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London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE London, United Kingdom
4.01 / 5 based on 312 reviews.
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is unique in the United Kingdom in its concentration on teaching and research across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences. Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, the LSE is one of the largest colleges within the University of London and has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence nationally and internationally.
But this is an unusual UK university. Few university institutions in the world are as international. The study of social, economic and political problems covers not only the United Kingdom and other countries within the European Union, but also countries of every continent. Read more

86% of students recommend
312 reviews
All experiences (312)
Student life
5 stars (84)
4 stars (174)
3 stars (54)
2 stars (0)
1 star (0)
Travel opportunities from London to the rest of Europe and beyond are incredible! Use them as much as you can, they'll add up to the whole experience Read Review
torresar, Spain

312 reviews of LSE

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1 to 1 of 52 
by Gonzalo, LSE, London, United Kingdom
International Relations, Independent
Personal assessment
Couldn't have asked for more.
Pretty good.
Could've been better, but didn't lessen the overall experience.
Type of housing: On campus
Arranged by: Independently - My choice
If returning, I would choose: On campus
Why? It is the most cost-effective option and it can be much more fun than renting
Personal comments:
For my fisrt year I stayed in Passfield Hall, a 'budget' residence with reasonable prices (for London standards!) and lots of character. It was small, very friendly and close to the university -although American students tended to complain that it was falling to pieces :-) Later on I was forced to move to private accommodation, which is the British version of hell
This review is the opinion of an iAgora member, and not of iAgora itself
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by Brayden, Columbia University, New York City, United States
International Relations, Independent
Personal social experience
Amazing! Hardly had time to study.
Plenty to do when I had the time.
Did not get involved.
Describe host city:
Activities, Nightlife, Travel: Takes place both within and outside of the university/student environment
Personal comments:
LSE is not a school for the sports-type. It's a very academic school, and LSE students tend to be very active in politics, both on and off campus. It's a school for activists, really. There are certainly a wealth of sport opportunities, but these are generally outweighed by the wealth of student societies devoted to international relations, the UN, global development issues, et al. World leaders are constantly dropping by, and there are numerous lectures and speeches given by major academics. Add to that London nightlife, and you will have a blast - but there's not a huge campus environment (outside Houghton Street). LSE is an urban university.
This review is the opinion of an iAgora member, and not of iAgora itself
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by Brayden, Columbia University, New York City, United States
International Relations, Independent
My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Pretty good.
Could've been a bit better.
Variety of courses
Availability/access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with other international students
Interaction with local students
Course recommendations:
Like most research universities, the LSE favors graduate students. The best courses and the most professor-student interaction are found in the masters degrees. That's not to say that undergraduates are short changed, but when you realize just how many courses are on offer for grad students, you do feel a little left out. As a case in point, there are over 50 full-year courses on offer to masters students in the International Relations Department alone; however LSE undergraduates have about 15 full-year courses taught specifically within the IR Department. To be fair, though, you are still allowed (and encouraged) to take courses otherwise related to International Relations, e.g. courses in the International History, Government, and Law departments.

My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Liked it.
It was alright.
A bit annoying.
Didn't like it.
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course.
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Personal comments:
Who likes exams? The LSE operates on a very rigid assessment system. Continual assessment is frowned upon because the undergraduate BSc seeks to achieve a breadth AND depth of knowledge within subject matter, and there's a general feeling across the school that mid-terms and continual assessment inhibit that type of learning. There are also concerns over plagiarism and favoritism. For these reasons, very few schools in the UK followed an American-style continual assessment system. Aside from these reasons, the LSE also hopes to hone its students' research skills. To that end, so much of the work throughout the year (e.g. continual essays, et al) is done independently. I'd say you definitely have to be mature and disciplined to succeed in this type of an environment because I have many friends who fell behind quickly - b/c they felt they could just study at the end of the year before exams and still do well.

