The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a college of the University of London. It's located on Houghton Street in Westminster and its courses focus solely on social sciences. It was founded in 1895 and currently has just under 9,000 students.
There's one library on campus "The Library". Claim to fame being the largest social sciences library in the world or something. Apparently LSE students take out 5 times as many books as the average student... I'm not sure about this as all people ever seem to go to the library for is to use the computers primarily to use Facebook which can be very frustrating when you want to do some actual work.
Facilities include computers (not enough, you can spend 20 mins fighting people off/waiting for one) and printers (4p a page to print but I swear it overcharges me...), photocopiers, lots of books, study areas.
For studying the rule seems to be the higher up the floors you go the more pissed off people get if you make noise. You can sit and chat while working on the lower ground floor, but if you try this on the third floor people bitch at you. It is also possible to book group study rooms for free.
The library has pretty much the stupidest design ever, the staircase looks really cool but is a nightmare to actually climb/descend, the other option is taking the lift which really is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Glass Elevator experience! Makes my stomach churn every time, if you like rollercoasters then I'm sure you'll love the library lift.
All the course texts are conveniently located in one room, so you shouldn't have to look all over the library for your course texts. be careful about getting out books, they're all colour coded to let you know how many days you're allowed to borrow them for and if they're overdue you get hefty fines especially if they are 24 hour texts as you'll be fined per hour.
Wright's Bar, a renowned Michelin starred restaurant, provides LSE students with only the highest quality 'one portion chips' and 'bap for burger'.
Closest tube stations are Holborn and Temple. For other travel information you can use the Transport for London site.
I would advise anyone who is at a London university to get an Oyster Card if they haven't already done so. It's free, less hassle and it saves you quite a bit of money. For example, typically a £2 bus journey costs just £1.20.
Booking an appointment to see an CV advisor is nearly impossible, mainly due to the fact that the system in which you book to see them is not functional and you can not book directly i.e. call them. Very unhelpful in that they wont actually do anything. I find that the best resource is to actually ask seniors for advice on careers etc.
Part-time jobs usually pay very well. Since you're in London, the average pay would be alot higher than other regional areas. However juggling a job and work at LSE can be very difficult and it is advised that you work no more than 15 hours a week if possible.
Now, you may have heard a lot about LSE being quite unsociable, a lot of people complain about it here but it's what you make of it. You are likely to meet other people who want to go out and party, and the university will put on events.
Although, you do sometimes have to go out your way to find like-minded people, to find the events which suit you, it's not going to be handed to you on a plate. Obviously there are a lot of societies, although a lot of them take themselves very seriously. There is however, a food society and a cocktail society. It also is very much dependent on the halls that you get put in, some are a lot more antisocial than others.
Bars, Pubs and clubs
On campus, the main pub is the Three Tun, or just 'the tuns'. It has a pool table, a few sofas, and a bar. Not much more to say on that matter.
'The Quad' is a downstairs canteen. It's dingy, it's ugly, the tables and chairs are shoddy, but it serves its purpose and the food is very reasonably priced.
LSE has little to offer in terms of nights out. The main one is CRUSH on a Friday night, which consists of clearing away the Quad for a dancefloor, joining it on to the Tuns, putting on some music, and everyone getting very drunk. It is as basic as it sounds, but potentially is quite fun, especially if you go with a large group of people. It doesn't pretend to compare to a proper club, and it has quite a homely atmosphere.
For the rest of the week there are Rough Hill events. What is Rough Hill??? They are a company who organise student club nights across the country. Since London is so expensive on regular nights out, and a lot of places are 21+ you're going to have to follow where these guys go. They tend to be quite tacky, but it's where the heart of student life in London is.
Monday - Tiger Tiger Tuesday - Pacha Wednesday - Zoo bar Thursday - On Anon Saturday - Sports Cafe
So if you want a night out, it's pretty much already decided for you.
Most LSE accommodations offer full academic year (40 - 50 weeks) contracts, with the exception of Passfield Hall, Carr Saunders and Rosebery Hall who offer 31-week contracts. What this means is that in other halls besides the mentioned 3, you're expected to pay for rent covering the academic terms (Michaelmas, Lent and Summer terms) and the holidays (Christmas and Easter) while for Passfield, Carr-Saunders and Rosebery you're only allocated a room for the academic terms. You're allowed to stay on during the holidays, but you'd have to book in advance and will be allocated a room based on availability. This is because LSE opens up these accomodation to outsiders and tourists during the holidays to subsidise students' rent in these halls. Most students usually get to stay on during the holidays, although it may get a little uncomfortable sharing with strangers in the communal showers and toilets.
