Types of study

LSE has developed graduate programmes to fulfil your needs whether you intend to pursue a career in industry, business, government, NGOs or academia, and whatever your background. 

It is also possible to join LSE for short periods as a visiting research student. Many programmes also offer a part-time option, allowing you to work alongside your studies.

A unique feature of many LSE programmes is the opportunity to link your studies with other institutions around the world, giving you a truly international perspective.

Graduate Diploma

LSE offers diploma programmes in Accounting and Finance and as the first year of two-year MSc programmes in the Economics Department.

Diploma students attend specially arranged classes and tutorials; in most, but not all cases you would attend lectures from undergraduate courses. Most diplomas are assessed by formal written examinations, though a number have assessed work attached to certain courses.

If the level of your previous qualification or its subject content does not permit progression directly to a master's, you can use a diploma programme as a conversion or refresher course. A diploma is also a qualification in its own right, which extends the range and depth of your undergraduate studies.

Some of our modular executive programmes also offer a diploma as an alternative exit qualification. 


LSE offers a wide range of taught master's programmes. A master's degree can serve different purposes and offers many benefits. You can study a subject in depth which you have taken and enjoyed at degree level and extend your analytical and critical capabilities; alternatively, a master's degree programme could serve as a conversion course from your degree subject, so that you can acquire a different set of skills or knowledge at a much higher level. A master's degree can also act as research training to lay the foundations for more advanced work in a specialised field.

Many of the programmes we offer blend practical experience with rigorous academic analysis so as to broaden the knowledge of practitioners in certain fields.

Taught programmes involve lectures and seminars each week in addition to your own study and preparation. The number of contact hours you have as a student varies from programme to programme.

On most taught master's programmes, students are assessed by a formal written examination at the end of the year, coursework and research assignments associated with each taught course and a long essay, report, project or dissertation.

Executive master's

LSE offers a range of executive master's programmes for mid-career to senior level professionals.

Tailored towards working professionals, programmes are either modular or part-time, allowing you to continue your work commitments while furthering your studies.

The programmes benefit from the School's exceptional links with the outside world, both within the academic community and externally with policy practitioners.

Our executive programmes are:


The LSE MBA is a global executive MBA aimed at experienced senior level executives.


A PhD offers the chance to undertake a substantial piece of supervised work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to knowledge in a particular field. Research programmes (leading to a PhD) are designed to produce professional social scientists well versed in a range of social science techniques and methods, in addition to having an in-depth knowledge of a particular area. At LSE, you will pursue either an MRes/PhD, which starts with master's level study in your chosen area, including methodology training, or an MPhil/PhD, which follows on from previous master's level study, but may still include some taught elements.

In preparing your application you might find it useful to look at the following: LSE’s academic departments and potential supervisors;  funding for doctoral students; the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre; specialist methodology trainingprofessional development for doctoral students and our events programme.

Students studying for a PhD are required to carry out research (both from documents and in the field) and collect data from which they must write a thesis of approximately 100,000 words. Students in some departments may be permitted to submit a final thesis by a series of papers, with a linking introduction and conclusion. In addition, all students will normally be required to attend certain taught courses. Although each student's method of research will be different, the amount of time spent on their studies will be broadly equivalent to that required to pursue an undergraduate course or undertake full-time employment – ie in excess of 30 hours per week. The work-load of part-time students would be approximately half that of full-time students.

Find out more about life as a PhD student at LSE by visiting the PhD Academy web pages, where you will find lots of information about the services and opportunities you will have open to you

Duration of study

The time taken to complete any research degree depends on your progress and individual needs and you must remain registered with the School until your thesis has been submitted.

MPhil/PhD: You register for the MPhil in the first instance. An assessment of your work, which usually occurs between 12 and 18 months from your start date, will allow us to appraise your aptitude for original research at doctoral level. If you have progressed satisfactorily you will be retroactively upgraded to full PhD status. The total duration of study is a maximum of four years full-time.

MRes/PhD: You register for the MRes, which lasts one or two years full-time, depending on which track you are admitted to. In order to progress to the PhD part of the programme, you must satisfy progression requirements for your department, usually a merit overall and a merit in the dissertation. Registration at PhD level is usually a maximum of four years full-time, meaning the total duration of the MRes/PhD is five or six years.

