Entry requirements

We welcome applications from all prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit and potential, irrespective of their background.

You should read the following information carefully as it will help you determine whether you meet our entry requirements. You should also read the assessing your application section of the programme page for your intended degree programme and the information in the Making an Application section.

Each application received is carefully considered on an individual basis, taking into account the full range of information presented including personal statement, academic achievement (including both past and predicted grades), subject combinations and references, before a final decision is made. As you will see from the individual programme information, there is a great deal of competition for places at the School. In 2017, we received 18,000 applications for 1,650 places. This fierce competition for places means that every year we unfortunately have to disappoint many applicants.

Usual standard offers

We express our standard offer in terms of GCE A levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB). We also consider a range of UK and international qualifications – to find our standard entry requirements for your qualification please see Information for international students.

The School receives many applications from very well qualified applicants and predicted or actual grades which meet or exceed the standard offer do not guarantee an offer of admission. Furthermore, the published standard offers are only a guide and in some cases candidates will be asked for grades which differ from this. The offers made in any given year will depend on the strength of that particular cohort and this means that offers made may also change from year to year. We also reserve the right to specify that particular grades should be achieved in particular subjects.

Subject combinations


As the majority of our applicants apply with A levels, this guidance is written primarily towards that audience. However, the information contained is relevant to students offering any qualification. If you are unsure how this guidance applies to your qualification, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Note that where specific guidance regarding the suitability of a particular subject/subject combination is given on the entry requirements pages of Information for international students, that guidance supersedes the more general guidance given below.

Subject combinations and non-preferred subjects

The School considers not only the individual qualifications offered by applicants but also the combination of subjects offered. Individual degree programmes may have specific subject requirements or preferences which are listed in the admissions criteria for each individual programme. We also have a number of general policies, listed below.

We consider traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE. We expect applicants to offer at least two full A levels or IBDP Higher Levels in these subjects (although typically, applicants will apply with three or four); please see the list below for guidance.

Some subjects provide a less effective preparation for study at LSE. We refer to these as non-preferred subjects; please see the list below for guidance. These subjects should only be offered in combination with two traditional academic subjects.

Finally, there are a small number of A levels which are normally excluded from our standard offer; please see the list below. Applicants should offer three full A levels or equivalent alongside these subjects.

Common traditional academic/'generally preferred' subjects:

  • Ancient History
  • Biology
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Economics
  • English (English Language, English Literature and English Language and Literature)
  • Further Mathematics*
  • Geography
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Languages: Modern Foreign, Classic and Community**
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

Common "non-preferred" subjects:

  • Any Applied A level
  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Citizenship Studies
  • Communication and Culture
  • Creative Writing
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama/Theatre Studies***
  • Film Studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Home Economics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Leisure Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Physical Education/Sports Studies
  • Travel and Tourism

Normally excluded subjects:

  • General Studies
  • Critical Thinking
  • Thinking Skills
  • Knowledge and Enquiry
  • Project Work

If you would like information about the suitability of a subject which does not appear on these lists, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

* See the Mathematics and Further Mathematics section below.

** See Language Qualifications section

*** The Departments of Anthropology, International History, International Relations, Social Policy and Sociology consider Drama and Theatre Studies equally with other generally preferred subjects. Therefore, they will consider Drama and Theatre Studies alongside one other subject from the non-preferred list. However, the majority of departments continue to regard Drama and Theatre Studies as a non-preferred subject.

Overlapping subjects

Many of the undergraduate programmes at LSE are multi-disciplinary and for this reason we consider a broad mix of traditional subjects to be the best preparation for study. A broad academic background will provide the skills to perform well in any of the challenging programmes at LSE. Students offering a narrow range of subjects may be at a disadvantage compared to those offering a broader combination. Examples of narrow subject combinations might be Economics, Business Studies and one other or English Language, English Literature and one other. See also, the programme pages and the Mathematics and and Further Mathematics section below.

Mathematics and Further Mathematics

Some degree programmes at the School are highly mathematical in content and therefore Mathematics A level or equivalent is a requirement. A number of programmes also require a qualification in Further Mathematics (where available), or consider one helpful. However, the combination of Mathematics, Further Mathematics plus one other subject is considered insufficiently broad for many of our programmes. Please refer to the degree programme pages for details on Further Mathematics and its acceptability for each programme.

