Department of Social Policy

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

Quick guide

There are five programme within the Social Policy department at LSE. Of these one, L400, is a single honours programme, the other four are joint-honours degree programmes which allow you to study Social Policy alongside a related social science discipline. Entry requirements for all five programme are given below:

Programme Name


Applications 2014

Places 2014

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer

Essential Qualifications

BSc Social Policy





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

BSc Social Policy and Economics




AAB (to include grade A in Maths at A2)

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

A at A level in Mathematics

BSc Social Policy with Government





37 points with 6,6,6 at HL

BSc Social Policy and Sociology





37 points with 6,6,6 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 Social Policy selectors are looking for students who have studied a broad and eclectic mix of subjects, thus there is no one 'ideal' subject combination. Social Policy, however, is one of the broadest and most multi-disciplinary of all the social sciences and successful applicants tend to demonstrate post-16 strength in the social science areas. Thus applicants have often studied subjects such as Sociology, Government and Politics, Psychology, RS, English or Economics. As with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred.

If, however, you are applying for the Social Policy and Economics combined degree programme 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 Maths requirement for LLK1). 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 these programmes are, typically, 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 strong GCSE grades including some at A and A*. The Social Policy selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have, but also 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 relevant 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 A level entry requirements. Thus the higher your AS grades 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 AAB and above at A level or 37 and above points for the IB are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as motivation and 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 five Social Policy 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 EUG 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 Social Policy Department at 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.

For Social Policy, selectors are looking for an original and interesting statement which demonstrates your awareness of and interest in contemporary social problems and their alleviation. We recognise that this is not a subject you will have studied explicitly as part of your school curriculum, and so are interested in your wider views and opinions; and/or the experiences that you have had which have resulted in your interest in this field of study.

Voluntary work, work experience and other extra-curricular activities such as music, drama, sport and art are considered to be relevant, particularly if they provide evidence of your awareness of and interest in current social issues. 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 Policy, whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how it relates to your current academic programme and what additional reading or other activities you have undertaken which have led you to commit to this multi-disciplinary degree programme.

For the Social Policy degree, the selector is looking for an original and interesting statement which demonstrates your awareness of and interest in contemporary social problems (e.g. health care and ageing populations, child poverty, educational underachievement, gender discrimination, anti-social behaviour, etc.) and their alleviation.

For the three combined Social Policy degrees a genuine interest in both aspects is essential, as you will be required to devote a similar amount of time to the study of both disciplines. 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 Social Policy selector and the other department selector that you are serious about following their particular programme.

If you are applying for Social Policy combined with Economics, Government or Sociology, you may find it helpful to look at the admissions criteria webpages for those departments before you submit your application.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Social Policy (as a single or combined programme) will be those such as the abilities to ask incisive questions; think independently; read widely; show initiative; be creative and adopt a flexible approach. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.

4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy?  

Applications for deferred entry are considered by the Social Policy 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 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 a study of Social Policy, 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 Social Policy and Economics programme, you will be required to answer a demanding mathematical section, testing your calculus ability, to ensure that you would be able to cope with the mathematical components of the compulsory Economics modules. Applicants for all other Social Policy 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 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?  

You can read more about the structure and content of the BSc Social Policy, BSc Social Policy and Economics, BSc Social Policy with Government and BSc Social Policy and Sociology here and on the Department of Social Policy website.