London city skyline

Frequently asked questions

Applicants

About the MPA

How long is the programme?

The MPA programme is a full-time 22 month programme. Each year runs from September to June. Students are not required to be in attendance during the summer between the first and second year.

Can I study part-time?

The MPA programme is only offered full-time. Classes take place every weekday (Monday to Friday). Students interested in studying part-time who have more than five years work experience may wish to look at the part-time EMPA programme.

Where can I find out more about the MPA curriculum?

For details about the MPA curriculum please see the curriculum webpage.

How many hours of teaching will I have each week?

Students will normally have 2-3 hours of classroom based teaching each week for each course that they are taking. This will usually add up to around 12-15 hours per week in class. As the MPA is a full-time programme, you would be expected to spend the equivalent number of hours studying as you would spend working if you were in full-time employment (35-40 hours per week in total). For the MPA Capstone and (for those who choose to do one) the MPA Policy Paper or Dissertation, there is less classroom-based teaching. Capstone groups determine how and when they are going to work on their project and the majority of Policy Paper and Dissertation work is done independently.

When do I have to choose my Policy Stream?

MPA students choose their policy stream at the start of their second year. You can choose to take a policy stream course in your first year but you do not have to decide on your policy stream until the start of year two. Whichever policy stream you choose, there is space in the second year curriculum to fulfil the policy stream requirements even if you have not done a policy stream course in year one.

MPA Dual Degree students do not choose a Policy Stream.

What types of assessment and feedback will I have?

MPA courses use a variety of assessment methods including assessed presentations, applications, policy memos, essays and exams. Students can gain verbal feedback by attending Office Hours, held by each member of academic staff weekly during term-time. Written feedback is provided on essays, policy memos and similar written work. Immediate verbal feedback is given at some presentation-based assessments.

Can you tell me more about the MPA Dual Degree?

Students have the opportunity to apply to the MPA dual degree during their first year (normally in January). Details of the partner schools currently participating in the dual degree are available from this webpage. There are limited places and there cannot be any guarantee that a student who wishes to do the dual degree will get a place. Decisions on who to admit are made by the partner school(s) you apply to. Students who are offered and accept a dual degree place, providing they meet the dual degree progression requirements, will transfer to the partner school for their second year. Further information about the dual degree is provided during the first term of the first year although please be aware that SIPA at Columbia University requires dual degree applicants to have GRE/GMAT score.

Please note that it is not possible to apply directly to the MPA dual degree; only students in year one at LSE or a partner school are eligible to apply.

What are the student demographics?

The MPA programme is proudly diverse and our students come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and with varying levels of experience. We normally have students from around 40 different countries on the programme each year. For further information, please see the MPA class profile page.

What study support is available?

The MPA offers specific study support tailored to our students' needs, including Skills Development Seminars and Policy Paper and Dissertation Seminars.

Support classes linked to the first year MPA economics courses run weekly during the main teaching terms.

LSE students also have access to the Language Centre's insessional English programme and to LSE LIFE: the academic, personal and professional development centre for students.

All academic staff hold weekly office hours during term time which any student may use to discuss academic matters.

 Do I need to do any advance preparation?

The MPA has designed a pre-arrival study programme to support the development of our students prior to their arrival and to aid students' transition into the MPA. These modules are available throughout the summer to the MPA offer holders who have accepted their offer of a place on the MPA. The pre-arrival study programme includes:

1. A module in mathematics and statistics consisting of a background reading with practice questions and answers/solutions to those practice questions. This module is sent to offer-holders as a pdf file.

2. An online course with two modules: (i) Introduction to Academic Writing, and (ii) Introduction to Public Policy. The objective of Academic Writing module is to familiarise offer-holders with key techniques of academic writing. The Public Policy module is designed to help them learn the definitions and disciplinary boundaries of public policy as well as to get an idea about the core MPA subjects that provide disciplinary and methodological foundation of knowledge about public policy.

We recommend the following literature to those who would like to do preparatory reading, in addition to the literature provided in the pre-arrival programme:

  • Quantitative methods - Charles Wheelan (2013) "Naked Statistics", W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London.
  • Microeconomics - John Mcmillan (2002) "Reinventing the Bazaar", W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, Chapter 1.
  • Macroeconomics - David Moss (2013) "Concise Guide to Macroeconomics", 2nd edition, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston.
  • Political Science - Clark, Golder & Golder (2012) Principles of Comparative Politics, 2nd edition., Sage, London.

Tuition fees and funding

How much does the programme cost?

