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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 merit and 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 our Meet Visit and Discover LSE and Information for teachers and schools pages.

You should read the following information carefully as it will help you determine whether you meet our entry requirements. You should also read the Departmental Admissions Criteria for your intended degree programme and the information in the How to Apply section.

Each application received is carefully considered on an individual basis, taking into account the full range of information presented including personal statement, academic achievement (including both past and predicted grades), subject combinations and references, before a final decision is made. 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 17,500 applications for 1,500 places. This fierce competition for places means that every year we unfortunately have to disappoint many applicants.

Contents:

Usual standard offers

Information for all applicants

Information for applicants studying for AS/A levels

Information for applicants studying for the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Information for applicants studying other UK qualifications

Information for mature applicants

Information for applicants studying international qualifications

Information regarding use of GCSE and equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

 

Usual standard offers

You will see that we express our standard offer in terms of GCE A levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB). We also consider a range of UK and international qualifications – to find our standard entry requirements for your qualification please see our information for International Students.

The school receives many applications from very well qualified applicants and predicted or actual grades which meet or exceed the standard offer do not guarantee an offer of admission. Furthermore, the published standard offers are only a guide and in some cases candidates will be asked for grades which differ from this. The offers made in any given year will depend on the strength of that particular cohort and this means that offers made may also change from year to year. We also reserve the right to specify that particular grades should be achieved in particular subjects.

 

Information for all applicants

Introduction

As the majority of our applicants apply with A levels, this guidance is written primarily towards that audience. However, the information contained is relevant to students offering any qualification. If you are unsure how this guidance applies to your qualification, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Note that where specific guidance regarding the suitability of a particular subject/subject combination is given on the entry requirements pages of our information for International Students, that guidance supersedes the more general guidance given below.

Subject combinations and 'non-preferred' subjects

The School considers not only the individual qualifications offered by applicants but also the combination of subjects offered. Individual degree programmes may have specific subject requirements or preferences which are listed in the Departmental Admissions Criteria. We also have a number of general policies, listed below.

We consider traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE. We expect applicants to offer at least two full A levels or IBDP Higher Levels in these subjects (although typically, applicants will apply with three or four); please see the list below for guidance.

Some subjects provide a less effective preparation for study at LSE. We refer to these as non-preferred subjects; please see the list below for guidance. These subjects should only be offered in combination with two traditional academic subjects.

Finally, there are a small number of A levels which are normally excluded from our standard offer; please see the list below.  Applicants should offer three full A levels or equivalent alongside these subjects.

List of common traditional academic/”generally preferred” subjects:

  • Ancient History
  • Biology
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Economics
  • English (English Language, English Literature and English Language and Literature)
  • Further Mathematics*
  • Geography
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Languages: Modern Foreign, Classic and Community**
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

List of common non-preferred subjects:

  • Any Applied A level
  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Citizenship Studies
  • Communication and Culture
  • Creative Writing
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Home Economics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Law
  • Leisure Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Physical Education/Sports studies
  • Travel and Tourism

List of normally excluded subjects

  • General Studies
  • Critical Thinking
  • Thinking Skills
  • Knowledge and Enquiry
  • Project Work

If you would like information about the suitability of a subject which does not appear on these lists, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

*See Maths and Further Maths section below.

** See Language Qualifications section

Overlapping subjects

Many of the undergraduate programmes at LSE are multi-disciplinary and for this reason we consider a broad mix of traditional subjects to be the best preparation for study. A broad academic background will provide the skills to perform well in any of the challenging programmes at LSE. Students offering a narrow range of subjects may be at a disadvantage compared to those offering a broader combination. Examples of narrow subject combinations might be Economics, Business Studies and one other or English Language, English Literature and one other. See also, Maths and Further Maths below.

Maths and Further Maths

Some degree programmes at the school are highly mathematical in content and therefore Maths A level or equivalent is a requirement. A number of programmes also require a qualification in Further Mathematics (where available), or consider one helpful. However, the combination of Maths, Further Maths plus one other subject is considered insufficiently broad for many of our programmes.

