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Supporting documents

Use this guide to ensure you provide the right information as part of your application

Most delays in the application process are caused by uploading incorrect, or unclear, versions of essential documentation. Check, and double check, before you submit your application that each of your supporting documents is legible and meets the criteria below.

Please submit the final version of any document you have written yourself (eg CV, statement of academic purpose, research proposal). If you send an updated version later on, we cannot guarantee to include it with your application before it is seen by the selectors unless it is something that we have requested from you. Make sure that the application includes the correct documents before you submit.

If you are submitting scanned documents, please use a proper flat-bed scanner wherever possible, rather than photographing them; photographed documents are not easy to read.

A note on secure PDFs: Our application system works by bundling together the documents that you and your referees upload, together with the application form, into a merged PDF. Secure PDFs, such as are sometimes provided by universities as transcripts, cannot always be decrypted by the system. This leads to problems in creating your application file and a delay in your application being considered by the selectors. At the application stage, please upload a non-secured version; we will ask you for the secure version of your final transcript if you are made an offer.

NOTICE: Please be aware of an issue that has come to our attention regarding email junk/spam filters. Some email software is filtering LSE emails to the spam/junk or ‘Deleted Items/Bin’ folder so please make sure to check there for important information regarding your application. If you do find any of our emails in any of these folders, please make sure to add the domain @lse.ac.uk to your ‘Safe Senders’ or ‘Never Block’ list. Emails will be sent to you automatically from our database system once you have begun your online application and as your application progresses through each step in the process (application created; application submitted; application downloaded for processing). We will then send you a further email each time there is an update to the status of your application, including any requests for further information and the programme selectors’ decision on your application. It is essential that you ensure you can successfully receive our emails as soon as you begin your application.

Application form

You must apply online using our online application system. You will be asked to set up a user account using your email address, and you should use the same email address for all enquiries and any other applications to the School (for example if you are also applying for Summer School or Language Centre courses).

You should read and follow the guidance which is given throughout the online application, including in the Application Form Guide linked at the top of each page. This will ensure that you fulfil our requirements and that your application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Application assessment fee

The application assessment fee is £80. You must pay using the website (credit or debit card) in order to submit your documents and application online.

Under no circumstances should payment card details be sent to LSE by email.

Please note that the application assessment fee is not refundable if you change your mind once your application has been acknowledged.

A proportion of the application fee income that we receive each year is used to give financial support to LSE students.

Two academic references

You must nominate two suitable referees by providing their contact details in your online application and you must ensure that each of your nominated referees submits a reference in support of your application. You should use each referee’s academic/official email address when nominating your referees. Once you have completed the References section of your online application, your referees will automatically receive a reference request email from us asking them to submit their reference via our online referee portal. This is a secure and confidential service for referees and helps speed up the decision-making process. Your referees will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire before uploading a written letter of reference, which will be added to your application.

You may submit your application without waiting until we have received your references: as long as you have successfully nominated two referees and completed all other mandatory sections of the application form, you are ready to submit your application. Please note, however, that your submitted application will not be processed and considered until we have received a reference from each of your nominated referees.

Make sure you check our requirements below before nominating your referees to ensure you have chosen the two most appropriate referees (usually two academic referees) to support your application. You should also check the relevant programme page(s) via our available programmes page for any programme-specific guidance on references.

An ‘academic’ referee is someone who has taught you during your university-level studies.

All references must be translated into English.

Current students and applicants who graduated from their most recent study after January 2019 must nominate two academic referees. References should be from a teaching member of your current (or, if you have graduated, from your most recent) university department.

Applicants who graduated from their most recent study before January 2019 may nominate one non-academic referee in place of one of your academic references. This should normally be a reference from your most recent employer.

Applicants who graduated from their most recent study before January 2017  may nominate two professional referees if they are unable to provide academic references. It is in your interests to nominate academic referees wherever possible.

