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MPhil and PhD - Research Degrees

Overview

The MPhil and PhD are aimed at students who anticipate a career in which research plays a major role and who want to focus on an independent piece of research.

Overview
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The School provides a stimulating environment with state-of-the-art facilities in which to carry out research training in three academic faculties: Epidemiology and Population Health, Infectious and Tropical Diseases and Public Health and Policy.

The British MPhil and PhD research degrees involve the presentation of a thesis on a research topic in a field appropriate to the student's or sponsor's needs and the School's research expertise. All students initially register for an MPhil. Although some students choose to take an MPhil only (2 year programme), most go on to a PhD (3-4 year programme). An option for students without previous academic training in their discipline of interest is to undertake an appropriate MSc as a first step before registering for a PhD.

Each student is assigned to a supervisor, under whose guidance they develop the intellectual and technical skills required for a research career. Although the earlier stages of the degree may include some coursework or formal training in research methodology, such work is normally regarded as establishing the necessary grounding for research study, rather than as an integral part of an MPhil/PhD degree. In this respect the British system differs from that at most North American and other European universities, where coursework is regarded as part of the degree and is included in the formal examination process. In particular, in the UK the degree is awarded only on the basis of the work described in the thesis.

LSHTM Research

The School’s wide-ranging research programmes examine ways of improving and promoting health and health services and investigate the aetiology, diagnosis and prevention or control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Basic laboratory research aims to improve understanding of the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, and more applied work investigates diagnostic methods and therapeutic intervention. Research covers a wide range of topics and areas; these can be found by looking at the Department pages below.  

The work of the School is multidisciplinary and therefore much of its research crosses disciplines, departments and faculties. This is enhanced by interfaculty centres and groups that focus on specific issues.   Many research programmes are carried out in collaboration with institutions outside the UK. Such collaborative work enhances the quality of the training experience and is one of the unique aspects of training at the School.

Registration for MPhil and PhD programmes takes place at three points in the academic year only, on the first day of each term. The entry points are normally in September, January and April. 

Structure
MPhil/PhD Structure
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The MPhil and PhD are aimed at students who anticipate a career in which research plays a major role and who want to focus on an independent piece of research.

The British MPhil and PhD research degrees involve the presentation of a thesis on a research topic in a field appropriate to the student's or sponsor's needs and the School's research expertise. All students initially register for an MPhil. Although some students choose to take an MPhil only (2 year programme), most go on to a PhD (3-4 year programme). An option for students without previous academic training in their discipline of interest is to undertake an appropriate MSc as a first step before registering for a PhD.

Each student has a supervisory team, under whose guidance they develop the intellectual and technical skills required for a research career. Although the earlier stages of the degree may include some coursework or formal training in research methodology, such work is normally regarded as establishing the necessary grounding for research study, rather than as an integral part of an MPhil/PhD degree. In this respect the British system differs from that at most North American and other European universities, where coursework is regarded as part of the degree and is included in the formal examination process. In particular, in the UK the degree is awarded only on the basis of the work described in the thesis.

Students are normally expected to submit their thesis within 3 years of full-time study or 6 years part-time. The maximum period of registration permitted is 4 years full-time or 8 years part-time. Students are not required to spend the entire period of study in London, but must spend at least 9 months full-time in London. Students usually spend the first 9 to 12 months at the School to prepare for an upgrading process from MPhil to PhD towards the end of the first year. In the second year, students continue laboratory work or carry out data collection/fieldwork either at or away from the School. Students who leave the School to do fieldwork go on Research Study Leave. In the third and/or fourth year, students analyse and write up their research to prepare the thesis for submission.

Registration for MPhil and PhD programmes takes place at three points in the academic year only, on the first day of each term. The entry points are normally in September, January and April. 

Part-time study

The School requires students who apply for part-time study to be available to study for at least two days per week. A letter from your employer is required to confirm that at least two days per week will be permitted for work on your degree.

Part-time students who are employed at one of the School's specifically approved institutions may be able to carry out their research at their place of employment under the guidance of a supervisor at the School. Students interested in this method of study should contact the Registry for advice.

Those interested in applying for PhD study should identify a research department with interests that match their own and contact the Department Research Degrees Co-ordinator for more details. Please refer to the How to Apply section for information on how to apply for a place at the School.

PhD by Prior Publication

Staff members at LSHTM are eligible to apply for a PhD by Prior Publication, which comprises a minimum of four peer-reviewed publications and a doctoral commentary.

Consult the Programme Specification for details and how to apply.

Projects and supervisors
Research degree projects
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Supervisors and projects from the Faculty of Public Health and Policy are listed below. Browse our faculty pages for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, and Epidemiology and Population Health to find and contact other potential project supervisors.

