London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)


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Overall ranking: Came 3rd out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: LSE was founded in 1895 by four Fabians: Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Graham Wallas and George Bernard Shaw, for 'the betterment of society' through the study of poverty and inequality. In 1902 the school moved formally to its present site, and in May 1920 King George V laid the foundation stone of the Old Building.

Address: Located smack bang in the heart of London, between the Strand and the beginning of Fleet Street.

Ambience: Forget the cramped site and feel the intellectual buzz as LSE is an international powerhouse. Where there were cruddy buildings, you will now find a fantastic new Foster-designed £30m library, a new research laboratory, a student services centre and the new Plaza café. LSE's eco-friendly £71m academic building was opened by The Queen in 2008. It provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including four lecture theatres, classrooms and academic offices spread over eight floors.

Who's the boss? Professor Craig Calhoun took up his post as director in September 2012.

Prospectus: 020 7955 6613 or download it here.

UCAS code: L72

What you need to know

Easy to get into? No. LSE does not use the UCAS points system. Entry requirements range from A*AA to AAB at A-level. New effort is being made to recruit disadvantaged youths from state schools in London through Saturday and summer school schemes with help from external funds. See here for more details on entry requirements.

Vital statistics: LSE has over 9,700 full-time students. Around two thirds of the student population is international and over 100 languages are spoken on the campus. LSE is one of 24 Russell Group universities, dedicated to the highest levels of academic excellence.

Added value: Academics interact with the worlds of politics, business and industry. Houses 19 research centres and institutes at LSE (not including departments), such as the Grantham Research Institute on climate change economics and policy and the new International Growth Centre, which helps developing countries strengthen their economies.

Teaching: Ranked 108th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: Ranked 6th with 83% of graduates entering full-time employment upon leaving.

Any accommodation? Yes, in a big way. Nearly 4000 places are allocated across 20 sites but weekly costs start at £91.70. Plenty of options available, have a look here.

Cheap to live there? Nope – it's London. Private rents start from at least £100 per week.

Transport links: Excellent. London is an international hub and LSE is right in the centre.

Fees: £9,000, but LSE offers generous bursaries of up to £4,000 for students in receipt of a grant.

Bursaries: Click here for an A-Z of the organisations offering potential financial help. The LSE Graduate Financial Support application is now closed. No further applications for 2014 funding can be made. See here for more information.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Has the Peacock Theatre, a cinema and several clubs. Pubs include the Underground for its Friday night discos and the popular Three Tuns, which hosts a weekly comedy night. Being London, students never lack somewhere to let their hair down.

Price of a pint: £3.65 based on a city-wide average.

Sporting reputation: Placed mid-way down the BUCS league at 63rd.

Notable societies: If you're fond of Greek dips look no further than the Hummous Society or if lager and beer are more you thing, try Lara- the Lagar and Real Ale Society for pub crawls, brewery tours and their very own beer festival.

Glittering alumni: 31 members of today's House of Commons and 42 members of the House of Lords; 34 current or former heads of state, including John F. Kennedy; 16 Nobel Prize winners; Lord Saatchi, advertising baron; Mick Jagger; DJ Judge Jules.

Alternative prospectus: You can read the Students' Union blog here.