FAQs for prospective MSc International Political Economy applicants

1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme?

2. How do I apply online?

3. Does the School or IR Department hold an Open Day for prospective MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research applicants?

There are no on-campus graduate open days or evenings, but there are many ways to make contact and discover the LSE, for those thinking of applying for graduate study. 

See Meet, Visit and Discover LSE for more details.

4. Will I be expected to attend an interview?

No. Decisions are normally made on the basis of the application form, transcripts and references.

5. Do I need to submit a writing sample with my application?


6. What are the residency requirements for the course?

For queries regarding School regulations, please visit see Information for International Students.

7. What is the difference between the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research?

The MSc International Political Economy (Research) is designed as a preparation for future research work if you are entering the field from another related discipline, or if you wish to focus particularly on methodological training. 

8. I am invited to give two MSc degree programme choices on the application form. Is it advisable to list the MSc IPE and the MSc IPE Research programmes separately, as choices 1 and 2, as I am really keen to be considered for the International Political Economy discipline?

No, this is not necessary. Our selectors look at applications for the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research programmes en masse and do not differentiate between the two 'tracks'. You can apply for one programme and change to the other once you are here, as long as you do this fairly quickly so that you do not miss relevant teaching on the programme you finally choose. This will leave you free to choose a programme from another discipline as part of your application to the LSE if you so wish.

9. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research?

We normally require an Upper Second class first degree (3.5 GPA) or equivalent in International Political Economy or a related discipline, e.g. History, Politics, or Economics.

Acceptance for the MSc IPE or MSc IPE Research course depends on the quality of the application overall. In recent years, these programmes have drawn a large number of high-quality applications. As a result, competition has been intense. If you decide to apply, it would be advisable to explain the form of your interest in international political economy.

10. I would like to apply, but I do not have a strong educational background in IPE or a related discipline. Can I nevertheless gain acceptance on the basis of my performance in an unrelated degree programme, relevant work experience, and/or my keen interest in the field?

Unfortunately, there is a disadvantage to applying without a strong educational background. We do sometimes take on a few 'cross over' students in any given year, but the bulk of our students have done well in one of the relevant social science subjects (listed above in Question 9).

Although relevant work experience is taken into account, your academic background will be considered of most relevance. 

11. Do I have to sit the GRE or GMAT tests?


12. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme?

You will find a description of each subject in the relevant IR-prefixed Graduate Course Guides or the relevant introductory videos.

13. Are all courses that are listed in the Graduate Prospectus offered each year?

No - normally, one or two are 'Not Available' due to staff absences on sabbatical leave.  

We inform those who have been accepted for a place on the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research about any courses that will not be running via Question 7 of the FAQs for offer holders: taught course graduate students and in a welcome letter sent in early summer. 

14. I want to list MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research as my second choice. Will this damage my chances of admission?

No. However, it is advisable to address fully why you wish to study IPE (albeit as a second choice) in your application statement.

15. I applied last year and was rejected. What is the likelihood of succeeding with a second application?

If you applied last year when the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme was already full but you have the requisite qualifications, it may be worthwhile re-applying. As to the likelihood of your being accepted, this will depend on the quality and number of other applications.

If you applied last year when the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme was not full, it is unlikely that you would be successful second time around.

16. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programmes operate. Where can I find such information?

You may find the FAQs for offer holders: graduate taught course students for 2017/18 of interest, though please note that some details may be subject to change for 2018/19.

17. I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR470 International Political Economy. Could you provide this?

Please see the IR470 course guide

You can also watch the introductory video here

Please note that the content and sequence of the lecture programme may be subject to change.

18. How much are the tuition fees?

Please see Fees and Funding sections on the following programme pages:

MSc International Political Economy
MSc International Political Economy (Research)

19. What are the methods of assessment?

Apart from the 10,000 word Dissertation, the majority of subjects are assessed with an unseen examination during the Summer Term.

However, a number of courses make use of mixed modes of assessment and require an assessed essay along with a final examination. 

There are also some courses that are assessed solely on the basis of an assessed essay.  Please see the relevant IR graduate course guides.

20. Am I required to be here after the exams finish?

Your 10,000-word Dissertation has to be submitted in August 2019. Once your exams have finished (exams usually take place during May and June) you are not required to stay in London as you can upload your Dissertation electronically by the deadline.  But you should ensure you have the time and facilities to complete your dissertation.

21. What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?

A half unit runs in either Michaelmas Term or Lent Term. A full unit course runs through Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Two half units may be taken in place of one full unit with the approval of your academic adviser and the teachers responsible for the courses. In the IR Department we have a number of half unit courses listed under the MSc IR/IR Research degree regulations which MSc IPE students may apply to take under the provision 'a course from another programme' in the MSc IPE degree regulations.

All IPE optional courses are half unit courses but courses from other departments may be full unit courses.

22. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IPE?

Please see School's Financial Support Office for details.

23. I would like to meet the selector or another member of the academic staff to find out more about the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme. Can this be arranged?

Given the popularity of the IR Department's taught MSc programmes, regretfully we do not have the resources to meet prospective applicants. 

However, the online Graduate Prospectus, the Financial Support Office website and the IR Department's online FAQs for Prospective and Incoming Students should address most concerns and enquiries.  Plus we also have a selection of videos available here

If you have read these sources of information and still have an enquiry, please email the relevant member of Administrative Staff.