For information on costs please see the LSE Table of Fees for up to date information.

Where can I find information about scholarships and financial assistance?

LSE scholarships and financial assistance are coordinated by the LSE Financial Support Office.

All applicants to the two-year MPA programme are eligible to apply to the LSE Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). Applicants do not have to wait for a decision on their application before applying to the Graduate Support Scheme. The Financial Support Office’s webpages contain further information, including details of some external funding organisations that potential students may be able to apply to. Applications to the GSS close towards the end of April each year. 

At the start of the second year, students on the Social Impact policy stream can apply for a Marshall Institute scholarship of up to £5,000. A small number of scholarships will be awarded as a tuition fee reduction for the second year of study. The scholarship may not be used to fund living costs and neither first year, Dual Degree or students on other policy streams are eligible to apply. Full details will be provided at the start of the second year. There is nothing that applicants or offer-holders need to do in advance to prepare or apply for this scholarship.

Unfortunately, there is no further funding available from either MPA programme or the Institute of Public Affairs at this time to assist students with meeting the cost of their studies.

Any queries about funding and financial support should be directed to the Financial Support Office as the MPA Team is unable to provide specific advice on this issue.

Applying to the MPA

How do I apply to the MPA programme?

All applications are made through LSE’s Graduate Admissions Office. Applications open in mid-October each year. Full details of how to apply are available on the MPA how to apply page. This includes information about the entry requirements and the documents applicants are required to submit with their application.

What are the entry requirements?

Please visit the entry requirements section on the how to apply page for further details.

Is there a Graduate Open Day?

LSE offers a virtual open day where you can watch a wide range of talks on applying to LSE, accommodation, careers, financial support, support services and life at LSE. This virtual open day can be viewed at anytime, from anywhere in the world.

In addition, the MPA programme holds regular Online Information Sessions which provide you with the opportunity to learn more about study support, future careers and extra-curricular activities. Each session ends with time for your questions, which are answered live by our team.

If you would like to visit the LSE campus, please see 'Can I visit the campus?'.

How many applications do you receive each year?

On average each year we typically receive around 420 applications. Our target intake is 80 students per year, meaning at any one time there may be up to 160 MPA students studying at LSE across both years.

What are the application deadlines?

The MPA does not have a deadline for applications; Graduate Admissions begin accepting applications in mid-October. The MPA has a limited number of offers to make each year and once this limit has been reached, no further applications can be considered. To find out about current programme availability, go to the LSE Graduate Admissions homepage and click "Available programmes" in the menu on the left of the page. We recommend that applicants submit their applications as early as possible to maximise their chance of being considered.

What do you look for in an applicant?

The Selectors will consider the application as a whole before making a decision. They are looking for:

  • Proven academic ability and strong academic grades. Economics and/or quantitative course work is particularly helpful but there is no specific subject requirement for the first degree.
  • Applicants are normally required to have a minimum of one year’s relevant professional work experience at the point of entry to the programme. However, applicants with an exceptional and outstanding academic background may use this to compensate for less than one year’s work experience.
  • A personal statement that is well written and clearly explains why you have chosen this professionally-oriented policy programme. It is also important that your statement explains how your prior professional and educational experiences make you a good candidate for the programme.
  • Strong references in support of your application.

Please note that we cannot advise on individual applications or give any indication if an applicant should apply. Full details of the entry requirements are available from the Graduate Admissions webpages.

Can I submit a professional reference?

Please select the ‘two academic references’ item from the list on this webpage for reference requirements.

How long should my personal statement be?

Please select the 'personal statement' item from the list on this webpage for more information.

Where do I send my application documents?

All application documents must be sent to Graduate Admissions. If you are unable to upload your documents, please contact Graduate Admissions for advice.

What is your GRE/GMAT policy?

We do not require applicants to have taken GRE/GMAT tests. However, if you have taken one of these, and you feel your results will support your application, you are welcome to include it. As this is not a requirement for the MPA we cannot advise what the Selectors would consider a good score. We are also unable to advise applicants what the average GRE/GMAT score is as only a minority of applicants choose to include this information.

Can I apply even if my English language score is lower than required?

The requirements for English language test scores are available here. However, you can apply if you have not yet achieved the required score. If your application is successful you will receive a conditional offer, which means that you will only be able to join the MPA if you achieve the required test scores before the programme starts. If you will require a student visa, please note that you will need to hold an unconditional offer in order to receive the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) you will need for your visa application so will need to achieve the required English test score leaving enough time to apply for your visa and wait for a decision on your visa application.