The information in the table below provides guidance on the suitability of Maths, Further Maths and one other subject. However, it is for guidance only. On occasion, particularly where extenuating circumstances have prevented students from taking a broader subject mix and/or there is evidence of breadth of study through other academic activities (e.g. an Extended Project or alternative qualifications) Group 4 programmes may consider students offering Maths, Further Maths and one other subject.

We are aware that not everyone has the opportunity to follow a Further Maths programme and find it helpful if applicants and/or their referees can indicate whether or not the applicant’s school or college offers Further Maths classes.

Group 1: Programmes which require either:

1)      A Level Maths, A Level Further Maths and one other subject

  • or

2)      A Level Maths, two other subjects and AS Further Maths

Maths and Economics (GL11)

Maths with Economics (G1L1)

Group 2: Programmes which are happy to consider applicants offering Maths, Further Maths and one other subject.

Actuarial Science (N321)

Business Maths and Statistics (G0N0)

Law (M100)

Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method (V503)

Statistics with Finance (G3N3)

Group 3: Programmes which are happy to consider applicants offering Math and Further Maths in combination with an essay writing subject.

Management (N200)†

Philosophy and Economics (LV15)

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (L0V0)

Economic History with Economics (V3L1)

Economics and Economic History (VL31)

International History (V146)

Group 4: Programmes where a combination of Maths, Further Maths and one other subject may be considered less competitive

Accounting and Finance (NN34)

Anthropology and Law (ML16)

Social Anthropology (L601 and L603)

Economic History (V300)

Environment and Development (FK84)

Environmental Policy with Economics (F9L1)

Geography (L702)

Geography and Economics (L7L1)

Government (L230)

Government and Economics (LL12)

Government and History (LV21)

International Relations (L250)

International Relations and History (VL12)

Politics and International Relations (L290)

Politics and Philosophy (LV25)

Social Policy (L400)

Social Policy and Economics (LLK1)

Social Policy with Government (LL42)

Social Policy and Sociology (LL34)

Sociology (L301)

Group 5: Programmes where Further Maths is desirable as a fourth subject only. Both AS and A2 are acceptable.

 

Economics (L101)

Econometrics and Mathematical Economics (L140)

Economics with Economic History (L1V3)

Finance (N300)

 

† Management (N200) prefer an essay writing subject but will consider other combinations.  

For programmes requiring A* in Mathematics A level, an A* in Further Mathematics in addition to an A grade in Mathematics is an acceptable alternative.

Language Qualifications

LSE values the skills that language acquisition brings and many of our applicants describe themselves as bi, tri or multi-lingual.  We do however differentiate between language learning qualifications and those designed for competent language users. Where we have reason to believe a student has significant prior exposure to a language, we may exclude a language learning qualification from any offer we make.  

Significant prior exposure to a language may include:

  • You, your immediate family or your community regularly speak the language during day-to-day life.
  • You live or have lived in a country where that language is commonly spoken.
  • You are or have been educated in that language.

The most common qualifications this applies to are language A levels (except those designed for first language users e.g. Welsh first language), International Baccalaureate Language B courses and Advanced Placement Language and Culture Courses. We are able to be more flexible in our requirements when considering courses taken only to AS or Standard Level, although we may still exclude these.

In order to help us with this decision, we take into account all information provided on the UCAS application such as nationality, schools attended (pre and post-16), completed language qualifications, normal place of residence and information from your referee.  Where it is unclear, to us, whether the language qualification being taken is providing a significant academic challenge, we may require further information from you or your referee before we make our final decision.

Retakes

Given the competition for places and the nature of assessment at LSE, we prefer students who have achieved high grades in their first attempt (and in one sitting) at relevant examinations. If extenuating circumstances have impacted your exam performance, you should include details of these in your application.

 

Information for applicants studying for AS/A levels

AS/A-level requirements

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 that this is the case (for example, where resources are unavailable to teach four AS levels in Year 12 or where timetabling arrangements do not allow the uptake of a wide range of subjects). We normally make conditional offers based on three full A levels (A2s).

