How to contact us

Department of Social Policy

2nd Floor, Old Building

London School of Economics and Political Science

Houghton Street

London WC2A 2AE

For further enquiries :

Debra Ogden

Department Deputy Manager

Examination and assessment

Formative coursework

Formative coursework does not count towards your final degree. Its purpose is to provide you with informal feedback from seminar teachers, which will help you to develop your analytical and writing skills ahead of summative coursework and examinations.  All courses include some kind of formative assessment.

Please consult the appropriate course director/administrator for guidance on the requirements for the format and submission of formative coursework as procedures vary across courses.

Summative coursework

Summative (assessed) coursework, does count towards your final degree and, along with your written examinations, is designed to evaluate your level of academic achievement.


Many students spend a lot of unnecessary time and money on the external presentation of their summative coursework. For an essay, a stapled document is sufficient. Dissertations, however, should be bound (e.g. spiral, tape, or slide binding) since they are generally larger documents.  

You will not be given extra marks for external presentation – it is the content of your work that is being examined.


The Department of Social Policy has standard procedures for the submission of summative coursework for all of its courses (any course with the prefix SA). When submitting your work (essay, long essay, dissertation, project etc.) please ensure that you adhere to these procedures:

  • Ensure that your assessed work is anonymous.
    Your name must not appear anywhere on the coursework or the coversheet. Your five digit candidate number (available via LSE for You from mid-November) should be the only means of identifying your work. Administrative staff within the Department will not accept assessed work from you if it does not carry your candidate number.
  • Submit an electronic version of the coursework (Word or PDF format only) via Moodle before 12:00 (midday) on the given deadline date
    EXCEPTION: Dissertations will need to be submitted in hard copy as well as electronic format- please refer to the appropriate course Moodle page for further instruction.
  • Please refer to the instructions on the appropriate course Moodle page. The file name must be your five digit candidate number (e.g. 12345.doc)  and NOT your name, LSE student number, the course code or the essay title.
The Declaration

The School considers academic integrity to be an issue of the utmost importance. Under the Conditions of Registration for your programme of study you consented to all of your summative coursework (essays, projects, dissertations, etc) being analysed by plagiarism detection software.

The Department of Social Policy submits all summative coursework to Turnitin UK (iParadigms) for textual similarity review and the detection of plagiarism. Copies of all papers submitted to this software will be retained as source documents in the iParadigms reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the use of presentation of any work by others, whether published or not, and can include the work of other candidates. Any quotation from the published or unpublished work of other persons including other candidates must be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form.
You can find out more about plagiarism, and how to avoid it here

Students  have the option to submit their coursework to Turnitin themselves, prior to their final submission. This may be useful to make sure that you have not inadvertently plagiarised other work, for which you would still be held responsible.

Here is a student support guide on how to submit your work to Turnitin and how to interpret your Turnitin Originality report.

If you wish to submit your coursework to Turnitin yourself, make sure that you submit it
‘in draft’ on Moodle and NOT ‘for grading’. As long as you submit in draft, you will be able to finalise your coursework before submitting for grading. ONLY when you are sure that you want to finally submit your work for grading should you choose this option. Once your work is submitted for grading, you will not be able to change it.

When you submit the electronic copy in Moodle you will be asked to confirm, by submission that you understand the School's regulations on plagiarism and assessment, and by submitting your work on Moodle you are confirming that all work contained within your work is your own, apart from properly referenced quotations.


Publication of assessed coursework

You will be invited to give signed consent for the Department to use your summative coursework as an example of good practice for future groups of students. Should the Department select your coursework for this purpose, please be aware that it may be published on the Department website, Moodle or Public Folders. You are under no obligation to provide consent for publication; it is optional.

All essays and dissertations submitted by students for assessment at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels are their own intellectual property. Therefore, students and graduates are free to use the content for publication elsewhere. It would be good practice to acknowledge the fact that the content has been submitted for assessment at LSE, for example, by including a note at the end of a journal article to say 'This article is based on a Masters dissertation submitted to the London School of Economics and Political Science as part of the MSc (fill name) in (fill year)'.