Do you accept transfer students?

No, the MPA does not accept transfer students. It is also not possible for students to attend individual courses without being registered for a degree programme at LSE.

What happens after I submit my application?

The LSE Graduate Admissions Office will process your application. They will confirm to you that it has been received and if any further action or documents are required from you. Graduate Admissions receive applications and documentation for all graduate programmes at LSE. This means that it may take some time for your application to be processed. You can see the current processing times on-line.

The MPA Team will not be able to tell you when you will receive a decision on your application as all decisions are processed and sent by Graduate Admissions.

Please note that all queries relating to application documents should be directed to Graduate Admissions.

Other questions

Can I visit the campus?

There is open access to many parts of LSE's campus and visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour using a campus map, available from reception desks on campus.

The teaching and research commitments of the academic staff mean that they are not able to meet with offer-holders. However, if you are visiting the campus and would like to speak to someone about the MPA programme, the MPA Team would be happy to meet with you. Please email mpa@lse.ac.uk if you would like to arrange an appointment. 

If you have specific questions about the programme, you are also welcome to email them to mpa@lse.ac.uk.

It is not possible for offer-holders to attend any teaching sessions connected to the MPA programme or any other LSE programme as these are only open to registered students, however there is an extensive programme of public events at LSE most evenings during term-time (please note that some of these require a ticket). Please click here for more information.

What extra-curricular opportunities are there?

Policy in Practice Seminars (PiPs) with guest speakers are held approximately three times per term exclusively for MPA students. PiPs provide an opportunity to link up classroom learning to real world scenarios and to bring students' theoretical learning to life, often corroborating or challenging things they have learned.

LSE's public events offer students the opportunity to attend lectures by some of the most influential figures in the social sciences.

LSE Students' Union has over 200 societies for students who are wishing to take up a new hobby, continue with an existing interest, or share common ideas.

There is also an official student society for the MPA programme (the MPA Student Association) which organises a variety of events and activities.

What do MPA graduates do after completing the programme?

MPA students come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds and with many different interests. There is therefore no typical destination and graduates go on to many different careers. Some examples are available here.

There is a rapidly growing MPA alumni community, many of whom enjoy keeping in touch with the MPA and who return to visit us and participate in events.

What careers support is available at LSE?

Registered MPA students can benefit from the full range of services offered by LSE Careers. An LSE Careers Consultant works with the MPA to make sure that you get the best possible support in developing your career plans during your time studying.

Can I apply for a PhD programme after the MPA?

A number of MPA graduates have gone on to PhD programmes both at LSE and elsewhere. There is no direct link between the MPA and any particular LSE PhD programme so students are free to focus on their own area of interest. If you are considering applying for a PhD programme at LSE, you are advised to visit the web pages of the LSE academic departments for further information on available PhD programmes.

Will I be able to work while studying for the MPA?

Some students do work part-time while studying for the MPA. Occasionally there are opportunities to work on campus but teaching assistant positions at LSE are normally only available to PhD students. If you are at LSE with a student visa, you need to make sure that you do not work more hours that your visa allows you to. You can check the terms of your visa with the International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT).

Please be aware that as the MPA is a full-time programme you are expected to spend the equivalent number of hours studying as you would spend working if you were in full-time employment (35-40 hours per week). If you are planning to work while studying, your studies must always come first and for that reason we strongly advise that you do not accept any form of paid work until after your academic teaching schedule is fully confirmed. It is not possible for LSE to adjust your academic schedule to accommodate work commitments.

The MPA Team is not able to assist students with finding part-time employment although any details of employment opportunities that we receive are circulated to students. 

LSE Careers has a vacancy board where registered students can search for employment opportunities (please note this can only be accessed by registered students and not by offer-holders).

If you have any further questions, please email mpa@lse.ac.uk or take part in an Online Information Session.

 

Offer holders

Congratulations you have received your offer! What happens next?

When is the deadline for accepting my offer?

There is no set deadline for accepting your offer. You may receive reminders from Graduate Admissions if you have held your offer for some time, but your offer will not be withdrawn because you have not yet responded.

If you will need to apply for a student visa, please note that Graduate Admissions will not issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) unless you have accepted your offer, submitted your Financial Undertaking Form (FUF) and your offer is unconditional.

I have a question about a document I have to provide in my offer letter - who should I contact?

Please contact Graduate Admissions with any queries about documents you have been asked to provide.

How can I check whether my documents have been received by the LSE?

