FAQs for prospective MSc International Political Economy applicants

1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme?

2. How do I apply online?

You can find information on How to apply and Supporting Documents on the School’s Prospective Student webpages.

Please note that for entry into the programme the GRE or GMAT is not required and you will not need to attend an interview. Decisions are normally made on the basis of the application form, transcripts and references.

3. If I have a query about the application process, can I raise this with the Department instead of the School's Graduate Admissions office?

No. All such queries are answered by the School's Graduate Admission Office.

For queries about admissions documents, entry requirements or your application, you should contact Graduate Admissions directly.

4. Does the School or IR Department hold an Open Day for prospective MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research applicants?

There are no on-campus graduate open days or evenings, but there are many ways to make contact and discover the LSE, for those thinking of applying for graduate study. 

See Meet, Visit and Discover LSE for more details.

5. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research?

We normally require an Upper Second class first degree (3.5 GPA) or equivalent in International Political Economy or a related discipline, e.g. History, Politics, or Economics.

We normally require students to meet the ‘Higher’ English language requirements as listed under B. Higher table on the English language requirements page.

Acceptance for the MSc IPE or MSc IPE Research course depends on the quality of the application overall. In recent years, these programmes have drawn a large number of high-quality applications. As a result, competition has been intense. If you decide to apply, it would be advisable to explain the form of your interest in international political economy.

6. I would like to apply, but I do not have a strong educational background in IPE or a related discipline. Can I nevertheless gain acceptance on the basis of my performance in an unrelated degree programme, relevant work experience, and/or my keen interest in the field?

Unfortunately, there is a disadvantage to applying without a strong educational background. We do sometimes take on a few 'cross over' students in any given year, but the bulk of our students have done well in one of the relevant social science subjects (listed above in Question 11).

Although relevant work experience is taken into account, your academic background will be considered of most relevance. 

7. I am interested in applying for a PhD after my LSE MSc programme. Where can I find further information?

The Department co-hosts an open day with the LSE Careers team about research opportunities for MSc students within the Department, followed by a Q&A session, each November.

Watch the Virtual Graduate Open Events

You can also check the Department of International Relations PhD FAQ page for information on our MPhil/PhD programme and how to apply.

You can also find further information on the LSE Careers further study webpage. 

If you have any other questions about the PhD programme, please contact our team at ir.research@lse.ac.uk.

8. What is the difference between the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research?

The International Political Economy (IPE) is an advanced academic study of the subject and would be suitable if you plan to progress to a career that might have an international focus. The International Political Economy (IPE) Research is designed as a preparation for research work, particularly those considering going on to do a PhD, and includes compulsory Methodology courses.

The majority of students will be taking the MSc IPE programme comprising a compulsory paper in International Political Economy, a compulsory Dissertation and two optional papers which can be chosen from a number of subjects. In addition, there are other courses offered in the School especially by the Departments of Economics, Economic History and Law, which may appeal to you and for which you may be considered eligible by your academic mentor and the Department concerned.

Students taking the MSc IPE Research programme are required to take the following subjects: International Political Economy, two Methodology courses, one optional paper, and the Dissertation.

Transfers from either of the two versions of the MSc IPE to either of the two versions of the MSc International Relations (IR) at the beginning of the session are only allowed in exceptional circumstances - see Programme Transfer.

9. What is the difference between the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research and the MSc Political Science (Global Politics)?

Although the two programmes 'MSc in International Political Economy' and 'MSc Political Science (Global Politics)' share certain options and are both concerned with the politics of globalisation, they are distinctive in their approaches and concerns.

The MSc in International Political Economy is primarily concerned with the interaction of politics and economics in the world economy; it is based in the theories and paradigms that are central to International Political Economy (IPE) as a distinctive discipline, and these are the focus of its compulsory course. Its options (Politics of Money in the World Economy, Political Economy of Trade, Economic Diplomacy, Global Environmental Politics, Governing International Political Economy: Lessons from the Past for the Future, Global Business in International Relations, Governing IPE, Politics of Inequality and Development, and Economic Diplomacy) are specifically tailored to fit with the IPE core course.

