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LSE's entry requirements

We welcome applications from all prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic potential irrespective of their background. In order to achieve this we encourage applicants from the widest possible range of schools and colleges to take advantage of the opportunities available at LSE. For details of specific opportunities see Widening participation| and Information for teachers and schools|.

You should read the following information carefully as it will help you determine whether you meet the necessary entry requirements. 

Each application received is carefully considered on an individual basis, taking into account the full range of information presented on the UCAS form including personal statement, academic achievement (including both past and predicted grades), subject combinations and references, before a final decision is made. We also consider the educational circumstances of applicants.

As you will see from the individual programme information, there is a great deal of competition for places at the School. In 2014, we received 17,000 applications for 1,500 places. This means that if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades set out in the standard offer, unfortunately this will not guarantee you an offer of admission.

Before completing your application you should also refer to the Completing your application| section and read the information on the Admissions Criteria| pages and on the UCAS Entry Profiles.

Age requirements

Admission to the School is based upon academic merit and potential. As the School has a responsibility for safeguarding children under English Law, appropriate senior staff will be notified of an offer of admission made to anyone who will be younger than 18 years of age at the time of registration.

AS/A levels

We expect applicants who are studying A levels to offer four AS levels (taken after one year of advanced study in Year 12) and then proceed to three full A levels (A2s) in Year 13. If resourcing issues at your school prevent this then your referee should indicate in your reference whether resources are available to teach four or five AS levels in Year 12, and whether timetabling arrangements allow th uptake of a wide range of subjects. We normally make conditional offers based on three full A levels (A2s).

Unit grades

AS unit grades already attained are used as part of our decision making process for some of our mathematics based programmes. As competition for places at LSE is intense, it is important that applicants achieve consistently high grades throughout both years of their A level study. Please note that in cases where AS grades are not provided, it is likely that the Undergraduate Admissions Office will request these before a decision can be made.

For the majority of our programmes, admissions tutors will continue to make decisions based on predicted A level grades, as well as previous academic qualifications, the personal statement and academic reference.

A Level reform in England

LSE is of the opinion that AS Levels offer significant benefits, both for the student and for universities. Our evidence indicates that AS Levels are an effective indicator of performance at undergraduate level and for this reason we will continue to use AS grades (and in some cases the associated UMS scores) in our admissions assessments.

For students due to start A Levels in September 2015 we would recommend that, whenever possible, they sit AS Level examinations at the end of year 12. These AS results will help the LSE selectors assess the application in a fair, consistent and transparent manner and will ensure that more subjective indicators of academic potential such as predicted grades are less important factors in the decision making process. 

LSE understands that there will be some school and colleges that are unable to teach AS Levels alongside the new linear A Levels. LSE will not disadvantage students who submit an application without AS Level grades as a result. In these circumstances we would use the information presented on the application form to make our decision (possibly in conjunction with some form of additional assessment).

Key skills

Students are not required to have the Key Skills certificate for admission to LSE.

General Studies/Critical Thinking/Thinking Skills at A level

If you are taking General Studies, Critical Thinking or Thinking Skills at A level, your grades in this subject will not be included in our conditional offer.

A* grade at A level

LSE includes an A* in its standard offer for a number of our degree programmes in the Departments of Economics, Finance, Law, Mathematics, and for our BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics programme. Please see the individual degree programme descriptions| for details.

Applicants applying for programmes requiring A* with A levels taken before 2010 when A* was not available will be considered equally alongside other applicants. Selectors may request to see unit marks in order to assess applications.

For applicants taking qualifications which do not include an A* grade equivalent, decisions will be made based on further details including, for instance, individual unit marks and other achieved grades. For programmes requiring A* in Mathematics, an A* in Further Mathematics in addition to an A grade in Mathematics would be an acceptable alternative.

Retakes

Competition for places at the School is intense, so it is important that you achieve consistently high grades throughout both years of your A level (or equivalent) studies. We prefer students who have achieved high grades in their AS and A2 examinations at their first attempt although examination re-sits may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Extended Project

LSE recognises and values the Extended Project (EP), although we acknowledge that not all applicants will have the opportunity to complete one. For this reason, it is not normally included in any conditional offer that we make. However, the skills of independent study and research which can be demonstrated through  the EP are clearly good preparation for undergraduate study. We therefore encourage those of you who are undertaking an EP to make reference to it in your application.

Cambridge Pre-U

LSE is happy to to consider candidates applying with the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or one or more principal subjects in combination with A levels.

At LSE offers are based on the achievement of specific grades in identified subjects. Therefore, where an A level student would be asked to achieve a grade A, we will ask for a Pre-U subject grade of D3. Where an A level grade B is required we will ask for a Pre-U principal subject grade of M1.

Please visit UCAS| for further details.

Advanced Diplomas

LSE will consider Advanced Diplomas in pathways which are relevant to the programme applied for on an individual basis. For instance, we might consider Society Health and Development, Business Administration and Finance or Public Services for our Social Policy or Sociology programmes. In such cases we would consider applications from candidates with the Advanced Diploma (including an A level as part of their Additional/Specialist Learning (ASL)) who are also taking an additional free-standing A level in a generally preferred subject.

