MPhil and PhD - Research Degrees

Overview & Structure
Overview & Structure

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.

LSHTM 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.

MPhil/PhDs are very diverse: they may be desk-based, or include laboratory work or field work, but there are some common elements. You will be working on a health-related topic with advice from a supervisory team of academics. You will be encouraged to attend transferable skills and other courses, but these do not contribute to the formal assessment (unlike PhDs in some other countries). The examination of both MPhil and PhD is based on an oral examination (viva) of a written “thesis”. At LSHTM we encourage students to publish their work, and your thesis (maximum 100,000 words) may be a combination of chapters and published papers.

All PhD students initially register for an MPhil. Toward the end of the first year (second year if part-time), there is a formal upgrading process, with a written report (maximum 7,500 words), a seminar and an assessment panel in which two independent assessors explore the research plans with student. This provides feedback to improve the research, and identifies any students who may choose to, or may be better suited to, continue with an MPhil degree rather than transferring to a PhD. For students intending to stay registered for the MPhil the procedures are similar, with a formal review instead of the “upgrading”.

All students have a first supervisor and a second supervisor (who will be identified before registration) and may have further members in their supervisory team. They provide advice and guidance throughout the degree. Students will be in contact with their supervisor(s) at least once a month (full-time) or once every two months (part-time).

Students are expected to spend a minimum of 9 months in London over the course of the programme, usually including the first 3 months after registration. This is to enable students to benefit from the School’s academic environment and gain any training required for successful completion of their doctoral work including the opportunity to take relevant modules from LSHTM masters’ programmes to cover particular skills. Most students spend longer than this in London. Note that students without previous academic training in their discipline of interest will usually be advised to undertake an appropriate MSc as a first step before registering for a PhD.

Typically, a full time student might spend the first year in London, until after upgrading. In the second year, students continue laboratory work or carry out data collection/fieldwork either at or away from LSHTM. In the third year, students analyse and write up their research to prepare the thesis for submission. The final thesis should be submitted within 4 years (full time) or 8 years (part time).

LSHTM Research

LSHTM’s wide-ranging research programmes examine ways of improving and promoting health and health services and investigate the fundamental biology of pathogens and pathogenesis, and the aetiology, diagnosis, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Research covers a wide range of topics and areas; these can be found by looking at the Research by Faculty (and clicking on the individual Departments), or at the cross-Faculty Academic Centres.  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 LSHTM.

Part-time study

LSHTM requires students who apply for part-time study to be available to study for at least two days per week (not including weekends). 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 LSHTM's specifically approved institutions may be able to carry out their research at their place of employment under the guidance of a supervisor at LSHTM.

PhD by Publication

This route is only available to staff members of LSHTM. The PhD by Publication, comprises a minimum of four linked peer-reviewed publications and a doctoral commentary. Consult the Programme Specification for details and how to apply.


Those interested in applying for MPhil/PhD study should refer to the How to Apply section. 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. 

Free online course

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.

Fees & funding
Fees and Funding - Research Degrees (MPhil-PhD) General 2024/25
Fees 2024/25HomeEU/Overseas
MPhil / PhD£6,740£3,370£21,140£10,570
MPhil/PhD - lab-based£6,740£3,370£25,710£12,855
Writing Up Fee£1,300£650£1,300£650

*Mobile users, scroll right to view fees

Entry requirements
Entry requirements MPhil/PhD

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 evidence of an aptitude for research and 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

How to apply
How to apply

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. It may take considerably longer. If you are applying for a funded studentship you may need to start thinking almost a year in advance.

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

Check that you meet the entry requirements

Please check the entry requirement section. 

Decide which Research Degree programme you want to apply for

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

Clarify your research topic and research opportunities

There are two main types of research degree opportunities:

  1. Studentships - Funded PhD studentships will be advertised on our Research Funding page. Each studentship will stipulate its own application process and entrance requirements. Many will be for specific research topics.
  2. Jobs at LSHTM with opportunities to do a PhD - Some academic jobs will allow you to do a PhD alongside your work, if it is closely related to the work itself. This should be mentioned in the job details. Or, if it is not mentioned, and the job does not require the candidate to have a doctorate already, you could email the contact person to ask.
    All jobs at LSHTM are advertised.
  3. PhD by Publication – Only available to existing staff members of LSHTM (see programme specification for details)
  4. Speculative opportunities - Students, who meet the entrance requirements, are encouraged to be proactive to identify opportunities with LSHTM academics whose recent research closely matches their interests. Candidates who have a clear research topic are more likely to identify a suitable supervisor quickly.

You may already have ideas for how you could be funded, or this may be something that you could explore with a potential supervisor (see below).

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 and you have been in contact with them before you submit the formal application. 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. See Before you apply for information on finding and writing to a prospective supervisor.

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.

Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.

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

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.