Applicants for Executive programmes should note that all Executive programmes are willing to consider one academic and one professional reference. Additionally, the following programmes are willing to consider two professional references:

  • Executive MSc Cities (K4U1)
  • Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy (L2UJ)
  • Executive Global MSc Management (N2U9)
  • Executive MSc Social Business and Entrepreneurship (N2UC)
  • Executive MSc Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences (L4CS)
  • Executive MSc Health Economics, Policy and Management (L4HM)
  • Double Executive MSc Health Policy (with Chicago) (L4HP)

Applicants for the Executive Master of Laws (M3U5) are required to provide at least one academic reference. Two professional references will be acceptable if you have been out of school for five years or more and are unable to obtain an academic reference. Applicants for the Executive MSc in Evaluation of Health Care Interventions and Outcomes in collaboration with NICE (L4HN) may provide two professional references if they are unable to provide an academic reference.

Please be aware that when you submit your online application, we will consider it as complete only once we have received two references. You don't need to (and should not) arrange for more than two references to be sent. We will not accept additional references unless the selectors request them during the decision-making process.

More information about supplying references can be found here.

Transcripts/mark sheets and proof of existing qualifications

The online application will prompt you to upload a copy of your transcript for each qualification you mention in the Education tab. If your documents are not in English, you must upload a translation carried out by an accredited translator (e.g. the British Council). Please ensure that scanned documents are clear and legible: failure to do so will result in delays to the processing of your application. You should also scan the reverse of your transcript if the mark scheme is explained there.

If your application is successful, we will request an original or certified copy of your documents prior to registration.

Qualifications still in-progress: The transcript or mark sheet must include an up-to-date list of the subjects you have studied and the grades you have obtained in your studies so far. If you are at a university that does not supply transcripts or mark sheets, please ask your academic referees to comment in detail on your progress, including your marks obtained in all years of study. You may submit an application even if you are still awaiting some examination results, however you must have fully graduated by the time you register at LSE. Please list the title and credit value of each in-progress course that you are currently studying on the application.

Qualifications already awarded: The transcript should include the information above, plus your final overall grade/classification and the date on which your qualification was awarded. You should supply this information for all university level study and any transfer programmes or exchanges that you have undertaken. If your transcript does not include your final grade/classification and date of award, we will request either a certified copy of your degree certificate or a completed proof of degree form if we make you an offer of admission. Do not send your original degree certificate, as we cannot return documents to you.

Applicants who have graduated from, or who are currently studying towards, degrees from the University of London International Programme (UoLIP): You should supply your transcript from the University of London (which can be ordered here: london.ac.uk/ways-study/study-campus-london/student-services-and-support/requesting-a-transcript-or-replacement#how-to-request-transcripts). These are strongly preferred to transcripts which may be available from your local institution which may not accurately reflect course titles and marks.

Applicants currently or formerly registered at LSE do not need to supply transcripts of their LSE qualifications as these are generated internally.

  • PDF is the best format for scanned documents
  • Make sure that you scan documents at a sensible resolution, ensuring that the documents remain legible while remaining under 2MB in file size. 300dpi is fine.
  • Scan documents so that each page is the same way up
  • Each document you upload must be no larger than 2MB. If your document is larger than this, use a service such as smallpdf.com or pdfpro.co (others are available) to reduce the file size.
  • Check that your scanned document is legible before you upload it

Statement of academic purpose

For each programme you apply for, you must upload a statement that describes your academic interest in, understanding of, and suitability for that programme, as well as your purpose and objectives in undertaking this graduate study. The statement of academic purpose is an important part of your application, and selectors are looking for evidence of your academic motivation and suitability, and of what you can contribute to the programme.

If you are applying for two programmes, please submit a separate statement of academic purpose for each programme.

Your statement(s) should be typed and no longer than two sides of A4 paper. There is no fixed word limit, but we expect statement(s) to be no longer than 1,000 - 1,500 words.

In your statement(s), you may wish to discuss the following:

  • Motivation for undertaking the programme(s)
  • Academic interests, strengths and background relevant to the programme(s)
  • Areas of specific interest within the programme(s)
  • Academic ambitions and/or research interests related to the programme(s)
  • Any professional aspirations, and how academic work within the programme(s) might help you realise such aspirations
  • Other relevant information, such as additional reading or research, work or other relevant experience that has informed your decision to apply for the particular programme(s)

Above are the general requirements for statements of academic purpose, however some programmes have specific requirements which differ from the above – please check for any specific requirements for your chosen programme(s) on this page.

Please ensure that your statement(s):

  • Are all your own work. If we discover this is not the case, your application may be cancelled
  • Are well-written, well-structured and specific to the programme(s) applied for
  • Are proofread before being uploaded, and the final correct versions are uploaded
  • Only include that which is relevant to your programme choice(s). Additional information regarding unrelated extra-curricular activities, personal achievements or work experience should be included in your CV
  • Have your name and the title of your chosen programme in the header or footer of every page

CV

Upload your CV/resume, including your employment history or other professional experience, including internships.

Please submit the final version of your CV. If you send an updated version later on, we cannot guarantee to include it with your application before it is seen by the selectors unless it is something that we have requested from you. Make sure that the application includes the correct documents before you submit.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

Check whether your chosen programme(s) require(s) GRE or GMAT scores – any requirement will be listed in the ‘key facts’ box at the start of each programme page.

If GRE or GMAT scores are required by your chosen programme(s) it is essential that you supply them at the time you apply – your application will not be considered without them. You must include your test scores in the relevant section of the application form, stating the percentile and marks obtained for all sections of the test. Your test scores should be less than five years old on 1 October 2021. GRE/GMAT scores are often a vital deciding factor, so you will not be able to submit your application without them if they are required by your programme(s).

You should also arrange for ETS to send official scores to us. Our institution code is 0972 for the GRE and HMT 86-56 for the GMAT.

Some programmes exempt certain applicants from taking a test: please check here for exemptions. If you wish to be considered without providing test scores, you should indicate which category of exempted applicant you fall into on the application form. Please note that if you do not fall into one of the listed categories, the department will not consider your application without the required test scores. 

Research proposal

MPhil/PhD

Please submit the final version of your research proposal. If you send an updated version later on, we cannot guarantee to include it with your application before it is seen by the selectors unless it is something that we have requested from you. Make sure that the application includes the correct documents before you submit.

You should state your research topic as accurately as possible.Your research proposal should address the following questions:

  1. What is your general topic?
  2. What questions do you want to answer?
  3. What is the key literature and its limitations?
  4. What are the main hypotheses of the work?
  5. What methodology do you intend to use?
  6. What are your case studies, if any, and what are your case selection criteria?

MPhil/PhD applications that are received without a research proposal that addresses these questions will not be considered. Your proposal should be approximately 1,500 words in length (outline proposals for MRes programmes can be shorter). This word count is indicative, please refer to individual departmental webpages for a definitive limit. In particular, the Department of Media and Communications, the Department of Economics, and several others have differing requirements for the word count. All applicants must check whether they need to address specific topics or provide a specific length of proposal by checking the relevant prospectus pages.

You should ensure before applying that your area of research can be supervised in your chosen department. The research interests of staff members can be found at lse.ac.uk/experts

You should also indicate if you have discussed your proposed research with any member of the LSE academic staff and the name of that person. Please make sure that each page of your research proposal bears your name in a header or footer.

Individual programmes may have specific requirements regarding the research proposal; please check before you apply.

  • Your research proposal must be your own work
  • Make sure that each page has your name in the header or footer
  • Make sure that you proof read your proposal before you upload it, and make sure that you upload the final corrected version
  • Stick to our recommended word limit - the selectors don't have time to read huge documents running to many pages.

MSc (Research) intending to apply for 1+3 funding and MRes/PhD programmes

You must include an outline research proposal with your application – see above and refer to your programme page.

Sample of written work

MRes/MPhil programmes

You should provide a scanned copy of a marked assignment that fulfils the following criteria. These are ideal requirements. If you are unable to fulfil them exactly, please submit a writing sample that fits as closely to them as possible.

