Page contents > Teaching | Research | Engaging with the wider community | Students and staff | Organisation and governance | The Library and IT
Aerial photograph of LSE campus and immediate area:
LSE's campus is centre-left of the main road (Kingsway).
© Adventure Balloons
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the foremost social science universities in the world.
is a specialist university with an international intake and a global
reach. Its research and teaching spans the full breadth of the social
sciences, from economics, politics and law to sociology, anthropology,
accounting and finance and, as the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise
found, it has the highest percentage of world-leading research of any
university in the UK.
Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney
Webb, LSE has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence.
Fourteen Nobel Prize winners in economics, literature and peace have
been either LSE staff or alumni: George Bernard Shaw (1925), Ralph
Bunche (1950), Bertrand Russell (1950), Philip Noel-Baker (1959), Sir
John Hicks (1972), Friedrich von Hayek (1974), James Meade (1977),
Arthur Lewis (1979), Merton Miller (1990), Ronald Coase (1991), Amartya
Sen (1998), Robert Mundell (1999), George Akerlof (2001) and Leonid
Hurwicz (jointly) (2007).
The School has just under 90,000
registered alumni. As of February 2009, around 32 past or present heads
of state have studied or taught at LSE, and 28 members of the British
House of Commons and 42 members of the House of Lords have either
studied or taught at LSE.
LSE offers a very wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the social sciences. Teaching is carried out through academic departments and interdisciplinary institutes and in partnership with internationally-known higher education institutions.
Undergraduate courses range from subjects considered to fall within the 'arts', such as history, to subjects such as mathematics. Some have a direct vocational or professional link, like law or actuarial science. All are a useful intellectual training in different approaches to social questions. New programmes in politics and philosophy and maths with economics have recently been introduced.
Since 1910 there have been arrangements at LSE for visiting students to pursue a fully integrated study year abroad at undergraduate level. This facility is known as the General Course. Students register for the entire academic year, October through to late June, and have a choice of over 300 courses available to them. The course enables students to study in the heart of a multicultural city alongside others from across the world.
At postgraduate level, the Graduate School offers a wide range of taught master's programmes (MA, MSc and LLM) normally of one academic or calendar year full-time study, or two years' part-time. Research programmes for MPhil or PhD degrees are offered by all departments and institutes. Programmes for LSE's diploma qualification are also available either as conversion courses or to extend the depth or range of undergraduate studies.
Language teaching is provided through the Language Centre, both as a degree option, and to learn or improve a language.
Following a review by a Teaching Task Force, LSE is set to spend an extra £2 million per year to ensure that its teaching continues to be of the highest quality.
The School is a world centre for advanced research. In the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise carried out jointly by the four funding councils for higher education in the UK, the School had the highest percentage of world leading research of any UK university, topping or coming close to the top of a number of rankings of research excellence.
Individual subject areas, notably economics, law, social policy and European studies, also headed national tables of excellence. Two-thirds of LSE staff work in LSE departments ranked in the top five in the country, and 26 per cent work in departments ranked first in the country.
There are currently 19 research centres and numerous smaller units at the School, ranging from large multidisciplinary centres with substantial financial support to small units with more modest resources. Most of LSE's research centres and units are financed by research councils, charitable foundations, industry or commerce. There are three centres funded mainly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Others are funded through public or private partnerships.
LSE's Research Lab is the base for more than 260 staff - one of the largest concentrations of applied economic, financial and social researchers anywhere in the world. The Lab includes the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, the Centre for Economic Performance, the Financial Markets Group and the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines.
See Academic Departments and Research Centres indexes.
See also Research and expertise for quick access to the full range of social science research and expertise available online at LSE.
Engaging with the wider community
LSE seeks to engage with the wider community through a diverse range of activities.
LSE staff advise policymakers in governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses around the world. Many LSE academics maintain a high media profile, influencing opinion-formers and ensuring that the insights from cutting-edge research undertaken at LSE feed into public debates. This has led to extensive mentions of LSE in the media as academics have commented on issues such as the global financial crisis, the London Mayoral election and the American presidential election.