We are aware that not everyone has the opportunity to follow a Further Mathematics programme and find it helpful if applicants and/or their referees can indicate whether or not the applicant’s school or college offers Further Mathematics classes.

For programmes requiring A* in Mathematics A level, an A* in Further Mathematics in addition to an A grade in Mathematics is an acceptable alternative.

Core Mathematics

LSE recognises that the skills and experience gained by students who choose to undertake the Core Mathematics Qualification may be very useful as preparation for the study of social sciences at undergraduate level.

Whilst we do not include the grades gained from Core Mathematics in our standard offers, and there is no requirement to do one, successful completion of the Core Mathematics qualification can help you demonstrate your readiness to study the rigorously academic undergraduate programmes at LSE.

Applicants to LSE are expected to have at least a grade B (or a grade 5 under the new grading system) in GCSE Mathematics. We would be likely to consider a pass in Core Mathematics to be an alternative way to meet this requirement. 


Given the competition for places and the nature of assessment at LSE, we prefer students who have achieved high grades in their first attempt (and in one sitting) at relevant examinations. If extenuating circumstances have impacted your exam performance, you should include details of these in your application.

Language qualifications

LSE values the skills that language acquisition brings and many of our applicants describe themselves as bi, tri or multi-lingual.  We do however differentiate between language learning qualifications and those designed for competent language users. Where we have reason to believe a student has significant prior exposure to a language, we may exclude a language learning qualification from any offer we make.

Significant prior exposure to a language may include:

  • you, your immediate family or your community regularly speak the language during day-to-day life.
  • you live or have lived in a country where that language is commonly spoken.
  • you are or have been educated in that language.

The most common qualifications this applies to are language A levels (except those designed for first language users eg, Welsh first language), International Baccalaureate Language B courses and Advanced Placement Language and Culture Courses. We are able to be more flexible in our requirements when considering courses taken only to AS or Standard Level, although we may still exclude these.

In order to help us with this decision, we take into account all information provided on the UCAS application such as nationality, schools attended (pre and post-16), completed language qualifications, normal place of residence and information from your referee. Where it is unclear to us whether the language qualification being taken is providing a significant academic challenge, we may require further information from you or your referee before we make our final decision.

Applicants studying for AS/A levels

AS and A levels

We prefer applicants who are studying A levels to offer four AS levels (taken after one year of advanced study in Year 12) and then proceed to three full A levels in Year 13. If the curriculum at your school prevents this then your referee should indicate this in your reference. Where applicants are unable to sit a fourth AS level, an extended project qualification (EPQ) may alternatively provide evidence of breadth of study and ability to cope with workload and also provides useful evidence of literacy for students that have chosen mostly quantitative subjects. We normally make conditional offers based on three full A levels.

A levels are currently being reformed in England with a move to linear qualifications. The AS level is being de-coupled from the A level and will become a stand alone qualification. LSE is of the opinion that AS levels offer significant benefits, both for the student and for universities. Our evidence indicates that AS levels are an effective indicator of performance at undergraduate level and for this reason we will continue to use AS grades in our admissions assessments. For students due to sit A levels we would recommend that, whenever possible, they sit AS level examinations at the end of Year 12. These AS results will help the LSE selectors assess the application in a fair, consistent and transparent manner and will ensure that more subjective indicators of academic potential such as predicted grades are less important factors in the decision-making process. LSE understands that there will be some schools and colleges that are unable to offer AS levels alongside the new linear A levels. LSE will not disadvantage students who submit an application without AS level grades as a result. In these circumstances we will use the information presented on the application form to make our decision (possibly in conjunction with some form of additional assessment).

Unit grades

AS unit grades already attained are used as part of our decision-making process for some of our programmes. As competition for places at LSE is intense, it is important that applicants achieve consistently high grades throughout both years of their A level study. For the majority of our programmes, admissions tutors will continue to make decisions based on predicted A level grades, as well as previous academic qualifications, the personal statement and academic reference.

