BSc Language, Culture and Society

  • Undergraduate
  • Language Centre
  • UCAS code L3R9
  • Starting 2019
  • UK/EU full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: Berlin, Houghton Street, London, Paris, Shanghai, St Petersburg, Valladolid

This new programme combines the study of social and cultural theory, identity and cultural forms with the development of advanced language skills. Students can choose one of five modern languages: French; German; Mandarin; Russian or Spanish.

Previous language study is desirable, but not required. You can start as a complete beginner, post-GCSE or post-A-level. Throughout the degree, you will take a mix of courses from the Department of Sociology, choosing between a range of options, as well as language, linguistics and literature courses from the Language Centre.

The programme also includes a compulsory year abroad in the third year, where you will study at one of five partner universities. During your year abroad, you will study courses in your chosen language, but also have the opportunity to audit sociology classes at your host university. Opportunities for short internships may also be available.

The degree will prepare you for a career in government, corporate organisations, research and advisory organisations and social care, as well as further study.

Programme details

Key facts

 BSc Language, Culture and Society
Academic year (2019/20) 30 September 2019 - 19 June 2020
Application deadline 15 January 2019
Duration Four years full-time
Applications/offers/intake 2017 New programme for 2019
Availability Closed
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year
Overseas fee: £19,920 for the first year
Programme requirement GCSE or A level language study is not required, but is desirable
Usual standard offer A level: grades A A B
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 37 points including 6 6 6 at Higher level
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London with a compulsory year abroad in China, France, Germany, Russia, or Spain

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

For the first, second and fourth years, the degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units approximately half of which will be in the Department of Sociology, and half in the Language Centre.

You will spend the third year of your degree studying abroad at a partner university (see the study abroad section).

First year

(* denotes a half unit course) 

Key Concepts: Introduction to Social Theory
Introduces students to sociological theory by examining the work and ideas of normally eight key thinkers in social thought.

Power Inequality and Difference: Contemporary Themes in Sociology
Provides an introduction to critical areas of theory and analysis in contemporary sociology. 

Language and Society 1-3 (choosing between French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish)
Beginners to advanced study of the specific language within the framework of social sciences and culture.

One from:
English Literature and Society
Study of 20th Century British literature in its socio-political context; Study of individual authors, and study of major cultural themes running through the century.
Intercultural Communication and Management

Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Second year

Key Concepts: Advanced Social Theory
Engages key sociological issues through the critical reading of theoretically informed empirical research studies.

Language and Society 2-4 (choosing between French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish)
Intermediate to proficiency level study of the specific language through themes related to societies speaking the language within the framework of social sciences and culture.

Courses to the value of one unit from a range of sociology options

Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

One from:
Comparative Literature and 20th Century Political History
Comparative literature of the twentieth century leading up to and including the Cold War.
Literature and Aspects of Ethics
Literary treatment/projection of the aspects of ethics, focusing on the classical ideas of Aristotle and Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, developed in modern times by Sartre, Lacan, Bernard Williams and Michel Foucault.
Society and Language: Linguistics for Social Scientists
Introduces students to key (socio)linguistic concepts (semantic and pragmatic meaning, discourse, register, genre, dialect, idiolect, sociolect) employed in the analysis of language use as a social process.

Third year  

Study abroad year at one of five partner universities (see the study abroad section).

Fourth year

Language and Society 4-5 (choosing between French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish)
Further advanced (up to mastery) study of the chosen language within the framework of social sciences and culture.

Courses to the value of two units from a range of sociology options

One from:
Contemporary Literature and Global Society
Studies contemporary (chiefly post 1990) world literature in the context of modern globalised society, covering prose, poetry and drama.
European Literature and Philosophy
Literary treatment of the major philosophical trends of the twentieth century, including the aesthetics of Bergson and Nietzsche, the analytical school of Russell; political philosophy of Isaiah Berlin, the existentialism of Heidegger and Sartre, the paradox of the absurd of Camus, French and East European Phenomenology; Wittgenstein and philosophy of language.
Society and Language: Linguistics for Social Scientists
Introduces students to key (socio)linguistic concepts (semantic and pragmatic meaning, discourse, register, genre, dialect, idiolect, sociolect) employed in the analysis of language use as a social process.

Shortly, you will be able to find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place.  These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback.  Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated undergraduate course and programme information page.