24. What is the deadline for MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research applicants?

There is no set deadline but as the programme is extremely popular, it is advisable to apply by early January to gain admission in the following September.

Please check the availability of the programme on the Available Programmes webpage before submitting an application.

25. Can I apply to take the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research part-time? If so, how long does it take and are lectures and seminars held in the evenings?

We only accept a few part-time students in any given year. The part-time programme takes two years.

Part-time MSc IPE students normally take the compulsory paper, International Political Economy, and courses to the value of 1.5 units in year one, and optional courses to the value of one full unit and the 10,000-word Dissertation in year two. Part-time MSc IPE Research students normally take the compulsory papers, International Political Economy and Foundations of Social Research and one half unit in year one, and optional courses to the value of one full unit and the 10,000-word Dissertation in year two.

Lectures and seminars are normally held during the working day.  However, as a part-time student, we would certainly be sensitive to your timetabling needs and where a choice of seminar groups exists, we would allocate you to one that was most convenient to you.

Unfortunately, the Sessional Timetable is not normally finalised until a few weeks before the start of the session, so we are unable to answer questions about the likely spread of teaching over the academic year before you make an application.

26. What is the difference between the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research and the MPhil/PhD?

The MPhil/PhD is a research degree programme leading either to the MPhil or PhD. All our research students register initially for the MPhil but the vast majority are upgraded to the PhD. Occasionally, a student applies for the MPhil with no intention of going on to the PhD.

Applicants to our MPhil/PhD research programme are normally expected to have an MSc qualification in IR or a related discipline. Please see our FAQ for prospective MPhil/PhD International Relations applicants for further information about applying for the MPhil/PhD.

The MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research, by contrast, is a 12-month taught postgraduate degree course. Those wishing to go on to take a research degree after the MSc may find it useful to take the MSc IPE Research programme rather than the MSc IPE programme as the former includes a component of research training.

27. How do I apply for the MSc IPE/PhD programmes so as to be considered for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding?

Please see the ESRC website and the LSE's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships webpage.

If you wish to be considered for ESRC 1+3 funding, please apply by 9 January 2018.

28. If I am accepted for the MSc IPE and then decide I would like to switch to the MSc IPE Research, or vice versa, will this be possible?

Yes. You can register for the programme for which you were accepted and then switch programme once you arrive.

However, this is only automatic between the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research programmes. You must not accept an offer for the MSc IPE in the expectation of switching to another programme within the School (e.g. your first choice for which you have been turned down) once you arrive.

29. If I am rejected for the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research (e.g. because it is full) but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research on arrival at the School?

You would be most unwise to accept a second choice offer in the expectation of switching.

This would only be possible if: (a) the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research intake target was not met; (b) the selector was willing to accept you; and (c) your second choice department was prepared to release you. None of these things is likely to happen. You should only enrol if you will be content to complete your second choice programme.

30. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research to the following year?

We expect applicants to apply in good faith to begin the course in the academic year indicated. However, if you are made an offer for 2018 entry and circumstances arise which result in your wishing to defer to 2019, you should write to Graduate Admissions at the point when you realise that you will not be able to take up the offer in 2018.

Deferral is not automatic and will require the approval of the selector. 

See How to respond to your offer for further details.

31. If I have a query about the application process, can I raise this with the Department instead of the School's Graduate Admissions office?

No. All questions about the application process or status of your application should be directed to the Graduate Admission Office.

32. What is the difference between the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research and the MSc Global Politics?

Although the two programmes 'MSc in International Political Economy' and 'MSc in Global Politics' share certain options and are both concerned with the politics of globalisation, they are distinctive in their approaches and concerns.

The MSc in International Political Economy is primarily concerned with the interaction of politics and economics in the world economy; it is based in the theories and paradigms that are central to International Political Economy (IPE) as a distinctive discipline, and these are the focus of its compulsory course. Its options (Politics of Money in the World Economy, Politics of International Trade, Economic Diplomacy, IPE of the Environment, Political Economy of International Labour Migration, Global Business in International Relations, Governing IPE and Economic Diplomacy) are specifically tailored to fit with the IPE core course.

The MSc in Global Politics has 'globalisation' as its central unifying theme, its core course is focused on arguments about how world politics are shifting from an 'inter-state' to a 'global' frame and it encompasses contributions from Political Science, Development Studies and International Relations.

33. Does the International Relations Department have any special arrangements with other universities?

Yes, LSE and the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC have entered into an arrangement whereby LSE graduate students and recent alumni are eligible to apply to take the Elliot School's Master of International Studies (MIS) degree program in one rather than the usual two years. The MIS is a multidisciplinary, academic dual degree program that is designed to complement your studies at LSE with an intensive year in Washington DC.

Please see Master of International Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University for further details. 

The MSc IR or MSc IPE also form Year Two of the two-year Sciences Po-LSE Double Degree in Affaires Internationales and IR/IPE.

34. If my application is unsuccessful but I would like to reapply next year, how can I get feedback on why I was not accepted?

If your academic background or first degree grades/predicted grades do not reach the standard noted in FAQs 9-10 above, this will undoubtedly form part if not all of the explanation for your rejection.

We also have to turn away good candidates due to the popularity of the MSc IPE course, so you may fall into this category. Unfortunately, competition is fierce and detailed feedback is not possible.