Types of Assessment
Formative assessment helps you to learn and understand the relevant material, as well as develop your analytical and writing skills. Formative assessment does not count towards your overall degree classification but is designed to prepare you for the summative (assessed) work that you will complete later in the course. The feedback you receive from your formative work will help prepare you for your summative work.
Summative assessment tests whether you have acquired the desired learning outcomes of a course. This is achieved through a variety of methods including examinations, presentations, essays, coursework and dissertations. Summative assessment counts towards your overall degree classification. Individual courses may be assessed by one piece of Summative work or by a combination of different types of summative work.
Once you begin classes, you may be asked to make presentations. Students are asked either to produce an essay or a short outline of their presentation (depending on the course) for circulation to classmates. Presentation notes should be circulated by posting to Moodle seminar forums, unless otherwise instructed by the Course Academic.
You can find more information on assessments in your relevant Handbook.
Course by course exam timetables will be available online on the LSE Assessments and Exams page. For January exams the timetable is usually available towards the end of Michaelmas term; for summer exams it is usually available in Lent Term; and for students taking in-year resit and deferral exams, it is usually available in late July. Closer to each exam season, you will also be given access to a personal exam timetable with your room and seat numbers in LSE for You.
Anybody taking exams at LSE must read the Exam Procedures for Candidates. It contains all the information that you need to know and is updated each year. The document is less than ten pages and covers topics ranging from candidate numbers to permitted materials to what to do if things go wrong. You can download your copy from assessments and exams page.
To help you prepare effectively for your examinations you should make yourself fully aware of the format and syllabus to be covered in the examinations. Specimen papers and guidelines to any changes are provided where appropriate, and permitted materials specified early in the year. Past papers can be found at Past Exam Papers (access restricted to LSE network only).
Students who have failed an exam cannot retake the exam until the following year. Students cannot re-sit any exam that they have already passed.
The dissertation is a full quarter of the MSc degree (i.e. one unit) and the whole ‘dissertation experience’ in ID is designed to be a full-year cumulative process of intellectually rewarding learning and writing. Dissertations in ID may be based on primary research, secondary (desk-based) research, or a combination of both. ID MSc dissertations constitute an original exploration of existing knowledge by the student and may (but do not have to) include original theoretical and/or empirical insights.
The dissertation experience begins in MT when students meet their academic mentors and choose their optional courses. ID students will also be automatically enrolled in our dissertation courses DV410 and MY410, which together provide students a coordinated introduction to research design and a selection of research methods used in development research. The DV410 Moodle page is where you can find information about the dissertation and where you will, eventually, submit your final 10,000-word dissertation, which will be assessed and is worth 70% of your final full unit dissertation mark.
Visit the ID information page on dissertations where you can also view prizewinning dissertations from previous years.
Consultancy Projects (MSc)
The Consultancy Projects enable MSc students to gain practical experience of dealing with current policy issues and best practice in the fields of humanitarian assistance or international development by working on a live consultancy team project for a real client. The consultancies are based around an experiential learning format. Students receive guidance through a structured supervision process and work on the consultancy report in Michaelmas Term and Lent Terms with support from a staff coach. The projects are assessed through a group project and report(80%), areflective learning report (10%) and agroup presentation (10%) in Lent Term.
Please see the DV453 course guide for more information about the International Development Consultancy Project. For DV431 there is an evening session near the start of the academic year that provides more information about the Consultancy Project.
Find out about the Consultancy Projects that form part of the MSc learning experience here. You can also check out this blog on past ID students' experience of consultancies to learn more.
PhD progression (MRes/PhD)
In order to progress from Year 1(MRes) to Year 2 of the PhD Programme, candidates must achieve:
- a pass of the MRes with an average of 65 or above in the coursework
- a pass the Research Proposal (DV510) with a mark equal to or greater than 65
Find more information about the structure of the PhD programme on the LSE Calendar and in the Research Student Handbook.
Research proposal (MRes/PhD)
A research proposal on the subject of study for your PhD must be submitted in Year 1 (MRes) of the programme. The deadline for the DV510 proposal falls in August. You will receive written feedback on your DV510 proposal by the beginning of the first term of your second year. You will also be told whether your DV510 mark is sufficient for the upgrade from MRes to PhD. If for any reason your mark falls short of 65, you will be given an opportunity to revise your proposal. This won’t change your original mark, but if your resubmitted proposal is later accepted (and you have met the rest of the upgrade conditions) then you will be cleared to progress to the PhD stage. The amount of time allowed for revisions will be set by the markers and the doctoral programme director but will not be more than three months. Being asked to revise the DV510 proposal will not be considered as grounds for an extension to your thesis submission deadline later on.
