability (if applicable)

Please note that your application will not be forwarded for faculty assessment until all documents and both reference forms have been received.

Application steps


There are four routes into doing a research degree at LSHTM:

Some of the doctoral training programmes have guidance telling you at what stage you should fill in the standard application to the LSHTM doctoral programme using the application portal.

For more details on these different routes, see the MPhil/PhD or DrPH pages.


In general the steps are:

  1. Check that you meet, or are expecting to meet, the general entry requirements
  2. Decide which research degree programme you want to apply for
  3. Clarify your research topic
  4. Identify a prospective supervisor (see below)
  5. Identify how your research degree will be funded
  6. Draft your research proposal outline (see below)
  7. DrPH only - draft your organisation or policy analysis outline (see below)
  8. Check the application deadlines (below) associated with your chosen programme
  9. Apply online using the LSHTM's application portal
  10. Await a decision - we aim to provide a decision on all complete research degree applications within 12 weeks. For the DrPH all applications are considered together after the deadline. A complete application constitutes all mandatory documents and two received references. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that everything is submitted, including the completed references, in order that their application is forwarded for review. 
Identifying a supervisor

You do not have to name a supervisor on your application, but it is more likely to be processed quickly if you already have one in mind and you have been in contact with them before you submit the formal application.

Ways to identify an appropriate supervisor

  1. Browse our faculty pages to find the research we do in your area of interest. Our research is multidisciplinary and it may be that your area of interest is represented in more than one faculty, so also visit our multidisciplinary centres.
  2. Use our people search to find potential supervisors by keyword, research areas or region. Not all academics are listed but it is a good place to start.
  3. Search our online research resources, LSHTM’s open access repository, including journal articles, theses and videos. If you identify a research paper that particularly interests you, it is likely that one of the authors would be a suitable research supervisor.

If you have managed to identify a potential supervisor, contact them directly to discuss your proposed research and to establish whether they have the capacity to take on a new research student. If not, they might be able to recommend alternative people.

Tips on making contact with a potential supervisor

Make your email short and to the point, with a short paragraph about yourself and your research interest and how it matches with their own expertise. Many supervisors receive a large number of email enquiries from prospective candidates, so it is essential that you provide a clear outline of your proposed topic, as broad suggestions will be less engaging. Attach a concise CV summarising your relevant academic achievements and research experience.

Please be patient whilst awaiting a response and avoid contacting several people at the same time as this will cause confusion.

You can contact staff from at all levels from research fellow up to professor. If your first supervisor is less experienced they will be supported by a more experienced supervisor, so you will be well supported either way.

If you are unable to identify a supervisor

If you are unable to identify a supervisor, or do not get a response from the people you have contacted, please get in touch with either the relevant department research degrees coordinators, or the faculty research degrees managers for further guidance. To find the right people to contact, go to the faculty pages, then click on the departments listed down the side.

For the DrPH, you can contact the programme administrator or the programme director.

You can apply without naming a supervisor but your application is more likely to be processed quickly if you have already identified someone and been in contact with them before the formal application.

The research proposal

Unless applying for a studentship with a project that has already been defined, applicants are expected to submit a research proposal with their application.

Once you have a clear research topic, outline your proposal in a few paragraphs. This should include:

  • Research/topic area
  • Specific research question(s)
  • Study design
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Approximate research costs and planned funding source

Please be aware that the research proposal submitted with your application does not have to be the final research project. If you are made an offer of admission and complete registration at LSHTM, you will have the opportunity to refine your project through discussions with your supervisors. The main purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate that you have the necessary critical thinking skills, an understanding of the relevant research area and an appreciation of the demands of a research degree.

The organisational and/or policy analysis outline (OPA, Research Study I, DrPH only)

DrPH applicants need to provide an outline of how they intend to undertake their OPA project (topic for the OPA, type of organisation to target). The OPA project can be conducted in any institution that is engaged in public health practice or has a public health mandate. While many students have a clear idea about where they intend to carry out their OPA project, it is not mandatory to identify a specific host organisation before starting the degree programme at LSHTM. The recommended length for the OPA outline is 500 words.

Application deadlines

Applications for MPhil/PhD research degrees are considered throughout the year. However, there are only three fixed entry points when candidates are permitted to register. These entry points are on the first day of each academic term.

  • April 2024 entry: apply by 21 January 2024 (by 23:59) for all students
  • September 2024 entry: apply by 26 May 2024 (by 23:59) for all students
  • January 2025 entry: apply by 1 October 2024 (by 23:59) for all students
  • April 2025 entry: apply by 21 January 2025 (by 23:59) for all students

Applications for the DrPH programme are considered throughout the year. However, there is only one fixed entry point which is at the start of the autumn term.

  • September 2024 entry: apply by 31 January 2024 (by 23:59) for all students

What do the cut-off dates mean?

If you submit a complete application by a cut-off date, we will start to process this for the next entry point (unless you have specified a later start date). However, it is not guaranteed that if you are made an offer it will be for the next entry point. If an offer cannot be made in time for the next entry point, your application can be considered for the subsequent entry point. If starting at a particular time is important to you, you are encouraged to apply well in advance.

Please note that your application will not be forwarded for faculty assessment until all documents and both reference forms have been received.

If you are applying for non-LSHTM funding, please submit your application to LSHTM for your desired entry point regardless of whether you have received a decision about your funding, as late applications will be processed for the next entry. You can defer a place that is offered to you to the next entry point if you are awaiting a funding decision.

Deadline for responding to your offer

Applicants are required to respond to their offer of admissions within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined.

Please note that if you require a visa you will be given instructions on how to apply for it once you have your formal offer letter.