MRes/MPhil/PhD programmes normally start in late September each year but with the permission of the relevant department you may start in January (Lent term) or exceptionally in April (Summer term). This depends on the availability of taught courses that your department and academic supervisor decide that you must take. Most of those courses are held in the Michaelmas term, so most research programmes start in September. See When to apply.

LSE’s MPhil/PhD programmes are designed to be followed full time by fully funded students, as experience has shown that this route is the most successful for maintaining momentum to a successful and timely submission of your thesis. We recognise that certain circumstances, for example disability or caring commitments, may necessitate your studying part time. If you wish to be considered for part time study, you should mention this in your personal statement, and discuss it in your interview if you are shortlisted.
To be eligible for part time study:
a)      You must meet one of the criteria for part-time study (eg primary care responsibilities or disability),
b)      The Department must be in a position to provide training, supervision and support required for a part-time attendance
c)       You will still be undertaking study and attendance on campus (this is not a route for distance learning)
d)      You must not be subject to external restrictions on part time study for another reason (eg visa or funding).


You will be assigned a lead supervisor (and a second supervisor/adviser) who is a specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies. During your first year you will attend and contribute to departmental research seminars, workshops and research training courses. These are designed to strengthen your methodological skills, language skills or background knowledge of specific topics related to your research. 

By the end of your first year you will be required to present a more detailed project proposal. The proposal, which should illustrate your command of the theoretical and empirical literature related to your topic, will be a clear statement of the theoretical and methodological approach you will take. It will include a draft outline and work plan, which should identify any periods of fieldwork necessary to your research. This should demonstrate the coherence and feasibility of the proposed research and thesis.

Students are invited to submit applications that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School. You will find staff areas of research interest on the relevant webpages. You should also consult the information for research students.

Opportunities to study abroad during your MPhil/PhD programme

Students may have the opportunity to link their LSE research degree with a short period of study at another institution. These arrangements are usually in the form of a Research Exchange Programme with an overseas institution affiliated with the School.  Exchanges or other similar opportunities are only available within certain academic departments and students must be registered within the appropriate department in order to be considered for an exchange arrangement.

These exchanges offer students an opportunity to visit another institution, to benefit from additional research resources (archival and advisory) and to become familiar with the academic culture and professional contacts of another country.

Current opportunities include:

Partnership PhD Mobility Bursaries

Ten mobility bursaries are on offer each year to visit one of the School's five partner institutions: Columbia University (New York), the National University of Singapore (NUS), Peking University (Beijing), Sciences Po (Paris) or the University of Cape Town. For any one partner institution, up to two bursaries are available for a visit of two to three months. Participants will work informally with an adviser on their PhD thesis, research and/or on related publications and presentations. Participants will also be introduced to the academic culture, professional contacts and employment opportunities of another country/region. Students who have already been upgraded to full doctoral student status are eligible to apply. Calls for applications will be advertised internally at the end of the Lent term for the following academic year.


Erasmus enables higher education students, teachers and institutions in 31 European countries to study for part of their degree in another country.  Further information on current opportunities can be accessed at Erasmus

Other opportunities

There are a number of other arrangements in place in academic departments. An authoritative list is currently being compiled and, once available, will be accessible via the Research students page.

Visiting research students

Students who are currently undertaking research at other institutions may apply to LSE to attend for up to one year as a Visiting Research Student as part of their PhD. Please see the relevant tab on this page.

Double and joint Master's programmes

LSE offers a number of programmes which give students the opportunity to study both at LSE and at partner institutions in London or overseas.

