3. What is looked for in the Personal Statement?
The LSE does not routinely interview applicants as part of its 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.
Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
For Philosophy, we are looking for an original, well written and lucid statement which demonstrates your awareness of and genuine interest in exploring philosophical issues and the application of logic. We are aware that you may not have had the opportunity to develop extensive knowledge of philosophical ideas and theories in your education to date, but we are interested in your views and opinions on questions such as morality, free will, or the relationship between science and religion as well as the experiences you have had which have resulted in your desire to focus on this challenging and profound field of study.
Your extra-curricular activities are taken into consideration, but are deemed to be of lesser importance than your academic potential and desire to develop intellectually. Work experience is useful, particularly where it evidences commitment and motivation; however, it is not essential. 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 specific degree programme.
Given the focus of the LSE course on logic and the scientific method, it is common for students to also be applying for joint courses such as Maths and Philosophy or Physics and Philosophy. This does not need to disadvantage you, but the bulk of your statement should be dedicated to areas of overlap between the two subjects.
Philosophy and Economics:
For the combined degree, an equal interest in both disciplines is expected, since you will be devoting a similar amount of time to the study of both Philosophy and Economics. It is also worth remembering that you may find that you have slightly less freedom in the specific mix of programme available to you during your studies when following a combined programme compared to a single-honours one. Above all you need to ensure that you can convince both the Philosophy and the Economics Department's selector, that you are serious about your degree choice.
If your main interest is Economics rather than Philosophy, this combined programme may not be appropriate, since it is designed to allow you to develop your understanding of Economics alongside that of Philosophy thus enabling you to acquire a range of inter-linked skills. Conversely, the benefit of undertaking a combined programme is that it allows you to acquire a wider knowledge base, than that obtained by following the single subject route.
Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Philosophy at LSE (as a single or combined programme) will be those such as the abilities to think logically and independently, follow complex lines of reasoning, read extensively and evaluate and challenge conventional views. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Our Philosophy, Politics and Economics course is a truly interdisciplinary degree, with all three subjects being studied for at least the first three years of the course. We therefore look for a balanced statement that demonstrates interest in all three subjects and their overlapping themes. Students able to make links between these disciplines will be looked upon favourably.
Students at the LSE must be self-motivated, independent learners and we expect to see some evidence of engagement with the subjects outside of your school work. Suggestions for preliminary reading in the three subjects can be found in the prospectus, but these recommendations are not prescriptive: you should follow what is interesting and available to you. Whatever experiences you have had, be they reading, online courses, work experience or other activities we hope to see that you have critically reflected on them, drawing your own conclusions about the topics covered and explaining why they have prepared or inspired you to tackle this challenging degree. A key part of the course will be communicating complex ideas clearly and concisely, so it is essential your statement is well-written
Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study at LSE will be those such as the abilities to think logically and independently, follow complex lines of reasoning, read extensively and evaluate and challenge conventional views. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.