FAQs for offer holders and current students: general

Prospective applicants

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) for applicants wishing to apply for the BSc IRMSc IR and MSc IR ResearchMSc IR TheoryMSc IPE and MSc IPE ResearchMPhil/PhD programme.


The FAQ is divided into the following sections:

Please note:

During the summer 2018, you will be receiving materials about your registration at the School from the Student Services Centre, and also a welcome letter with some suggested summer reading from the International Relations (IR) Department. Please read these materials carefully before your arrival. A detailed IR Handbook will also be given to you at the beginning of your course. In the meantime, you may find the answers to your questions on this site. You may also find it helpful to look at Welcome Week.

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

1. What are the dates of the terms in 2017-18

Michaelmas term: Thursday 21 September 2017 to Friday 8 December 2017 (Teaching begins on Monday, 25 September 2017).

Lent term exams: Tuesday 2 January to Friday 5 January 2018

Lent-term: Monday 8 January 2018 to Friday 23 March 2018

Summer term: Monday 23 April 2018 to Friday 8 June 2018

School Reading Weeks are the weeks beginning 30 October 2017 and 12 February 2018.

2. Where is the Department of International Relations located?

The IR Department is located in Clement House, 99 Aldwych (see Finding your way around LSE: room numbering and accessibility), a few minutes' walk away from the main LSE campus. (Please note that the postal address is LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE).

Academic staff offices are located on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th floors and administrative staff offices are located on the 6th floor, as are notice boards, academic and administrative staff postboxes and student pigeonholes.

A small suite of staff offices is also located in 95 Aldwych, next door to Clement House.

We also have a Graduate Teaching Assistants' room and two research student rooms in 'SHF' building in Sheffield Street, plus a Teaching Fellows room in Lincoln Chambers.

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 Concepts of International Society’ 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 Adviser referring to ‘papers’.  These are the individual components of your ‘degree programme’.  A ‘paper’ may entail a single compulsory course (ie Paper 5 on the BSc IR degree is IR200 International Political Theory or Paper 1 on the MSc IR is IR410 International Politics) or it may entail a choice from a selection of courses. 

A bit confusing: but don't worry.  It will all make sense after the welcome orientation sessions and your first meeting with your Academic Adviser!

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 is the orientation meeting? Is it important to attend?

The International Relations Department will be holding orientation meetings for new taught course IR students on Thursday 21 September and for new research students on Friday 22 September 2017.  Here you will meet the Deputy Head of Department (Teaching and Learning), and the Programme Directors for the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.  

  • BSc IR
    Open to first year undergraduates
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 13.00-14.00
    New Academic Building, Thai Theatre (see also Qn 1 BSc IR)

  • BSc IR year 2 re-orientation
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 10.00-11.00
    Room: Tower 2, Room 2.04

  • BSc IR year 3 re-orientation
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 11.00-12.00
    New Academic Building, Thai Theatre

  • General course
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 15.00-16.00
    32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Room LG.04

  • MSc IR
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 13.30-14.30
    Tower 1, Room G.01

  • MSc IPE (International Political Economy)/MSc IPE Research
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 12.00-13.00
    Clement House, Room 2.02

  • SPDD (Sciences Po-LSE Double Degree in Affaires Internationales and IR/IPE)
    Thursday 21 September 2017, 09.00-09.30
    New Academic Building Room 1.15
    DD students should also attend the MSc IR or MSc IPE meetings above, depending on their choice of programme

  • (Overview of) Relevant Courses offered by the Methodology Department
    Open to MSc and PhD students
    Friday 22 September 2017, 10.00-10.20
    Clement House, Room 6.02
    Dr. David Hendry will give a short talk about available courses, workshops and other support that the Methodology Department provide

  • MSc IR Theory (IRT) and MSc IR Research
    Friday 22 September 2017, 10.20-11.30
    Clement House, Room 2.06

  • Overview of) Student Wellbeing Service (SWS)
    Open to all IR students
    Friday 22 Sept 11.30-11.45
    Clement House, Room 6.02

  • (Overview of) Opportunities with LSE Careers Service
    Open to all IR students
    Friday 22 Sept 12.00-12.30
    Clement House, Room 6.02

  • (Overview of) Opportunities with the Widening Participation Team
    Open to all IR students
    Friday 22 Sept 12.30-13.00
    Clement House, Room 6.02

  • Research
    Open to new students only
    Friday 22 September 2017 15.00-16.30
    Clement House, Room 2.06

There will also be an IR Start-of-Session Undergraduate Party on Monday 25 September 2017 and an IR Start-of-Session Postgraduate Party on Thursday 28 September 2017, both from 18.00-20.00.  You will be notified of venue details.


It is important to attend your orientation meeting as the structure of your course and administrative arrangements will be explained at this time.

BSc, GC and some MSc appointments with Academic Advisers will be scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday 21 September and for Friday 22 September 2017, so we would be grateful if you could keep your diary free on those days.  If your Academic Adviser is unable to meet with you on the Thursday or Friday they will contact you directly to make alternative arrangements.

Please note that names of Academic Advisers and appointment times cannot be given out in advance and that it is not possible to request a particular Academic Adviser.    

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 Adviser. You are therefore expected to attend only the orientation meeting for the course for which you have been accepted.

6. Is there a departmental common room?

Yes.  There is a large IR student common room with study carrels and a large, open-plan area with soft seating on the 7th floor of Clement House (see Question 2 above).

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

Yes.  There are two International Relations Staff-Student Liaison Committees: an IR departmental Staff-Student Liaison Committee for Taught Courses (SSLCTC) and a Staff-Research Student Liaison Committee (SRSLC).  These provide forums in which students and Department representatives meet to discuss matters of common interest. These are consultative, not executive bodies.

The SSLCTC consists of the Deputy Head of Department (Teaching and Learning) as Chair, the Department Manager, the Committee Secretary and student representatives from each programme covered by the Committee.  The SSLCTC meets once in the Michaelmas Term and twice in the Lent Term.

The SRSLC consists of the Director of Doctoral Programmes as Chair, the Department Manager, the Research Programme Administrator as Committee Secretary, and students representing both new and continuing research students.  The SRSLC meets once a term.

Further details about elections for the two Committees and dates of meetings will be provided at the beginning of the session. 

8. Do you have an IR student society? What is the Grimshaw Club?

The Grimshaw Club is the oldest student society of the School and welcomes all students interested in current affairs.

For more information about the club's activities please visit the Grimshaw Club website.  

The Grimshaw Club can be contacted via

9. 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. Published by Sage, it is one of the few academic journals edited completely by postgraduate students, it maintains a high professional standard and has a reputation for publishing innovative work by young scholars as well as by established figures in the field.

Weekly Editorial Board meetings involve students in lively discussion and debate.  Furthermore, a number of Management Team positions will be filled in November, normally by graduate students.

Further information about how to get involved in Millennium will be provided at the beginning of the session. You can also read more about Millennium on the Millennium: Journal of International Studies webpage.

10. 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 in late August regarding the date from which you can access your LSE network log-in and email account. Please note that 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 network 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.

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 network log-in and email access which will be via the school's LSE For You.

Once you have an LSE network account, you will be able to register on Moodle, the School's virtual learning environment, and gain access to the readings and other information, even if you decide not to take the subject as an examination option.

11. What is Moodle?  Do you have a virtual learning environment?

Moodle is the web-based location for course materials for IR Department courses. It also provides for additional teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication.

Moodle sites can be accessed via the 'Moodle' link in the Workspace box of the Staff and Students section of the LSE website, or via the 'Apps' menu at top right-hand of the LSE website.


More information

Moodle sites are based on easy-to-navigate front pages, through which course materials, often arranged by topic, can be accessed. Each course has a different site, and each provides different resources, but sites include reading lists (most with links to the LSE library database and scanned readings), and some also include lecture handouts, notice boards, discussion groups, space for class presentations and other work, and past exam papers.

Notices about seminars and lectures may be posted on Moodle rather than emailed to students, so check the sites for your courses regularly.

You can view a list of all International Relations courses, on Moodle and once you have been issued with your LSE username and password you will be able to access the content.