A* grade at A level

LSE includes an A* in its standard offer for a number of our degree programmes in the Departments of Economics, Finance, Law, Mathematics, Psychological and Behavioural Science and for our BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics programme. For applicants taking qualifications which do not include an A* grade equivalent, decisions will be made based on further details including, for instance, individual unit marks and other achieved grades. For programmes requiring A* in Mathematics, an A* in Further Mathematics in addition to an A grade in Mathematics would be an acceptable alternative.


It is important that you achieve consistently high grades throughout both years of your A level (or equivalent) studies. We prefer students who have achieved high 50 Applications and admissions grades in their AS and A2 examinations at their first attempt. Examination re-sits are normally seen as less competitive but any extenuating circumstances will also be taken into consideration.

Extended Project

LSE recognises and values the Extended Project (EP), although we acknowledge that not all applicants will have the opportunity to complete one. For this reason, it is not normally included in any conditional offer that we make. However, the skills of independent study and research which can be demonstrated through the EP are good preparation for undergraduate study. We therefore encourage those of you who are undertaking an EP to make reference to it in your application.

Science Practical

Students offering Biology, Physics, or Chemistry A Level will be required to pass the science practical element of the course in order to meet the entry requirements.

Applicants studying for the International Baccalaureate Diploma

LSE considers candidates applying with the International Baccalaureate. Offers at LSE are based on an overall points score in combination with individual scores in each of the Higher level subjects being taken.

The International Baccalaureate is scored out of 45 points and the entry requirements for LSE range from 37 points overall (with three Higher level subjects at grades 6 6 6) to 38 points overall (with three Higher level subjects at grades 7 6 6). Please find the scores required for each specific programme at LSE on the programme pages.

Applicants studying other UK qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U

LSE considers candidates applying with the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or one or more principal subjects in combination with A levels. We consider a full course Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subject to be equivalent to an A level. Our grade equivalencies are:

LSE A level equivalent

Pre-U grade


Pre-U D1

A level A*

Pre-U D2

A level A

Pre-U D3

A level B

Pre-U M1

The Global Perspectives and Independent Research Project (GPR) is considered equivalent to an Extended Project and will not form part of any conditional offer.


BTEC Level 3 qualifications (BTEC Nationals) are looked at on an individual basis for admission to LSE. Due to the structure and assessment of BTECs, they are not regarded as providing as good a preparation for our degree programmes as more academic qualifications. As BTEC qualifications are typically in non-preferred subjects they may be seen as less competitive for programmes that have a large number of well qualified applicants. Our entry requirements for students sitting BTEC qualifications are listed adjacent. Typically all other entry requirements need to be met, including GCSE English and Mathematics at grade B and any Mathematics and Further Mathematics A level requirements. You should ask your referee to note any extenuating circumstances that may have impacted upon the choice of courses available to you post-16.

QualificationEntry requirementsUGAA required?

BTEC Level 3 Certificate (3 units)

Not acceptable for entry


BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (6 units - formerly BTEC National Award)

Acceptable in combination with A levels in two traditional academic subjects.

Distinction* accepted with A* A at A level for programmes requiring A* A A

Distinction* accepted with A A at A level for programmes requiring A A A

Distinction* accepted with A B at A level for programmes requiring A A B

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (eg, A in Mathematics)

UG Admissions Assessment not required


BTEC Level 3 90 Credit Diploma (9 units - new qualification) 

BTEC Level 3 Diploma (12 units – formerly BTEC National Certificate)


Acceptable in combination with A levels in two traditional academic subjects.

Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A* A at A level for programmes requiring A* A A

Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A A at A level for programmes requiring A A A

Distinction* accepted with A B at A level for programmes requiring A A B

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (eg, A in Mathematics)

UG Admissions Assessment not required


BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma)


Acceptable in combination with an A level in one traditional academic subject.

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A* at A level for programmes requiring A* A A

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A at A level for programmes requiring A A A or A A B

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (eg, A in Mathematics)

UG Admissions Assessment may not be required IF also offering one A level

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma) without any A levels

Acceptable alongside a strong performance in the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (not all applicants will be invited to sit the UGAA).

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction*

UG Admissions Assessment required

Welsh Baccalaureate

We accept the Welsh Baccalaureate at Advanced Level in lieu of one A level but consider it a non-preferred subject.

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

We normally expect Advanced Highers in three subjects, at grades AAA to AAB.  Where A-level Maths is required, we require Advanced Higher Maths and where Further Maths is required we require an additional Advanced Higher in Applied Mathematics (Mathematics of Mechanics or Statistics from 2015).

