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Study


Academic structure

The majority of courses at LSE are year-long in duration. Teaching takes place in the Michaelmas (Autumn) and Lent (Spring) terms, and  exams are held in the first week of January and the Summer term. The year-long structure means that you are able to cover topics in more depth and breadth than in an equivalent single-semester course.

General Course students take four full-unit courses (or the equivalent in half-unit courses), and may pick and choose these from across 300+ options in 19 academic disciplines.

General Course students are assigned to one of the 16 academic departments that offer undergraduate degrees, and are notified of their assignment in late August or early September. This will act as your “home” department during your time at the School, and your academic adviser will be based in this department.

You will have chosen at least one course offered by the department to which you are assigned (two for the Department of Economics) and we aim to assign each student to a department that reflects their academic interest or major subject of study while at LSE. Please note that your departmental assignment need not restrict your course options: you may take any combination of undergraduate courses offered by any department at the School, with just one from your home department (two from the Department of Economics).

Teaching

Teaching at LSE takes the form of a mixture of lectures and classes.

Lectures are attended by all the students taking the course, which could run to several hundred for popular courses. 

Classes, by contrast, are a much more intimate affair, consisting of no more than 15 students. In your classes you will work through questions, problem sets and issues raised in lectures, and you are also expected to contribute your own ideas, researched independently, to class discussions. 

The number of formal contact hours will vary with the type of course you are taking but will normally be between 8 and 12 hours per week. At LSE there is a strong focus on independent, self-motivated study. It is expected that you will spend at least another 20 hours per week pursuing independent study.

Academic support

For guidance about individual courses there are your class teachers, and academics who have overall responsibility for each course. These teachers will hold regular office hours where you can discuss aspects of the course about which you may need extra help.

You will be allocated an academic adviser, who will meet you regularly over the course of the year, receives regular reports from your class teachers and is able to advise on your progress. Your academic adviser is there to help with any academic, administrative or personal questions that you may have during your time with us.

Assessment

Your General Course academic assessment comprises two components:

  • A class grade for each course. This is a summary letter grade obtained from your class teacher at the academic year's end and is often used by home institutions in determining credit transfer.
  • An exam grade for each course: This is a separate letter grade based solely on your examination results for each course.

The class grade provides an overall assessment of your work over the course of the year. Class teachers award class grades based on attendance, class participation (engagement and quality), presentations and marks received for essays and/or problem sets. 

The exam grade employs a marking scheme as follows:

LSE class of degree

% mark equivalent

Written Work/exam

Class Contribution

Summary Class Grade

First

75+

A+ 

A+ 

A+ 

First

70-74

A

A

A

Upper Second

65-69

A-

A-

A-

Upper Second

60-64

B+

B+

B+

Lower Second

55-59

B

B

B

Lower Second

50-54

B-

B-

B-

Third

45-49

C+

C+

C+

Third

40-44

C

C

C

Fail

0-39

F

F

F

Transcripts

Transcripts are issued in mid August via LSE Digitary

Digitary allows you to easily share your digitally-signed online transcript with, for example, potential employers and academic institutions, 24 hours a day. The recipients of your transcript can then quickly and confidently verify the legally valid and tamper-evident document.

We will also send a hard copy transcript to your home institution at the beginning of September.