FAQs for offer holders and current students: general

Attention prospective applicants

Please read the FAQs for applicants wishing to apply for the BSc IRMSc IR and MSc IR ResearchMSc IR TheoryMSc IPE and MSc IPE ResearchMPhil/PhD programme.

If you have any questions about applying to or studying at LSE, you're welcome to get in touch with LSE's Student Marketing and Recruitment team.

To answer many of your current concerns, please also read

LSE coronavirus/COVID-19 changes to processes for admission to LSE


The FAQ is divided into the following sections:

Please note:

During the summer 2020, you will be receive lots of information about your registration at the School from the Student Services Centre, as well as frequent emails from the International Relations Department. We look forward to welcoming you to our Department!

These FAQs are updated in the spring/summer of each year, when arrangements for the coming academic session have been finalised.

1. What are the dates of the terms in 2020-21

You can find out the dates of our terms at LSE Term Dates.

2. Where is the Department of International Relations located?

We are located on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the new Centre Building, Houghton Street (see Finding your way around LSE: room numbering and accessibility), at the heart of the main LSE campus. 

3. What is the difference between a 'course' and a 'programme'?

The term 'programme' refers to your degree as a whole – either the 3 years of the BSc International Relations or the year-long MSc degrees.

The term ‘course’ refers to individual courses such as ‘IR100 Theories and Concepts in International Relations’ or 'IR410 International Politics'. They can either be full year courses (ie teaching takes place in both the Michaelmas and Lent terms) or half unit courses (with teaching taking place in just one of these terms). 

You may also find your academic mentor referring to ‘papers’. These are the individual components of your ‘degree programme’. A ‘paper’ may entail a single compulsory course (ie Paper 2 on the BSc IR degree is IR101 Contemporary Issues in International Relations or Paper 1 on the MSc IR is IR410 International Politics) or it may entail a choice from a selection of courses. 

Don't worry, it will all make sense after the welcome orientation sessions and your first meeting with your academic mentor!

4. What is the difference between a 'class' and a 'seminar'?

Classes are held for undergraduate students to provide an opportunity to discuss issues raised in lectures and as a result of private study. In the 1st and 2nd year, classes normally have up to 14 students and meet for one hour a week. In the 3rd year, many of the specialist half unit options meet for 90 minutes or take the form of a two hour taught seminar. Most classes involve student presentations as a way of starting discussion.

Seminars are similar to classes but are held for postgraduate students and will normally have up to 15 students. They are normally 1.5 hours in length.

5. When are the welcome meetings? Is it important to attend?

The International Relations Department will be holding welcome meetings for new taught course IR students during Welcome.

Find out more here: IR Welcome webpage

It is important to attend all applicable sessions during Welcome as the structure of your course and administrative arrangements will be explained at this time, as well as other exciting opportunities in the department and across the School.  

You are expected to attend only the orientation meeting for the course for which you have been accepted. Occasionally some graduate students accept a place on a programme in the hope of changing their course of study on arrival. Please note that this is only allowed in exceptional circumstances and should be discussed with your academic mentor. 

6. Is there any formal representation of students in the IR Department?

Yes.  There are three International Relations Staff-Student Liaison Committees.

Find out more here

7. What is Millennium: Journal of International Studies?

Millennium is one of the pre-eminent journals in the field of international relations theory and has a world-wide circulation.  A number of Management Team positions are filled in November, normally by graduate students.

You will find out how to get involved in Millennium at the beginning of the session.

Find out more about Millennium: Journal of International Studies.

8. When will I be given access to email? Can I access reading lists before the session begins?

If you are coming to the IR Department as a BSc IR or General Course student, you will be sent detailed information over the summer regarding the date from which you can access your LSE tech log-in and email account. For new undergraduate students this information will be sent to you along with your statement of confirmation once all conditions attached to your offer have been met.

LSE tech log-in for new students is likely to be activated during September, prior to registration. Once you have been granted access, you will be able to make your course selection via LSE For You (see also FAQs for New Students - first year undergraduates Qn 6), and to register on Moodle, the School's virtual learning environment, where you will find reading lists and other information, even if you decide not to take the subject as an examination option.

If you are coming to the IR Department as a post-graduate student, you should check the Graduate Admissions website during the summer for a link to information regarding your log-in and email access which will be via the School's LSE For You.