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by ventouma, Pantion Panepistimio Kinonikon Kai Politikon Epistimon, Athens, Greece
Economics, MSc
Language difficulties
No problems.
I coped pretty well.
Sometimes it was difficult.
It was a constant struggle.
Administrative / Institutional
Language of instruction: English
Was learning English a key decision factor?
No, it wasn't.
How much did you improve your English?
My level before:
My level after:
Personal comments:
I had no significant problems communicating. True, at the beginning it was a bit more difficult, especially reading academic material in a language other than my mother tongue, but at the end it was all right.
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by jennifer, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
Economics, University Agreement
The accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Very easy.
Minimal effort.
Accessible but required effort.
Almost impossible.
Second-hand household items
Second-hand bedding
Money from home
Main source of funding:
Other sources of funding:
Work opportunities:
I didn't want/need to work
Personal spending habits:
London is very expensive. Prepared food/restaurants are more expensive than the U.S. but I compensated by learning how to cook! Accommodation, private or University, was comparable to U.S. University housing but not U.S. apartment living. Nightlife, including restaurants clubs or bars and transport to get home, is disgustingly more. Travel is a tricky one. I've spent more on travel here but that's because it costs so much less to fly from London to Europe than from the U.S.
Nightlife, Housing, Overall, Food: was more expensive than at home.
Telephone, Travel: was the same price as at home.
Personal comments:
Financial surprise- A mobile phone was no more expensive than my landline. Buy phonecards to call the U.S. at rates of $.07. I shelled out about $16 a week for transport because most residences are not within reasonable walking distance of campus. I photocopied A LOT totalling well over $100. Then again, I didn't have to buy so many books.
This review is the opinion of an iAgora member, and not of iAgora itself
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by Brayden, Columbia University, New York City, United States
International Relations, Independent
Important to choosing this university...
Academic reasons
Very Important.
Not really important.
Campus life
Party / people
Weather / Location
I wish I had known...
Take some time to research and understand the LSE system, and the British educational system in general. It's very research-focused and thus quite independent. You are assessed through mandatory essays throughout the year (in qualitative courses) and problem sets (in quantative courses), but this is not formal or official. Your official assessment comes at the end of the year with one final exam per course, i.e. four exams (unless you've taken half-credit courses).
In my opinion:
Most people loved it.

During my experience abroad, I ...
Became familiar with another culture
Happened all the time.
Happened quite a lot.
Happened a bit.
Didn't happen.
Improved language skills
Met people from other countries
Became more independent
Partied a lot
Experienced a change in life
Advanced my studies/career
Personal recommendation:
The LSE is the LSE. It has a global reputation for excellence in the social sciences. You'll have access to excellent resources, including a outstanding (though rather ugly) library and world-class professors. Depending upon your degree level (i.e. undergrad or grad), you'll have more access to those resources than other people. Generally, you have to be assertive and seek out help from professors and teachers - they will rarely come to you, but they're generally very responsive to students who take the initiative to speak with them first. LSE students are a very cosmopolitan bunch - it was recently rated the most international school in the world (THES), and you can see that by just walking down Houghton Street at any given day in the week. Because it's so cosmopolitan, students have a wealth of interests and views and this is most represented by the myriad student clubs on campus. Many of them are fantastic, and organize events with world leaders, big-name academics, and businessmen. If you're receiving a degree from the LSE, and especially if you do really well in that degree, you'll be highly employable. Investment banks and consulting firms in particular are extremely aggressive in recruiting LSE students. This past year one of the big banks had a laser show on Houghton Street to advertise their graduate schemes. I attended a recruitment event at Goldman Sachs, and apparently LSE is tied with another school as the most represented institution in Europe. LSE students do of course go on to work in think tanks, intenational organizations, et al - but a good portion of them do go into the financial sector.


It's a great school, and you'll have a great experience - with a few big caveats. LSE is not for everyone. It's very independent and research-focused. If you're used to a system where you're given constant access to professors and are, for lack of a better phrase, 'spoon fed', you will not be happy at the LSE - or anywhere in the UK, for that matter. There's fierce resistance to this approach within the LSE. On top of that, the grading system is quite strange. If you get a 68 or above in an International Relations course (and many other courses, for that matter), you're doing exceptionally well. Very few students get to that level, and anything above that is truly exceptional. LSE is quite rigid in this way, and often times you're not entirely sure what it takes to get a top grade like that. You really have to do it by trial and error - and keep pushing yourself harder and harder. You'll get there, but it might take some time (especially if you're from an inflation-heavy school like some sister schools of Columbia I need not mention here). You can attending office hours of both teachers and professors, but they rarely give you past papers as examples. Certain degrees can be seen as very theoretical and abstract. This is often a shock to American students (like myself) who study subjects like International Relations. In the USA, IR tends to be quite behavioralist/scientific and policy-focused, whereas at the LSE it tends to be very historical and theoretical focused. Either way, it'll certainly broaden your horizons and introduce you to a new way of thinking. Bottom line: do a fair amount of research before you go - speak to students who've attended the LSE both full-time and for a year abroad. The more views you collate, the better prepared you'll be for the LSE's strengths and weaknesses - which are, as always, all relative.
This review is the opinion of an iAgora member, and not of iAgora itself
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