Study abroad year

You will also spend the third year of your programme studying abroad at a partner institution in one of five countries, depending on your language choice. The partner institutions are Universidad de Valladolid, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Liden & Denz Intercultural Institute of Languages-St Petersburg, SciencesPo and Fudan University.

During this third year, you will study your chosen language and also have the opportunity to audit sociology lectures at your host institution. You will pay a reduced tuition fee to LSE which will cover your tuition fees at your host institution.

In recent years, the Home/EU fee for a year abroad has been set at 15 per cent of the full time Home/EU undergraduate fee. The Overseas fee level for a year abroad is determined by the LSE. Fees for 2019 will be announced in June 2018. Additional information about specific fees for the year abroad will be published via the Table of Fees as soon as it is available:

During this year abroad you will be expected to pay for your own flights, accommodation and subsistence.

The Fred Halliday language award is an annual fund available to students undertaking study abroad as part of their degree programme. Applications are made by individual students to the Language Centre to access the fund. Any additional information will be published online as soon as it is available.

In your fourth year, you will return to LSE to complete your degree.

Indicative courses

Core sociology lectures from the host institution’s main degree
Specialist lectures on local cultural or historical contexts
Students will also complete a research project on socio-cultural issues in the target language society

Teaching and assessment


For LSE Language Centre courses, teaching follows the "communicative method", involving students in participation and personalisation of input and skills development. This approach prioritises individual attention and planning for attainment, and enables teachers to adapt to your needs and to tailor delivery and practice opportunities. The Language Centre is also a leader at LSE in the use of learning technology, in particular with "students as producers", nominated for and winnning national awards for this work.

Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

You will have an academic mentor who will provide general guidance and assistance with both academic and personal concerns. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 


Assessment in Language Centre courses is "progressive" with an emphasis on using continuous assessment to generate learning. 

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment over the course of the three years will be assessed through a variety of means. In the first and second year, the majority of our courses rely on examinations at the end of the year. In the third year courses are assessed through a variety of means: some through end of year examinations; some through a piece of assessed coursework; and some through a combination of the two. Please note that assessment on individual courses can change year to year. An indication of the current formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

If you wish to gain further insight into the subject we suggest that you look at one or more of the following books:

D Crystal How Language Works (Penguin, 2005)

S Pinker The Language Instinct (Penguin, 1994)

G Yule The Study of Language (Cambridge University Press, 4th ed, 2010)

As this is a joint degree programme you should also refer to the preliminary reading for the BSc Sociology.


The degree programme will prepare you for a career in government, corporate organisations, research and advisory organisations and social care, as well as further study.

Further information on graduate destinations

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements page.

What we are looking for in an application for BSc Language, Culture and Society

Academic achievement

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A B in their A levels (or 37 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, including 6 6 6 at Higher level). 

Applicants should also have already achieved a strong set of GCSE grades including the majority at A (or 7) and A* (or 8-9), or equivalent. Your GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Mathematics grades should be no lower than B (or 5). We also consider your overall GCSE subject profile, and your AS grades, if available.

Language study at GSCE or A level or equivalent is not required, but it is desirable. Language courses will be available from both beginner and intermediate level. Applicants who have an A level in their language will have a choice, either:

  • studying a different language in their first year and then have either continuing to study that language in their second year or shifting to the language in which they have their A level; or
  • studying their A level language and completing a dissertation in their chosen language in their fourth year

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this.

We express our standard offers and where applicable, programme requirement, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications.

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects.

We are looking for academic students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the social sciences. There is no one ideal subject combination, however, as with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred. Common sixth form subject choices include a combination of History, English, Economics, Government and Politics, Sociology, Geography, Languages, Psychology and Philosophy. 

If you have taken Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level, this may be considered less competitive for this programme.

Find out more about subject combinations.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following characteristics, skills and attributes:

- an interest in relationships between peoples and society
- social awareness
- ability to ask incisive questions
- capacity to work independently
- ability to read widely
- communicate with clarity
- a creative and flexible approach to study
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found above in the preliminary reading section, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees

The 2019 tuition fees are:

UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year
Overseas students: £19,920 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in July 2018 that the fee level for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2019/20 will be the same as Home UK for the duration of their undergraduate degree programme. Further information can be found on website.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, UK Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students. Some overseas governments also offer funding.

Further information on tuition fees, cost of living, loans and scholarships.



Every undergraduate programme of more than one year duration will have UNISTATS data. The data allows you to compare information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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