Some LSE students also opt to stay in Intercollegiate Halls, which usually provide 40-week contracts to student. More information can be found here.
Rosebery is relatively small in comparison to somewhere like Bankside or High Holborn, however this makes it a much more friendly atmosphere with everyone (or at least everyone who is sociable) generally getting to know everyone else. There is an undergrad and a postgrad wing however these generally stay separate with neither particularly bothering the other. Whilst LSE does have a reputation, which in my opinion is not completely deserved, of being slightly anti-social, Rosebery (as well as Passfield and Carr-Saunder's) are, in reality, the only few halls that offer a social experience which could compete with other universities. At Rosebery there is a fantastic community feeling; when we all go out together we sing Rosebery songs and generally show how 'social' we are. There is also the option to be anti-social if that is what you want without others judging.
Islington is a relatively quiet and certainly in comparison to other places very pretty part of central London. The view from the front side of Rosebery is very pleasant, especially in summer. If you want hustle and bustle and some good nightlife, upper street is about a 10 minute walk from halls and very easy to find. On Upper Street there are lots of cocktail bars, restaurants and chains such as the Slug and Lettuce, O'Neills, Pitcher and Piano and many more. There is a Wetherspoons right near Angel station and another nicer but more boring spoons in the N1 center. The N1 also houses many excellent food chains such as Wagamamas and Yo! Sushi. I would also recommend a very nice cocktail bar which is down Chapel Market road (near sainsburys) called Anam, where on Thursdays every cocktail is £3 which is a real bargain. For the best nights out, Leicester square is a 15 minute bus journey on the 38 (which stops right outside Rosebery) where clubs like Tiger Tiger, Zoo Bar and On Anon can be found. Also one of the best clubs in the world, Fabric, is a few minute walk away, where you can find the best of drum and bass, dubstep, house and commercial music, depending on the night. Rosebery is just a 20 minute walk from the LSE (15 if you walk fast) and the journey itself is actually quite pleasant as you go through Grey's Inn and Lincoln's Inn (the legal inns of court), both of which have very pretty old buildings in. Right near Rosebery there is a Budgens where you can buy all the essentials (very much like a Co-op), however for a big food shop Sainsbury's is less than a 10 minute walk away and is fairly easy to navigate.
I am unsure of what the postgrad wing is like although I expect it is fairly similar to the undergrad wing (however I do think it has some ensuite rooms). In The undergrad (Rosebery) wing there are no en-suite rooms. There majority of rooms are single although on each floor there are 2 twin rooms which are quite roomy. The single rooms are surprisingly nice, each having a bed (obv), a bedside table and lamp, a desk and drawers and a wardrobe.
Each floor has two bathrooms - one for girls and one for boys. The bathrooms have been recently refurbished (2012) and are more than adequate now, we even have those Dyson hand dryers! The kitchens are very small and basic but they are serviceable and you soon get used to them, with each having a fridge, a freezer, a microwave, a kettle, and a toaster. The kitchens have recently been renovated with new appliances and granite work tops, however the ovens have been removed as they were supposedly disgusting last year. As it is catered, there is a dining area although most people only use it occasionally. The food is nice and pretty cheap and the kitchen staff are very friendly and always open to new meal suggestions. There is a laundry room in the basement and a TV room, which is useful if you have the urge to watch Scrubs at 1am. The bar has been closed this year as it was unsustainable and was not making any money. People tend to get booze from budgens and drink together in the canteen.The bar area is nice however and does have a very large TV in it, a pool table and a table football table.
The garden outside the bar is very pretty and although hasn't been used too much yet I expect when the weather gets better it will be. It is nice to have a little bit of greenery is central London and I don't know of any other hall that has a courtyard garden!
Bankside is the biggest hall of residence at LSE, with around 600 students in mainly single rooms. There's a good mix of undergrads, postgrads and General Course students. Usually, undergrads are put on the lower floors and postgrads on the higher floors, although there is a mix (the two groups are not completely segregated!).
Bankside is situated in Southwark, just south of the River Thames. It's a 20 minute walk from LSE, though this can vary - if you're late for a lecture you can end up powerwalking there in 15 minutes, or if you're quite slow it can take around 25 minutes. Taking the tube is pointless as you would need to walk to the station, then take the Jubilee line and then switch - it would take longer than walking, especially in rush hour. There's a bus (RV1) which I haven't taken yet but I am told that it takes a bit of a weird loopy route which means, again, that walking is faster. Still, it's a nice walk across Blackfriars bridge then along Victoria Embankment, so it's not that bad.
