London School of Economics

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Russell Group institution the London School of Economics (LSE) boasts an outstanding reputation. Regarded as a part of the ‘golden triangle’ of universities in south-east England, along with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College London and King's College London, its courses are hugely competitive.

In fact, the school received 18,000 applications for 1,600 undergraduate places in 2016 and even had the fourth-highest average entry qualification for undergraduates of any UK university in 2015-16.

Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas and George Bernard Shaw for the “betterment of society”, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and established its first degree courses under the University guise in 1901. It wasn’t until 2008 that LSE has been able to award its own degrees.

LSE is the only university in the UK purely dedicated to the study and research of social sciences. It awards a range of academic Degrees spanning Bachelors, Master’s and PhDs.

The school offers more than 140 MSc (Master of Science) programmes, five MPA (Master of Public Administration) programmes, an LLM (Master of Laws), 30 BSc (Bachelor of Science) programmes, an LLB (Bachelor of Laws), four BA programmes (including International History and Geography), and 35 PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programmes.

Other subjects pioneered by LSE include Anthropology, Criminology, Social Psychology, Sociology, and Social Policy, with International Relations being first taught as a discipline at LSE. Courses are split across more than 30 research centres and 19 departments, as well as a Language Centre.

LSE had the joint-highest percentage of world-leading research among research submitted of any institution that entered more than one unit of assessment, and was ranked third by cumulative grade point average with a score of 3.35, beating both Oxford and Cambridge. No mean feat!

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Most of its notable alumni are known for their political endeavours, such as former Labour leader Ed Miliband and MP Yvette Cooper, and former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who taught at the school from 1912 to 1923. But they are also joined by the likes of Mick Jagger, singer for The Rolling Stones, one of the biggest bands of all time.

It is also notable for appointing alumnus Dame Minouche Shafik as its director in September 2017. A British-American economist, she served as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and has longstanding connections to LES’s research and public engagement programme. She is the first woman to be appointed to the position on a permanent basis and is LSE’s 16th director overall.

Apart from being one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, LSE is not just about studying, with more than 200 societies for students to get involved in. There is even the possibility of starting a society in its own right as well as opportunities to volunteer for a local charity, or attend a public lecture by a world-leading figure. Thanks to these activities, the school was awarded top spot for student nightlife by The Guardian.