The Admissions process

Understand how the admissions process works, from completing your application, to getting your decision.

We will keep you up to date throughout the admissions process by publishing our current processing times, and giving you access to the application tracker.

The information below gives a little more detail as to how your application will proceed.

Completing your application

Programme selectors will not consider incomplete applications, and you will not be able to finally submit your application until we receive the outstanding documentation.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete. You should also be aware that all documents are non-returnable.

All applicants are required to submit:

  • The completed application form
  • Application assessment fee
  • Two academic references
  • Transcripts
  • Statement of academic purpose
  • CV

Some applicants may additionally be asked to provide:

  • GRE or GMAT test scores
  • Research proposal
  • Sample of written work

For details on which documents you will be required to submit, and all relevant rules and exceptions, please see our guide to supporting documents.

Submitting your application

You should submit your application and supporting documents online.

Please make sure that all scanned documents are legible, and attached in a commonly used format such as jpeg, pdf or Word document. Each attachment must be smaller than 2MB in size.

If you are unable to upload your documents you may send them via post and we will upload them on your behalf. The address is:

Graduate Admissions Office
The London School of Economics and Political Science
PO Box 13420
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

If you are sending your documents by courier service, omit PO Box 13420 from the above address. All post is received by our central post room.

Please do not send supporting documents directly to the academic department as this will delay your application.

Wherever possible, please send all supporting documents in a single package. If this is not possible (for example where your referee is sending a reference to us directly) please ensure that all documents bear your full name as it appears on the application form and your date of birth or programme choice(s). Additional documents/information can also be sent at any point during the admissions cycle using our online form.

Please note that we will acknowledge documents which are posted/emailed to us when they are processed rather than when they are received. Please check the current processing date before contacting us regarding your documents.

Once you have submitted your application

Once you have completed and submitted your application, it will join a queue to be processed. You can check our current processing dates online.

Remember, your application will not be processed until your referees upload their references, so make sure they are prepared to submit them as soon as possible.

Document check

As soon as your application is processed, we will send you an email with your application number and details of any documents which are missing or illegible. If there are any missing or illegible documents, you will need to submit these before your application proceeds to the next stage.

Application passed to selectors

Once all required documents have been received and processed,  the file is passed to the selectors for your first choice. We will send you an email when this happens.

Please note: Your application will only be considered for your second choice if your first choice application is unsuccessful or if the first choice programme has already closed.

Time-frame for decisions

Master's and diploma applications: We operate a rolling application system throughout the year. The first offers will be released from January onwards. We aim to release decisions within eight weeks of our acknowledgement of your complete application, but at busy times the decision time increases. Our busiest times are following the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the days/weeks following PhD funding deadlines. We publish our current processing times, and you should check these before contacting us.

Tip: Any decision will be visible in your online application tracker as soon as it is made.

Research programmes: Panels of selectors make decisions at meetings throughout the year. You should apply at least six months before the start of the term you plan to commence your study and take note of funding deadlines. Plan ahead and get your application in as early as you can. It may take time to allocate a suitable supervisor. Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed by telephone or Skype. The department will contact you if an interview is necessary.

The decision

Decisions on admissions are made on the basis of academic merit and the availability of places on specific programmes. A decision is authoritative and official only if it has been sent in writing from the Graduate Admissions Office. If your department informs you that you have been 'recommended for an offer', this is not confirmed until it has been processed and issued officially by the Graduate Admissions Office.

The decision sent to you will be one of these:

  • An unconditional offer. You satisfy all of the academic conditions required before entry and we are offering you a place. You may still need to supply originals or certified copies of some documents.
  • conditional offer. You do not yet satisfy the academic conditions required before entry but you plan to do so. The conditions are given in the offer letter and may include tests such as English language as well as degree results, or attendance at introductory or summer school courses.
  • You are on a waiting list. In this case we need more time before making a full decision. We will make that decision by the end of April.  At that stage we may be able to offer you admission, a place on the reserve list, or, depending on the level of competition, we may be unable to offer you a place.  You do not need to provide further documentation or updated information while you are held on the waiting list.
  • We are unable to offer you a place. This decision is final and not open to appeal. It may be that the programme is already full – in this case, you may request that your application is considered for an alternative choice(s) or that your application is reinstated for the following year.
  • You are on a reserve list. Your application is considered to be of a high enough standard, but no places remain on your chosen programme. If a place becomes available, you may be sent an offer later in the year. Final offers to reserve listed applicants will be sent out by the end of August.
  • If we are unable to make you an offer for your original choices, but the academic selector considers your application is suitable for another programme, we will forward your application to the other programme selector for consideration. We will also contact you to check if you wish to be considered for this alternative programme.

Next steps

We have a range of guidance for offer holders on our website, please feel free to browse while you await a decision on your application.

If we were unable to offer you a place, you may request to reinstate your application for the following academic year, or to be considered for alternative programme choices in the current academic year. Such requests can be made via our How do I...? forms.