Department of Anthropology

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

Quick guide

Programme Name


Applications 2014

Places 2014

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer

Essential Qualifications

BA Social Anthropology





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

No subject specified

BSc Social Anthropology





(as above)

(as above)

BA Anthropology and Law





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

No subject specified

Please note that the BA and BSc Social Anthropology programmes (L601 and L603) are identical in core content so you should not apply for both programmes. Anthropology may be considered as either an arts or a science subject, thus we allow you a choice of being awarded a BA Social Anthropology or a BSc Social Anthropology upon completion of your three years of study. As with all undergraduate degree programmes at LSE the optional modules you choose each year allow you to focus on your individual areas of interest within the discipline of Social Anthropology.

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?

1. What qualifications does LSE look for?

(a) Subject combinations
The Anthropology selectors are looking for students who have studied a broad and eclectic mix of subjects, therefore there is no one 'ideal' subject combination. Social Anthropology can be viewed as a science and/or an arts subject thus successful anthropology applicants in the past have studied such diverse subjects as English, History, Languages, Sociology, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics, Physics, RE, Psychology and Art. As with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred.

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

(b) Academic profile (predicted and achieved grades)
Successful applicants for this programme are, typically, predicted to achieve or have already achieved at least AAB in their A level examinations.  For IB Diploma applicants the minimum overall points score expected is 37 out of 45. In addition a strong pre-16 academic profile such as several GCSE grades of A and A* (or equivalent) is looked for. The Anthropology selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have, but also your overall GCSE subject profile. GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Maths grades should be no lower than 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 recently completed school leaving qualifications (e.g. O Levels, IGCSEs, national qualifications, etc.) in the relevant section of your UCAS form.

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

Please remember, however, that the information above relates to minimum academic entry standards. Applicants who are predicted AAB at A level or 37 and above IB points are not automatically guaranteed an offer as much will depend on other factors, such as commitment to further study, relevant wider reading and other activities that have prepared you for life as an LSE undergraduate; 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.

The entry profiles for the three Anthropology degree programmes can be found on the UCAS website by following the link to 'Course Search'.


2. 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 selectors’ final decision will be based upon the performance in the UGAA.


3. What is looked for in the Personal Statement?

The Anthropology Department at LSE does not routinely interview applicants as part of the decision making process, thus the personal statement plays a key role in the selection process. 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 or achieved grades, simply following the guidelines will not automatically guarantee that you will be made an offer.

For Anthropology an original and interesting statement which outlines your enthusiasm and motivation for studying Social Anthropology and explains your interest in other cultures and societies is looked for. Your extra-curricular activities such as music, drama and art are considered to be relevant, particularly if they are linked to your anthropological interests. However 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 Social Anthropology, whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how it relates to your current academic programme and what additional reading or similar experiences (e.g. travel) you have had which have led you to commit to this challenging degree programme.

Other extra curricular activities such as work experience, charitable or sporting involvement, are also useful (although not essential); particularly if you indicate how you have benefited from these experiences.

For the joint Anthropology and Law degree an equal interest in both subjects is essential, as you will be devoting an equal amount of time to the study of both disciplines (ie two Anthropology and two Law courses each year). Above all you need to ensure that you can convince both a Law selector and an Anthropology selector that you are serious about following this particular degree, and that you possess the skills to do so.The joint Anthropology and Law degree offered by LSE is recognised as a qualifying law degree by the SRA (Solicitor's Regulation Authority) and may allow you exemption from some professional examinations.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Social Anthropology (with or without Law) include the abilities to ask incisive questions; think independently; read widely and adopt a creative and flexible approach to study. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work. Students applying for a place on the combined programme (ML16) should also possess excellent time management skills, as they will be required to manage the demands of two different departments.


4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy?

Applications for deferred entry are welcomed by the Anthropology Department, 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 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 consider you for deferred entry or, if you are already an offer holder, alter the conditions of your offer.


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

Yes we do. Applications from the above are welcomed 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 a study of Social Anthropology, 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 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.


6. 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.


7. Where can I find out more information about the programme?

You can find information about the structure and content of the BA/BSc Social Anthropology, or BA Anthropology and Law degree programmes here and on the Department of Anthropology website.