Guidelines for interpreting course guide information


Course guides provide students with information about their courses, including:

  • the programmes on which a course is available and whether there are any pre-requisites for entry;
  • its academic content (i.e. what it is about) summarised in the 'course content';
  • how it is taught and assessed;
  • some key facts (e.g. total number of students and average class size from previous year);
  • in some cases, limited survey results about the course; and
  • in some cases, information about how previous students have performed.

Please note that changes to course guides can sometimes occur after a student has been offered a place at LSE or from one year to the next. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes may include altered content, teaching formats or assessment modes for example, and any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. The Calendar is published each year in late August before the start of each academic session and certain substantive changes will be listed in advance on the updated undergraduate and graduate course and programme information pages.

The guidance below explains how to interpret some of this information.

Keys facts:

Includes basic information about the course, such as the lead department (designated by the first two letters of the course code, for example 'AC' for Accounting), total number of students on the course and average class size from previous year, and the unit (full-unit, half-unit, or non-assessed).
Plus, in some cases:

  • Whether the course was 'capped' or used 'controlled access' in the previous year:

    On the LSE for You course choice system for undergraduate students some courses are labelled as 'capped'. As soon as the number of students registered reaches the capped number, the status of these courses will change to "full" and no one else will be able to select them. They are managed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

    Some graduate courses are designated as 'controlled access' due to limited places and/or prerequisites that are required in order to study the course. Students will need to apply to the teaching department for permission to take the course in LSE for You before being allowed to register for it.
  • Whether the course used lecture capture in the previous year. This includes whether lecture capture was used in one or both of the two main teaching terms, Michaelmas term (MT) and/or Lent term (LT). Summer term is not included as it is predominantly comprises revision sessions and examinations. 'Yes' will be displayed only when the course used lecture capture 5 times or more each term.

Please note that the key facts are derived from the available data taken from various School systems. Due to the complexities of some course arrangements, course suspensions and the introduction of new courses, data is not always available from the previous year for every course or for every key fact.

Personal development skills:

Sets out the skills students will acquire if they engage with the course and its assessments.

Course survey results:

Show the results from the 'course' section of the internal class/seminar survey, averaged across three years. The 'teaching' results of the internal survey remain confidential between the teacher and the School, and are used to put in place teaching support arrangements where necessary.

Not all course guides will include survey information, e.g. where the course is new and there are not yet three years' worth of survey results (it is open to the teacher responsible to include less than three years' worth of survey results, but he/she is not required to); or where a new teacher has taken over delivery of an existing course.

Also, under the Data Protection Act, it is open to teachers who deliver a course entirely on their own (e.g. where one member of staff delivers all lectures and classes/seminars for a course) to with-hold course survey results.

Student performance results:

Show student performance on the course by class distribution, averaged across three years. Not all course guides will include course results - this is optional by department.

Teacher comments:

Shows comments from the teacher responsible. These can be contextual comments about the survey and course results. The comments might include excerpts from external examiner reports, or explain recent changes that have been made to the course in response to student and other feedback. They might also explain the position and role of the course within the wider programme.

For the avoidance of doubt, teachers responsible are not required to provide comments. This field might therefore not be included for some courses.

'Course' survey questions:

  • Reading List (Q2.9 & Q2.9b) - "Do you have a reading list for this course?” (If yes) “The reading list(s) was useful for my learning.”
  • Moodle/Course Materials (Q2.10 & Q2.11) - “I found Moodle useful for my studies on this course.” (and) “The course material provided was useful for my studies and learning.”
  • Course Satisfied (Q2.13) - “Overall, I am satisfied with my experience on this course.”

  • Integration (Q2.12 & Q2.12a) - “Do you have lectures for this course?” (If yes) “I am satisfied with the integration of classes/ seminars with lectures on this course.”

  • Contact (Q2.4) - “I am satisfied with the amount of contact time with teachers for this course.”
  • Feedback (Q2.8) - “The feedback I received has helped my learning and performance on the course.”
  • Recommend course (Q2.14) - "Would you recommend this course to other students?"

'Course' survey scale:

The results to each question are measured on a 1-5 scale:

  • Questions 2.8, 2.9b, 2.10, 2.11, 2.12b, 2.13, 2.7 and 2.8 – 1 being ‘Definitely Agree’ and 5 being 'Definitely Disagree’.

The results to question 2.9 and 2.12 are presented as two possible answers: Yes/No

The results to question 2.14 are presented as three possible answers: Yes/Maybe/No.