Teaching and assessment 3

Teaching and assessment

How you'll be taught and examined during your degree

Teaching methods

LSE believes in a rigorous approach to your education, ensuring that you obtain a solid understanding of your subjects. In almost all our degrees, you will normally take the equivalent of four courses in each year, made up of full and half-unit courses, plus LSE100 in the first and second years.

Lectures and classes

In each course, teaching consists of a mixture of lectures and classes, running in parallel, in which you will work through questions and problems raised in the lectures and present and discuss your own papers or essays. Lectures are attended by all those taking the course and on a popular course, there could be as many as 300 students in a lecture. Classes are much smaller, with usually no more than 15 students.

Lectures are not compulsory but are strongly recommended. Classes, however, are obligatory and you will be expected to prepare and fully participate in every class you attend.

The format for classes varies considerably depending on the subject and level but you are usually expected to submit two written pieces of work per course during the year. Class teachers report each term on your attendance, work in class and written work submitted for the class. Your academic adviser will receive these reports and although they do not contribute to your final degree result, they can affect whether you are allowed to continue on the course and to take the examination.

In some courses, the two functions of lectures and classes may be combined in seminars or small group tutorials: this may depend on the numbers taking the course, and on the subject being studied.

Independent study

We expect that in addition to formal contact time, you will spend at least double the amount of contact time pursuing your own research. A typical undergraduate timetable involves 9 to 15 hours of teaching per week, but the associated reading and writing of essays, projects and other course work assignments make up a full working week.

The Michaelmas and Lent terms include space for departmental reading weeks, which allow those in participating departments to read around the subject, engage in project work or attend course events.

Individual degree programme pages contain specific details on teaching methods for each programme.

Examination and assessment

Like our teaching methods, LSE has quite a traditional approach to examinations and assessments, which reflects a wish to develop your sense of self-reliance and ability to perform under pressure.

Consequently in almost all degrees you will be examined at the end of each year in the courses taken in that year. In line with our increasingly diverse curricula, however, there is a growing use of alternative ways of assessing progress, such as in-year essays and projects, that complement exams and contribute to end-of-year grades.

Individual degree programme pages contain specific details on examination and assessment for each programme.