The School's influence is also extended through its prestigious public events programme, which has attracted such speakers as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan (former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board) and, most recently, Ben Bernanke, chair of the US Federal Reserve.
The School has a high international profile and level of engagement. Its Summer Schools, run in London and in China (with Peking University), provide an opportunity for university-level students and professionals from around the world to take courses delivered by internationally renowned specialists in their fields. Courses are intensively taught over two or three weeks and examined to the standards of comparable LSE courses.
LSE runs 15 programmes designed to engage, and encourage, young people from London state schools to consider higher education. A further two programmes provide teachers and parents with up-to-date HE information and support. LSE contributes academic direction to a number of external programmes offered by the University of London. All of these activities form part of our commitment to widening educational participation and continued diversity.
Finally, LSE Enterprise offers a professional interface with LSE's academic departments, institutes and research centres. It enables and facilitates the commercial application of LSE expertise and intellectual resources.
Students and staff
LSE has a cosmopolitan student body, drawing its students from around 140 countries worldwide. It also has an influential network of over 97,500 alumni in 190 countries, with more than 70 active alumni groups.
In 2008/09 the School had 8,700 full-time students and over 800 part-time students. Of these, just over half were postgraduates. Around two-thirds of students came from outside the UK.
LSE also has a cosmopolitan staff, with about 44 per cent drawn from countries outside the UK.
In all, over 1,700 people work full-time for LSE and 1,323 part-time [in 2010]
LSE staff are at the forefront of their disciplines. They advise governments, public bodies and government inquiries, and are frequently seconded to national and international organisations.
LSE academics are frequently in the news, commenting on major issues of the day, from the credit crunch and the recession to Afghanistan and climate change.
See also Comment and opinion and Research highlights.
Organisation and governance
Professor Craig Calhoun is Director of the School. He is supported by three pro directors, appointed for three or four years at a time, who deputise when the Director is away and assist him in various aspects of his work.
The current pro-directors are Professor Stuart Corbridge, Professor George Gaskell and Professor Paul Kelly. The secretary and director of administration of the School, Susan Scholefield, has overall responsibility to the Director as secretary of the LSE Council (the School's governing body), clerk of the Court of Governors and company secretary. She is responsible for the services provided by the central administration.
The LSE Council, as governing body, is responsible for determining strategy and its members are company directors of the School. The Court of Governors deals with some constitutional matters and has influence in the School through pre-decision discussions on key policy issues and the involvement of individual governors in the School's activities. Peter Sutherland KCMG, chairman of BP, chairs both bodies.
The Academic Board is the principal academic body, which considers all major issues of general policy affecting the academic life of the School and its development. It is chaired by the Director, with staff and student membership.
There are a number of committees of the Council, Court and the Academic Board, and others, which are advisory to the Director. The principal committee of the Council is the Finance and General Purposes Committee, which advises about financial matters and scrutinises the Strategic Plan. The Academic Planning and Resources Committee (APRC) is responsible for resource allocation within the School and for regular reviews of academic departments and organisational units.
Structure of School governance [PDF]
The Library and IT
The Library of the School is the largest in the world devoted exclusively to the social sciences. Founded in 1896, a year after the School, it is also known as the British Library of Political and Economic Science and provides a specialist national and international research collection.
In 2001 architects Foster and Partners redeveloped the Lionel Robbins Building, which houses the Library, into a modern, energy efficient and visually stunning space.
The Library collects material on a worldwide basis, in all major European languages. The extensive collections range from a European Documentation Centre to 90,000 historical pamphlets, with over 95 per cent of Library stock available on open access. 50 kilometres of shelving - enough to stretch the length of the Channel Tunnel! - accommodate over four million printed items including 31,000 past and present journal titles. The Library subscribes to approximately 20,000 e-journals, as part of its electronic information provision.
All collections held at LSE in the Library have been recognised for their outstanding national and international importance and awarded 'Designation' status by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council.
IT Services provides the services, facilities, support and training to support the teaching, learning, research and administrative activities of the School.
See LSE Library
^ Back to top