Bankside House is literally just behind the Tate Modern, and is surrounded by a large number of office blocks. There are quite a few little cafes and lunch places such as Pret, Crussh and Starbucks right outside which is pretty convenient. There's a private gym which offers decent off-peak student deals, which many Banksiders use. Less than a minute away is a big M&S supermarket, and apparently there's a Sainsbury's Local not far but I've never been to it. The closest tube station is Southwark, which is less than 10 minutes away, and is on the Jubilee line. Waterloo station is a 15 minute walk away, although it can take up to 25 minutes if you're a slow walker. In general the area is very busy, but it's much quieter on the weekends.
A few minutes walk away, towards London Bridge, are more pubs and restaurants - such as a big Pizza Express, Nandos, Wagamamma and EAT. The pubs are generally fairly expensive as far as pubs go, but the views over the river are quite pretty.
The majority of rooms are singles. Around half (or just less than half) of these are ensuite, and the ones which aren't have one bathroom shared between two people. The size of the rooms vary - some are really big, and some are tiny! Each room comes with a bed (obviously), bedside table, bedside lamp, desk, desk lamp, wardrobe, chest of drawers, desk chair, "comfy" chair, bin and a noticeboard. They also provide a pillow and duvet, but these are quite rubbish so I suggest you bring your own.
The hall allows you to bring a mini fridge but you need to pay an extra £10 per term to cover the electricity costs. Personally, I really suggest everyone has a mini fridge, as it gives you the freedom to have food whenever you want, outside of the canteen opening hours.
Each room has an internet port in the wall and the hall provided a cool red ethernet cable. The internet seems pretty fast, although some sites such as YouTube take a suspiciously long time to load.
Only a lucky few are granted kitchen access, and a really high number of these are postgrads. The kitchens seem pretty small, and cost an extra £280 per year for access. The rest of the residents are condemned to eating canteen food, going out for dinner or microwaving ready meals in the lounges!
Each floor has a small lounge with a couple of sofas, a table, a kettle, sink and microwave. A lot of students use the microwaves in the lounges to heat dinners if they don't fancy eating in the canteen. However the lounges are generally locked at 11pm or midnight, although sometimes they forget. Advance warning: most lounges smell really bad because people heat their ready meals in the microwaves, and the lounges have no windows, and they close the doors... you get my point.
There's a pretty big bar in the basement, which is a decent place to hang out in. There are a couple of pool tables and a foosball table, as well as many comfy sofas to relax on. There's also a big TV room.
There's also a computer room in the basement. I can't say much about it because I've only been there once. There are several computers and table space, as well as a printer (apparently).
The canteen is open for breakfast and dinner, and obviously you have to pay. Breakfast is decent, with cereals/fruit/cooked breakfast, as well as tea/coffee etc. I've never had dinner in the canteen, but I hear it's OK.
While Bankside's location may seem relatively far out (especially compared to the likes of High Holborn!) it's not that bad. It's pretty near some clubs such as SEone and Ministry of Sound, where a number of big events are held on a weekly basis. A taxi to central London costs no more than £10, which split between 5 people works out to £2 each, which is quite reasonable. Bankside is also well connected in terms of taking the tube - getting to Bond Street or Green Park from Southwark station takes no more than 10 minutes.
There's roughly 200 - 250 people staying in Passfield Hall and it is almost entirely composed of undergrads. It's located so near to UCL that it's probably a lot more convenient for people staying in Passfield to be UCL students. Alas it's not the case, and thus you'd be forced to make a 15 minute walk down Southampton Row and Kingsway. Or if you're particularly lazy (or hungover) there's a straight bus from Tavistock Square to Aldwych, which takes about 5 minutes before 9am and after 11am and off peak times (besides lunch and the evening rush hour), but takes longer otherwise and it's usually quicker to walk.
Brunswick, a cheery little shopping and cafe square, is about 10 minutes walk away from Passfield, which has Waitrose, Boots, Superdrug, Starbucks, some clothing shops and other food places. The closest tubes to the Hall are Euston and Russel Square, though Warren Street, Goodge Street and Euston Square tubes are also within walking distance. Tesco and Sainsbury's about 10 minutes away, and the University of London Union (ULU) building's about 5 minutes away. The ULU building houses a gym and swimming pool among others, which is handy for you muscle-type lots. ULU also has some dance and aerobic type classes. There's also plenty of little shops and cafes to go to around the area, about 10-15 minute proximity from the Hall. For Muslim students, the Tesco Express near Goodge Street sells raw halal chicken, which makes it easy for those wanting to cook.