International Baccalaureate

LSE considers candidates applying with the International Baccalaureate. Offers at LSE are based on an overall points score in combination with individual scores in each of the Higher Level subjects being taken. Please refer to the specific programme page for the scores required.

We accept a range of other UK and international qualifications, including the following:

  • International Baccalaureate 
  • Scottish Advanced Highers (normally three Advanced Highers or two, plus one A level)
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Welsh Baccalaureate
  • European Baccalaureate

More details of the grades expected in these qualifications together with other information on other acceptable qualifications can be found in our information for international students|.

If you have taken GCSE level qualifications, or the equivalent, these will also be taken into account in our admission decision.

Subject combinations and 'non-preferred' subjects

We are looking for evidence that you have academic ability and achievement in breadth. For some degrees we require Mathematics at A level or equivalent; details of subject requirements can be found in the programme entries.

The School considers not only the subjects offered by applicants at A level (A2) and AS level, but also the combination of them. Certain subjects are considered  by our admissions tutors to be a more effective preparation for studying at LSE. Admissions Tutors will normally consider one of the subjects listed as 'non-preferred' below only if it is offered in combination with two generally preferred subjects. For example, Mathematics, French and Economics would be a suitable combination for almost any of our degrees. Mathematics, French and Business would be acceptable, but we would prefer the first example. On the other hand, Mathematics, Accounting and Media Studies would not normally be considered as suitable as this combination includes two subjects on the 'non-preferred' list below. You should also note that we are less concerned with subject combinations at AS level.

Successful applicants normally offer three A levels (A2s) in our generally preferred subjects, or two generally preferred subjects and one from the following list of subjects that are 'non-preferred.' The list is regularly reviewed by Admissions Tutors:

  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Communication Studies 
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • Home Economics 
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Law
  • Media Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Sports Studies
  • Travel and Tourism

An A level (or equivalent) in your first/native language may not be counted.

Please note the following points:

Drama and Theatre Studies:

The Departments of Anthropology, International History, International Relations, Social Policy and Sociology consider Drama and Theatre Studies equally with other generally preferred subjects. Therefore, they will consider Drama and Theatre Studies alongside one other subject from the non-preferred list.

However, the majority of departments continue to feel that Drama and Theatre Studies as a non-preferred subject.

Music Technology:
Music Technology is regarded as a non-preferred A level subject. However the School does accept A level Music as a generally preferred subject.

Business Studies:
Whilst not necessarily perceived as the best preparation, due to its vocational content, a number of applicants offering Business Studies alongside two other generally preferred subjects like Maths or English, do receive offers from LSE every year. However, the combination of Business Studies and Economics as two separate A levels is best avoided.

Accounting and Law:
As with Business Studies, students offering either Accounting or Law as one of their A level subjects should not be put off from applying to LSE, as depending on their overall academic profile, they may be made an offer.

Although the School in general prefers traditional academic subjects, it considers not only the subjects themselves but also the subject combination, thus a combination of Economics, Maths and Business Studies or Maths, Further Maths and Physics could represent a narrow field of study. However, the combination of double maths plus one traditional subject will be considered for the following programmes: Actuarial Science (N321); Business, Maths and Statistics (G0N0); Statistics with Finance (G3N3); Management (N200); Maths and/ with Economics (GL11, G1L1). The above combination might also be considered for Philosophy (V503) and Philosophy and Economics (LV15) if all other aspects of the UCAS application were strong. If there is concern about an applicant’s subject combination, an offer might be made, but with higher (than the standard offer) grades required to compensate for the limited breadth or lack of intellectual challenge placed on the applicant.

GCSEs

If you have taken GCSE level qualifications, or equivalent, these will also be taken into account when the admissions tutors assess your application. All applicants are normally expected to have at least grade B in GCSE English and Mathematics or the equivalent, although exceptions are made for applicants with extenuating circumstances.

Some programmes require grades higher than B in GCSE Mathematics and these are outlined in the individual programme entries. Certain departments look for a number of A or A* grades at GCSE. Further information can be found on the admissions criteria| section of the website.

Programme requirements

Please see individual programme entries| for specific requirements.

Usual standard offers

You will see that we express our standard offer in terms of A levels (by which we mean A2s) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). Predicted or actual grades which meet or exceed the standard offer will not guarantee an offer of admission. Furthermore, these are only a guide and in some cases candidates will be asked for grades which differ from this. In cases where candidates are taking exams in tow separate sittings over the course of two years, you may receive an offer based specific grades in specific subjects. For instance, if you have achieved grades in two subjects in a previous year and are taking two more subjects in the coming examination period, we may ask for specific grades in one or both of these subjects. We do not use the UCAS tariff when setting our offers. We require specific grades in particular subjects.

English language requirements

All students are required to be sufficiently proficient in the English Language to benefit from their studies at the School. In addition, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) guidelines stipulate that all students entering the United Kingdom to study must have an English Language qualification equivalent  to the Common European Framework (CEFR) level B2 in each of the four sub-components of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening) unless they are from a majority English speaking country.

It is not necessary to have the required grade in an acceptable English Language qualification when you make your application to LSE. However, if you are made an offer of a place at LSE and English is not your first language, it is likely that you would be asked to provide evidence that your spoken and written English is satisfactory.

Full details of the tests we accept are on the English language requirements| page.

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