Double degree programmes

Double degree programmes are normally of two years' duration with students studying one year at LSE and one year at the partner institution. Upon successful completion of the programme, a student is awarded a master's degree or equivalent from both institutions. The current list of our double degree programmes is as follows:

In collaboration with Sciences Po, Paris:

In collaboration with  Columbia University, New York:

In collaboration with Peking University, Beijing:

In collaboration with the National University of Singapore:

In collaboration with the Annenberg School, University of Southern California:

In collaboration with Fudan University, Shanghai:

In collaboration with LeipzigRoskildeVienna or Wroclaw universities:

Joint degree programmes

Joint degree programmes are offered with one or more partner institution(s) and may last one or more years. Upon successful completion of the programme, a student receives a single master's degree which is awarded jointly by LSE and the partner institution(s).
In collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:

In collaboration with the HEC School of Management (Paris) and NYU Stern School of Business (New York):


Opportunities to link your LSE master's degree with study abroad

As well as the joint and double degree programmes that LSE offers, you may also have the opportunity to link your LSE Master's degree with graduate studies at another institution. These schemes typically involve the studying of two separate, existing programmes, which when combined together, allow the student to obtain both qualifications in a shorter period.

LSE Master's / HEC MBA scheme

This scheme offers students the opportunity to study an MBA at the HEC School of Management in Paris in the reduced time frame of 12 months (usually 15 months) when combined with any Master's degree at LSE. The programme is designed to train leaders from international careers in both the private and public sectors. It brings together the contemporary subject areas of social sciences and management studies in order to provide participants with a global perspective and the contemporary techniques which will help their organisation to compete effectively and flourish in a complex and ever evolving international setting.

The application process to each institution and degree is independent. Moreover, acceptance into one institution does not in any way guarantee entry into the other. The scheme allows applicants to study the HEC MBA or LSE Master's in either order. However, applicants can only apply to the second programme once they have commenced studying for the first. For entry to LSE Master's programmes, the standard application process and entry requirements apply. All accepted students will follow a standard Master's programme at LSE and will be awarded the corresponding LSE Master's degree upon successful completion. For information on the HEC MBA, including application details, please visit

LSE Master's / Master of International Studies at George Washington University

LSE Master's graduates (who have completed within the last three years) are eligible to study the Master of International Studies (MIS) degree at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in the shortened time frame of one year (usually two years) after their LSE Master's. The MIS is a unique programme open to students and recent alumni from a select number of institutions around the world, including LSE. Whether your interests are in global trade, the developing world, international public health, security and conflict resolution, or other global and regional issues, the MIS programme prepares students for careers in diplomacy, public service, international and non-governmental organisations. For information, please visit

CEMS Master's in International Management

LSE students on the 24-month Global Master's in Management programme can apply to do an optional term abroad at a CEMS partner school. CEMS is a global alliance of academic and corporate institutions dedicated to educating and preparing future generations of international business leaders. The CEMS academic and corporate members work collectively to develop knowledge and provide education that is essential in the multilingual, multicultural and interconnected business world. In addition to completion of academic studies on the LSE programme, CEMS students must also participate in further compulsory components, including proficiency in two foreign languages, in order to obtain the Financial Times top-ranked CEMS Master's in International Management (MIM) degree. For more information on the CEMS option, including how to apply, please see the Department of Management.

LSE LLM / JD (Columbia)

This scheme consists of two years of study on a JD (Juris Doctor) programme at the  Columbia University Law School followed by one year of study on the LLM (Master's of Law) at LSE. The exchange scheme is only open to JD (Juris Doctor) students already registered at Columbia. Upon the successful completion of the three years of study, participants will receive a JD from Columbia and an LLM from LSE.

LSE/ Ecole des Ponts ParisTech

LSE students of MSc Quantitative Methods for Risk Management can apply to study for the MSc Management of Extreme Risks and Reinsurance at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech in the shortened time frame of one year after their LSE Master’s. The MSc Management of Extreme Risks and Reinsurance is a unique programme which is jointly organised by Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and Collège des Ingénieurs. It offers students paid placement opportunities with a wide range of industry partners in Europe complemented by short professional courses at the meantime. This link between the two MSc programmes provides students a unique learning experience which combines rigorous academic trainings with professional education, and practical applications in business environment.

Part time study

Many postgraduate programmes are available to study part-time. For master's degrees or diplomas, the usual arrangement is to take half the programme in one year and half in the following year. Tuition takes place during the day, normally at the same time as for full-time students. The detailed timetable is available just before the start of the session.

Our executive programmes are designed for people who intend to remain in employment, with teaching taking place in the evenings or in intensive sessions spread throughout the academic year. For more information see Executive programmes.

