MSc Programme FAQ's

 Introductory Questions


Application Questions

Programme related questions


 Course related questions


Further Information

Introductory questions

Why study Government at the LSE?

The LSE is a specialist school in the social sciences of which political science is the oldest component. The full title of the School is the London School of Economics and Political Science. The LSE is undoubtedly a world leader in its field. The Department is one of the largest in the UK and offers students at the graduate level an unrivalled choice of subjects in their various degrees taught by some of the very best known academics in their field. 

Our situation in London gives students opportunities to participate in political discussion on a scale difficult to find elsewhere. There is much interest shown in politics by most of our students and LSE is a Mecca for leading politicians, public figures and visiting academics.

In both practical and theoretical terms LSE offers the student a complete experience of politics.

Why "Department of Government" and not "Department of Politics"?

It is partly a matter of tradition and usage - there are distinguished Government Departments in various universities. Government is wider than politics. It can refer to the entity 'the government'; an activity 'the government of ...' and the general principle of ordering, 'good government.' Politics is studied as a part of the activity of governing.


Which MSc programme should I do? What is the difference between MSc X and MSc Y?

People choose to do an MSc programme for a variety of reasons.  Our advice is for you to look through the different programmes available and the courses offered under each to decide which course is suitable for you.

The specifications for all of our programmes are available in the Graduate Prospectus |and on our website . 

Guides for each course under each MSc are available in the Calendar| as well programme specifications |.

Would MSc X be suitable for a career in…? 

Graduates of programmes in the Government Department go on to work in a wide range of fields and careers. Information about where Government Department graduates go can be found on the School's graduate destinations| pages.

Careers advice and opportunities can be found at the LSE Careers Services|.


Can I come and visit the Government Department? LSE Campus? Can I meet with Professor X?

Most information about our programmes is available on our website. However, feel free to stop by the department during our open hours:

Term time: 10:30-12:30 and 13:30-15:30
Non-term time: 10:30-12:30 and 14:00-15:30

We have a graduate open evening every year. If you cannot make this you can come to LSE any weekday and pick up a copy of LSE Explorer for a self guided tour or come along on days when we are giving guided campus tours|.

If you would like to schedule a meeting with an academic, you will need to contact them directly yourself, please see our staff list| for more details. Be aware that our academics are busy and do not always have the time to meet with prospective students. Further, outside of term time, many academics are not in London and are unavailable.

Application Questions



When is the application deadline? Can I still apply for X programme?

Applications for each academic year open in October every year. We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible. Once all the places on a programme have been filled, we can no longer accept new applications for that programme. Popular programmes usually start to fill up around March of the year of entry. Please check the link marked availability of programmes| page before you apply.

Your application will only be considered if your chosen programme is still open and your application is complete. 

For more info, see Graduate Admissions FAQ's |


It says that the programme is closed, can you make a special case for me?

Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of places, and the existence of the reserve list, when a course has been officially declared closed there is no chance of being considered for a place. You cannot be considered for the waiting list either, as once the programme has closed all the waiting list places will also have been allocated.


I haven't taken the TOEFL/IELTS yet, can I apply for an MSc programme?

Yes, you can apply for an MSc programme before taking an English language test. If you receive an offer, it will be made conditional on you passing an approved language test.

For more info, see the Graduate Admissions FAQ's|.

Do I need to submit a GRE/GMAT score?

You do not need to submit either GRE or GMAT at the time of application, though if you are accepted it is possible it may be added as a condition to your acceptance.

If I get accepted is it possible to defer my place to the following academic year?

Requesting a deferral for the following academic year is a possibility. Please write to Graduate Admissions and state your reasons for wishing to defer - you can contact them via this online form|.  Your application will then come back to the department and the deferral will be considered, then Graduate Admissions will let you know the outcome of the request. 

If your Deferral request is not accepted then your offer for this year still stands. Please be aware that if you have been offered a Graduate Support Scheme award this will not automatically be transferred to the following year if your deferral request is granted.

Are there opportunities for funding from the Department of Government?

Unfortunately our funds for MSc students are extremely limited so we urge you not to rely on awards from us.

For all funding information please visit the Financial Support Office| web page. We recommend that you visit this page as early as possible during the admissions process if you need to secure funding.  Many scholarships have relatively early deadlines (i.e. March - April).

Are there Class Teacher/Teaching Assistant positions available for MSc students?

All Class Teacher positions in the Government Department are reserved for Research students.

I can see from the web screen that I have an offer. When will it arrive?

It may take up to two days to process your official offer pack once the decision is posted on the website. This time is taken to check the letter and assemble the offer pack itself. In addition to this processing time, you should then make the normal allowance for postage times and so on. For post within the EU it will usually take no more than a week, but for international applicants in distant countries like China, it may take several weeks for documents to arrive. Offer packs are sent by airmail from London. You can also download copies a certificate confirming your offer from the online status tracker |.


I really need to know if my application has been successful in order to meet a deadline for scholarship/other programme/etc., can you tell me?

We make our best effort to process applications as quickly as possible. The most up to date information is available on the application tracker|. The application tracker draws its information from the same database that we look at. 

Be aware that it can take time for documents received to be processed by Graduate Admissions and included in your application. For the current processing times, see here |.

I have/will not make a condition of my offer, can you make a special case for me? 

