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Interdisciplinary Policy Studies MPhil / PhD

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The School of Education, Communication and Society (ECS) at King’s College London is a leading home of interdisciplinary social science research, with particular strengths in public policy, STEM education and linguistics. We are looking for outstanding candidates to join a supportive and dynamic research community.

Students are supervised by staff in one or more of our three Research Centres:

  • Centre for Research in Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Centre for Public Policy Research
  • Centre for Language Discourse and Communication

In addition to its world-leading academic contributions, the School has a proud history of contributing to public policy debates and the concerns of professional communities of practice across multiple sectors, both nationally and internationally.  We provide programmes of study that lead doctoral students to the cutting edge of knowledge, and help education professionals critically analyse, research and effectively respond to changes in thinking and policy in their fields.

We recommend that prospective students read through the Research Centre webpages to find their preferred area of research and potential supervisor.

Information is current, but staff members can change.

Key information

Duration 2-4 years FT, 4-6 years PT. Students can start the programme in September (mid-end of)/October (beginning of). The official start date would be 1 October or, students can start the programme in February (beginning of). The official start date would be 1 February. The compulsory induction is usually held earlier than the official start date. Please contact the PGR Programme Officer for more information (doctoral-students-ecs@kcl.ac.uk)

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department School of Education, Communication & Society



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Course detail


The School offers extensive research training and supervision on a wide range of policy related themes including user and practitioner experiences and perspectives in health and social care, culture and the arts, youth work and education; equality and social justice; identity and social change; professional values and ethics; and public sector reform.

There is a particular emphasis on rigorous interdisciplinary and critical perspectives with staff and students working in and across a range of disciplines.

We also run MPhil and PhD programmes in Education Research and Language, Discourse & Communication. We are home to  a range of research projects, funded by research councils (ESRC and AHRC) and major charities (e.g. Wellcome, Leverhulme and Nuffield).

Current/ recent PhD topics:

‘The co-construction of ageing identities: a linguistic ethnography of older women’s talk and practices in a hair salon’; ‘The Development of Metaphor Comprehension in Arabic-Speaking Children’.

Course study environment

The department offers a supportive, lively and outward-looking intellectual environment. You will be allocated two supervisors who will work with you through your studies, and there are regular seminars linked to each of our Research Centres, as well as a programme of departmental seminars. As part of a large multi-faculty institution, students also have the opportunity to build close ties across the College, as well as active cross-institutional links. There are plenty of opportunities for informal interaction and designated study rooms for doctoral students.

Postgraduate training

Our extensive research training for MPhil/PhD students consists of an initial foundation training programme which covers different approaches, assumptions and philosophies and introduces a range of tools, techniques and methods used in empirical work.

The Department’s Research Centres run a full programme of subject-specialist seminars and many of these sessions are constructed around students' own research problems, and all of them provide extensive opportunities for students to learn from one another. Students are also encouraged to participate in the training provided by the College-wide Social Science Doctoral Training Centre.

Head of group/division

Professor Sharon Gewirtz and Professor Alan Cribb

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Contact email

Course website

Further literature


Further literature link(s)


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Interdisciplinary Policy Studies Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements    A minimum 2:1 first degree, in addition to a Masters degree with at least a high Merit showing evidence of capacity to work at distinction level. 
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Applicants will also need to provide a piece of independently produced academic work (e.g. a Master’s essay/dissertation or published or unpublished paper) that has been assessed by the supervisor and admissions tutor as showing potential for doctoral level work.

Note: An approved professional qualification and extensive practical experience in the relevant field may be taken into account when evaluating an application.

Application procedure

First identify a potential supervisor who will be able to support the application, by searching our Research Centre pages. You will need to complete a case for support, the specific nature of this will vary according to the supervisor.

After you have applied
Your application will be considered carefully. Applicants may be invited for an interview. (either in person or via phone/skype). We try to process all applications within six weeks of the receipt of a completed application form.

We strongly encourage you to apply well in advance of the time when you would like to begin your study. Starting an MPhil/PhD can involve a lot of organisation, arranging accommodation, financial support etc.

For more guidance see our Application FAQs.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Research Proposal Yes This requires a research proposal of about 1,000 words covering the research aims or questions, the theoretical background to the proposed research and its relationship to previous work in the relevant field(s), the significance of the proposed research, the likely methodological approach and why it is appropriate to the aims of the project, the timescale of the project, and how your proposed research complements your previous experience and anticipates possible future research work.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample Yes This would usually be an extended piece of writing such as a dissertation/thesis from masters or undergraduate study, or perhaps a research paper if you have been involved in more recent research (and you are the sole author). The writing sample should be in English.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.


Course intake

No set number.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King's.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: £5,820 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: £21,870 per year

Part time tuition fees: £10,935 per year

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £6,120 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,060 per year

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £22,980 per year

Part time tuition fees: £11,490 per year

EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King's terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

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