LSE motto

Introducing LSE

We are a world-leading university, dedicated 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

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a specialist social science university, ranking first in London and sixth in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024: Social Sciences and Management

We're a global community of people and ideas in the heart of central London. The league tables agree, and also ranking LSE the top university in London are The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024Guardian Best UK Universities Guide 2024 and, for the 13th year running, the Complete University Guide 2025.

LSE's motto "rerum cognoscere causas" means "to know the causes of things". It was chosen to support the School's founding purpose, "for the betterment of society".

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

PhD students at the LSE Square, 2021. LSE/Nigel Stead.
PhD students at the LSE Square. LSE/Nigel Stead.

International outlook

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

We have partnerships with globally renowned universities spanning Europe, Africa, America and Asia including CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences.

In the UK, we are part of the Russell Group, the Aspect social science research commercialisation network, and SHAPE – Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy. 

Two visitors try out the VR at Dr Thomas Smith's Research Showcase stand at the LSE Festival, March 2020. LSE/Maria Moore..
Visitors to the LSE Festival Research Showcase try out Dr Thomas Smith's VR, learning about his research into the impact of palm oil. LSE/Maria Moore.

An LSE education

We help students prepare for bright futures in world-changing roles. 

A rigourous social science education is designed to stretch students intellectually through specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, executive education, distance learning and summer schools.

LSE students are members of one of the largest economic and social science libraries in the world. Initiatives such as LSE LIFE, the PhD Academy, Careers, Volunteering and Generate provide academic, personal and professional support for students too. The student-led Houghton Street Press is one of many ways LSE students engage with the world.

4 3 ratio-Students Dec22-4378
Students outside the Marshall Building, LSE. LSE/Maria Moore.

Research and society

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

The 2021 Research Excellence Framework, a national evaluation exercise, ranked LSE as a top university for research quality and impact. We're continuously expanding our research horizon to reflect and aid the changing society around us. Our current Understanding Global Politics initiative brings together LSE research to shed light on the topic. 

You can find out more about how LSE research shapes the world through:

Browse our top facts and figures in LSE at a glance.