You can track the progress of your documents through the application tracker. Please remember that Graduate Admissions deal with all graduate programmes at LSE and receive a very large number of documents on most days. Graduate Admissions publish information on the web about their current processing times so please check this as it may take longer to process documents at busy times.

The MPA Team does not receive your documents so we will not be able to tell you whether they have arrived at LSE or when they will be processed. If you are worried that something may have been lost in the post, please contact Graduate Admissions directly for advice.

Can I defer my offer?

The MPA programme does not have a deferral system. Requests for deferrals can only be considered in very exceptional circumstance such as personal/family illness or the impact of a natural disaster. If you feel your circumstances are exceptional, you can request a deferral online. If a deferral is granted, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to hold your place.

Please note that deferrals cannot be granted on financial grounds or because of employment opportunities, but it is possible to reinstate an application for the following year.

What does reinstating an application mean?

If you are unable to accept your offer, you may want to consider reinstating your application for the following year. Reinstating means that your existing application form and documents will be forwarded to the Selectors in the next round of applications so you will not need to provide new copies of transcripts and references.

All reinstated applications are considered again by the Selectors so there is no guarantee that you will receive another offer. You can reinstate your application for the following year online.

Visas

I need to apply for a student visa - when will I receive my CAS?

Your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) will be issued by LSE’s Graduate Admissions Office. As such, please check the communications sent by Graduate Admissions (both by email and through the application tracker) for information about CAS, which are usually issued from May onwards.

Graduate Admissions require you to hold an unconditional offer, to have accepted your offer and to have completed your Financial Undertaking Form before they can issue a CAS. The MPA Team is not involved in this and is therefore unable to advise when you might receive your CAS.

Who should I contact if I have a question about my visa application?

LSE’s International Student Visa Advice Team has a large amount of information for prospective students on its webpages. If you cannot find the information you require, there is a web query form available

The International Student Visa Advice Team staff are the only people at LSE who are authorised to give advice on visa issues so the MPA Team will not be able to answer queries about visas.

Tuition fees and funding

When do I need to pay my tuition fees?

Please see the Fees Office webpages for information about how and when to pay your tuition fees. These pages also contain information about how sponsors are invoiced.

Where can I find information about scholarships and financial assistance? 

LSE scholarships and financial assistance are coordinated by the LSE Financial Support Office.

All applicants to the two-year MPA programme are eligible to apply to the LSE Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). Applicants do not have to wait for a decision on their application before applying to the Graduate Support Scheme. The Financial Support Office’s webpages contain further information, including details of some external funding organisations that potential students may be able to apply to. Applications to the GSS close towards the end of April each year. 

At the start of the second year, students on the Social Impact policy stream can apply for a Marshall Institute scholarship of up to £5,000. A small number of scholarships will be awarded as a tuition fee reduction for the second year of study. The scholarship may not be used to fund living costs and neither first year, Dual Degree or students on other policy streams are eligible to apply. Full details will be provided at the start of the second year. There is nothing that applicants or offer-holders need to do in advance to prepare or apply for this scholarship.

Unfortunately, there is no further funding available from either MPA programme or the Institute of Public Affairs at this time to assist students with meeting the cost of their studies.

Any queries about funding and financial support should be directed to the Financial Support Office as the MPA Team is unable to provide specific advice on this issue.

MPA information

When does the MPA programme start?

The MPA programme starts on the registration date stated in your offer letter. There will be orientation activities on this day as well as registration, therefore you will need to be in London and ready to attend by the registration date. The MPA introductory course starts the following day.

What does the MPA introductory course involve?

The MPA introductory course is a refresher course in mathematics and statistics which all new MPA students are required to take. The course begins on the day after registration and consists of eight days of lectures and classes. It is designed to give students an indication of the level of understanding required for the first year MPA economics courses and to introduce them to some of the terminology that will be used during the first year.

As the course is a refresher course, it will not start from an absolute beginner level. The MPA Programme will send you a pre-arrival module to help you prepare for the introductory course. There will be test at the end of the introductory course but this does not count towards the MPA. Waivers are not granted for the MPA introductory course.

What study support is available?

The MPA offers specific study support tailored to our students' needs, including Skills Development Seminars and Policy Paper and Dissertation Seminars.

Support classes linked to the first year MPA economics courses run weekly during the main teaching terms.

LSE students also have access to the Language Centre's insessional English programme and to LSE LIFE: the academic, personal and professional development centre for students.

All academic staff hold weekly office hours during term time which any student may use to discuss academic matters.