LSE’s MPhil/PhD programmes are designed to be followed full time by fully funded students, as experience has shown that this route is the most successful for maintaining momentum to a successful and timely submission of your thesis. We recognise that certain circumstances, for example disability or caring commitments, may necessitate your studying part time. If you wish to be considered for part time study, you should mention this in your personal statement, and discuss it in your interview if you are shortlisted.
To be eligible for part time study:
a)      You must meet one of the criteria for part-time study (eg primary care responsibilities or disability),
b)      The Department must be in a position to provide training, supervision and support required for a part-time attendance
c)       You will still be undertaking study and attendance on campus (this is not a route for distance learning)
d)      You must not be subject to external restrictions on part time study for another reason (eg visa or funding).

You should be aware that part-time study alone is insufficient to obtain entry clearance to the UK on a student visa. See for more details. 

Visiting students and staff

Visiting Research Student (VRS) status allows research students at other universities to spend up to one academic session at LSE. The application process is the same as for other graduate programmes.

A supervisor is assigned to every VRS, and you can take up to four full-unit taught courses. Examinations are optional, and grades do not contribute towards a degree or diploma. A full transcript of studies can be produced at the end of the period of study. Other graduate students may also seek registration as a VRS to take graduate level courses without the commitment of registering for a degree programme.

The Visiting Fellow Scheme is aimed at scholars (pre-Major Review equivalent/of post-doctoral status), persons/practitioners of equivalent standing in an appropriate profession/occupation, and researchers in the early stages of their career.

The status of Visiting Fellow is given to individuals from outside the School associated with School departments/institutes/centres. It recognises the contribution from those in government service, in professional practice, in the private sector, or in other appropriate fields, to research and other departmental/institute/centre activities. Enquiries about opportunities should be made to the relevant academic department or institute in the first instance.

Academic integrity

LSE seeks to maintain the standards of its teaching and research by reference to the highest possible national and international comparators. We do this in a number of ways:

Internal systems

  • A central committee reviews all proposals by departments for new postgraduate courses and programmes.
  • The relationship between student and supervisor is shaped by School-wide Codes of Good Practice.
  • Courses and programmes undergo monitoring and review by departments.
  • Departments undergo regular review by the School.
  • Students' views and experience are an important part of the process of maintaining teaching quality. Reviews include confidential questionnaires, meetings to hear students' views, and each department also convenes a staff/student committee. 
  • The Dean of Graduate Studies chairs a forum of research students and a forum of master's students to discuss School-wide issues affecting them.

The School seeks to use these processes not just to maintain teaching quality but also to improve it.

Programme regulations

Detailed programme regulations, including individual course guides and other information relating to the administration of our degrees is published in the School's Calendar at the start of each session. Proposed changes for future years are published as they become available.

Independent examiners and advisers

As with all universities in the UK, experienced examiners from outside the School help set examinations for taught programmes, review results and decide on the award of degrees and diplomas. These examiners report to the School, and their comments and suggestions on examinations, course content and structure are taken very seriously. Similarly, external experts examine and report on theses for research degrees.

Bologna process

The United Kingdom is signatory to the Bologna Declaration, which was designed to facilitate comparability and compatibility between higher education systems across a European Higher Education Area of some 55 countries ( The action lines include developing easily readable and comparable degree systems and adopting a common three cycle system of degree levels. LSE has been monitoring developments in the Bologna Process closely, and has already introduced the Diploma Supplements (enhanced transcripts) which form part of it.

Although the School regards its degrees as fully compliant with the requirements of the Bologna Process, and with the first and second cycle learning outcomes described by the Qualifications Framework for the EHEA, LSE does not articulate student achievement in credit terms, ECTS or otherwise. We consider our 12-month master's degrees as being equivalent to 90 ECTS credits and 9/10-month postgraduate degrees [Diploma or MSc] as being equivalent to approximately 80 ECTS credits. This assumption is based on the learning outcomes achieved by successful candidates and on the notional learning times required to achieve them.

If you wish to proceed from a 9 or 10 month programme to higher study in EHEA countries other than the UK, you should be aware that their recognition for such purposes is not guaranteed, due to the way in which ECTS credits are calculated. For more information, see