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London School of Economics and Political Science

London School of Economics


Profile
History
Teaching
Research
Students and staff
Programmes and courses
The Library and IT

Profile
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a world class centre for its concentration of teaching and research across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences. Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, LSE has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence.

LSE is an unusual university. Few university institutions in the world are as international. The study of social, economic and political problems covers not only the UK and European Union, but also countries of every continent. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe.

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).

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History
LSE was founded in 1895. The decision to create the School was made by four Fabians at a breakfast party at Borough Farm, near Milford, Surrey, on 4 August 1894. The four were Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Graham Wallas and George Bernard Shaw.

LSE was founded after a bequest to the Fabian Society of some 20,000 by Henry Hunt Hutchinson. The Hutchinson bequest coincided not just with the Fabians' ideas but also with a wider movement in society.

The aim of the School was the betterment of society. By studying poverty issues and analysing inequalities, the Webbs sought to improve society in general. Sidney Webb in particular, noted Beatrice in her diaries, had a vision of 'a centre not only of lectures on special subjects but an association of students who would be directed and supported in doing original work.' Other donations were solicited to add to the Hutchinson legacy and the School developed rapidly through private philanthropy.

LSE held its first classes in October 1895 in rooms in John Street, moving a year later to 10 Adelphi Terrace. In 1900 LSE was recognised as a faculty of economics in the newly-constituted University of London and in 1901 the Faculty degrees were announced as the BSc (Econ) and DSc (Econ) - the first university degrees principally dedicated to the social sciences.

In 1902 the School moved formally to its present site, in Clare Market and Houghton Street, off the Aldwych. In May 1920 King George V laid the foundation stone of the Old Building.

The School's motto was adopted in February 1922. Suggested by Professor Edwin Cannan from Virgil's Georgics, the phrase rerum cognoscere causas means to know the causes of things. The industrious beaver emblem was chosen in the same year.

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Teaching
LSE offers a very wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the social sciences. Teaching is carried out through academic departments, interdisciplinary institutes and in partnership with internationally known higher education institutions.

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' parttime. Research programmes for MPhil or PhD degrees are offered by all departments and institutes. Programmes for LSE's own 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.

LSE is responsible for the University of London's External Programme in economics, management, finance, social science and information systems. External students undertake study wherever they are currently living, based on course structures and content set by LSE staff. Currently there are more than 15,000 enrolled on the programme. Some students go on to study programmes at LSE.

Summer schools provide an opportunity to experience life at LSE. The programme takes place in London between July and August. Courses are intensively taught over three weeks and examined to the standards of comparable LSE courses. Summer schools are provided for young people in secondary education, along with a student shadowing scheme, as part of LSE's commitment to widening participation in higher education among young people who might not otherwise have considered studying for a university degree.

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. Studying in the heart of a multicultural city alongside students from across the world ensures an involved and comprehensive experience is enjoyed.

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Research
The School is a world centre for advanced research. In the 2001 UK Research Assessment Exercise carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the School's research was rated second among around 200 universities and colleges. LSE submitted 97 per cent of its staff for assessment, more than any other UK university.

The School has a long tradition of encouraging its researchers to undertake challenging research and to extend the boundaries of social science research across disciplines and in collaboration with researchers in the natural sciences.

There are currently over 30 active research centres and units at the School, ranging from large multidisciplinary centres with substantial financial support to small centres with more modest resources. Most of LSE's research centres and units are financed by industry, commerce, research councils or charitable foundations. There are three centres funded mainly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Others are funded through public or private partnerships; for example, funders for the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation include the ESRC, Deutsche Bank, Aon, BP and the Michael Peacock Charitable Trust.

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 is housed above the Library, and includes the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, Centre for Economic Performance, Financial Markets Group and the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines.

LSE is among the most international of universities. More than half our researchers and students are drawn from countries other than the UK, and an increasing aspect of LSE's research is conducted in collaboration with other internationally renowned universities overseas.

LSE's international reputation for the quality and innovation of its research is in part responsible for our success in attracting support for our research programmes from the widest possible range of sponsors. LSE is the largest recipient of funding for social science research in the UK.

LSE is a research-intensive university, and our staff are in constant demand as commentators and analysts. They advise governments, serve on royal commissions, public bodies and government inquiries, and are seconded to local, national and international organisations.

The Research and Project Development Division offers advice and assistance to the School's academic community. They assist colleagues to identify appropriate funding opportunities and advise on the development of research grant proposals and research policy issues. They also provide support and advice on managing research projects and administrating the grant awarded.

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Students and staff
LSE has a cosmopolitan staff and student body, located within an urban, city centre campus. There are around 7,800 full-time students and over 800 part-time students at LSE. They come from 140 countries around the world: 34 per cent from the UK, 18 per cent from other European Union countries and 48 per cent from other countries around the world. 49 per cent are women and 51 per cent are postgraduates.

LSE has over 1,460 full-time and 1,320 part-time members of staff - 97 per cent of the academic staff are actively engaged in research, and 45 per cent are from countries other than the UK, almost half of these from European Union states, the rest from other nations around the world.

The School maintains close links with government, industry and the professions (many of which are situated close by in the city of London), through public meetings and seminar programmes concerned with the dissemination of research findings in the context of public policy. Many staff are also actively engaged in policy development through membership of advisory bodies such as the Monetary Policy Committee, Low Pay Commission and the Press Complaints Commission.

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Programmes and courses
LSE offers a unique opportunity to study the social sciences. You will be in a university institution with a worldwide academic reputation, while enjoying the cultural, social and recreational facilities of one of the world's great capital cities and a focal point in the increasing integration of Europe.

The focus of our teaching is on helping you to learn some of the different ways to test your - and other people's - ideas and, in the words of our motto, rerum cognoscere causas 'to understand the causes of things'. In most of our degrees, we expect students to take at least one course in a subject outside their particular specialism.

The School offers courses not only in economics and political science, but also in a wide range of social science subjects, taught within 19 departments and a number of interdisciplinary institutes.

The UK's Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) has rated the majority of the School's departments and institutes in its top two categories of excellence for research. Departments have achieved outstanding results in the HEFCE/ Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) teaching quality assessment/ subject review exercises. A range of independent and authoritative assessments have judged the School to be among the world's leading institutions for study of the social sciences.

While aiming for the highest standards of independent judgement, we seek to make our work practical and relevant to the real world. Teaching draws on the insights derived from the staff's current research. This can be an exploration of theoretical or technical developments in an academic subject, but much is also applied to topical and practical concerns.

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The Library and IT
The Library of the School is the largest in the world devoted exclusively to the social sciences. Founded 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 15,000 e-journals, as part of its electronic information provision.

The Library has the longest opening hours of any university library in Britain.

A high-speed network interconnects all the School's computers, providing access to a wide range of software, as well as advanced research and teaching software.

Through the network, electronic mail, remote log-in facilities and file transfers are available to all UK and most European and North American universities, and many others throughout the world. Access is provided to a wide range of databases and information sources, through CD-ROM, online databases and other routes. In the Library itself there are 1,600 study places of which 450 have networked PCs and 226 offer laptop drop-in points.

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