The MSc Political Science (Global Politics) has 'globalisation' as its central unifying theme, its core course is focused on arguments about how world politics are shifting from an 'inter-state' to a 'global' frame and it encompasses contributions from Political Science, Development Studies and International Relations.

10. I am invited to give two MSc degree programme choices on the application form. Is it advisable to list the MSc IPE and the MSc IPE Research programmes separately, as choices 1 and 2, as I am really keen to be considered for the International Political Economy discipline?

No, this is not necessary. Our selectors look at applications for the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research programmes en masse and do not differentiate between the two 'tracks'. You can apply for one programme and change to the other once you are here, as long as you do this fairly quickly so that you do not miss relevant teaching on the programme you finally choose. This will leave you free to choose a programme from another discipline as part of your application to the LSE if you so wish.

11. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme?

You will find a description of each subject in the relevant IR-prefixed Graduate Course Guides

Read the 2023/24 programme regulations

Watch our MSc IPE introductory video

12. Are all courses that are listed in the Graduate Prospectus offered each year?

No - normally, one or two are 'Not Available' due to staff on sabbatical leave or other absences.  

Read the full list of suspended and withdrawn courses for 2023/24 for reference.

The suspended and withdrawn courses for 2024/25 will not be published until later in 2024.

13. I want to list MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research as my second choice. Will this damage my chances of admission?

No. However, it is advisable to address fully why you wish to study IPE (albeit as a second choice) in your application statement.

14. I applied last year and was rejected. What is the likelihood of succeeding with a second application?

If you applied last year when the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme was already full but you have the requisite qualifications, it may be worthwhile re-applying. As to the likelihood of your being accepted, this will depend on the quality and number of other applications.

If you applied last year when the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme was not full, it is unlikely that you would be successful second time around.

15. I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR470 International Political Economy. Could you provide this?

Please see the IR470 course guide

16. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programmes operate. Where can I find such information?

You may find the International Relations Current Student subsite of interest.

17. I would like to meet the selector or another member of the academic staff to find out more about the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research programme. Can this be arranged?

Given the popularity of the IR Department's taught MSc programmes, regretfully we do not have the resources to meet prospective applicants. 

However, the online Graduate Prospectus, the Financial Support Office website and the IR Department's online FAQs for Prospective Students should address most concerns and enquiries.  

If you have read these sources of information and still have an enquiry, please email the relevant member of Professional Services Staff.

18. What is the deadline for MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research applicants?

There is no set deadline but as the programme is extremely popular, it is advisable to apply by early January to gain admission in the following September.

Please check the availability of the programme on the Available Programmes webpage before submitting an application.

19. What are the methods of assessment?

Apart from the 10,000 word Dissertation, the majority of subjects are assessed with an unseen examination during January or Summer Term.

However, a number of courses make use of mixed modes of assessment and require an assessed essay along with a final examination. 

There are also some courses that are assessed solely on the basis of an assessed essay.  Please see the relevant IR graduate course guides.

20. Am I required to be here after the exams and take-home assessments finish?

Your 10,000-word dissertation has to be submitted in August. Once your assessments have finished (exams and take-home assessments usually take place during May and June) you are not required to stay in London as you can upload your Dissertation electronically by the deadline. But you should ensure you have the time and facilities to complete your dissertation.

However, please note that if you plan to take the Graduate Route which is a new visa which will allow international graduates to stay in the UK to work upon completion of your studies, please consult the LSE immigration advice website to ensure you meet residency and other requirements.

21. What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?

A half unit runs in either Autumn Term or Winter Term. A full unit course runs through Autumn and Winter Terms. Two half units may be taken in place of one full unit with the approval of your academic mentor and the teachers responsible for the courses. In the IR Department we have a number of half unit courses listed under the MSc IR/IR Research degree regulations which MSc IPE students may apply to take under the provision 'a course from another programme' in the MSc IPE degree regulations.

