The London School of Economics and Political Science



The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the foremost social science universities in the world.

Founded in 1895, LSE was the brainchild of Sidney Webb (1859-1947) supported by his wife, the social investigator Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), the political scientist Graham Wallas (1858-1932) and the writer G Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), all four were members of the Fabian Society. William Hewins (1865-1931), an economic historian, was appointed the first Director.

From the start, the School was open to men and women and welcomed students from overseas. The School was committed to providing its students with “scientific training in methods of investigation and research” and resources for research, and in 1896 it founded the Library, known from 1928 as the British Library of Political and Economic Science.

Today, LSE has grown to become one of the foremost social science universities in the world, alongside Harvard, UC Berkeley and Stanford. With 23 Academic Departments, 22 Research Centres and more than 4 million printed library items, LSE ranked 2nd in the world for social sciences (QS World University Ranking 2017-2018). 50 per cent of LSE’s research, a higher proportion than any other UK university, has been consistently awarded the highest 4* rating, classed as ‘world-leading.’

With more than 300 public lectures and talks, our public events’ calendar has included speakers like Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Sheryl Sandberg, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, Juan Manuel Santos, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Vivienne Westwood and other prominent figures of society and politics.

The LSE experience is unashamedly urban and metropolitan; we are at the very heart of things, both intellectually and physically. Our central London campus is next door to the Royal Courts of Justice building while the financial district, Westminster and the Houses of Parliament and Covent Garden are all within easy reach.

A specialist university with an international intake, LSE's reach extends from its central London campus to around the world. The School has a cosmopolitan student body, with around 11,800 full-time students from 133 countries and more than 100 languages spoken on campus. Our global Alumni community counts 148,000 of active Alumni in 200 countries worldwide and 100 country and special interest groups providing networking and professional development opportunities. In addition, with about 46 per cent of our staff of just over 3,300 is drawn from countries outside the UK.

Our guiding principles

Our vision is clear, but there are challenges to overcome: our world faces economic uncertainty, political divisions, social transformations and a tide of anti-intellectual sentiment. In this context, our guiding principles are crucial and will shape our decision-making in the years ahead.

Sustain excellence through an inclusive and diverse community

We will draw together talent from all places and backgrounds, diversifying our faculty and widening access for students to ensure LSE is a vibrant and stimulating place to work and study, where different perspectives thrive through robust but respectful debate.

Extend our impact and reach

We will use our convening power to bring global leaders, innovators and change-makers together to tackle difficult issues and deliver meaningful benefit to individuals and communities in all parts of the world. We will collaborate with local, national and international partners to forge new connections and challenge old ways of thinking involving our alumni, friends and partners in the debate.

Ensure a sustainable future

We will lead the way in building a sustainable future for the social sciences, by upholding rigorous standards of enquiry, securing funding for research and scholarships, diversifying our income and making the best possible use of our resources.

LSE 2030

Our strategy lays out the guiding principles and commitments that will help us shape the world’s future, and achieve our ambition of being the leading social science institution with the greatest global impact.

LSE opened its doors in 1895 with three rooms and 200 students. Today more than 11,000 students study for degrees at our central London campus, while more than 40,000 more learn on campus or remotely. But while much has changed, one thing remains constant: our commitment to the original vision of LSE, as ‘a community of people and ideas, founded to know the causes of things, for the betterment of society’.

As we look to the future, we do it as an internationally renowned institution, with a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and public engagement in the social sciences. What happens at the School has the potential to be world-changing – and in these turbulent times, the social sciences are needed more than ever.

As a proud LSE alumna, I am incredibly honoured to have the responsibility of leading the School and helping to shape its future. I relish the opportunity for LSE to lead by example through the coming years, and to use our unique strengths to actively contribute to positive change in the world.
Minouche Shafik
LSE Director

Campus life

LSE has one campus in central London near to the River Thames, Covent Garden and Theatreland, the Royal Courts of Justice and many other London sights. All of our buildings are located within the same few streets meaning that the campus has a real community feel. There's also plenty of support services to help make sure you get the most out of your LSE experience.



Houghton Street
WC2A 2AE Holborn, England, United Kingdom