Contact hours and independent study
Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. Half unit courses are taught in the format of lectures (usually of one or two hours) and seminars (usually one to two hours), summing to about three total hours per week over the ten-week term. These take place in the first and second terms with two weeks of revision scheduled for the third term. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.
You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but 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, assistant professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE 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.
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 methods of assessment differ from course to course, and may include unseen written exams in the summer term and/or assessed essays. In addition you will meet with your supervisor and work on your dissertation. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.
You will write a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic agreed with your supervisor. Dissertations should reflect the training that you have acquired by applying methods such as formal theory, quantitative methods or textual analysis.
You will also be assigned an academic mentor 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.