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Department of Geography and Environment

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

Quick guide

There are four programmes within the Geography and Environment department at LSE, two of which are single honours programmes, the other two are joint-honours programmes combined with Economics. Entry requirements for all four programmes are given below:


Programme Name


Applications 2014

Places 2014

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer

Essential subjects

BA Geography





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL

No subjects specified

BSc Geography with Economics




AAA (to include grade A in Maths at A2)

38 points with 7,6,6 at HL (to include Maths)


BSc Environment and Development





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

No subjects specified

BSc Environmental Policy with Economics




AAB (to include grade A in Maths at A2)

37 points with 6,6,6 at HL (to include Maths)



 Frequently asked questions...

  1. What qualifications does LSE look for?
  2. Which international qualifications are accepted by LSE?
  3. What does LSE look for in the Personal Statement?
  4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy?
  5. Does LSE consider mature applicants/applicants with non-standard qualifications?
  6. What should I do if my circumstances change after I've submitted my UCAS form?
  7. Where can I find out more information about the course?



What qualifications does LSE look for?  


Subject combinations
The department selectors are looking for academic students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the social sciences and human behaviour. There is no one 'ideal' subject combination, however, as the Geography Department at LSE is renowned for its social, political, environmental, economic and human focus, and many applicants have studied or are currently studying one or more social science subjects in the sixth form, with Geography and Economics being the most common. Other frequently offered subjects include Government and Politics, Sociology, History or a natural science. As with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred. Geography is not a required post-16 subject, however if you have not studied it recently, you will need to demonstrate a willingness and ability to make up lost ground.

If you are applying for either the Geography with Economics or the Environmental Policy with Economics degree programmes you must have studied, or be studying, Maths as one of your A level (or equivalent) subjects. This is essential in order for you to be able to complete the compulsory Economics modules at LSE for which a high level of mathematical competence is required.

Please note: The information regarding subject combinations given above is for guidance purposes only (expect for the compulsory Mathematics requirement for L7L1 and F9L1). Candidates who are taking alternative subjects to those listed above will not necessarily be disadvantaged or rejected on the basis of their subject combinations.  Further information about A level (or equivalent) subject combinations is available in the Entry requirements section.


Academic profile (predicted and achieved grades)
Successful applicants for BA Geography (L702) and BSc Geography with Economics (L7L1) are, typically, predicted to achieve, or have already achieved at least AAA in their A level examinations (or a minimum of 38 out of 45 IB points, with higher level subjects as per the above list). Successful applicants for BSc Environment and Development (FK84) and BSc Environmental Policy with Economics (F9L1) are, typically, predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of AAB in their A level examinations (or a minimum of 37 out of 45 IB points, with higher level subjects as per the above list). Applicants will have achieved strong GCSE (or equivalent) grades including a significant number at A and A*. In terms of GCSE grades, the selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have been awarded, but also your overall GCSE subject profile. GCSE (or equivalent) Maths and English Language grades, in particular, should be no lower than a grade B.

If you are currently completing an A level or IB Diploma programme but have not previously followed a GCSE curriculum, you should list your most recent school leaving qualifications in the relevant section of the UCAS application.

Your AS grades are also taken into consideration as these give the selectors a clear indication of your ability to obtain the minimum A level entry requirements. Thus the higher your AS grades (obtained at the first sitting) the better the chance you will have of being made an offer.

Please remember, however, that the information above relates to minimum entry standards. Applicants who are predicted to achieve or who have already achieved grades of AAA or AAB and above at A level or in excess of 37 points for the IB are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as motivation and commitment to further study, relevant wider reading and other activities designed to prepare you for undergraduate study at LSE. These should be outlined in your personal statement. 

The selectors have the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to vary the standard A level or IB offer, if they feel it is appropriate to do so.

Entry profiles for the four Geography and Environment degree programmes are  available on the UCAS website by following the link to 'Course Search'



Which international qualifications are accepted? 

A wide range of international qualifications are accepted in lieu of A levels, for example the American College Board Advanced Placement (AP), the Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC), Scottish Advanced Highers (AH), the Cambridge Pre-U certificates, the European Baccalaureate (EB), the French Baccalaureate (FB) and the Abitur. Canadian and Australian High School Diplomas are also accepted.

In addition strong applicants with other international qualifications may be asked to sit our LSE UG Admissions Assessment (UGAA) test. This allows LSE academics to see examples of written English performed under examination conditions and is particularly useful where school certification is not based upon a standardised national curriculum. The UGAA test, which comprises a précis section, an essay section and a Mathematics section, can be taken at any recognised centre anywhere in the world; without any financial cost.

For more information on the qualifications that are accepted without the need to sit the UGAA test and those for which the UGAA will be required, please see the country-by-country guide.

