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Graduate teaching, supervision and support

Please also refer to the Code of Good Practice for Taught Masters Programmes: Teaching, Learning and Assessment


Lectures are an integral part of your programme and you are strongly advised to attend, although attendance is not monitored. Every lecture course at the LSE is open to all students, so if you would like to attend additional lectures of interest, and your timetable permits, do take advantage of this opportunity.

Please note that it is up to the teacher responsible for each course to decide on practice in relation to the availability of lecture materials/notes.

Attendance at graduate seminars is recorded.  You are expected to participate and it is highly recommended that you do so.

If you are having difficulty with lectures or seminars, the first person to approach is the course teacher concerned. Request an appointment and explain the problem to them. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, or if you still have concerns, consult your Academic Adviser or Programme Director without delay.

Supervision – the academic adviser 

At the start of your degree programme, you will be assigned an academic adviser. This is usually a member of the Department teaching staff. Your academic adviser is expected to guide and assist you in your learning development and is also available to help with any personal difficulties.

The academic adviser's responsibilities include:

  • To provide academic guidance and feedback on students' progress and performance and to discuss any academic problems they might experience.
  • To provide pastoral support on non-academic issues and to refer students, as necessary, to the appropriate support agencies within the School.
  • To implement the provisions outlined in Individual Student Support Agreements (ISSAs) for students with disabilities, in liaison with the School's Disability and Well-Being Office.
  • To maintain regular contact with students on academic and pastoral issues through direct one-to-one meetings and other means of communication, such as emails. The number and nature of meetings may vary between departments and programmes as detailed in the relevant handbook.
  • To agree students' course choices via LSE for You.
  • To inform the Programme Director and School of any students whose progress is not satisfactory.

The onus is on you to make arrangements to see your adviser and you should aim to do so at least twice each term, or more frequently if you are having particular difficulties. As office hours are intended to be used for general student enquiries, you can also see your adviser outside these times by making an appointment. The adviser may arrange this directly or alternatively post an appointments sheet outside their office so that you can book a convenient slot.

Students should regard their academic advisers as their first port of call in relation to both academic and welfare matters. Any issues that cannot be resolved with your adviser can be taken to a member of your programme team, your Programme Director or, ultimately, the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Role of the programme director 

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

  • Arranging to provide incoming students with detailed information on their respective programme, including up-to-date information on the availability of optional courses in the coming session via departmental web pages.
  • Providing a departmental induction programme for new students, including information on the selection of options and arrangements for supervision.
  • Monitoring the academic and pastoral care provided by members of his or her department, including the provision of reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities.
  • Arranging regular termly meetings of the programme sub-committee 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.