Supporting documents

Use this guide to ensure you provide the right information as part of your application

Most delays in the application process are caused by uploading incorrect, or unclear, versions of essential documentation. Check, and double check, before you submit your application that each of your supporting documents is legible and meets the criteria below.

Application form

You must apply online using the website. You will be asked to set up a user account using your email address, and you should use this for all enquiries and applications (including if you are also applying for Summer School or Language Centre courses).

You should read and follow the guidance which is given throughout the online application. This will ensure that you fulfil our requirements and that your application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

If you are unable to use the online system, a PDF of the application form is available on request.

Application assessment fee

The application assessment fee is £65. You must pay using the website (credit or debit card) in order to submit your documents and application online.

Under no circumstances should payment card details be sent to LSE by email.

Please note that the application assessment fee is not refundable if you change your mind once your application has been acknowledged.

Two academic references

You should arrange to supply two academic references (from tutors who have taught you at university) as part of the online process. This is a secure and confidential service for referees and helps speed up the decision-making process. You should use your referee’s academic (university) email address when requesting a reference.

Current students and applicants who graduated from their most recent study after January 2014 must supply two academic references. References should be from a teaching member of your current (or, if you have graduated, from your most recent) university department.

Applicants who graduated from their most recent study before January 2014 may supply one non-academic reference in place of one of your academic references. This should normally be a reference from your most recent employer (see our guidance for professional references).

Applicants who graduated from their most recent study before January 2012 may supply two professional references if they are unable to provide academic references. It is in your interests to supply academic references wherever possible.

Applicants for Executive programmes should note that all Executive programmes are willing to consider one academic and one professional reference. Additionally, the Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy (L2UJ) and Executive Global MSc Management (N2U9) are willing to consider two professional references.

Please be aware that when you submit your online application, we will consider it as complete when we have received two references. You don't need to (and should not) send more than two references. We will not accept additional references unless the selectors request them during the decision-making process.

More information about supplying references can be found here.

Transcripts/mark sheets and proof of existing qualifications

The online application will prompt you to upload a scanned transcript for each qualification you mention in the education tab. If your documents are not in English, we must receive a translation carried out by an accredited translator (eg, the British Council). Please ensure that scanned documents are clear and legible. Failure to do so will result in delays to the processing of your application. You should also scan the reverse of your transcript if the mark scheme is explained there. You may choose to supply these documents by post, in which case we will upload them to your application on your behalf. Please remember that your application cannot be submitted until we have received and processed them.

If your application is successful, we will request original or certified signed documents prior to registration.

Qualifications pending: The transcript or mark sheet must include a list of subjects studied and the grades obtained to date. If you are at a university that does not supply transcripts or mark sheets, please ask your academic referees to comment in detail on your progress, including your marks obtained in all years of study. You may apply if you are awaiting any examination results. You must have fully graduated by the time you register at LSE. Please list the title and credit value of each in-progress course that you are currently studying on the application.

Qualifications held: The transcript should include the information above, plus your final overall grade and the date on which your qualification was awarded. You should supply this information for all university level study and any transfer programmes or exchanges that you have undertaken. If your transcript does not include your final mark and date of award, we will request either a certified copy of your degree certificate or a completed proof of degree form if we make you an offer. Do not send your original degree certificate, as documents cannot be returned.

Applicants currently or formerly registered at LSE do not need to supply transcripts of their LSE qualifications as these are generated internally.

  • PDF is the best format for scanned attachments
  • Make sure that you scan documents at a sensible resolution. 300dpi is fine. Much lower and printed versions may be blurred, much higher and the file size will be too large.
  • Scan documents so that each page is the same way up
  • If your file size is very large (>2MB), use a service such as
  • Check that your scanned document is legible before you upload it

Personal statement

You must upload a personal statement that describes your academic interest in and understanding of your chosen programme(s), as well as your purpose and objectives in undertaking this graduate study.The personal statement is an important part of your application as selectors are looking for evidence of your motivation and suitability, and what you can bring to the programme.

Your personal statement should:

  • Explain your motivation for undertaking the programme(s)
  • Describe your academic interests, strengths and background relevant to the programme(s)
  • Outline your ambitions and/or research interests
  • Include other relevant information, such as additional reading or research, work or other relevant experiences that have informed your decision to apply for the particular programme(s)
  • Highlight areas of specific interest within the programme(s) you have applied for at LSE.

Your personal statement should be typed and no longer than two sides of A4 paper. There is no fixed word limit, but we expect this to be no longer than 1,000 - 1,500 words. Some programmes have specific requirements which are different to this; please check the relevant programme page for information.

If you are applying for two programmes please ensure that your personal statement clearly and fully addresses why you are applying for each programme. In the case where your two programme choices are not directly related, you are strongly encouraged to submit two personal statements. They should be clearly headed within a single document.

