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LSE was founded in 1895 and has grown to become one of the foremost social science universities in the world, ranked alongside Harvard, UC Berkeley and Stanford. 

A specialist university with an international intake, LSE's reach extends from its central London campus to around the world. 

  • The School has a cosmopolitan student body, with around 9,600 full time students from 140 countries
  • It has a staff of just over 3,300, with about 44 per cent drawn from countries outside the UK
  • Over 100 languages are spoken on LSE's campus
  • An influential network of over 160,000 LSE alumni spans the world, covering over 190 countries with more than 80 active alumni groups.

Nobel Prize winners

A total of 16 Nobel Prize winners in economics, peace and literature have been either LSE staff or alumni. The first was George Bernard Shaw, one of the founders of LSE, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925. The most recent was Professor Christopher Pissarides, professor of economics at LSE and holder of the Norman Sosnow Chair in Economics, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010. He is also a fellow of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE and of the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

World leaders, MPs and House of Lords

In all, 37 past or present world leaders have studied or taught at LSE and 31 current members of the UK House of Commons and 42 members of the House of Lords have also either taught or studied at LSE.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF)

LSE confirmed its position as a world-leading research university, with an outstanding performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). It is ranked the top university in the UK in its social science disciplines.

In 2008 the UK Research Assessment Exercise found that LSE had the highest percentage of world leading research of any UK university, topping or coming close to the top of a number of rankings of research excellence. Individual subject areas, notably economics, law, social policy and European studies, headed national tables of excellence.

Research centres

The School has one of the largest concentrations of applied economic, financial and social science research of any university in the world. It has 220 research centres, including the Centre for Economic Performance and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.


A wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social sciences are taught across 25 academic departments and interdisciplinary institutes and centres.


LSE has established a global network with a small number of high quality universities across the world. There are multi-faceted institutional academic partnerships with Columbia University (New York), Sciences Po (Paris), Peking University (Beijing), the National University of Singapore and the University of Cape Town. 


LSE has one of the most prestigious public events programmes in the world. Nelson Mandela, Dmitry Medvedev, Bill Clinton, Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi, David Cameron and the Dalai Lama have all spoken at LSE. 


The LSE Library was founded shortly after the School itself in 1896, as the British Library of Political and Economic Science. The Library collection carries Designated status as being of outstanding national and international importance. 

See also:

LSE Digest

Statistics on LSE

LSE research: making a difference
LSE Experts Directory

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