Good University Guide 2023

London School of Economics and Political Science

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects

The university’s flagship Marshall Building opened in January 2022, capping a significant makeover at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) campus in recent years. The development on the corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields houses co-curricular and academic facilities, featuring a new sports centre, café, arts and music rehearsal rooms alongside a teaching and learning hub. It is also home to some of LSE’s leading departments and research centres, including the departments of management, finance and accounting and the Marshall Institute (for philanthropy and social entrepreneurship). 

The building follows the addition of more open spaces around the Centre Buildings on Houghton Street off Aldwych, and improved student facilities. Improving rates of student satisfaction have gone hand-in-hand with the heavy investment in resources, outcomes of the latest National Student Survey (NSS) show. In our analysis of the latest NSS, published in summer 2022, LSE ranks 44= for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience, up from 65th in 2021 and 112th only three years ago. Students have marked the university down for teaching quality (77=). It is a fall of 16 places year-on-year, although it represents an improvement from 99th place in 2020. 

The government’s Teaching Excellence Framework rated LSE bronze in 2017 in light of poor student satisfaction at the time. Post-pandemic, teaching has resumed to in-person delivery and lectures are recorded for students to review and study at their own pace. Many courses are continuing to be assessed under exam hall conditions, while the school is also diversifying methods of assessment to include online and other formats

In the field of research, results of the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) reinforced LSE’s outstanding contribution to the social sciences. Fifty-eight per cent of the university’s research was judged to be world-leading (4*) and 35 per cent was rated internationally excellent (the top two standards). The university's best results were in economics; anthropology; social policy; healthy policy; and media and communications. Overall, the strength of LSE’s research in REF 2021 places it third in our research quality measure, which takes in the strength and breadth of submissions, behind only Imperial College London and Cambridge. 

The stellar REF 2021 outcomes should soften the blow of dropping a place in the 2022 QS World Rankings, where after nine consecutive years of coming top in Europe and second in the world for social sciences and management (beaten by Harvard alone), it finished second in Europe and third in the world in the latest rankings. 

LSE was founded in 1895 by the left-leaning Fabian Society members Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the political scientist Graham Wallas and the writer George Bernard Shaw. Demand for places is competitive and reached new heights in the 2021 admissions cycle, when the university received almost 26,000 applications (a new record) for roughly 1,700 places. The LSE is one of only a few UK universities not to participate in Clearing.

The curriculum continues to evolve and the first politics and data science students started courses in September 2022, while from September 2023 a degree in mathematics and data science launches, and actuarial science gains the option of a placement year. 

Promising graduate prospects are a perennial draw for students — as borne out by results of the latest Graduate Outcomes survey in summer 2022. The school ranks 6th (falling from 2= last year), with 89.1 per cent working in professional level jobs or furthering their studies 15 months after finishing their degrees. 

Career-building opportunities are built into degrees via LSE’s collaborations with more than 15,000 organisations ranging from multinational corporates with UK offices to small-to-medium size enterprises and start-ups, policy institutes and government departments. Opportunities for undergraduates include working on industry projects, going on placements or internships, volunteering and mentoring. An entrepreneurship programme supports student and graduate start-ups. 

With 51.4 per cent of the intake drawn from private or selective grammar schools, LSE has one of lower proportions of students from non-selective comprehensive schools (113th). However it is 15th for the proportion of students from ethnic minority backgrounds (62.6 per cent) and the school is succeeding where others fail with regards to closing the black attainment gap, rising from fifth place last year to third this year on this measure of social inclusion. 

Contextual offers one or two grades lower than standard have joined the school’s initiatives to widen access. All academic departments are participating in the scheme, but any maths requirement still has to be met. To be eligible for consideration for a contextual offer students must come from a deprived area, have left care, or have participated in an LSE or Sutton Trust pathway programme. Financial help in the form of scholarships and bursaries benefits about 27 per cent of the intake and awards are available to UK and overseas students. 

The Marshall Building sports centre has brought two squash courts and a heavy weights gym along with a sports hall, while Saw Swee Hock student centre has a gym and dance studio and Old Building hosts a badminton court. LSE’s 23-acre sportsground is a train ride away in New Malden. 

Accommodation is guaranteed to first-years who apply by the June deadline within 4,235 university-owned or endorsed rooms — almost half of them eligible to be catered. Prices vary considerably, from £120.05 per week for a bed in a triple room at Passfield Hall to £444.54 per week for a single studio at Urbanest Westminster Bridge.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 4 (5)
Teaching quality 74.5 77th=
Student experience 73.3 44th=
Research quality 68 3rd
Ucas entry points 181 10th
Graduate prospects 89.1 6th
Firsts and 2:1s 93.6 2nd
Completion rate 96.7 5th
Student-staff ratio 13.4 11th
World ranking - 56 (49)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 25,845/1,715
Applications/places ratio 15.1:1
Overall offer rate 21.9%


Places in accommodation 4,235
Accommodation costs £173.95 - ££444.54.
Catered costs £120 - £332
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) N/A
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of tuition)
Fees (international) £23,330
Finance website
Graduate salaries £32,577


Sport points/rank 559.5, 57th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 105
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 51.4%
Grammar school admissions 18.2%
Independent school admissions 30.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 62.6%
Black achievement gap -3.2%
White working class males 1.8%
First generation students 32.1%
Low participation areas 7%
Working class dropout gap n/a
Mature 1.4%
EU students 13.6%
Other overseas students 40.3%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Psychology 90.2%
Sociology 82.2%
Accounting and finance 80.7%
Geography and environmental science 79.7%
Anthropology 78.8%
Business, management and marketing 76.9%
Philosophy 76%
History 74.2%
Economics 73.5%
Mathematics 72.5%
Politics 71.1%
Social policy 69.2%
Law 68.8%