  • Maximum 3,000 words – you may send an extract of a longer work, but you should not send large publications in their entirety.
  • Typed in English. If not originally written in English, you should translate the essay yourself.
  • From your most recent programme of study. Ideally related to your proposed topic of research or more broadly to the discipline/area for which you are applying.
  • If possible, the copy should show comments from the marker/s and/ or the mark given for the assignment.
  • PDF is the best format for scanned attachments
  • Make sure that you scan documents at a sensible resolution. 300dpi is fine. Much lower and printed versions may be blurred, much higher and the file size will be too large.
  • Scan documents so that each page is the same way up
  • If your file size is very large (>2MB), use a service such as smallpdf.com
  • Check that your scanned document is legible before you upload it
  • Make sure that each page has your name in the header or footer
  • Stick to our recommended word limit - the selectors don't have time to read long documents running to many pages. They just want to get an idea of your writing style/ability in an academic context.

English test scores

If you have already taken an English language test at the time you apply, you should include your most recent test scores and score report form number in the relevant section of the application form.

You may submit your application and be considered for a place even if you do not provide evidence on your application form that you have satisfied the School’s English language requirements, however you will be required to satisfy these requirements prior to registration if you are made an offer of admission.

If you have not yet taken a test at the time of submitting your application, you may indicate in the relevant section of the application form that will take a test at a future date. This is to give us a general indication of when you are likely to take a test; we will not insist that you take a test on that exact date.

Please note, if you are made an offer of admission you will need to meet our English language requirements before you can register as a student, and many scholarship and visa applications cannot be confirmed until you have satisfied these requirements, so please arrange to submit your English test score as soon as you achieve the required grade.

English tests must be less than two years old on 1 October 2021.

Further information about satisfying the School’s English language requirements, including the categories of applicants who will not be required to take a test; the types of test we accept; and the scores we require from each test, can be found on our English language requirements page.

Miscellaneous supporting documents

If you are applying for a programme in a different field from that of your principal/major degree subject, you may wish to supply additional material supporting your application; for example if you hold a degree in engineering and are applying for MSc Human Rights on the basis of your current employment, a supplementary professional reference would be helpful.

  • Make sure that the documents you send are relevant to your application
  • Do not send lots of additional certificates as we will not consider them. Relevant personal achievements should be mentioned in your personal statement or CV instead
  • Do not send non-documentary materials such as DVDs, CDs or large publications, as we do not have the facilities to include these with your application file and they will be discarded
  • Don't overload your application with lots of extra documents. The selectors don't have time to read them. If we need anything more from you we will ask for it.

Submitting your application form

You must submit your application and supporting documents using our online application system.

Please make sure that all of your supporting documents are legible and uploaded in one of the following formats: pdf, doc, docx, jpg, png, or gif. Each document must no larger than 2MB in size.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete, including both references, your statement of academic purpose and CV, your transcript(s), the application assessment fee, and, where applicable, GRE/GMAT scores, your research proposal and/or your sample of written work. Programme selectors will not consider incomplete applications.

You may submit your application and pay the application fee without waiting until we have received your references. As long as you have successfully nominated two referees and completed all mandatory sections of the application form, including uploading all of the required supporting documents, you are ready to submit your application. Please note, however, that your submitted application will not be fully received and processed by the admissions team until we have received both of your references.

If we request additional documents from you once we have received and processed your application, you may submit them using the new information form via our How do I…? page . Please do not send an update to your CV every few weeks or replace your statement of academic purpose for the sake of a changed phrase or comma. Please note that we will acknowledge additional documents when they are processed rather than when they are received. Please check the current processing times before contacting us regarding any additional documents you have sent us.

We cannot guarantee that any updated/additional documents you send us after submitting your online application will be seen by the selectors before a decision is made, unless it is something that we have requested from you. Please do not send supporting documents directly to the academic department as this will delay your application.

Fraud prevention

We take active steps to scrutinise and verify documents received during the application process. If we are unable to verify independently the accuracy of information supplied, your application may be cancelled and any offer or subsequent registration withdrawn. This also applies if we discover that your personal statement and any writing sample you submit is not your own work.

If you enter the UK on a student visa and we later withdraw your offer/registration due to the discovery of fraudulent documents, you should be aware that the UK Home Office may deport you, and also may ban you from the UK for up to ten years.