Faculty of Public Health and Policy

Supervisor Topics of interest
  Department of Global Health and Development
Clare Chandler Anthropology of Antimicrobial Resistance: practice-based approach to understanding care of humans and animals in the wake of antimicrobials. Ideally with a focus in Uganda, eg amongst nomadic pastoralists.
Matthew Quaife The economics of infectious diseases, specifically HIV and other blood borne viruses, including cost-effectiveness analysis, demand side economics (predicting uptake and behaviour), and behavioural/experimental economics work.
Mazeda Hossain Humanitarian settings, violence, measurement, evaluation, conflict, refugees, stateless populations, methodological approaches, analysis of complex and/or large data sets.
Catherine Goodman Private sector healthcare provision in low and middle-income countries. The challenges and opportunities this provides for improving quality and accessibility of healthcare, and the evaluation of interventions to improve private provider performance.
Ben Cislaghi gender norms, social norms change and measurement, gender-based violence, culture, evolutionary moral and social psychology, behavioural change, field interventions, development ethics, people-led development, global justice, contextualising human hights, human rights education, low and mid-income countries, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Heidi Stöckl Violence against women, violence against children, homicide, migration and human trafficking. Especially interested in supervising students working on a longitudinal study on intimate partner violence in Tanzania.
Graham Medley HIV, NTD. We need more social processes in the mathematical modelling of infectious disease transmission dynamics. We do not have models that can be used to explore and design structural interventions such as cash transfer or GBV reduction. 
Helen Burchett Interested in supervising the following topic areas: i) policy makers' views on new interventions, policies or research; ii) intervention evaluation analyses, particularly exploring context and implementation and understanding how/why interventions were (or were not) effective; iii) research use in policy/practice; iv) generalisability/applicability of research.
Ana Buller Intimate partner violence, SECA, transactional sex (TS), child labour, mobility and health.  Geographical focus: South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.  I would consider other areas if the student is interested in one of the above topics.
Tara Beattie I am interested in supervising a doctoral student with a background in epidemiology or equivalent and with interests in HIV and ‘upstream’ drivers of risk. This could include research with ‘at-risk’ groups in low and middle income countries, including female sex workers and adolescent girls, research evaluating comprehensive interventions, and research examining structural determinants of risk including violence exposure, mental health, alcohol and drug use, and empowerment.
Timothy Powell-Jackson I am interested in quasi-experimental evaluations of health system and behavioural interventions (e.g. provider payment systems, health insurance, private sector engagement, management strengthening) in low- and middle-income countries. 
Aurélia Lépine Sex work, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, women's empowerment.
Anna Foss I am interested in supervising students on projects involving the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases or decision modelling, or in other applications of maths to public health.
Dina Balabanova My current focus is on corruption and governance (Nigeria, Tanzania, Bangladesh), noncommunicable disease and patient perspective and pathways (hypertension in Philippines and Malaysia, diabetes in LMIC), and gender in health systems research. I will consider applications related to these areas especially if the proposed research seeks to apply multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral lens.
  Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Bayard Roberts Mental health and forced migration using quantitative and/or qualitative methods. These would focus particularly on access to mental health services and exploring health system responsiveness to the mental health needs of forcibly displaced populations such as refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.
Nick Black Assessing quality of health care, improving quality of care, management of quality in the NHS, reducing waste in health care in high-income countries.
Martin McKee Broad public health and health policy in Europe (but not UK).
Alec Miners Economic evaluation, decision modelling, discrete choice experiments, preferences, quality of life, sexual health, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, hepatitis C, hepatitis B. Particular focus on UK.
David Cromwell Health services research, clinical epidemiology, medical statistics.
Katriina Heikkila Patient pathways and outcomes following surgery (am currently doing work related to vascular surgery), psychosocial exposures and health outcomes, or inflammation-associated diseases such as cancer or respiratory disease, but I would be open to other ideas; high income countries, particularly the UK and the Nordic countries, as well as Western Europe.
Pauline Allen Health related topics: regulation, competition, contracting, governance in high income countries, preferably the UK.
Kerry Brown The role of food labelling (health and nutrient claims), dietary guidelines (food-based dietary guidelines) or nutrient recommendations (especially vitamin D, iodine, folate) in improving public health (and how does one evaluate/measure that)? Assessing, managing and communicating risk (interactions between disciplines, between science, policy and society).
Karen Lock Food policy evaluation; local authority policy evaluation. No specific topics but happy to support work in UK and overseas.
MinHae Park Non-communicable diseases; chronic diseases; dementia; obesity; patient-reported outcome measures; health services research; epidemiological research; long-term health outcomes. UK-based research.
Dorota Osipovic Normative and evaluative attitudes to health care and social care provision, use and funding; health policy implementation and human agency as it plays out in the organisational settings; delivery of services on the boundary between health and social care; welfare state theory/social policy in general; mainly UK, EU but open to other locations.
