Most of our degree programmes allow you to combine study in more than one of these subjects either for joint honours, such as International Relations and History or with one major subject and one minor, such as Geography with Economics. Almost all require or allow you to choose at least one 'outside' option, ie, from a range of courses in any other subject taught within the School) to enable you to approach your main area of study in a more inclusive and holistic way. Others draw on different subjects to provide an interdisciplinary approach to a particular topic, eg, Management.
All first year undergraduate students take the LSE100 course, which introduces students to the elements of thinking as a social scientist.
A modern foreign language option is generally available on those degree programmes which offer an outside option. See Language studies for more information.
Some degrees give exemption from certain professional examinations (details are given in the section on each subject), but our degrees are intended to provide students with a sound intellectual background rather than professional training. Our students go on to a range of careers which are rarely restricted by the choice of degree subject. We believe that success in your degree and in your subsequent career is best achieved by choosing subjects that interest you and that you are good at.
We believe that, for the programmes we offer, a high level of academic ability and commitment is more important than previous subject knowledge. We do not, for most degrees, expect you to have A level or previous qualifications in the subjects you wish to study at LSE. Our degrees are designed to allow (and sometimes require) you to explore unfamiliar subjects. However, we do expect you to have good grades at GCSE (or equivalent) including Mathematics, and good grades at A level, or equivalent, in traditional academic subjects. We also expect that you will have excellent skills in spoken and written English, and will require you to contribute to class discussion and produce course essays throughout your time here.
LSE believes in a traditional approach to teaching, ensuring students have a solid understanding of their subjects.
In almost all our degrees, students normally take four courses a year. In each course, teaching consists of a mixture of lectures and linked classes, running in parallel, in which students work through questions and problems raised in the lectures and present and discuss their own papers or essays. Lectures are attended by all the students taking the course (and some attending out of general interest). On a popular course, there could be as many as 300 students in a lecture. For the classes, you would be allocated to a much smaller group.
Lectures are not compulsory but are strongly recommended. Classes, however, are obligatory and students are expected to submit two written pieces of work per course during the year. Class teachers report each term on each student's attendance, work in class and written work submitted for the class. The student's academic adviser receives these reports and although they do not contribute to the final degree result, they can affect whether the student is 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.
The taught elements of our degrees are intended only as a framework around which each student must work, allowing you a structure for your own research and reading. We would expect that in addition to formal contact time, our students spend at least double the amount of contact time pursuing their own research.
A typical undergraduate timetable may involve 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.
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 also published as they become available.
It also contains a Code of Good Practice for Undergraduate Programmes which describes the obligations which staff and students have to each other in the process of teaching and learning.
Examination and assessment
Like our teaching methods, LSE has a traditional approach to examinations and assessments. In almost all degrees, students are examined at the end of each year in the courses taken in that year. Examination is mostly by three hour unseen examination; in many courses, there is also a requirement to submit special essays, course work assignments or project reports as part of the examination.
Information on our means of maintaining and improving academic quality is available on the staff and students website.