Department of Economic History

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

Quick guide

There are three programmes available within the Economic History department at LSE, specific requirements for each are shown below:

Economic history

Programme Name


Applications 2014

Places 2014

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer

Essential subjects

BSc Economic History





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

One essay based subject

BSc Economic History with Economics




AAB (to include grade A in Maths)

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


BSc Economic History and Economics




AAB (to include grade A in Maths)

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


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 Economic History selectors are looking for academic students with a flair for social sciences, thus many applicants will be studying subjects such as History, Economics, Government and/or Geography. Whilst there is no one ideal subject combination which is deemed preferable to others, applicants for the BSc Economic History programme (V300) should note that at least one essay based subject is essential (Economics and modern foreign languages are considered to be essay writing subjects in addition to the preferred Humanities and Social Science subjects). The Department also offers two joint degrees which involve the study of a significant number of Economics modules. It is desirable for applicants to these two programmes to have an essay writing subject. They are also required to demonstrate outstanding mathematical ability and must either have attained or be completing Mathematics at Advanced level. This specific subject condition relates to the content of these degree programmes at LSE, for which high levels of mathematical ability are essential. The majority of applicants for all our Economic History degrees will have studied either Economics or History, in some form, as part of their sixth-form curriculum, although, unlike mathematics these are not required subjects. Other subjects which appear as common post-16 choices are Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry.

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, usually, predicted at least AAB in their A level examinations (or 37 and above IB points, with higher level subjects as the above list) and have already achieved excellent GCSE grades including the majority at A or A*. The selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have achieved, but also the breadth of your overall GCSE subject profile.

If you are currently following an A level or IB programme but have not previously studied a GCSE curriculum, you should still list your most recent school leaving qualifications in the appropriate section of the UCAS form.

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

Please remember, however, that these are the minimum entry requirements. Applicants who are predicted AAB at A level or 37 and above points at IB are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as commitment to further study, as outlined in the 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 Economic History 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), 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, see the country-by-country guide.


3. What is looked for in the Personal Statement?

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

For Economic History an original and interesting personal statement which outlines your enthusiasm and motivation for the study of this subject is expected. The selectors want to see evidence of your interest in history and are looking for students who show awareness of the links between history, economics and social change.

Your extra-curricular activities such as work experience, sporting, charitable or artistic endeavours are taken into account, however, they are deemed secondary to your academic ability and motivation to study history at degree level. The selectors are keen to know why you wish to study Economic History, whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how it relates to your current academic programme and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to commit to this contemporary and multidisciplinary degree programme.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Economic History, either on its own or combined with Economics, at LSE will be those such as the abilities to be flexible in approaching problems, to think independently, apply logic and draw reasoned and balanced conclusions. Additionally, applicants for the combined programmes with Economics will be expected to demonstrate strong statistical competence and to be able to follow complex lines of mathematical reasoning. As with all LSE programmes, you should possess good communication skills, intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.

There are three separate degree programmes offered by the Economic History Department at LSE, thus, you should ensure you are aware of their differences and adjust the focus of your personal statement accordingly. If you are applying for the joint honours Economics and Economic History degree, (VL31), you should ensure your personal statement is sufficiently balanced to demonstrate your equal interest in both subjects; you should also be aware that you will have less flexibility in your choice of units in comparison to the other programmes available within the Department. Nevertheless, this joint degree offers an alternative way to study economics and will appeal to students who want training in the application of economic theory and quantitative methods to real issues and situations. If you are applying for the combined Economic History with Economics degree, (V3L1), you may wish to adjust the balance of your personal statement to reflect the fact that Economics is very much the minor subject. Thus, you may wish to consider the impact of economic changes in the past and how you would apply the multi-disciplinary skills of the historian, the economist and the statistician.  Whilst the first year of these three programmes share a common core, the options available in the second and third years become more specialised, depending upon the programme you are following.


4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy?

Applications for deferred entry are considered by the Economic History Department. If you are unsuccessful in securing an offer for deferred entry before you have completed your A level (or equivalent) examinations, you may apply again in the following cycle once your results are known.

If you have already planned to take a gap year you are advised to explain how you intend 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.


5. 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, 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 a demanding 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. As part of the UGAA test, applicants for the combined Economic History and Economics degree programmes will be expected to answer a challenging mathematical section, to demonstrate that they possess the required standard of mathematical knowledge.


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 on your UCAS form. However, we recognise that in a few cases, your family, personal or educational circumstances may change.

If you are affected by any changes such as revised predicted grades (possibly as a result of re-sits), 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?

Your can read more information about the structure and content of the BSc Economic History, BSc Economics and Economic History and BSc Economic History with Economics here and on the Department of Economic History website.