9. Tell me more about Moodle, the virtual learning environment

Moodle is the easy-to-navigate web-based location for course materials for IR Department courses. It is also used for submission of exams and assessments, additional teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication and important notices.


More information

10. What study skills support is provided by the School?

The School offers a range of study support facilities, via

Learning, Technology and Innovation at LSE support includes study skills lectures and workshops as well as one-to-one tutorials. 

11. Does the department award any student prizes?

Yes! We offer a range of competitions and prizes throughout the year.

Find out more.

12. How many hours a week are given over to lectures and classes/seminars? How is teaching distributed across the three terms?

For each examinable course that you will be taking, there will normally be a weekly 1-hour lecture and an accompanying 1-hour or 1.5 hour weekly class (for undergraduates) or 1.5 hour weekly seminar (for MSc students). These normally run during Michaelmas and Lent Terms with a revision session in Week 1 of the Summer Term. In Week 6 of both the Michaelmas and Lent Terms there will be a 'reading week' with no lectures or classes/seminars.

Sometimes you will also be advised by the Course Coordinator to attend a complementary set of lectures. Details of the teaching arrangements for individual courses can be found in the relevant Undergraduate course guides and Postgraduate course guides

You can also view the online School Timetable. This will tell you the terms in which teaching is held, ie: MT = Michaelmas Term, LT = Lent Term, ST = Summer Term, the week in which teaching for a given course begins, the room and any room changes that are due during the course of the year. You will need your LSE username and password. Postgraduate courses can be viewed from mid-August onwards and Undergraduate courses from mid-September onwards.

13. Can I record lectures and access lecture notes?

Many lectures are recorded and made available as video podcasts. The recording of other lectures requires the consent of the lecturers, who may also distribute lecture notes and slides at their own discretion. 

The LSE Disability and Wellbeing Service can put in place Inclusion Plans to help you.

14. How often will I meet my academic mentor?

You can find out all about your academic mentor relationship and associated responsibilities on the Academic Mentor Portal.

15. Do students usually work to support themselves while studying, and what paid jobs are available within the school? Also, are internships arranged by the department?

Some students do take on part-time work during their studies, however the School has relatively few part-time employment opportunities. You may find it helpful to ask the Library and your hall of residence if there are any vacancies. You should also register with LSE Careers and check the LSE Career Hub which is regularly updated with part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities.

The department runs an in-house Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (open to second year undergraduates only), and an Internship Fund Scheme in liaison with LSE Careers. Read about them and how to apply on the Internships webpage.

You may also find the LSE Careers webpages on Internships and Work Experience helpful. If you are planning to pursue any form of internship or part-time work, it is advisable to speak to your academic mentor beforehand to ensure that the time commitment involved will be compatible with your studies. Graduate students may be interested in the LSE Internship Scheme.

16. When will the exams be held and when will the examination timetable be available?

Exams are held in the Summer Term, from week 2. The examination timetable, which is organised by the School's Examinations Office, is normally published by the end of the Lent Term.

More information

17. What careers do most IR graduates move into?

IR graduates follow a wide range of careers!

For more detail, please visit

18. Is there anything I should read before starting in late September?

The Undergraduate Course guides or Postgraduate Course guides give lots of details about course availability, content, teaching hours and assessment method. They also give an indicative reading list for each course.  

Please note that the course guides will be updated for 2020/21 by the end of August 2020.

19. Can you tell me about the social/study events in the IR Department?

The IR Department is a very busy place! We run a full schedule of extra-curricular events to help you gain a broader understanding of the discipline of IR, and to help you build connections in the IR domain. 

In addition to our public lectures, we also hold a range of less formal lunchtime seminars.

Find out more about the range of events on our Current Students webpages.

20.  What should I do if I feel bullied or harassed?

The School has a network of anti-bullying and anti-harassment advisers known as 'Safe Contacts'. All Safe Contacts are members of LSE staff who have received training and can offer a confidential 'signposting' service for staff and students who have previously or are currently experiencing some form of bullying or harassment.

Find out more about how to contact the Safe Contacts, or other ways to report bullying or harassment at

Safe Contacts and Support


Read more of our FAQs for offer holders and current students: