FAQs for offer holders and current students: general

Prospective applicants

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.


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.


The FAQ is divided into the following sections:

Please note:

During the summer 2019, you will be receiving materials about your registration at the School from the Student Services Centre, as well as frequent correspondence 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 2019-20

Visit LSE Term Dates to find out the dates of our terms.

2. Where is the Department of International Relations located?

The IR Department is located on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Centre Building, Houghton Street (see Finding your way around LSE: room numbering and accessibility), at the heart of the main LSE campus. (Please note that the postal address is LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE).

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. 

A bit confusing: but 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 Week.

Find out more here: IR Welcome webpage

It is important to attend all sessions (where applicable) during Welcome Week 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.  

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

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

Yes.  There are three International Relations Staff-Student Liaison Committees: two IR departmental Staff-Student Liaison Committees (SSLC) 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.

Further details

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.

Information about how to get involved in Millennium will be provided 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 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.

9. 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.


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 readings that are available through the LSE library electronically), and some also include lecture handouts and slides, 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.

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

The School offers a range of study support facilities, via LSE Lifethe LibraryIMT ServicesLSE Language Centre, and Student Services Centre

Learning, Technology and Innovation at LSE support includes study skills lectures and workshops as well as one-to-one 'tutorials' for students requiring more detailed support. 

11. 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 Theories and Concepts of International Relations 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.

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

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 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.

14. How often will I meet my academic mentor?

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 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

17. What careers do most IR graduates move into?

Please see our webpage on recent IR career destinations, and the What do LSE Graduates Do? page from LSE Careers which features statistics on career destinations and IR graduate profiles.

18. 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 2019/20 by the end of August 2019.

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

The IR Department holds a number of social events during the year, including termly parties, and weekly or bi-weekly seminars designed to complement your studies and support professional development.

The IR Department also hosts a weekend conference at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park (to the west of London) in late November, open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Further details about signing up for the conference will be provided at the beginning of the session.

20.  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) - see the Campus Accessibility Map. 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 the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) office.


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