The best part about Passfield is that it's surrounded by little green parks; during winter it may seem incredibly gray and depressing but once Easter rolls around everything is green and fluffy and wonderful. Makes for some good picnics and book reading for those into the nature thing, and for those who want the real experience Regent's Park is about 15-20 minutes walk away. Great for jogging, football and random ball tossing.
There's 3 buildings in Passfield: the main building, Endsleigh and Taviton. The main building has the dining hall, common room, computer room and the bar on the lower ground floor, ground floor has the reception and mostly single rooms while the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors have a mix of single and shared rooms. Taviton has 2 separate but adjoining buildings with 4 floors, and this is where the laundry room is. Endsleigh is the same (sans laundry). The only difference between the 3 blocks is the elevator: the main building has one, the other 2 does not. While it doesn't seem significant now, wait till you get drunk and terribly confused and completely knocked off you feet at 4am and have to climb 4 floors of narrow stairs.
In the middle of the 3 buildings sits a beautiful little garden/patio. During warmer weather it becomes possible to study and eat there, and if you're lucky several beautiful girls/guys would sunbathe there during the summer.
There are 100 single, 42 twin and 14 treble rooms at Passfield Hall. All rooms come equipped with a desk, bed, wardrobe, shelf, sink, mirror, lamp, and a study chair. Luggage space is found under the mattress, a discovery made by most 1st years in the Lent term.
Twins are much like singles, but it has much more space than 2 single rooms put together. Triple rooms are the same. The nicer shared rooms are, however, mostly in the E and T building, because they're bigger and have higher ceilings.
All rooms are allocated randomly (or so they say, but a suspicious amount of Europeans end up with Europeans and the British... you get my point) so students have no say in picking rooms and/or buildings. You can however choose to swap with other students.
In the rooms internet access is fast and reliable. You'll have to authenticate your internet access, but you'd learn more about it from reception at arrival. Bedding and linens aren't provided for, so you must bring your own.
Passfield has communal showers and toilets which are placed in one big room, and these showers and toilets are separated into their own respective closed cubicle (imagine an even smaller room with a shower or a toilet in it, and multiple little rooms in each big room). There're about two or 3 communal areas on each end of each floor in the main building, and generally one big shower/toilet room per each floor in the E and T building. It's not at all the American-esque showers you'd imagine in a communal shower, it's actually very private and it's possible to get dressed in the small room itself. Hot water's a bit hit and miss, while it is mostly reliable there'd be some days where it's very very hot or extremely cold.
For the main building, because there's about 28 rooms to 4 showers, it may be possible that it gets a little crowded. So if you find the shower rooms full on one end of the floor, try the other end. Bizarrely, one side is usually cleaner than the other which may be due to the fact that there are usually more girls living on one side of the floor. This is just a (semi-sexist) inference though.
While it is generally clean (cleaners come almost every day), it's pretty advisable to use flip flops when in or around the showers/toilets.
Kitchens are, in a word, tiny - which can mainly be attributed to there being one meal every day that is served in the communal dining area.
There's 4 hobs, a microwave, a toaster and a kettle. As well as fridges and cupboards.
There's a big, spacious dining hall that's open from 6.30 to 8pm from Sunday to Friday for dinner, and brunch from 11am to 1pm. You can use the area to study at night, but be warned: some students use it for parties and games, so it might get a little noisy.
There's approximately ten computers. There's a printer you can use if you have printing credit (which you purchase from campus using your LSE ID in the library or in campus computer rooms, but not from halls of residences). Computers are usually reliable, and there is an on-site computer officer.
Common Room and Bar
Huge screen TV, a foosball table, cable TV - what's not to love? Loads of people come after dinner to mingle and watch the Simpsons, occasionally grabbing a beer and other alcoholic drinks from the bar. Chairs are weirdly uncomfortable, but there's a nice leather sofa in the bar where the committee have their meetings.
There are around 150 people in Carr Saunders Hall, although you may never see more than 70 what with the postgrads who keep themselves to themselves and the odd antisocial fresher.
We are opposite a UCL Hall (Ramsay) with whom we have a friendly rivalry.
At the time of writing (22/10/07) Carr Saunders has a problem with cockroaches (although I have lived here 3 weeks and not yet seen one... make of that what you like).
All rooms in Carr Saunders are identical except for the fact that some have nicer curtains than others. Moderate sized room, bed, desk with lamp, wardrobe with limited hanging space and shelves, sink and mirror.