Further queries?

If you have any questions or queries about the general requirements for submitting your summative coursework, please contact the course administrator.

For information about a specific assignment (e.g. content, structure, format and length) students should refer to the relevant course guide, course Moodle pages or contact the course director/administrator.


If a student believes that he/she has good cause not to meet the deadline (e.g. illness/injury, bereavement or other serious personal circumstances), he/she should first discuss the matter with the course teacher and seek a formal extension, to be ratified by the Chair of the appropriate Sub-Board of Examiners.

If a student misses the deadline for submission he/she should first discuss the matter with the course teacher. If the student feels he/she had good cause for missing the submission deadline (e.g. illness/injury, bereavement or other serious personal circumstances), he/she may seek a formal extension, to be ratified by the Chair of the appropriate Sub-Board of Examiners.

Extensions will be granted only where there is good cause backed by official supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate), and where the circumstances are unforeseen and out of the student's control. All evidence must be in English. Any extension granted must be confirmed in writing to the student.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you wish to make the Sub-Board of Examiners aware of your circumstances and how you feel these have affected your assessed performance, please refer to the Student Service Centre webpage and complete the Exceptional Circumstances form (available online and from the Student Service Centre).  The form  must be accompanied by official, original evidence of your circumstances (such as doctor's letter, hospital note, death certificate, police reports).

This form  and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Student Services Centre on the ground floor of the Old Building within seven days after your last exam, or after your dissertation/coursework submission deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that any documentation or letters that you have given to the Department about your circumstances over the year are sent to the Student Services Centre if you wish them to be considered by the Board of Examiners.


Penalties for the late submission of summative coursework 

If a student fails to submit by the set deadline (or extended deadline as appropriate), the following penalty will apply:

Five marks out of 100 will be deducted for coursework submitted within 24 hours of the deadline and a further five marks will be deducted for each subsequent 24-hour period (working days only) until the coursework is submitted.  After five working days, coursework will only be accepted with the permission of the Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners.

Exceeding the word limit 

If it is clear that a piece of coursework exceeds the set word limit, the markers will make a judgement based only on the content up to the word limit.

Exceeding the page limit

If a piece of coursework exceeds the set page limit, the markers will make a judgement based only on the content up to the page limit.


Students will receive feedback on any summative coursework they are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted long essays/dissertations). They will normally receive this feedback before the examination period.

The following information should be taken into account with regards to the feedback on your summative coursework.

  • In order to ensure anonymity in the marking process, under no circumstances should you contact either your lecturer or class teacher regarding the feedback you receive. 
  • The Department  issues feedback with an indication of a provisional mark to students for summative work.
  • Summative work is marked by two internal markers and may also be reviewed by an External Examiner.


Examinations for all courses take place during the summer term (May/June). There are a few exams held outside this period and you will be informed if this applies to any of your courses.

The examination timetable will be available at the end of the Lent Term. You must be available to sit your examinations and answer any queries about your script up to the end of the Summer Term (early July). You can obtain your unique candidate number and personal examination timetable via LSE for You from the end of the Lent Term.

To help you prepare effectively for your examinations you should make yourself fully aware of the format and syllabus to be covered in the examinations. Specimen examination papers (or appropriate examination-type questions) are provided for (i) any new course or (ii) an existing course where there have been significant changes to the syllabus in the current academic year. Permitted materials are also specified early in the year.

Past papers can be access via the Library web pages (access restricted to LSE network only).

Marking procedures

All assessed work (coursework and examination scripts) must be anonymous and distinguished only by candidate number. Names and candidate numbers are not matched until after the final Examination Board. Each script is marked independently by two internal markers. A final mark is obtained when these two markers meet to confer and agree marks. In cases where the markers are unable to agree a mark, the paper in question is sent to an External Examiner. The External Examiner also receives a sample of scripts and other assessed material from the top, the middle and the bottom of the range in order to confirm that internal marking has been consistent and of an appropriate standard. They shall normally be sent examination scripts and other work that have been assessed internally as meriting a first / distinction or a failure.

Marking schemes