You can request a condition of your offer to be waived or changed using this online form |

Please be aware that it is not possible to waive or lower the English language conditions.

For more answers concerning conditional offer, see the Graduate Admissions FAQ's |.

How do I accept my offer? Is there a deadline? Can I do it online?

Your offer reply form can be found on your LSE for You account

You should submit this form to let us know whether you intend to accept your offer or not.

We must receive the form to officially record your acceptance of our offer. The form is also used to

generate your student card with the photo you upload to set up your LSE computer network account

We ask that you submit the form within six weeks of receiving your offer, if possible. If you are not able to submit the form within this time, DO NOT WORRY. You will not lose your offer, nor will we assume that you do not wish to take up your place. You do not need to contact us to inform us that you will be accepting, just submit the form when you can.

Please return the form as soon as you can to enable us to plan for the coming year, and to make the registration process easier for you when you arrive.

For more information, see Graduate Admissions FAQ's|.

Programme related questions


What is the difference between doing a full-time and a part-time degree?

If you do the degree full-time, it will take 12 months and you will do courses to the value of four units (from October to September). If you do the degree part-time it will take 24 months as you will take courses to the value of two units each year (from October in academic year one to September in academic year two). Teaching hours are exactly the same, whether you are full or part-time. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT OFFER EVENING CLASSES.

How many hours of class will I have per week?

Full-time students should expect around 8 to 12 hours of class time per week consisting of lectures and/or seminars. Part-time students should expect around 6 to 8 hours per week.

Can I have Professor X as my supervisor? When will I be assigned my supervisor?

You will be assigned a supervisor during induction at the beginning of the year. Your supervisor is there to advise you on choosing courses, style and formatting of your dissertation, and not necessarily content. Students are free to, and encouraged to, approach any member of academic staff for discussion.


How is the academic year structured?

The year is divided into three terms:

  • Michaelmas - October to December
  • Lent - January to March
  • Summer - April to July

A full unit course will run over Michaelmas and Lent terms. A half-unit course will only run for one term (please note that half-unit courses are only available in one or the other term - they are not available during both terms). In the Summer Term there are usually revision classes and examinations.

The dissertation is due at the beginning of September. Full term dates are available at Term dates|. You do not have to stay in London to write your dissertation but it is your responsibility to ensure that it reaches us by the due date.

Why is the MSc a 12 month programme when the terms run from October to July?

You can view the term dates for various academic years by looking at the section above. However, your dissertation is not due until the beginning of September, and results won't be available until mid-October or later, you will use the summer to write your dissertation.  You are not expected to stay at the LSE/London at this time as you can send your dissertation via registered post.

Is it possible to change MSc programmes within the department?

Some students when they arrive in the department and consider the courses available find that they might be better suited to a different programme. If you find this to be the case it may be possible to change programmes, though this cannot be guaranteed. You would need to discuss the change with your supervisor who will advise you to contact the Convenor of the course you wish to transfer to in order to gain their permission.

Am I required to be in London after exams finish?

Your dissertations are due to be submitted on the beginning of September. Once your exams have finished you are not required to stay in London as you can post your dissertation to us to arrive by the due date.


Course related questions

Are there any courses not running in 2013/14?

Please refer to the graduate course and programme information 2014/15| to check which courses are available. These pages are updated soon as we know that a course may not be available but this can only be done from March onwards. Course availability does change from time to time, and so it is always worth checking.

What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit?

A half unit runs for just one term - either the Michaelmas (first term) or Lent term (second term). On the regulations a M stands for Michaelmas and a L for Lent. That means these courses are 10 weeks of teaching - and then usually two weeks of revision in the summer term (third term). A full unit course runs for both the Michaelmas and Lent term - and has 2-4 revision sessions in the summer term.

When can I start registering for courses? How do I register for courses?

Course selection is undertaken using the School’s online portal, LSE for You. The online course selection facility will be accessible in LSE for You throughout the following periods:

  • Michaelmas Term:  12:00pm on 3 October 2014 to 12:00pm on 20 October 2014
  • Lent Term: 12:00pm on 7 January 2015 to 12:00pm on 26 January 2015

What is a capped or controlled access course?

Some graduate courses have been designated as capped or ‘controlled access’ due to limited places and/or prerequisites that are required in order to study the course. These will be highlighted green on the list of available courses to select. Please refer to the controlled access course guidance note for full details on selecting these courses.

Please remember that if you are offered a place on a controlled access course, you must log in to LSE for You and accept the place within 48 hours.

What are the methods of assessment?

How a course is assessed is indicated in the course guide for each course under the 'Assessment' heading.

When are the exams?

The written unseen examinations are held in June.

What are outside options? Can I take them?

Outside options are courses that are not in your programme regulations. All Departments in the School offer a range of courses, which can be taken by any student provided the course requirements, are met. If you wish to take a course not in your programme regulations (including GV courses) then you will need to obtain the teacher's permission and your supervisor's approval.


Further Information


For questions concerning admission procedures, see Graduate Admissions FAQ's|.

For information on accommodation, see Accommodation Office|.

For financial support and scholarships, see Financial Support Office|.

For visas, see ISIS|.

If after having read through all the questions and you still have questions or concerns, contact the Government Department:

Justin Holder
Administrative Assistant|
+44 20 7955 6816