Alec Fraser Strategic change in health care  ie. regional reconfigurations of services (particularly acute services and current work on STPs in the NHS); Implementation of EBPP; evaluation of SIBs; EU & UK focus – interest in comparative research.
Adrianna Murphy My focus within the health system is patient access to care and medicines, and the economic burden of health care costs on patient households. I could support topics related to access and delivery of health care for chronic conditions (esp non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, mental health). I work in low and middle income, and conflict affected countries and have experience in the East African, Middle East and former Soviet Regions.
Jennifer Gosling Primary care organisation and reforms, particularly general practices, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards. UK-focussed, mostly England. Particular interest in management, managers etc. Qualitative research, no stats beyond descriptive data.
Stefanie Ettelt Policy-making related topics in health and social care, particularly with an interest in politics and decision-making, preferably in Europe.
Maureen Seguin Mental and physicial health, refugee, conflict, health systems, health services, coping, stress.
Daniela Fuhr Design and evaluation of mental health programmes (i.e. interventions) to overcome the treatment gap (feasibility studies and pilot RCTs); low-intensity psychological interventions, task-sharing, access to care.
  Department of Public Health, Environments and Society
James Milner Epidemiology and health impact assessment related to issues including (but not limited to) climate change, sustainability, urban health, air pollution, indoor air quality, built environment/housing.
Cicely Marston Sexual health, (particularly sexual practice and sexual health promotion, and particularly for young people and under-served/marginalised groups) contraception, abortion, plus community participation/human rights/equalities particularly in sexual and reproductive health.
Chris Bonell Young people’s health and interventions to address this; how the secondary school environment shapes health practices; sexual health; and methods for evaluating complex public health interventions. I am particularly interested in supervising qualitative, evidence synthesis and mixed methods research.
Oliver Bonnington I welcome applications from doctoral students who are planning qualitative research in the sociology of mental health and illness. Topics might include service user activism in low- and middle-income countries, critical analyses of global mental health research, the social and political production of psychiatric knowledge and practices, the future of mental illness anti-discrimination legislation, and critical examination of art and technology in mental health care.
Steven Cummins Urban built environment and health, especially related to diet, alcohol and physical activity; complex systems thinking and population health (with a particular focus on food and alcohol systems, transport systems, natural/green systems); the evaluation of environmental and system-level interventions on population health; understanding the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities (industry influences on health behaviour and policymaking, evaluation of industry-led interventions). I have an emerging interest in supervising PhD students with advanced training in quantitative methods, spatial statistics, data science, informatics/use of big data and the mathematical modelling of complex systems (ABMs; dynamic modelling etc). Supervision in these areas would be with the support of other LSHTM staff. I can also supervise qualitative PhDs.
Antonio Gasparrini Topics related to environmental epidemiology, climate change or evaluation of public health interventions. I expect the project to have a strong quantitative component and the student to be experienced and/or interested in statistical analysis
Ford Hickson Health of sex, gender and sexuality minorities (intersex, trans, queer) globally
Daniel Lewis Health geography, spatial statistics, data science, or social epidemiology who are interested in research into the spatial pattern and processes underlying health inequalities, disparities in health behaviours, or the delivery of healthcare.
Ai Milojevic I would welcome prospective students with a foundation in epidemiology, population science, geography and/or related fields with interests in health impacts of environmental change (including but not limited to air quality, weather, flooding or natural disasters, mould and dampness). Particularly, application or development of geospatial methods in environmental epidemiology or health research is of great interest.
Alex Mold The history of the following areas: public health in post-war Britain; substance use; voluntary organisations and health; patient consumerism, history of patient activism
Brian Rice Infectious disease surveillance; care cascades; infectious disease indicator sets; HIV or HCV measurement;  generating strategic information / translating data to action.
Camille Stengel Illegal drug use from a sociological perspective, harm reduction, people who inject drugs. Qualitative sociological research, visual and participatory methods. Health in prisons. Research related to women and health, access to services, gender.
Tara Tancred Improvements in the quality of maternal, newborn, or child healthcare, with an emphasis on patient-centeredness, particularly in low-income country settings. Students wishing to cast a "health systems thinking" lens to their research questions would be welcomed. Methodological approaches I'm happy support largely surround implementation, including process evaluation, realist evaluation, and theory of changebased evaluation, with a focus on the use of qualitative or mixed methods.
Sari Kovats My interdisciplinary research is on health and climate change. I welcome enquiries from any potential students, but please note, if you wish to focus modelling it will be necessary to secure a second supervisor who can provide specific expertise in this area.
Shakoor Hajat Environment & health, in particular climate variability and climate change impacts on public health.  Also refugee health, in particular in Palestinian populations.
Kathryn Oliver Evidence use in public health policy; harms of public health interventions; sociological approaches to understanding the production, construction and use of evidence; coproduction and collaborative research practices; research and science policy. Tend to use qualitative, systematic review, and/or network analyses.

