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Vision and strategy

Inside the LSE Library

LSE was founded 1895 by four idealistic young Fabians for the "betterment of society". It adopted rerum cognoscere causas, which means to know the causes of things,  as its motto.

The desire to bring academic expertise to bear on the problems of society motivated the founders of LSE and underpins the School's vision and strategy today. 

LSE’s vision for 2011-16 

  • to deliver challenging, stimulating, research led degree programmes in an environment that supports learning and develops independent thinking among our students
  • to ensure that our research and teaching remain at the forefront of the social sciences, addressing the evolving challenges of society
  • to be among the most internationally-oriented centres of social science excellence in the world 
  • to extend our engagement with society across our full academic portfolio and in key regions of the world and 
  • to enrol the best students from around the world to benefit from, and contribute to, the learning environment at the School.

Three priorities for the School

This vision for the future is underpinned by three priorities for the School, all of which will be tackled with equal commitment.

Teaching and student experience

Students at LSE receive research-led teaching from an internationally renowned academic staff. At the heart of this is intellectual challenge. Through exposure to the latest developments in social science and to the thinking of visiting world leaders, business figures and academics in debates and public lectures, students are challenged and inspired by LSE's vision of intellectual excellence combined with real-world engagement.

LSE is currently focusing on increasing contact hours between permanent academic staff and undergraduate students; reducing postgraduate class sizes; improving teaching quality; and improving staff and student contact and student satisfaction levels in relation to the academic experience, including Library and IT services. It will also continue to improve its estate, in particular the exciting Saw Swee Hock Student Centre| which opened in 2014, having already been awarded an outstanding BREEAM rating.


LSE is a world leader in social science research. The School protects and encourages theoretical and "blue skies" research while promoting dynamic engagement with  wider society. LSE confirmed its position as a world-leading research university, with an outstanding performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework| (REF).


LSE is an outward-facing university, constantly engaged with the big policy issues of the day and communities around the world. Its academics are frequently to be found in the media, commenting| on issues from the global economy to the government of London. Many serve on government panels and advise international organisations, businesses and charities.

The public lectures| programme at LSE embodies the School's engagement agenda and caters to the thirst for informed debate. Global leaders in politics, business and the academic world come to LSE to discuss the issues of the day. LSE also runs a prestigious executive education| programme, with Summer Schools| in London and Beijing offering intensive courses.

The School is committed to widening participation in higher education, through engagement with secondary schools| and their pupils throughout London.

LSE promotes knowledge exchange by "translating" academic research| into accessible formats and by better targeting of public lectures. 

LSE will also develop our institutional partnerships| overseas.

See also:

Strategic Plan 2011-16|

Strategic Review| (internal access only)