Bring stuff to personalise your room! It feels so generic otherwise, blu tack stuff up (no one cares, just put "blu tack marks" on your room itinerary just incase). We have a pinboard but most people were here two weeks before we realised it wasn't just another bit of wall.
All rooms have a telephone so people can ring you direct to your room, you can also buy calling cards from reception that allow you to make external calls from your room.
It is free to connect to the internet from your room but you need to bring (or buy cheap from reception) and ethernet cable in order to plug it in.
Towels and bed linen are not provided so you will have to bring your own.
Rooms are not cleaned by cleaners you have to clean your own room and sink and move your rubbish out into the kitchen bin to be collected.
There is one kitchen on each floor. In each kitchen there are two fridges and two freezers, two microwaves, a hob with four rings, a toaster, a kettle and a sink.
THERE ARE NO OVENS IN CARR SAUNDERS! Crazy I know...
So far the kitchens seem to be working well, they don't get too busy and they are pretty clean/tidy because at the time of writing (22/10/07) we have a cockroach problem and everyone has to keep everything clean and in sealed plastic boxes, also the kitchens are cleaned every day by cleaners.
If you can't be bothered cooking there is a canteen upstairs on the 6th floor, this is pretty cheap and edible but not great.
Also NB don't buy fruit as you can get it free from the canteen.
Showers I am impressed with. On our bit of the floor we have two between about 15 of us, I have never had to bother to walk to the other end of the floor (where there are a good five or so) because there is never a queue.
We do tend to wear flipflops in the showers, but they're always pretty clean and get cleaned every day by cleaners.
There is a cubicle with pegs and then a shower curtain and then the actual shower, don't put anything on the floor in the cubicle - it will get wet so make sure everything can be hung up or take a plastic bag with you that you can put stuff in and then hang that up.
There's also a bath... if that's your thing.
We have awesome common areas. The common room has two huge TVs - one with a games console and one with freeview or something, a pool table, a table tennis table and various vending machines, chairs etc.
There is also a bar in our basement which is open three nights a week with cheap drinks, also if they don't sell what you like they will buy it in. There is another TV in the bar and there's also a Wii!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only problem with living privately in central London is that eventually you will run out of organs to sell for rent money. Your choice then becomes either to have a father who is in the Russian mafia (a surprisingly widespread condition among LSE students) or to get ready to commute. That housing and transport are expensive in London has been known since pre-Socratic times, and it is simply a fact of life for anyone studying at LSE. Expect central London rents for a shared flat close to the university to start about £150/week, gradually declining to about £100/week as you venture further into zones 2 and 3.
Student politics is very much alive at LSE with the Union retaining the only weekly Union General Meeting (UGM) in the country. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions of how to get more involved!
Not an awful lot to brag about here unfortunately. The university is essentially a side-street in Central London and consists of buildings that are about as attractive as one would expect for a side-street in Central London. The library is the only building of any architectural significance, but, as mentioned above, is so poorly designed that you will most likely require multiple knee surgery to undo the damage inflicted by walking up and down the central staircase for three years. The university has recently acquired some rather more grand buildings on nearby Kingsway and Lincoln's Inn Fields so it appears that there is somewhat of a makeover in progress.
The immediate surroundings are dominated mainly by lawyers and professional types being fleeced out of their hard earned millions at over-priced luxury sandwich shops. The university is very conveniently located for access to some of the more attractive (read touristy) parts of central London such as Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and the northern bank of the Thames (southern bank too!). There is a small park nearby (Lincoln's Inn Fields) that provides a few patches of grass to enjoy one's lunch on and some (expensive) tennis courts. The park aside, the area does get extremely busy, both on campus and off, so be prepared to allow for a lot of people-dodging as you weave your way from one class to the next.
==Teaching quality== Excellent
LSE in Political Drama
Certain fictional characters in popular political dramas and comedies have been depicted as LSE graduates. These include President Josiah Bartlet of The West Wing TV series, and Prime Minister Jim Hacker of the Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister BBC TV series.
Monica Lewinsky received a MSc in Social Psychology at LSE in 2006.
LSE completely trashed King's College London on a drunken rampage connected to the 2005 Athletic Union's annual barrel (party). Exact figures escape me, but the overall damage was in the tens of thousands of pounds. Since the damage was concentrated around the English department it's quite possible that no-one at King's has actually noticed yet.
Applying to LSE
Thinking of applying to LSE? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?
Plus there is a useful Personal Statement guide which is published on the LSE website
Other LSE Articles
Why not read these other LSE Articles?