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Applying to LSE

Applying to LSE: a guide to making a competitive undergraduate application Applying to LSE: a guide to making a competitive undergraduate application
Applying to LSE: a guide to making a competitive undergraduate application

We're looking for students with the very best academic achievement, potential and motivation. Every applicant is assessed on an individual basis, and all of the information supplied on the UCAS application form is used to make a holistic decision as to which students receive an offer to study at the School.

In 2021 we received 26,000 applications for roughly 1,700 places. This level of competition means that meeting or being predicted to meet the standard offer entry requirements doesn't guarantee that an offer of admission will be made. Please review the information below to find out more about the application process and what we're looking for in a competitive application.

1. How to apply 

All applications must be submitted via UCAS. We're unable to consider any direct applications.

Applications for entry in September 2022 (or deferred entry in September 2023) will open in September 2021. All applicants, including those applying from outside of the EU, should submit their application by 26 January 2022 at 18:00.

To find out more about completing the UCAS application form, please visit our How to apply webpages.

LSE doesn't interview candidates, therefore our decisions are made based on academic attainment (predicted and achieved grades), the personal statement and the information supplied in your teacher’s reference. Students applying for certain degree programmes or applying with particular qualifications may be required to take additional tests. Please see the ‘Test’ section below for details.

2. Entry requirements

Programme specific entry requirements and admissions information can be seen on each of our degree programme pages. Please read this information carefully.

Our standard offers are expressed in terms of A-levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB), however these are not the only qualifications accepted for entry. Use the following links to find out the requirements for your qualification:
- information for international students including country specific entry requirements
- information for mature applicants (aged 21+)
- information for applicants applying on the basis of the International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate or other UK qualifications, such as foundation programmes, BTECs, Cambridge Pre-U. 

GCSEs: GCSEs will be taken into account when we assess your application. All applicants are expected to have at least grade B/grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Mathematics.

As competition for places at LSE is intense, we look for applicants who have achieved a strong set of GCSE grades overall, including a majority at A (7) and A* (8-9). Some programmes have additional requirements, and these are outlined in the individual programme pages.

3. Contextual information and offers

We will use the information supplied in your teacher’s reference to find out more about your educational and social circumstances, as well as details of any extenuating circumstances.

Home UK students: contextual information will be used to gain a more thorough understanding of your individual circumstances and the educational context you are studying in. This information includes school/college performance, home postcode, participation in an LSE Widening Participation programme, participation in a Sutton Trust Pathways programme time spent in local authority care and any other extenuating circumstances. 

This information can be used to:

  • make an applicant a standard offer where the applicant’s academic record or personal statement may be marginally less competitive than the cohort overall
  • to make an applicant a standard offer where the applicant is predicted marginally below the usual entry requirements
  • when making confirmation decisions for offer holders that have marginally failed to meet the entry criteria (usually this means one grade below the standard entry requirements).

Eligible students (students flagged with a home postcode that is classified as POLAR4 Quintile 1 or IMD Quintile 1, as a care leaver, or a participant in a specified LSE WP programme or a Sutton Trust Pathways programme), may be considered for a contextual offer, where the contextual offer is one grade lower than the standard offer for the programme. Any mathematics requirement must still be met.

All academic departments are participating in the contextual offer scheme.

The contextual offer grades are listed alongside the standard offer A-level and IB entry requirements on the relevant programme pages

Further contextual admissions information.

4. Subjects and subject combinations

Our preference is for a broad mix of traditional academic subjects. We expect applicants to offer at least two full A-levels or IBDP Higher Levels in these subjects, although typically applicants will apply with three or four.

Students offering a narrow combination of subjects may be less competitively considered. Economics, Business Studies and one other, or English Language, English Literature and one other are examples of narrow subject combinations. 

Where we have reason to believe a student has significant prior exposure to a language, we may exclude a language learning qualification from any offer we make. Please see our Language qualifications information.

Several of our degree programmes are highly mathematical and therefore demand evidence of a high level of mathematical proficiency from applicants. A-level or Higher Level Mathematics (or the equivalent qualification) is therefore required for these programmes. Several of our degrees may also require or recommend A-level Further Maths, if it is offered by your school or college. Please see our Admissions information and the ‘Entry requirements’ section on individual degree programme pages for further guidance.

For details of subjects classified as ‘traditional academic/generally preferred’, subject combination guidance, our Mathematics and Further Mathematics requirements please see our Admissions information webpage.

5. Tests

  • Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA): applicants studying certain qualifications or applying from non-traditional educational backgrounds may be asked to sit this assessment. The assessment is three hours long and includes comprehension exercises, essay questions and mathematical problems. The Admissions team will contact you directly if they would like you to sit the UGAA, you don't need to apply. 
  • LNAT: all LLB Bachelor of Laws applicants must take the LNAT by 20 January 2022. The LNAT is used to provide universities with more information about your aptitude for studying law. At LSE, we currently only use the multiple-choice score in the assessment of applicants however if you are an applicant who would have otherwise been identified as having to sit the UGGA, the selector may also consider your essay. There is no minimum score. Your LNAT performance simply forms part of our holistic assessment process and will be considered alongside all other information supplied on your UCAS application form. Please refer to our LNAT information for additional guidance.
  • Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA): applicants to our mathematics programmes are encouraged to take the this test. The test is 2 hours and 30 minutes in duration and takes place in November. The test is not compulsory however a good performance may be used to help distinguish between similarly qualified applicants.
  • English language requirements: It is not necessary to demonstrate your English language proficiency at the time of application. If you are made an offer and we require an English language qualification, you will be asked to provide this before the deadline in July. See details of our accepted English language qualifications.

6. Personal statement

As we don't interview applicants at LSE, the personal statement forms a very important part of our assessment process. The majority of candidates who submit an application to study at the School meet or exceed our standard entry requirements and have a strong academic record. The personal statement therefore plays a key role in helping us differentiate between well-qualified applicants and determine their suitability for their chosen programme. 

As we are using the personal statement to select candidates for a specific degree programme, around 80 per cent should be focused on your academic interest in that subject. Details of extra-curricular activities, such as sports, volunteering or music, should take up no more than 20 per cent of the statement. If these activities have helped you develop characteristics, skills or attributes that are desirable for your chosen degree programme, explain how. 

When assessing a personal statement we are looking for evidence of the following: 

  • enthusiasm and motivation for study of the subject 
  • understanding/experience of the subject 
  • academic engagement with the discipline
  • academic engagement with the discipline 
  • relevant knowledge and skills
  • originality and independence of thought

Please visit our personal statement webpage for more guidance and resources. Programme specific criteria can be found in the ‘Assessing your application’ section on each of our programme pages.

Applying to LSE Virtual Undergraduate Open Day sessions 

Watch our Q&A sessions with the Undergraduate Admissions team to find out more about the application process and what we're looking for in a competitive applicant. 

Session 1: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry Session 1: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry
Session 1: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry
Session 2: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry Session 2: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry
Session 2: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry
Session 3: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry Session 3: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry
Session 3: The Undergraduate Admissions team answer questions about applying for 2022 entry