The International Development Department recommends that students use Chicago or Harvard style for all assessed work. This style minimises the number of words used in the text to indicate the source (thus reducing the impact on the word limit) and dictates that the full source be given in the bibliography. You may use any style you wish but remember that all words in the footnotes count towards your word limit.
Students should not only take care in their referencing to avoid any potential accusations of plagiarism but should also be aware that they should avoid simply stringing quotations from literature together. In all cases, students will be assessed on the basis of the ideas, interpretations and analyses – the value added – expressed in their written work.
If you are unsure about the academic referencing conventions used by the School you should seek guidance from your department, Academic Mentor, LSE LIFE or the Library.
The work you submit for assessment must be your own and all source material must be correctly referenced. Plagiarism is not just submitting work with the intention to cheat. Plagiarism could occur simply as a result of failing to correctly reference the sources you have used. If you are found to have committed an assessment offence (such as plagiarism or exam misconduct) you could be expelled from the School.
Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons, including other candidates, must be clearly identified as such. Quotes must be placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to sources must be provided in proper form. A series of short quotations for several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. All paraphrased material must also be clearly and properly acknowledged.
Any written work you produce (for classes, seminars, exams, dissertations, essays and computer programmes) must solely be your own. You must not employ a “ghost writer” to write parts or all of the work, whether in draft or as a final version, on your behalf.For further information and the School’s statement on Editorial Help visit lse.ac.uk/calendar. Any breach of the Statement will be treated in the same way as plagiarism.
You should also be aware that a piece of work may only be submitted for assessment once (either to LSE or elsewhere). Submitting the same piece of work twice (regardless of which institution you submit it to) will be regarded as the offence of “self-plagiarism” and will also be treated in the same way as plagiarism. If you are unsure about the academic referencing conventions used by the School, seek guidance from your department, Academic Mentor, LSE LIFE or the Library as soon as possible.
The full Regulations on Assessment Offences: Plagiarism can be found on the LSE calendar.
The Research Ethics Policy aims to promote a culture within the School whereby researchers conscientiously reflect on the ethical implications of their research.
Researchers in the social sciences have responsibilities - in the first instance to the people from whom the researcher is gathering data (the research participants), but also to society at large; to those who fund their research; to the institutions that employ them or at which they study; to their colleagues and the wider academic and research community; and also for their own safety and wellbeing. Reconciling those responsibilities can be difficult and may entail ethical judgement.
Researchers should familiarise themselves with the School’s Research Ethics Policy and Code of Research Conduct. These policies form part of the School's over-arching Ethics Code.
Visit the Research Ethics page for full information and if you have further queries contact If you have any questions concerning research ethics not answered here please contact Lyn Grove at email@example.com.
Late submissions and word count
Work that is submitted after the stated deadline will incur penalties of 5 marks deducted per 24-hour period, or part thereof. This applies to both essays and dissertations and applies to the time deadline, not just the date. After five working days, coursework will only be accepted with the permission of the Sub-Board of Examiners.
Assessed coursework that exceeds the stated word limit will lose one mark for every 100 words or part thereof.
For MRes students, 10,000 word research proposals have a fixed maximum leeway of one per cent (ie, 100 words, so a total wordcount of 10,100 words). Beyond that they - they will lose marks as per above.
Marking and feedback
The International Development Department does not mark “on a curve” (i.e. each year a certain percentage of Distinctions, Merits, etc.). All work is marked strictly on its individual academic merit. Generally, you may expect to have formative coursework returned to you with comments within three term weeks. This period may be longer on very popular courses. If you do not receive your work back within this period, please check on the Moodle site of the course for further information, and then check with the administrative team or the Course Leader.
Feedback on summative coursework will normally also be within five term weeks of submission.Feedback on January exams will normally be provided within six term weeks of the end of the exam period.Feedback on Summer exams will normally be provided within four term weeks of the following Michaelmas term.Dissertation: You will receive feedback for your dissertation, and it will normally be provided within four term weeks of the final mark being made available to students.
Distinction: ≥70 (≥80 = outstanding, 70-79 = excellent)
Merit: 60-69 (65-69 = high merit, 60-64 = merit)
Pass: 50-59 (55-59 = high pass, 50-54 = pass)
Fail: ≤49 (40-49 = fail, ≤39 = bad fail)
Please see the full Marking Standards Guide on the International Development Moodle site (in the section called ‘ID Assesment Information’) for what is expected of you at each level.
The International Development Department is committed to providing students with appropriate levels of feedback. In addition to feedback that students receive on written work (formative and summative), students may, in some circumstances, also receive feedback on participation and other class activities. Students are encouraged to seek feedback from their lecturers and class teachers. Engaging with feedback is an essential part of taking independent control of your learning process.