Contact hours and independent study
The average taught course contact hours per half unit is 20-30 hours and a full unit is 40-60 hours. Scheduled teaching normally includes three hours of lectures and three hours of seminars per week (depending on the options selected), supplemented by regular academic tutorials. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. In addition, as part of the course Development Management, you will take part in – and be assessed on – the Development Management Project. This is a live consultancy exercise for real development agencies in consultation with International Development staff.
Given the high level of academic performance expected from students, a significant amount of independent study and preparation is required to get the most out of the programme. You will manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.
LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.
You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.
There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.
LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.
All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others.
Summative assessment will include examinations, a project, and an essay (dissertation) of not more than 10,000 words on an approved topic of your own choice, which is submitted in late August. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.