LSE motto

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

LSE is a global community of people and ideas in the heart of central London. We're a specialist social sciences university, ranking first in Europe and second in the world in the QS subject rankings 2021.

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 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.

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

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

In the UK, we are part of the Russell Group, the Aspect social science research commercialisation network, and the launch of 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 in 2020 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, Student Futures, 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.

Two students, wearing masks, look at a laptop together in the study area of LSE's Centre Building, 2020. LSE/Nigel Stead.
Students using the study area in LSE's Centre Building. LSE/Nigel Stead.

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 2014 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 Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative looks at what direction could and should the world take after COVID-19. 

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