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BSc Offer Holders 2020/21 Frequently Asked Questions

BSc Programmes 2020/21 FAQ

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to London and the LSE Department of Economics on Monday, 21 September 2020; our teaching and learning will begin on 28 September 2020.  Below we outline what you can expect from us in this demanding but stimulating environment.

What can I expect regarding teaching and learning in 2020/21?

From the moment that we made the pioneering decision to move to online teaching earlier this year we have seen the challenges of the pandemic as an opportunity to further develop our undergraduate academic provision, to ensure our small classes are as engaging as possible, and to enable additional opportunities for students to engage with their teachers and with each other.

Our students have found that in many ways teaching support has been enhanced by virtual opportunities to access and speak with our talented and dedicated teachers and lecturers.

Our economics student experience builds on lecture and classes and is enhanced by “office hours” and other support sessions, which are opportunities for individual interaction with teachers and researchers, alongside all-important peer interaction, formal and informal.   

For Michaelmas Term 2020, lectures will be delivered online as a mix of pre-recorded videos and interactive live events that will also be recorded. We have been using lecture capture technology for more than a decade, as have other companion departments, such as Mathematics, so we have extensive experience with online provision. Students appreciate and sometime even prefer the opportunity to pause, rewind, and hear again our inspiring professors.

Companion classes of up to 20 students will take place on campus as soon as it is safe to do so, and virtually until then. Irrespective of whether our classes are delivered on campus or virtually, they will be designed to be interactive and students can expect to engage with each other.

There will also be ample opportunities for Question and Answer follow-up and we are planning new and engaging ways for you to interact with your teachers and each other. Like in any academic year, you will need to allocate up to another 20 hours over and above timetabled contact hours for preparation, reading, thinking and coursework. It will be much more fun to work alongside others and exchange ideas, so do work in study groups (and we will give you a helping hand in forming these).

What can I expect when I arrive?

We are all very much looking forward to welcoming you in September and are planning an enriching Welcome with social and community building events, ice-breakers and information sessions.

We hope you will all be excited by our bespoke LSE Economics First Year Challenge that combines elements of economics research and taps into LSE’s rich heritage. Guided by the School's motto, Rerum cognescere causas, the First Year Challenge is a great opportunity to make new friends on the course and start your journey of economics enquiry. In recent years, students in their First Year Challenge groups have created wonderful videos on the financial crisis through the lens of the Keynes versus Hayek debate and travelled back in time to understand the pioneering role of LSE’s founders in the creation of the welfare state. This year will be just as exciting. As tradition dictates, the details of the LSE Economics First Year Challenge will only be unveiled during Welcome, so we will preserve the mystery until you join us and hope this is something you will look forward to.

In addition to our First Year Challenge we will be adding an important new feature: each group of four or five first year students will form the foundation of a ‘family’, with students from second and third year joining you to help in your integration to life as an LSE student. It will give you all the opportunity to meet more students on your course and benefit from the insights those in higher years have to offer.

Each student is assigned an Academic Mentor, and in Economics this is backed up by an Undergraduate Tutor for each year, as well as our BSc Programmes team. You will have the opportunity to meet all of us during Welcome or soon after. Advice on study and course choice for your outside option will also be available. A panel of students will discuss course choices with you as part of our first week activities.

What about society events and extra-curricular activities?

Even with lectures, classes, office hours, Q&A sessions and independent study, there is a great deal more time, and every week there are Department and Society events, Careers Workshops and chances to develop skills like Python programming or debate. We are always keen to support students with new ideas. Last year two Economics students pioneered a podcast “The Beverage Report” interviewing economists on key topics. You could join in this or propose something of your own!

Do keep an eye out for the next podcast to be released, which is the interview of Professor Sir Tim Besley. It includes his answers to questions posed by BSc Economics offer holders Alexis, Sanjana and Shrishti. Thank you to all who sent in such great questions.

The LSESU Economics Society is the largest society and campus and many of our students are actively involved in its activities. They will move their annual Symposium to autumn and you can take part in planning, organising and publicising this. 

Some of our activity may be distanced and measured in the coming academic year, but it will be even more varied and rewarding. To give you a taste of this: every Tuesday evening students get an opportunity to hear our leading economists in a small group setting through the Economics Society’s Sen Club These have included Nobel Laureate Professor Chris Pissarides, as well as their regular meeting with Professor Sen himself. Our students last year had the chance to meet and ask questions of Nobel Prize Laureate Esther Duflo over breakfast. A great set of speakers is being lined up for next academic year.

There are many opportunities, such as designing events for Economics students through the Department’s Events Committee, becoming a student representative, or competing in a Python competition designed by the professor who will be one of your lecturers this coming year. Just as our team of four won the important ONS Renaissance Prize this spring, despite lockdown and separation we know that together will be able to do even more.   

What can I do between now and September?

We invite you to start participating with us in experiencing what we mean by research-rich, problem-solving, policy-relevant opportunities: enter our LSE SU Economics Society’s annual Essay Competition! The questions have been inspired by the cutting-edge work done at LSE and have been developed by fellow students. Please see the leaflet for more information.

We have added an additional prize exclusively for LSE Offer Holders, the Professor Sir Arthur Lewis Prize, in honour of one of our most famous Nobel Laureates. We are planning a major event on Lewis’ contributions to development economics for this coming academic year, with student involvement. Why not learn a bit more about him and his ideas? He famously said “The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge”.

Whilst we encourage you to stay intellectually stimulated, it is important to join us well-rested, so as to start the degree with the energy and zest it requires.