Contact hours and independent study
Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. Scheduled teaching normally includes three hours of lectures and three hours of seminars per week (depending on the options you select), supplemented by regular academic tutorials, meaning that you benefit from direct and sustained contact with members of 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. This requires you to 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.
Teaching is directly informed and enhanced by the strong tradition of fieldwork-based research within the Department. The distinctive compulsory course allows you to work closely on extended case studies in the second term; these are based on your lecturers’ own expert primary research on religion.
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.
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.
After examinations in May/June, you will be expected to write an essay (dissertation) of not more than 10,000 words, for submission in late August. This is undertaken on an approved topic of your own choice in order to develop your own interests in the context of the programme. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.
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.