teaching and support

Graduate teaching, supervision and support


Lectures are an integral part of your programme and will introduce themes and ideas on a particular topic before the corresponding seminar. Every lecture at the LSE is open to all students, subject to space in the lecture theatre, so if you would like to attend additional lectures out of interest, and your timetable permits, do take advantage of this opportunity. Attendance at seminars is compulsory and attendance is recorded

Supervision- the Academic Advisor

At the start of your degree programme, you will be assigned an Academic Adviser, who is also usually your dissertation supervisor. Your Academic Adviser is your tutor and will guide and assist you in your learning development and is also available to help with any personal difficulties.

The Academic Adviser’s responsibilities include:

  • Providing academic guidance and feedback on students' progress and performance and to discuss any academic problems they might experience.
  • Providing pastoral support on non-academic issues and referring students to the appropriate support services within the School.
  • Implementing the provisions outlined in Inclusion Plans (IPs) for disabled students, in liaison with the School's Disability and Well-Being Service.
  • Advising /approving course selection.
  • Informing the Programme Director and School of any student whose progress is not satisfactory.

You should make arrangements to see your adviser and aim to do so at least twice each term, or more frequently if you are having particular difficulties. You can also use the advice and feedback hour system to keep in touch with your Academic Adviser. Any issues that cannot be resolved with your adviser can be taken to your Programme Director.

Advice and Feedback hours

The purpose of “advice and feedback hours” is to give students regular access to teachers. This gives you the opportunity to talk to your course teachers on a 1-2-1 basis. If you need clarification on a particular topic, are having any difficulties with the course, or if you are interested in their particular field of study and want to know more, you can visit the course teacher during their advice and feedback hour. You can see any teacher during their advice and feedback hour, even if you are not a student on one of their courses.

All teachers hold an advice and feedback hour at least once a week during term time. Some teachers operate a drop in session, whilst others ask you to book an appointment via LSE for You. You can check a teacher’s advice and feedback hour on the Who’s Who pages of the departmental website, on the sign outside their office door and, for some courses, on Moodle. If you are unable to attend a particular advice and feedback hour, for example because of a timetable clash, you can contact the individual teacher to arrange an appointment at an alternative time.

Role of the Programme Director

A Programme Director is responsible for each taught programme. The responsibilities of the Programme Director include:

  • Providing students with detailed information about their programme.
  • Providing a programme induction for new students, including information on the selection of options and arrangements for supervision.
  • Arranging regular termly meetings with student programme representatives and the nomination of a representative(s) to the Department's Staff-Student Liaison Committee.
  • Providing a direct channel of communication between the School and any student who is encountering academic or pastoral difficulties.
  • Agreeing, where appropriate, a student's request for course choice outside the degree regulations.
  • Agreeing, where appropriate, a student's request for a degree transfer.

Requesting written references

If you are asking an academic to write a reference for you, you should be aware of the following guidelines:

  • Please give referees at least three weeks' notice before the reference is due. Senior members of staff in particular may well be asked to write scores of references every term. Often each reference requires updating or adaptation to a specific job or scholarship. It is in your own interest to give the referee enough time to do it justice.
  • Never put down someone's name as a referee without asking them in advance.
  • Provide all the information needed to write the reference. Make sure that you have filled out your part of any form you submit.
  • It is helpful if you include all the information your Academic Adviser will need in a single email, with a clear subject line. You might, for example, wish to remind them of scholarships awarded or internships undertaken.
  • Sometimes an application requires a reference from the Programme Director. If so, the usual practice is for your Academic Adviser to produce a draft which the Programme Director will then sign.
  • Once someone agrees to be a referee, he or she has the obligation to do the job on time. Inevitably, busy people writing scores of references sometimes forget so gentle reminders are worthwhile.
  • By putting your CV on the CV builder on LSE for You, your referee will be able to see your work experience and extra-curricular activities, so enabling them to write a fuller reference for you. You should not normally name your Academic Adviser as a referee for a job unless you have first discussed the matter with him or her, although a general discussion may result in a blanket permission to use his or her name as a referee if you are applying for a number of jobs.