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 recommend that, wherever possible, they sit AS Level examinations at the end of year 12. These AS results will help the LSE Selectors better assess applications 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 schools and colleges that are unable to teach AS Levels alongside the new linear A Levels and has no intention of disadvantaging students who submit an application without AS Level grades as a result. In these circumstances we will use the information presented on the application form to make our decision (possibly in conjunction with some form of additional assessment).

More information can be found on our A Level Reform FAQ webpage.

The Extended Project

LSE recognises the skills and experience gained by students who choose to undertake an Extended Project Qualification. While we do not include the grades gained from the EPQ in our standard offers, and there is no requirement to do one, successful engagement with an EPQ can help you demonstrate your readiness to study a rigorously academic undergraduate programme.

An EPQ can be a good way of demonstrating your enthusiasm for a particular subject, especially if you are applying to study a subject you have not had the opportunity to study at school or college.

Where the EPQ adds value to the admissions process is where sufficient research has been carried out prior to writing your personal statement. It is often appropriate to discuss in your statement any reading that you have done and your reactions to the ideas you have encountered.

AS Grades

AS grades and unit grades (and in some circumstances UMS marks) are used as part of our decision making process. We look for applicants to achieve consistently high grades throughout both years of their A level study. Where AS grades are not provided the Undergraduate Admissions Office may request these before a decision is made.

 

Information for applicants studying for the International Baccalaureate Diploma

We expect applicants who are studying for the IB Diploma to offer at least 3 subjects at Higher Level. We normally make conditional offers based on an overall points score and individual scores for each of the Higher Level subjects (for example, the standard offer for BA History is 38 points overall with 7,6,6 at Higher Level).

 

Information for applicants studying for other UK qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider a full course Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subject to be equivalent to an A level. Our grade equivalencies are:

 

Pre-U D1

A Level A*

Pre-U D2

A Level A

Pre-U D3

A Level B

Pre-U M1

The Global Perspectives and Independent Research Project (GPR) is considered equivalent to an Extended Project and will not form part of any conditional offer.

BTEC

BTEC Level 3 qualifications (BTEC Nationals) are looked at on an individual basis for admission to LSE.

LSE undergraduate programmes are academic and the majority of courses are assessed by either end of term or end of year examinations. The structure of BTECs is strongly vocational and much of the assessment is by coursework or practical assignments. Therefore, BTECs are not regarded as providing as good preparation for our degree programmes as more academic qualifications. As BTEC qualifications are typically in non-preferred subjects they may be seen as less competitive for courses that have a large number of well qualified applicants.

Our entry requirements for students offering BTEC qualifications are listed below. Typically all other entry requirements need to be met, including GCSE English and Maths at grade B and any Maths and Further Maths A Level requirements. You should ask your referee to note any extenuating circumstances that may have impacted upon the choice of courses available to you post 16.

Normally if you are offering a 6, 9 or 12 unit BTEC qualifications (Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma, 90 Credit Diploma or Diploma respectively) you should also offer two A Levels in traditional academic subjects.

If you are studying for a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma you may be considered for entry without additional qualifications, especially if there are strong links between your BTEC subject and your intended degree programme. For example, you may have studied aspects of sociology, psychology, social policy or criminal justice as part of a BTEC in Health and Social Care or Public Services.

If you are offering the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma without any A Levels, or only offering one A Level with any BTEC qualification, you may be invited to sit the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA) as part of the admissions process in order to provide evidence of your skills under exam conditions.

We require all BTEC qualifications to be completed with a Distinction* profile. For example the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma at Distinction* Distinction* Distinction* or a BTEC Level 3 90 Credit Diploma at Distinction* Distinction*.

BTEC

Qualification

Entry requirements

UGAA required?

BTEC Level 3 Certificate (3 units)

Not acceptable for entry

 

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (6 units - formerly BTEC National Award)

 

Acceptable in combination with A levels in two traditional academic subjects.

Distinction* accepted with A*A at A Level for courses requiring A*AA

Distinction* accepted with AA at A Level for courses requiring AAA

Distinction* accepted with AB at A Level for courses requiring AAB

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (e.g. A in Maths)

UG Admissions Assessment not required

 

BTEC Level 3 90 Credit Diploma

(9 units - new qualification)

 

BTEC Level 3 Diploma (12 units – formerly BTEC National Certificate)

 

Acceptable in combination with A levels in two traditional academic subjects.

Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A*A at A Level for courses requiring A*AA

Distinction* Distinction* accepted with AA at A Level for courses requiring AAA

Distinction* Distinction* accepted with AB at A Level for courses requiring AAB

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (e.g. A in Maths)

UG Admissions Assessment not required

 

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma)

 

Acceptable in combination with an A level in one traditional academic subject.

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A* at A Level for courses requiring A*AA

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction* accepted with A at A Level for courses requiring AAA or AAB

Specific grades may also be requested in relevant subjects (e.g. A in Maths)

UG Admissions Assessment may not be required IF also offering one A Level

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma) without any A levels

Acceptable alongside a strong performance in the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (n.b. not all applicants will be invited to sit the UGAA).

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction*

UG Admissions Assessment required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welsh Baccalaureate

We accept the Welsh Baccalaureate at Advanced Level in lieu of one A level but consider it a non-preferred subject.

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

We normally expect Advanced Highers in three subjects, at grades AAA to AAB.  Where A-level Maths is required, we require Advanced Higher Maths and where Further Maths is required we require an additional Advanced Higher in Applied Mathematics (Mathematics of Mechanics or Statistics from 2015).

Where an applicant is prevented, for reasons outside of their control, from studying more than two Advanced Highers we may consider making an offer on two Advanced Highers plus an additional Higher or Scottish Baccalaureate Interdisciplinary Project studied in S6.

If an applicant has not taken a National 5 or equivalent qualification in English and/or Maths we would expect to see that subject offered at Higher Level and may require a particular grade.

Modern Studies is considered a traditional academic/generally preferred subject.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Applicants taking an Access to Higher Education Diploma are assessed alongside other applicants using the full range of information presented on the UCAS application. Those demonstrating potential may be asked to sit the School's Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA). Final admissions decisions are based on performance in the UGAA and information on the UCAS form.

It is useful for the selectors to have information regarding your performance in the Diploma so far. Applicants may consider submitting their application later in the UCAS cycle, when more information is available; equal consideration is given to all applications received before the January 15th deadline.

All applicants should complete their Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3. Grade requirements depend on the degree programme applied for, see below:

A level entry requirement

Access to HE requirement

  A*AA/AAA/AAB

Complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction (all of which must be subject based) plus 15 at Merit or Pass.

Marks in specific units relating to the degree programme applied for may be required.

Foundation Courses

We consider applications from students who have or are about to complete a foundation course, however not all Foundation courses are acceptable for all degree programmes. Applicants seeking advice on the suitability of a Foundation Course should send details of their course content to the Undergraduate Admissions Office; we require details of the course content, assessment and duration for consideration. In previous years we have received applications from students studying the foundation courses at institutions such as the University of London International programme, University College London, Kings College London and the University of Warwick.

We assess Foundation Course students alongside other applicants using the full range of information presented on the UCAS application. Those demonstrating potential may be asked to sit the School's Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA). Final admissions decisions are based on performance in the UGAA and information on the UCAS form.

 

Information for mature applicants

LSE welcomes applications from older students and values the contribution they make to the School community. LSE also has a large proportion of postgraduate students. This means that the student population at LSE is rather older on average than at many other universities; older undergraduates should not feel out of place.

If you are a mature applicant considering making an application to the school, please see the dedicated webpage: Information for Older Applicants.

 

Information for applicants studying international qualifications

We are happy to consider a range of international qualifications – to find our standard entry requirements for your qualification please see our information for International Students.

 

Information regarding use of GCSE and equivalent qualifications

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

As competition for places at LSE is intense, we look for applicants who have achieved highly at GCSE (multiple A or A* grades), particularly within the context of their school.

Some programmes require grades higher than B in GCSE Mathematics and these are outlined in the individual programme entries.

 

English language requirements

All students are required to be sufficiently proficient in English Language to contribute to and benefit from their studies at the School. If English is not your first language, you will be asked to obtain an acceptable English Language qualification as a condition of your offer. It is not necessary to have already achieved the required grade when you make your application.

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

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