Home > Study > Graduate > Prospective applicants > How to apply > Supporting documents

Supporting documents

To be considered for admission, all applicants must supply the documents A to F below, and G to K where applicable. Programmes administered jointly by LSE and other institutions may have specific requirements; please consult individual programme entries. All documents are treated as confidential and are non-returnable.

The most frequent delays to applications are caused by applicants not uploading the correct documents. The tips highlighted below will help you to get it right first time.

Please note: Unlike other universities, LSE does not work with recruitment agencies. You should apply directly to LSE yourself.

The information below applies to the vast majority of applicants, however some exceptions exist for certain circumstances.

A. 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 your application.

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.

B. Application assessment fee

The application assessment fee is £50. 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.

C. Two academic references 

You should supply 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. If you are offered a place at LSE your referee may be asked to supply an original reference on headed university notepaper, and you will be informed in your offer letter if this is the case. You are advised to use your referee's academic (university) email address wherever possible.

If your referees prefer, they may submit your references by post (we will upload them to your application on your behalf). Paper references must be signed documents on headed university/institution notepaper (not the supplementary form), and should be typed in English. We discourage the submission of handwritten and photocopied references. If your application is successful, we must receive original or certified signed documents prior to registration. For further guidance, please see the online enquiries system. We will accept a translation, but only if it has an official stamp from your university or a translation service and if the original document is also supplied. We will not accept an unofficial translation. The LSE Language Centre offers a translation service.

Current students and applicants who graduated from their most recent study after January 2012 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 2012 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 2010 may supply two professional references if no academic references are available. It is in your interests to supply academic references wherever possible.

Applicants for Law programmes should ask at least one referee to indicate their overall ranking in class either for the final year or, preferably, for the whole degree. If an exact ranking is not possible the referee should be asked to give an approximation, for example, 'top ten per cent'.

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. 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.

D. Transcripts/mark sheets and proof of existing qualifications

You should submit scanned versions of your transcripts with your online application. Documents must be translated by an accredited translator if the original is not in English. You must ensure that information in scanned documents is clear and legible. Failure to do so may cause delays to the processing of your application. You should also scan the reverse of your transcript if the mark scheme is explained there. From the outset you may also choose to submit these documents by post, but please remember that your application cannot be submitted until we have received and processed them.

If your application is successful, we must receive original or certified signed documents prior to registration. Please make sure that all scanned documents are legible, and attached in a commonly used format such as jpeg, pdf or Word document.

  • Qualifications pending: The transcript or mark sheet is 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 October 2015.
  • Qualifications held: The transcript should include the information above, plus your final grade and the date on which your qualification was awarded. You should supply this information for all university level study. If your transcript does not include your final mark and date of award, you should send a certified copy of your degree certificate as well (or the proof of degree form in your offer pack, stamped and signed by an official at your institution). Do not send your original degree certificate, as documents cannot be returned.

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

E. Personal statement

You must submit a personal statement that outlines your academic interest in and understanding of your chosen programme(s), as well as your purpose and objectives in undertaking graduate study. Your personal statement should be typed and be no longer than about two sides of A4 paper. There is no fixed word limit but we expect this to be approximately 1,000 - 1,500 words. Some programmes have specific requirements which are different to this. Please check the relevant programme page for information.

Please ensure that your personal statement is well written, clearly describing your academic background, strengths and interests, and your ambitions/research interests. You should include any relevant additional information, such as additional reading or research, work or other relevant experiences that have informed your decision to apply for study at LSE. You may also wish to highlight areas of specific interest within the programme(s) applied for.

If you are applying for two programmes please ensure that your personal statement addresses why you are applying for each programme. In the case where your two programme choices are unrelated, you may submit two personal statements - they should be clearly headed within a single document.

Please make sure that each page of your personal statement bears your name as a header or footer.


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

G. 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 2015. 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. 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. 

H. 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).

Please note that some programmes have specific requirements that are different to this, and you should check the individualprogramme entry before applying.

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.

MSc (Research) and MRes/PhD programmes

You must include an outline research proposal with your application – see above. 

I. Sample of written work

MRes/MPhil programmes

You should include a scanned version of a marked assignment (a maximum of 3,000 words - this can be an extract from a longer work), typed in English from your most recent programme of study. If possible, the copy should show comments from the marker(s) and/or the mark given for the assignment.

Ideally the writing sample should fulfil the following criteria, however we recognise that not all applicants will have access to a document that fulfils all of them. You should therefore send an essay that is as close as possible to the following:

  • The essay should be in English and must be your own work - if the assignment was not originally written in English, you should translate it yourself.
  • The marks/comments of the assessor should be legible
  • It should be from your most recent period of study
  • It should relate to your proposed research topic
  • Each page of the assignment should bear your name

J. 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 2015. Information about the scores we accept is in the entry requirements section.

K. 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. Do not send non-documentary materials such as video tapes, CDs or large publications, as we do not have the facilities to include these with your application file and they will be discarded.

Submitting your application form

You should submit your application and supporting documents online, as this is the quickest and easiest method to do so. 

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). Additional documents/information can also be sent at any point during the admissions cycle using our online form.

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.