All IPE optional courses are half unit courses but courses from other departments may be full unit courses.

22. How much are the tuition fees?

Please see Fees and Funding sections on the following programme pages:

MSc International Political Economy
MSc International Political Economy (Research)

23. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IPE?

Please see School's Financial Support Office and Fees and Funding for details.

24. Can I apply to take the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research part-time? If so, how long does it take and are lectures and seminars held in the evenings?

We only accept a few part-time students in any given year. The part-time programme takes two years.

Part-time MSc IPE students normally take the compulsory paper, International Political Economy, and courses to the value of 1.5 units in year one, and optional courses to the value of one full unit and the 10,000-word dissertation in year two. Part-time MSc IPE Research students normally take the compulsory paper, International Political Economy, two Methodology courses, one optional paper, and the dissertation.

Lectures and seminars are normally held during the working day. However, as a part-time student, we would certainly be sensitive to your timetabling needs and where a choice of seminar groups exists, we would allocate you to one that was most convenient to you.

Unfortunately, the Sessional Timetable is not normally finalised until a few weeks before the start of the session, so we are unable to answer questions about the likely spread of teaching over the academic year before you make an application.

25. What is the difference between the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research and the MPhil/PhD?

The MPhil/PhD is a research degree programme leading either to the MPhil or PhD. All our research students register initially for the MPhil but the vast majority are upgraded to the PhD. Occasionally, a student applies for the MPhil with no intention of going on to the PhD.

Applicants to our MPhil/PhD research programme are normally expected to have an MSc qualification in IR or a related discipline. Please see our Information for prospective MPhil/PhD International Relations applicants for further information about applying for the MPhil/PhD.

The MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research, by contrast, is a 12-month taught postgraduate degree course. Those wishing to go on to take a research degree after the MSc may find it useful to take the MSc IPE Research programme rather than the MSc IPE programme as the former includes a component of research training.

26. How do I apply for the MSc IPE/PhD programmes so as to be considered for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding?

Please see the ESRC website and the LSE's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships webpage.

If you wish to be considered for ESRC 1+3 funding, please check Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships for the deadline which is usually in early January.

Interviews for ESRC funding will take place between 21 February and 1st March 2022. If you have not received an interview request by then, your application was unsuccessful.

27. I am thinking of taking an MSc-level Economics course as part of my programme, what are the procedures and deadlines?

Please see EC400 application for full details and deadlines.

All MSc-level Economics courses at LSE require a good understanding of economics and it is strongly recommended that students do not apply for such courses without completing EC400 first.

28. If I am accepted for the MSc IPE and then decide I would like to switch to the MSc IPE Research, or vice versa, will this be possible?

Yes. You can register for the programme for which you were accepted and then switch programme once you arrive.

However, this is only automatic between the MSc IPE and MSc IPE Research programmes. You must not accept an offer for the MSc IPE in the expectation of switching to another programme within the School (eg your first choice for which you have been turned down) once you arrive.

29. If I am rejected for the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research on arrival at the School?

You would be most unwise to accept a second choice offer in the expectation of switching as this will not normally be possible.

You also should not accept an offer for the MSc IPE or MSc IPE Research in the expectation of being allowed to switch programmes within the IR department.

30. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IPE/MSc IPE Research to the following year?

LSE has taken the decision not to allow deferrals from one academic year to the next. 

See "How Do I..." for full details.

31. If my application is unsuccessful but I would like to reapply next year, how can I get feedback on why I was not accepted?

If your academic background or first degree grades/predicted grades do not reach the standard noted in the FAQs above, this will undoubtedly form part if not all of the explanation for your rejection.

We also have to turn away good candidates due to the popularity of the MSc IPE course, so you may fall into this category. Unfortunately, competition is fierce and detailed feedback is not possible.