The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a public research university located in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and established its first degree courses under the auspices of the university in 1901. LSE began awarding its degrees in its own name in 2008, prior to which it awarded degrees of the University of London. It became a university in its own right within the University of London in 2022.
LSE is located in the London Borough of Camden and Westminster, Central London, near the boundary between Covent Garden and Holborn. The area is historically known as Clare Market. LSE has more than 11,000 students, just under seventy percent of whom come from outside the UK, and 3,300 staff.
It had an income of £436.9 million in 2021/22, of which £35.5 million was from research grants.
The university has the fifth-largest endowment of any university in the UK. One hundred and fifty-five nationalities are represented amongst the LSE’s student body and the school had the second highest percentage of international students (70%) of the 800 institutions in the 2015–16 Times Higher Education World University Ranking.
Despite its name, the school is organised into 25 academic departments and institutes which conduct teaching and research across a range of pure and applied social sciences. LSE is a member of the Russell Group, Association of Commonwealth Universities and the European University Association, and is typically considered part of the “golden triangle” of research universities in the south east of England. The LSE also forms part of CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences, a network of eight European universities focused on research in the social sciences. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, the school had the third highest grade point average (joint with Cambridge).
LSE alumni and faculty include 55 past or present heads of state or government and 18 Nobel laureates. As of 2017, 27% (or 13 out of 49) of all Nobel Memorial Prizes in Economics have been awarded or jointly awarded to LSE alumni, current staff, or former staff, who consequently comprise 16% (13 out of 79) of all Nobel Memorial Prize laureates. LSE alumni and faculty have also won 3 Nobel Peace Prizes and 2 Nobel Prizes in Literature. Out of all European universities, LSE has educated the most billionaires (11) according to a 2014 global census of US dollar billionaires.
LSE is ranked third in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2022, fifth in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, and fifth in The Guardian University Guide 2021. The QS World University Rankings for 2023 rankings saw the LSE placed 56th among the world’s universities. The 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked LSE 37th globally.
On the other hand, Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2022 ranked LSE in the 151–200 range. While the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities 2022 ranked LSE’s social science and economics programs highly, overall, it ranked LSE 230th globally. In terms of specific subject areas, the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020 ranks the LSE second in the world in economics & social sciences and management and 20th for arts and humanities, while for individual subjects it is ranked second for geography, third for communication and media studies, social policy and administration, and sociology, in the top ten for accounting and finance, anthropology, business and management studies, development studies, economics and econometrics, history, law and legal studies, philosophy, and politics, and in the top 50 for psychology, and statistics and operational research.
Times Higher Education’s subject rankings for 2021 place LSE 7th for business and economics, 8th for social sciences, 10th for law, 17th equal for psychology, 21st for arts and humanities, and in the 251–300 range for physical sciences. U.S. News & World Report ranked LSE 7th globally for economics, 34th for social sciences, 57th for arts and humanities, 141st equal for psychiatry/psychology, and 212th equal for public, environmental and occupational health.
According to data released by the Department for Education in 2018, LSE was rated as the best university for boosting graduate earnings, with male graduates seeing a 47.2% increase in earnings and female graduates seeing a 38.2% increase in earnings compared to the average graduate.
According to Wealth-X and UBS’s “Billionaire Census” in 2014, LSE ranked 10th in the list of 20 schools that have produced the most billionaire alumni.
The LSE was the only UK university to make the list. In the 2020 National Student Survey LSE came 64th out of 154 for overall student satisfaction.
The LSE had scored well below its benchmark on this measure in previous years, coming 145th out of 148 in 2017.
The increase in student satisfaction in 2020 led to a climb of 14 places to fifth in the 2021 Guardian ranking.