Students whose application is regarded as strong by the selectors but whose qualifications do not grant them direct entry will receive their invitation to sit the UGAA from the Undergraduate Admissions Office in sufficient time to allow all necessary arrangements for the sitting of the test to be made. the selector's final decision will be based on the applicant's performance in the UGAA.



What is looked for in the Personal Statement? 

The Geography and Environment Department at LSE does not routinely interview applicants as part of its decision making process, thus the personal statement plays a key role in the selection process. It is your opportunity to convince the selectors that you have the potential and academic focus to be an LSE undergraduate student. General guidance on how to structure your personal statement is available on our Admissions Criteria website by following the link to the personal statement section. You are strongly advised to make use of this information prior to submitting your application, although as with your predicted grades, simply following the guidelines will not automatically guarantee that you will be made an offer.

For Geography, we are looking for an original and interesting statement which demonstrates your awareness of and interest in contemporary geographical problems and their alleviation. We are interested in your views and opinions; and/or the experiences that you have had which have resulted in your interest in this field of study. For the Environmental Policy with Economics and Environment and Development programmes we are looking for students who can contribute to the environmental debate and who desire to understand the significance and impact of policy at all levels in dealing with wide-ranging environmental challenges both now and in the future. Voluntary work, work experience and other extra-curricular activities such as music, drama, sport and art are taken into account, however, they are deemed to be less important than your academic qualities. The main point to remember is that the majority of your personal statement should be based around your subject interest. The selectors are keen to know why you wish to study one of these particular degree programmes, whether there are any aspects of specific interest to you, how they relate to your current academic programme and what additional reading or other activities you have undertaken which led to your interest in these contemporary, exciting and multi-disciplinary degrees.

For the two dual-honours degrees an equal interest in both subjects is essential, as you will be devoting an equal amount of time to the study of each discipline. It is also worth remembering that you may find that you have slightly less freedom in the specific mix of courses available to you during your studies when following a joint degree programme compared to a single-honours one. Above all you need to make sure that you convince both the Geography/Environment selector and the Economics selector that you are serious about your programme choice.

If your main interest is Economics, the dual-honours programmes offered by the Geography department may not be an appropriate choice for you, as they are designed to allow students to develop their understanding through the continued study of two closely linked disciplines and to acquire a wide range of transferable skills. As with any degree programme containing a significant number of Economics units at LSE, applicants for either of the dual-honours programmes are required to be highly competent mathematicians.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Geography or Environmental (as a single or combined programme) will be those such as the abilities to evaluate and challenge conventional views; read widely; think independently; show initiative; follow complex lines of reasoning and analyse data. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity, have excellent time-management skills and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.



What is LSE's deferred entry policy? 

Applications for deferred entry are considered, although you may, in some circumstances, be asked to achieve higher grades than the published standard offer in the year of application.

If you already know that you are planning to take a gap year you are advised to explain how you plan to spend it, how you think it will affect you and how it will benefit you specifically, as part of your personal statement.

If, after submitting your application, you subsequently decide that you wish to take a gap year and commence your programme at LSE a year later than originally planned, you should contact the undergraduate admissions office with your request. However, no guarantees can be given that you will automatically be allowed to defer your entry, and the selectors reserve the right to refuse your request to be considered for deferred entry, or, if you are already an offer holder, to alter the conditions of your offer.



Do you consider mature applicants/applicants with non-standard qualifications? 

Yes we do. Applications from the above are welcome and are considered individually on their own merit.  Unlike many school leavers, mature applicants often benefit from a range of experiences which make them well suited to further study, however, it is possible that they will be asked to sit the School's UG Admissions Assessment (UGAA) test and/or be invited for an interview. We recognise that it is a big commitment to return to or start an academic programme of study after some time out of mainstream education and wish to satisfy ourselves that you know what will be expected of you if you were to be offered a place at LSE.

If you are applying for either of the dual-honours degree programmes(L7L1 or F9L1), you will be required to answer a demanding mathematical section, testing your calculus ability, to ensure that you will be able to cope with the mathematical components of the compulsory Economics modules. Applicants for the single honours programmes will be required to complete a more general Mathematics section as part of their UGAA test paper.



What should I do if my circumstances change after I've submitted my UCAS form? 

We normally expect all relevant information to be provided via your UCAS application. However, we recognise that in some cases, your family, personal or educational circumstances may change.

If you are affected by any changes such as revised predicted grades, illness (possibly requiring a period of hospitalisation), disruption to your education (possibly caused by a change in staffing or a move to a different school), you should contact the undergraduate admissions office who will be able to offer you further advice.



Where can I find out more information about the programme? 

You can read more about the structure and content of the single BA Geography; BSc Geography with Economics;  BSc Environment and Development; and BSc Environmental Policy with Economics  programmes,here and on the Department of Geography and Environment website.