As the majority of our applicants apply with A-levels, this guidance is written primarily towards that audience. However, the information contained is relevant to students offering any qualification. If you are unsure how this guidance applies to your qualification, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
Note that where specific guidance regarding the suitability of a particular subject/subject combination is given on the entry requirements pages of Information for international students, that guidance supersedes the more general guidance given below.
Subject combinations and non-preferred subjects
The School considers not only the individual qualifications offered by applicants but also the combination of subjects offered. Individual degree programmes may have specific subject requirements or preferences which are listed in the admissions criteria for each individual programme. We also have a number of general policies, listed below.
We consider traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE. We expect applicants to offer at least two full A-levels or IBDP Higher Levels in these subjects (although typically, applicants will apply with three or four); please see the list below for guidance.
Some subjects provide a less effective preparation for study at LSE. We refer to these as non-preferred subjects; please see the list below for guidance. These subjects should only be offered in combination with two traditional academic subjects.
Finally, there are a small number of A-levels which are normally excluded from our standard offer; please see the list below. Applicants should offer three full A-levels or equivalent alongside these subjects.
Common traditional academic/'generally preferred' subjects:
- Ancient History
- Classical Civilisation
- English (English Language, English Literature and English Language and Literature)
- Further Mathematics*
- Government and Politics
- Languages: Modern Foreign, Classic and Community**
- Religious Studies
Common "non-preferred" subjects:
- Any Applied A-level
- Art and Design
- Business Studies
- Citizenship Studies
- Communication and Culture
- Creative Writing
- Design and Technology
- Drama/Theatre Studies***
- Film Studies
- Health and Social Care
- Home Economics
- Information and Communication Technology
- Leisure Studies
- Media Studies
- Music Technology
- Physical Education/Sports Studies
- Travel and Tourism
Normally excluded subjects:
- General Studies
- Critical Thinking
- Thinking Skills
- Knowledge and Enquiry
- Global Perspectives and Research
- Project Work
If you would like information about the suitability of a subject which does not appear on these lists, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
* See the Mathematics and Further Mathematics section below.
** See Language Qualifications section
*** The Departments of Anthropology, International History, International Relations, Social Policy and Sociology consider Drama and Theatre Studies equally with other generally preferred subjects. Therefore, they will consider Drama and Theatre Studies alongside one other subject from the non-preferred list. However, the majority of departments continue to regard Drama and Theatre Studies as a non-preferred subject.
**** The Department of Accounting and Finance considers Accounting equally with other generally preferred subjects. Therefore, they will consider Accounting alongside one other subject from the non-preferred list. However, the majority of departments continue to regard Accounting as a non-preferred subject.
Many of the undergraduate programmes at LSE are multi-disciplinary and for this reason we consider a broad mix of traditional subjects to be the best preparation for study. A broad academic background will provide the skills to perform well in any of the challenging programmes at LSE. Students offering a narrow range of subjects may be at a disadvantage compared to those offering a broader combination. Examples of narrow subject combinations might be Economics, Business Studies and one other or English Language, English Literature and one other. See also, the programme pages and the Mathematics and and Further Mathematics section below.
Core Maths is a generic title for a range of different Level 3 mathematical qualifications; it is not a qualification title in itself.
For the qualification titles see below:
- AQA Certificate in Mathematical Studies
- City & Guilds Certificate in Using and Applying Mathematics
- OCR (MEI)* Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving
- OCR (MEI)* Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning
- Pearson Edexcel Certificate in Mathematics in Context
- WJEC Eduqas Certificate in Mathematics for Work and Life
*MEI: Mathematics in Education and Industry
The key purpose of Core Maths qualifications is to widen participation in the study of mathematics from age 16 and to support the development of mathematical skills for progression to higher education and employment. The qualifications offer an opportunity for students not studying AS or A-level mathematics to study a Level 3 mathematics course alongside their main programme of study. Core Maths is available to those with grade C/4 or above at GCSE and is based on GCSE content with 25% new material.
Core Maths may add value to an application, similar to the EPQ, in particular where the programme has a specific mathematical content but does not require a specific maths qualification e.g. Psychology or Geography.
Core Maths cannot be used as a replacement for A level Maths (or equivalent qualifications) for programmes with a maths A level requirement.
Core Maths can be considered as an alternative way to meet the standard LSE GCSE maths requirement (Grade B/6).