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Introducing LSE

We are a world-leading university, unique in our dedication to the social sciences 

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world

George Bernard Shaw, co-founder of LSE

We develop the people and ideas that shape the world. LSE is a social science university based in central London with a global reach. We ranked first in Europe and second in the world for social sciences and management in the QS subject rankings 2020.

Since 1895 we’ve been pioneering social science research, challenging existing ways of thinking, and seeking to understand the causes of things in order to transform them. In October 2020 we celebrate our 125th anniversary

Our ambition is to be the leading social science university with the greatest global impact. Led by our Director, LSE alumna Minouche Shafik, our strategy LSE 2030 lays out the guiding principles that will help us achieve our goals and shape the world’s future.

Our history

In 1894, four prominent Fabian Society members, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw and Graham Wallas decided to use a £20,000 bequest to open a specialist higher education institution.

The idea was to found, “a London School of Economics and Political Science – a centre not only of lectures on special subjects, but an association of students who would be directed and supported in doing original work”.

The first students arrived in October 1895 and our founders’ vision is continuously being realised, here in London and across the world.

International outlook

We are committed to building a vibrant, equitable and truly inclusive environment in which staff and students from all over the world come together.

The School has grown from 200 students in 1895 to around 11,000 students and 3,000 staff today. We count 18 Nobel Prize winners among our staff and alumni, and numerous world leaders. We have a global network of more than 150,000 alumni from 200 countries. With an ever-growing alumni community spanning six continents, LSE is a gateway to global citizenship.

In 2020 we became the eighth full member of CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences. In the UK, we are part of the Russell Group. We also have partnerships with globally renowned universities spanning Europe, Africa, America and Asia.

An LSE education

We help students prepare for bright futures in world-changing roles. A rigorous social science education is designed to stretch students intellectually through more than 200 specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, executive education, distance learning and summer school.

Students will also find they are members of one of the largest economic and social science libraries in the world, and have access to an excellent and much-loved careers service.

We are focused on improving students’ education and experience, with initiatives such as LSE LIFE and the PhD Academy which provide academic, personal and professional support for students.

Research and society

LSE academics conduct social science research that makes a lasting impact on society. This means LSE students are taught by academics that regularly advise international bodies and governments, and who are also vocal in the media on current news.

The LSE COVID-19 resource centre demonstrates how the social sciences can support government policy responses to COVID-19. We've also just been involved in the launch of SHAPE – Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework, a national evaluation exercise, ranked LSE as a top university for research quality and impact. With over 50 academic departments and research centres, we are continuously expanding our research horizon to reflect and aid the changing society around us.

Events programme

From our home in the heart of cosmopolitan London, and more recently from our homes, LSE runs one of the most extensive and distinguished university public lecture and event series in the world.

At present, all events are online and can be accessed across the world. Our current event series is COVID-19: the policy response.

Join the world’s leading academics, figures from finance, government and politics, authors, entrepreneurs and activists at LSE to hear, question or debate what they have to say.