Please ensure that your personal statement:

  • Is all your own work. If we discover this is not the case, your application may be cancelled
  • Is well written, well structured and specific to the programme(s) applied for
  • Is proof read before you upload it, and the final correct version is uploaded
  • Only includes that which is relevant to your programme choice(s). Additional information regarding unrelated extra-curricular activities, personal achievements or work experience can be included in your CV
  • Has your name in the header or footer of every page


Upload your CV/resume, including your employment history or other professional experience, including internships.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

If GRE or GMAT scores are required by your chosen programme(s) it is essential that you supply them at the time you apply. You should include your test scores in the relevant section of the application form, stating the percentile and marks obtained for all three sections of the test. The test scores should be less than five years old on 1 October 2017. The GRE/GMAT is often a vital deciding factor so you will not be able to submit your application without it if your programme requires it.

You should also arrange for ETS to send official scores to us. The institution code is 0972 for the GRE and HMT 86-56 for the GMAT.

Some programmes exempt certain applicants from taking the test, please check here for exemptions. If you wish to be considered without the test score, you should indicate which category of exempted applicant you fall into on the application form. Please note that if you do not fall into one of the listed categories, the department will not consider your application without the required test score. 

Research proposal


You should state your research topic as accurately as possible.Your research proposal should address the following questions:

  1. What is your general topic?
  2. What questions do you want to answer?
  3. What is the key literature and its limitations?
  4. What are the main hypotheses of the work?
  5. What methodology do you intend to use?
  6. What are your case studies, if any, and what are your case selection criteria?

MPhil/PhD applications that are received without a research proposal that addresses these questions will not be considered. Your proposal should be approximately 1,500 words in length (outline proposals for MRes programmes can be shorter). N.B. this word count is indicative, please refer to individual departmental webpages for a definitive limit. You should ensure before applying that your area of research can be supervised in your chosen department. The research interests of staff members can be found at

You should also indicate if you have discussed your proposed research with any member of the LSE academic staff and the name of that person. Please make sure that each page of your research proposal bears your name in a header or footer.

Individual programmes may have specific requirements regarding the research proposal; please check before you apply.

  • Your research proposal must be your own work
  • Make sure that each page has your name in the header or footer
  • Make sure that you proof read your proposal before you upload it, and make sure that you upload the final corrected version
  • Stick to our recommended word limit - the selectors don't have time to read huge documents running to many pages.

MSc (Research) and MRes/PhD programmes

You must include an outline research proposal with your application – see above and refer to your programme page.

Sample of written work

MRes/MPhil programmes

You should provide a scanned copy of a marked assignment that fulfils the following criteria. These are ideal requirements. If you are unable to fulfil them exactly, please submit a writing sample that fits as closely to them as possible.

  • Maximum 3,000 words – you may send an extract of a longer work, but you should not send large publications in their entirety.
  • Typed in English. If not originally written in English, you should translate the essay yourself.
  • From your most recent programme of study. Ideally related to your proposed topic of research or more broadly to the discipline/area for which you are applying.
  • If possible, the copy should show comments from the marker/s and/ or the mark given for the assignment.
  • PDF is the best format for scanned attachments
  • Make sure that you scan documents at a sensible resolution. 300dpi is fine. Much lower and printed versions may be blurred, much higher and the file size will be too large.
  • Scan documents so that each page is the same way up
  • If your file size is very large (>2MB), use a service such as
  • Check that your scanned document is legible before you upload it
  • Make sure that each page has your name in the header or footer
  • Stick to our recommended word limit - the selectors don't have time to read long documents running to many pages. They just want to get an idea of your writing style/ability in an academic context.

English test scores

If you have already taken an English test at the time you apply, you should include your most recent test scores and score report form number in the relevant section of the application form.

English tests must be less than two years old on 1 October 2017. Information about the scores we accept is in the entry requirements section.

Miscellaneous supporting documents

If you are applying for a programme in a different field from that of your principal/major degree subject, you may wish to supply additional material supporting your application; for example if you hold a degree in engineering and are applying for MSc Human Rights on the basis of your current employment, a supplementary professional reference would be helpful.

  • Make sure that the documents you send are relevant to your application
  • Do not send lots of additional certificates as we will not consider them. Relevant personal achievements should be mentioned in your personal statement or CV instead
  • Do not send non-documentary materials such as DVDs, CDs or large publications, as we do not have the facilities to include these with your application file and they will be discarded
  • Don't overload your application with lots of extra documents. The selectors don't have time to read them. If we need anything more from you we will ask for it.

Submitting your application form

You should submit your application and supporting documents online.

If you are unable to upload your documents you may send them via post to:

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). If we request additional documents you may send them using our online form. Don't send an update to your CV every few weeks, or replace your personal statement for the sake of a changed phrase or comma. Once your file is with the selectors we will not add new documents to it until it returns to us.

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.

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.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete, including all references, the transcript and the fee, and where applicable GRE/GMAT scores and research proposal. You should also be aware that all documents are non-returnable.

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

Fraud prevention

We take active steps to scrutinise and verify documents received during the application process. If we are unable to verify independently the accuracy of information supplied, your application may be cancelled and any offer or subsequent registration withdrawn. This also applies if we discover that your personal statement and any writing sample you submit is not your own work.

If you enter the UK on a student visa and we later withdraw your offer/registration due to the discovery of fraudulent documents, you should be aware that the UK Home Office may deport you, and also may ban you from the UK for up to ten years.