Department of Government

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

Quick guide

There are five undergraduate programmes within the Government department at LSE, only one of which is a single honours degree programme. The other four are joint-honours programmes in which the study of Government is combined with a second related social science, as indicated in the table below. Entry requirements for the five programmes are as follows:

Course Name


Applications 2014

Places 2014

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer


BSc Government





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL

BSc Government and Economics




AAA including Maths

38 points with 7,6,6 at HL including Maths

Mathematics (A2 or IB HL)

BSc Government and History





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL

BSc Politics and International Relations


New programme for 2015

New programme for 2015


38 points with 7,6,6 at HL

BSc Politics and Philosophy





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL


 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 Government selectors are looking for academic students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the social and political sciences. There is no one 'ideal' subject combination, however, as with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred. Common sixth form subject choices include Government and Politics; History; English; Economics; Sociology; Philosophy, Languages and Mathematics.

However, if you are applying for the dual-honours Government and Economics degree you must be studying Mathematics as one of your subjects. This is necessary to ensure that you will be able to complete the compulsory core 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. 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.

(b) Academic profile (predicted and achieved grades)
Successful applicants for these degrees are, typically, predicted to achieve, or have already achieved at least AAA in their A level examinations (or a minimum score of 38 out of 45 for the IB diploma, with higher level subjects and scores as indicated above). In addition the majority of applicants have already achieved excellent GCSE (or equivalent) grades including a significant number of top A and A* grades. 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 subject profile (in particular Maths and English Language GCSE grades should be no lower than a B).

If you are currently completing an A level or IB Diploma programme but have not previously followed a GCSE curriculum, you still list your most recently completed school leaving qualifications (e.g. O Levels, IGCSEs, national qualifications, etc.) in the relevant section of your UCAS application. 

Your AS grades are also taken into consideration as these give the selectors a clear indication of your ability to attain the minimum A level entry requirements. Thus the higher your AS grades (achieved 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 entry standards. Applicants who are predicted or who have already achieved grades of AAA (or above) at A level or a total of 38 and above points for the IB Diploma are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as motivation and commitment to further academic study, relevant wider reading and other activities which demonstrate interest in your chosen LSE degree programme. These should be  outlined in your personal statement, which is your opportunity to convince the selector of your suitability for a specific programme.

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 five Government degree programmes are available 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 applicant’s performance in the UGAA.


3. What is looked for in the Personal Statement?  

The Government 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. 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 Government, we are looking for an original and well written statement which demonstrates your awareness of and genuine interest in current political issues. We are interested in your views and opinions as well as the experiences you have had which have resulted in your desire to focus on this exciting field of study. Your extra-curricular activities will be taken into account, particularly where they provide evidence of your motivation and desire to succeed, however, they are deemed to be less significant than your academic qualities. The main point to remember is that the majority of your personal statement should be based around your subject interest and enthusiasm. The selectors are keen to know why you wish to study a particular degree programme, whether there are any aspects of specific interest to you, how it relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or other activities you have undertaken which have led you to apply for this particular degree programmes. Work experience, particularly if it is related to the study of Government or Politics, is considered useful but it is not essential.

For the dual-honours degree programmes an equal interest in both aspects is essential, as you will be devoting a similar 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 optional courses available to you during your studies when following a dual-honours programme compared to a single-honours one. Above all you need to ensure that you can convince not just the Government Department's selector, but also the other Department's selector that you are serious about your degree choice.

If your main interest is Economics, International Relations, History or Philosophy, the Government department's dual-honours programmes may not be appropriate, since they are designed to allow students to develop their understanding of Government and Politics through the in-depth study of the two closely related disciplines and hence acquire a broad range of transferable skills. However, one of the many benefits of undertaking a combined degree programme is that it allows you to acquire a wider knowledge base.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Government at LSE (as either a single or dual-honours degree programme) will be those such as the abilities to read extensively; evaluate and challenge conventional views; communicate effectively; show initiative; and analyse data. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity, excellent time-management skills and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.


4. 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.


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.  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 the Government and Economics programme, 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 any of the other Government programmes will be required to complete a more general mathematics section as part of their UGAA test paper.


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 form. However, we recognise that in a small number of 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 read more about the structure and content of the BSc Government; BSc Government and Economics; BSc Government and History, BSc Politics and International Relations and BSc Politics and Philosophy programmes, here and on the Department of Government website.