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The Admissions process

Understand how the admissions process works, from completing your application, to getting your decision.

We will keep you up to date throughout the admissions process by publishing our current processing times and giving you access to the Graduate Application Tracker via LSE for You.

The information below gives a little more detail as to how your application will proceed.

Completing your application

Programme selectors will not consider incomplete applications, and you will not be able to finally submit your online application until you have nominated two referees and uploaded all of the required supporting documents. Your submitted application will not be considered ‘complete’ until we have received a reference from each of your nominated referees.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete (submitted with all required supporting documents and information, and both references received by Graduate Admissions).

All applicants are required to:

  • Complete and submit the online application form
  • Pay the application assessment fee
  • Nominate two academic referees

In order to submit the online application, all applicants must upload:

  • Transcript(s)
  • Statement(s) of academic purpose
  • CV

Some applicants may additionally be asked to provide:

  • GRE or GMAT test scores
  • Research proposal
  • Sample of written work

For details on which documents you will be required to submit, and all relevant rules and exceptions, please see our guide to supporting documents.

Submitting your application

You must submit your application, nominate your referees, and upload your supporting documents using the online application system. You may submit your application without waiting until we have received your references, however your submitted application will be processed and considered only once both of your nominated referees have submitted their references.

Please make sure that any scanned documents are legible and uploaded in a commonly used format such as .jpeg, .pdf or .doc (Word document). Each document must be no larger than 2MB in size.

If you require any assistance in completing and submitting your application via the online application system, please contact us via the technical support helpdesk form.

Before submitting your application, you should ensure that you have uploaded everything you would like the selectors to review when considering your application. We cannot guarantee that any updated/additional documents you send us after submitting your online application will be seen by the selectors before a decision is made, unless it is something that we have requested from you. Please do not send supporting documents directly to the academic department as this will delay your application.

If we request additional documents/information from you after you have submitted your online application, you can submit these using the ‘submit extra information’ form. Please note that we will acknowledge documents which are submitted via How do I…? form, email, or post when they are processed rather than when they are received. Please check the current processing times page before contacting us regarding your documents. 

Once you have submitted your application

Once you have completed and submitted your application, and once we have received a reference from each of your nominated referees, it will join a queue to be processed. You can check our current processing dates online.

Remember, your application will not be processed until your referees submit their references, so make sure they are prepared to do so as soon as possible once you have nominated them in your online application. You can log back into your online application after submission in order to send reminder emails to your referees and/or to make changes to your referee nominations if necessary – see here for further guidance.

NOTICE: Please be aware of an issue that has come to our attention regarding email junk/spam filters. Some email software is filtering LSE emails to the spam/junk or ‘Deleted Items/Bin’ folder so please make sure to check there for important information regarding your application. If you do find any of our emails in any of these folders, please make sure to add the domain @lse.ac.uk to your ‘Safe Senders’ or ‘Never Block’ list. Emails will be sent to you automatically from our database system once you have begun your online application and as your application progresses through each step in the process (application created; application submitted; application downloaded for processing). We will then send you a further email each time there is an update to the status of your application, including any requests for further information and the programme selectors’ decision on your application. It is essential that you ensure you can successfully receive our emails as soon as you begin your application.

Document check – application processed

As soon as your application is processed, we will send you an acknowledgement email containing your unique application ID number. This email will confirm whether your application is ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’. It will list which supporting documents we have received and which, if any, are still required – for example if these documents are missing from your application or if the copies you have provided are illegible or do not contain sufficient information.

If your application is deemed ‘incomplete’, meaning we require further documentation/information from you, you will need to submit this using the ‘submit extra information’ form before your application can proceed to the next stage. Your application will not be passed to the selectors for consideration until we have confirmed that your application is ‘complete’ with all of the required supporting documents.

Our acknowledgement email will also contain instructions about tracking the status of your application online using the Graduate Application Tracker via LSE for You, which will confirm any outstanding documentation requirements.

Passed to selectors – application under consideration

Once all required documents have been received and processed, your application is ‘complete’ and is passed to the selectors for your first-choice programme for consideration. We will send you an email when this happens.

Please note: Your application will be considered for your second-choice programme only if your application to your first-choice programme has already been considered and was unsuccessful.

Time-frame for decisions

Master's and diploma applications: We operate a rolling admissions process throughout the year. The first offers will be released from January onwards. We aim to release decisions within eight weeks of our acknowledgement email confirming that your applciation is complete and has been passed to the selectors for consideration, but at busy times the decision time may increase. Our busiest times are following the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the days/weeks following PhD funding deadlines. We publish our current processing times, and you should check these before contacting us.

Tip: Any decision will be visible in the Graduate Application Tracker as soon as it is made.

Research programmes: Panels of selectors make decisions at meetings throughout the year. You should apply at least six months before the start of the term in which you plan to commence your study and take note of funding deadlines. Plan ahead and get your application in as early as you can. It may take time to allocate a suitable supervisor. Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed by telephone or Skype. The department will contact you if an interview is necessary.

The decision

Decisions on admissions are made on the basis of academic merit and the availability of places on specific programmes. A decision is authoritative and official only if it has been sent in writing (this includes email) from the Graduate Admissions Office. If your academic department informs you that you have been 'recommended for an offer', this is not confirmed until it has been processed and issued officially by the Graduate Admissions Office.

The decision sent to you will be one of these:

  • An unconditional offer (successful application). You satisfy all of the academic conditions required before entry and we are offering you a place. You may still need to supply original or certified copies of some documents.
  • conditional offer (successful application). You do not yet satisfy the academic conditions required before entry but you plan to do so. The conditions are given in the offer letter and may include tests such as English language as well as degree results, and/or attendance at introductory or Summer School courses.
  • You are on a waiting list. In this case we need more time before making a full decision. We will make that decision by the end of April.  At that stage we may be able to offer you admission, a place on the reserve list, or, depending on the level of competition, we may be unable to offer you a place.  You do not need to provide further documentation or updated information while you are held on the waiting list.
  • We are unable to offer you a place (unsuccessful application). This decision is final and not open to appeal. It may be that the programme is already full. You may request that your application be considered for (an) alternative programme(s) or that your application be reinstated to the following year to be considered again in the next admissions cycle.
  • You are on a reserve list. Your application is considered to be of a high enough standard, but no places remain on your chosen programme. If a place becomes available, you may be sent an offer later in the year. Final offers to reserve-listed applicants will be sent out by the end of August.
  • If we are unable to make you an offer for your original programme choices, but the academic selector suggests that your application may be suitable for another programme, we will contact you to ask whether you would like to be considered for this alternative programme.

Next steps

We have a range of guidance for offer holders on our website; please feel free to browse this guidance while you await a decision on your application.

If we were unable to offer you a place, you may request to reinstate your application for the following academic year, or to be considered for alternative programme choices in the current academic year. Such requests can be made via our How do I...? forms.

If your initial application was unsuccessful, remember that you are not permitted to submit a second application using the online application system within the same admissions cycle – to apply to further programmes within the same admissions cycle, you must use the new choices form via our How do I…? page.