 

Entry Requirements
Entry requirements MPhil/PhD
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Academic requirements

A student must normally satisfy the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine general entrance requirements as follows:

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration at the School on a MPhil/PhD programme is at least one of the following:

  • a master’s degree in a subject appropriate to the course of study to be followed (recommended)
  • a qualification appropriate to the course of study to be followed, in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies
  • an upper second-class honours degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B

Please see our English Language Requirements FAQs for information

 

 

    Application guidance
    Research application guidance
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    Applying for a Research Degree can be a lengthy process and requires some preparation. Please allow plenty of time between submitting your application and your intended start date – we recommend at least 12 weeks. If you require a visa to study in the UK, you should also allow at least an additional 4 weeks for the visa application process.

    If you are not applying for an advertised funded project, you may find the following guidelines helpful.

    Clarify your research topic

    Candidates who have a clear research topic are more likely to identify a suitable supervisor quickly.

    Identify the appropriate Faculty

    The School has three Faculties:

    Have a look at the web pages for each department, where you will find details of staff members and their areas of expertise and interest, as well as current research projects within the department. This will give you an idea of where your research area is likely to fit within the School.

    Decide which Research Degree programme you want to apply for

    The School offers different Research Degree options: MPhil, PhD, and DrPH.  Read the information online to help you decide which research degree is right for you. 

    Investigate research opportunities across LSHTM

    Our research is multidisciplinary and it may be that your area of interest is represented in more than one Faculty. There are two main types of research degree opportunities:

    1. Studentships

    Some funded PhD programmes will be advertised as studentships, which will be listed on our Research funding page. Each studentship will stipulate its own application process and entrance requirements.

    1. Speculative opportunities

    Most opportunities, and potential funding, are not packaged as studentships or advertised. Exceptional students, that meet the entrance requirements, are therefore encouraged to be proactive to identify opportunities with LSHTM academics whose recent research closely matches their interests.

    Identify a prospective 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. Use the website to look at research taking place across the School and identify the members of staff who would be most appropriate for your area of interest.

    There are three main ways to identify an appropriate supervisor to contact:

    1. Browse our Faculties or Centres pages to find the research we do in your area of interest. Click through to the department or centre website to find staff profiles.

    2. Look on the LSHTM People Search database where you can search for potential supervisors by keyword, research areas or region. Not all academics are listed in the people search 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 by School authors. 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, it is worth contacting 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.

    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.

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

    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 Coordinator, or the Faculty Research Degrees Managers for further guidance.

    Think about how your Research Degree will be funded

    You will need to consider how the Research Degree will be funded – tuition fees, living expenses and project costs. The School website contains some further information on potential sources of funding. Some candidates apply for a place via studentships advertised by the School. Others manage to secure funding from elsewhere prior to applying, and some submit funding applications at the same time as applying for the research degree.

    Draft a research proposal outline

    Unless applying for a studentship with a project which 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 methods and analysis
    • Research costs

    Please be aware that the research proposal submitted with your application does not have to be the final research project: if and when you are offered a place, you will have the opportunity to refine your project through discussions with your supervisor.

    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.

    Submit a formal application

    If you have been successful in identifying a prospective supervisor and have been encouraged to apply, please see the Research Degrees Application section online for further details about how to apply.

    It is still possible to submit an application without a named supervisor, but please be aware that the application may take longer to process.

     

     

    How to apply
    How to apply mphil-phd
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    Please read the research degree application guidance and our applying for a research degree pages before applying.

    Apply using our online application form.

    Paper application forms are available upon request and will normally incur an administration fee of £50. You must send a copy of the personal details and photograph page of your passport with all paper applications. Your application will not be considered until you have provided the above documents. 

    MPhil/PhD

    Applications for admission to the School should be made to the Registry and not directly to academic faculties. All applicants should include with their application a short research proposal (maximum 1,500 words including footnotes and references). This should indicate the area in which the student wishes to specialise enabling the application to be directed to appropriate potential supervisors. The research proposal is also an important way of indicating the extent to which the student already understands the background to their proposed research, and the range of methods which may be employed. In addition, it will help the School to decide whether coursework may be required in the first year.

    Check the research application guidance before submitting your application.