12. What study skills support is provided by the school?

The School offers a range of study support facilities, via the LibraryIMT ServicesLSE Learning World (via Moodle, run by the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)), LSE Language Centre, and Student Services Centre

TLC support includes study skills lectures and workshops as well as one-to-one 'tutorials' for students requiring more detailed support. Easy access to the various events and support activities are available via LSE Learning World.

13. Does the department award any student prizes?

Yes.  Prizes to the value of £250 are awarded annually as follows:

  • BSc IR year 1 (The Geoffrey Stern prize): for the best IR100 Concepts of International Society examination performance by an IR student.

  • BSc IR year 2 (The Goodwin prize): for the best examination performance by a second year BSc IR student.

  • BSc IR year 3 (The Cora Bell Prize): for the best degree performance overall by a third year BSc IR student.

  • BSc IR year 3 (The Philip Noel-Baker dissertation prize): for the best 10,000 word BSc IR Dissertation.

  • MSc IR (The Philip Windsor dissertation prize): for the best 10,000 word MSc IR Dissertation.

  • MSc IR (The Michael Donelan prize): for the best IR410 examination performance.

  • MSc IPE (The Susan Strange dissertation prize): for the best 10,000 word MSc IPE Dissertation.

  • MSc IRT Dissertation Prize (The Fred Halliday dissertation prize): for the best 10,000 word MSc IRT Dissertation.

  • MSc IR Research/MSc International Political Economy Research (The Martin Wight dissertation prize): for the best 10,000 word MSc IR Research or MSc IPE Research Dissertation (sponsored by the Martin Wight Memorial Trust).

Those awarded prizes will be notified after the relevant examination board meetings.  

14. 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'.

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.

15. Can I tape lectures and access lecture notes?

Many lectures are 'captured' 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 department will make reasonable adjustments for the needs of students with disabilities.

16. How often will I meet my academic adviser?

17. 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, as it is important not to over-commit yourself, it is advisable to speak to your Academic Adviser about any such plans. Unfortunately, the School has relatively few part-time employment opportunities but 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 does not arrange internships, but you may find the LSE Careers webpages on Internships and Work Experience helpful. If you are planning to pursue this, it is advisable to speak to your Academic Adviser beforehand to ensure that the time commitment involved will be compatible with your studies. Graduate students may be interested in the LSE Internship Scheme.

18. When will the examinations be held and when will the examination timetable be available?

Examinations are held in the Summer Term, from week 2. The examination timetable, which is organised by the School's Examinations Office not the IR Department, is normally published by the end of the Lent Term.

More information

19. What careers do most IR graduates move into?

Please see our webpage on recent IR career destinations, and the International Relations pages at LSE Careers which feature IR graduate career destinations, undergraduate and post-graduate careers, and graduate profiles.

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

See Undergraduate Course guides or Postgraduate Course guides, where you will find details regarding course availability, content, teaching hours, assessment method and an indicative reading list for each course.  Please note that the course guides will be updated for 2017/18 by the end of August 2017.

21. Are there any social/study events in the IR Department?

The IR Department holds a number of social events during the year and the Student Union society Grimshaw Club offers a varied programme of both social and study events.

The IR Department also hosts a weekend conference during the session, though space is necessarily limited.   It is held at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park (to the west of London) in late November and provides an opportunity to discuss a particular topic in depth, and enable staff and students to mix informally in pleasant surroundings. Further details about signing up for the conference will be provided at the beginning of the session.

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

The School now has a network of anti-bullying and anti-harassment advisers (ABHAs). This is made up of a team of appointed and trained ABHAs, who offer a confidential “signposting” service for staff and students who may be experiencing some form of harassment or bullying. The ABHAs are all volunteers, who are committed to supporting LSE’s inclusive working, studying and social environment. 

Drop in sessions are available between 1pm and 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in LRB 5.24 (accessible via the Portugal Street entrance to the Lionel Robbins building). There is no need to book for these – just take a seat outside the room, and an adviser will meet with you. If you would like to make an appointment outside of these hours, please email Joy Whyte.


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