Do I need to do any reading before I start the MPA?

There is no required reading to be done before starting the MPA programme. Details of some suggested reading will be sent to offer-holders in the summer before they are due to join the programme.

Do I need to do any advance preparation?

The MPA has designed a pre-arrival study programme to support the development of our students prior to their arrival and to aid students' transition into the MPA. These modules are available throughout the summer to the MPA offer holders who have accepted their offer of a place on the MPA. The pre-arrival study programme includes:

1. A module in mathematics and statistics consisting of a background reading with practice questions and answers/solutions to those practice questions. This module is sent to offer-holders as a pdf file.

2. An online course with two modules: (i) Introduction to Academic Writing, and (ii) Introduction to Public Policy. The objective of Academic Writing module is to familiarise offer-holders with key techniques of academic writing. The Public Policy module is designed to help them learn the definitions and disciplinary boundaries of public policy as well as to get an idea about the core MPA subjects that provide disciplinary and methodological foundation of knowledge about public policy.

We recommend the following literature to those who would like to do preparatory reading, in addition to the literature provided in the pre-arrival programme:

  • Quantitative methods - Charles Wheelan (2013) "Naked Statistics", W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London.
  • Microeconomics - John Mcmillan (2002) "Reinventing the Bazaar", W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, Chapter 1.
  • Macroeconomics - David Moss (2013) "Concise Guide to Macroeconomics", 2nd edition, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston.
  • Political Science - Clark, Golder & Golder (2012) Principles of Comparative Politics, 2nd edition., Sage, London.

Can I request a waiver for one of the core MPA courses if I think I have already done an equivalent course?

The MPA curriculum has been designed by the academic staff who run the programme. Waivers are not granted on the basis of courses taken as part of your previous university studies.

Living in London

How do I apply for university accommodation?

Information about LSE’s halls of residence and how to apply can be found on the Student Accommodation webpages. There is also a section on finding private housing.

Can I visit the campus before I start the programme?

There is open access to many parts of LSE's campus and visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour using a campus map, available from reception desks on campus. The teaching and research commitments of the academic staff mean that they are not able to meet with offer-holders. However, if you are visiting the campus and would like to speak to someone about the MPA programme, the MPA Team would be happy to meet with you. Please email mpa@lse.ac.uk if you would like to arrange an appointment. If you have specific questions about the programme, you are welcome to email them to mpa@lse.ac.uk.

It is not possible for offer-holders to attend any teaching sessions connected to the MPA programme or any other LSE programme as these are only open to registered students, however there is an extensive programme of public events at LSE most evenings during term-time (please note that some of these require a ticket). Please click here for more information.

I want to book a return flight to London - what are LSE's term dates?

After the introductory course, the MPA programme follows the standard LSE term dates. All teaching takes place within the LSE term dates. Summer exams also take place within LSE term dates. A small number of courses have January exams which take place in week 0, as listed on the LSE term dates webpage. Please note that you are expected to be in attendance during term-time.

Will I be able to work while studying for the MPA?

Some students do work part-time while studying for the MPA. Occasionally there are opportunities to work on campus but teaching assistant positions at LSE are normally only available to PhD students. If you are at LSE with a student visa, you need to make sure that you do not work more hours that your visa allows you to. You can check the terms of your visa with the International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT).

Please be aware that as the MPA is a full-time programme you are expected to spend the equivalent number of hours studying as you would spend working if you were in full-time employment (35-40 hours per week). If you are planning to work while studying, your studies must always come first and for that reason we strongly advise that you do not accept any form of paid work until after your academic teaching schedule is fully confirmed.

It is not possible for LSE to adjust your academic schedule to accommodate work commitments.

The MPA Team is not able to assist students with finding part-time employment although any details of employment opportunities that we receive are circulated to students. 

LSE Careers has a vacancy board where registered students can search for employment opportunities (please note this can only be accessed by registered students and not by offer-holders).

If you have any further questions, please email mpa@lse.ac.uk or take part in an Online Information Session.

 

Twitter

LSE MPA LSE_MPA

RT @GunkelNic: If you, @LSE_MPA-ers, could get lost studying Medieval towns & institutions, check if Prof. Dittmar still needs RAs! https:/…

33 minutes ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

LSE MPA LSE_MPA

#MPAers-join our awesome faculty member @AliCirone at her event w. @thosjleeper on 8/11 #LSEposttruth @LSEGovernment goo.gl/zkKf3n

1 hour ago

Reply Retweet Favorite