Where an applicant is prevented, for reasons outside of their control, from studying more than two Advanced Highers we may consider making an offer on two Advanced Highers plus an additional Higher or Scottish Baccalaureate Interdisciplinary Project studied in S6.

If an applicant has not taken a National 5 or equivalent qualification in English and/or Maths we would expect to see that subject offered at Higher Level and may require a particular grade.

Modern Studies is considered a traditional academic/generally preferred subject.

Foundation Courses and Access to Higher Education Diploma

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Applicants taking an Access to Higher Education Diploma are assessed alongside other applicants using the full range of information presented on the UCAS application. Those demonstrating potential may be asked to sit the School's Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA). Final admissions decisions are based on performance in the UGAA and information on the UCAS form.

It is useful for the selectors to have information regarding your performance in the Diploma so far. Applicants may consider submitting their application later in the UCAS cycle, when more information is available; equal consideration is given to all applications received before the January 15th deadline.

All applicants should complete their Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3. Grade requirements depend on the degree programme applied for, see below:   

A level entry requirement

Access to HE requirement


Complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction (all of which must be subject based) plus 15 at Merit or Pass.

Marks in specific units relating to the degree programme applied for may be required.

Foundation Courses

We consider applications from students who have or are about to complete a foundation course, however not all Foundation courses are acceptable for all degree programmes. Applicants seeking advice on the suitability of a Foundation Course should send details of their course content to the Undergraduate Admissions Office; we require details of the course content, assessment and duration for consideration. In previous years we have received applications from students studying the foundation courses at institutions such as the University of London International programme, University College London, Kings College London and the University of Warwick.

We assess Foundation Course students alongside other applicants using the full range of information presented on the UCAS application. Those demonstrating potential may be asked to sit the School's Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA). Final admissions decisions are based on performance in the UGAA and information on the UCAS form.

Mature applicants

LSE welcomes applications from older students and values the contribution they make to the School community.

LSE also has a large proportion of postgraduate students. This means that the student population at LSE is rather older on average than at many other universities; older undergraduates should not feel out of place.

Information for mature applicants.

Applicants studying international qualifications

We are happy to consider a range of international qualifications – to find our standard entry requirements for your qualification please see Information for international students.

Information regarding use of GCSE and equivalent qualifications

If you have taken GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, these will be taken into account when we assess your application.

All applicants are expected to have at least grade B in GCSE English Language and Mathematics or the equivalent, although exceptions are made for applicants with extenuating circumstances.

As competition for places at LSE is intense, we look for applicants who have achieved highly at GCSE (multiple A or A* grades), particularly within the context of their school.

Some programmes require grades higher than B in GCSE Mathematics and these are outlined in the individual programme pages.

GCSE reform

How are GCSEs Changing?            

A new grading scale of 1 to 9 will be used, with 9 being the top grade and assessment will be mainly by exam. The reformed GCSEs will be linear qualifications; they will be designed for two years of study and will no longer be divided into different modules. Students will take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.

We appreciate that implementing curriculum and qualification reform may pose a challenge to schools and that there will be some volatility as a result of the introduction of new specifications and examinations. For applicants offering new GCSEs we expect a minimum grade 5 in English and Maths. We will continue to review this requirement and this may increase to a minimum grade 6 as the qualifications become more established. 

English language requirements

All students are required to be sufficiently proficient in the English language to benefit from their studies at the School. In addition, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) guidelines stipulate that all students entering the United Kingdom to study must have an English Language qualification evidencing proficiency in each of the four sub-components of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening) unless they are from a majority English speaking country.

It is not necessary to have the required grade in an acceptable English language qualification when you make your application to LSE. However, if you are made an offer of a place at LSE and English is not your first language, you will be asked to provide evidence that your spoken and written English is satisfactory.

Full details of acceptable English language tests.

Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA)

LSE requires students who study certain qualifications to complete the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA) before a final decision can be made on their application.

Only the most competitive applicants with these qualifications are invited to sit the assessment. Applicants cannot request to sit the assessment and invitations will be sent on a rolling basis from January.

Qualifications which require the UGAA
Further information about the UGAA