The Student Room Group

Do I choose UCL or LSE ? For Politics and Philosophy

UCL Pro's
-Seems to be a better work/life balance, will probably have more fun there
-Year Abroad, added fluency of a language + experience of another country
-more flexibility with modules, get a broad base in many social sciences in the first year (will then likely specialise in philosophy and political theory)
-Seems stronger for philosophy, especially political philosophy.
-BA
-I'm really interested in a lot of the modules
-The student body/university itself seems more tolerant
-Seems a bit more left wing? Probably not much in it between them however.
-It's in a small department so even if contact hours are a bit lower than LSE, it seems you get more attention within the course, with the advisers, and everyone does the same module first year. Compared to other UCL courses contact hours are higher, and you do get more attention with academic supervisors.
-accommodation is a bit more reasonable

Cons
-Higher Offer - A*AA (still likely achievable)
-Probably worse prospects post degree, not sure how well-reputed ESPS is anymore after the introduction of the dual degree and ISPS.
-4 year degree
-Likely won't be able to french or spanish - as I didn't do them A-Level, unless I take a gap year - which would mean 5 years total before I graduate. If I don't take a gap year I'd do italian (which is less useful to me and I've never studied it before, while on the other hand spanish is a high B1 and french probably A2/B1).
-If I do italian my year abroad would be in italy - and I'm not sure the italian, partner unis are very well reputed in philosophy (reputed for politics however).

LSE - Pros
- 3 year degree, (can take my language learning independent of uni at a language school in my gap year).
- Lower offer (AAA)
-Seem to be better career prospects (especially networking/connection wise) LSE is a much smaller uni and it seems like it would basically set me up for life to work there. Assuming better respected for postgrad as well?
-I'd probably get a bit more support/contact hours at LSE - there seem to be more and smaller classes. The individual course is also very small (not sure how much this translates to more support however, as it's within two larger departments)

LSE Cons
-BSC, it wouldn't be an issue as I do maths A-Level, yet a more quantitative analysis on politics interests me less so, It's a useful and necessary skill so I'd still probably do modules on it at UCL, but It seems a much larger component at LSE.
-There seems to be less of a work/life balance + students more intense and less outgoing. My impression is I'd probably be less happy there.
-Fewer and less flexible modules - generally 4 courses / year, with less choice even in the optional ones
-Seems less tolerant (under my current impression) -while the majority of students are international - the ratio is also very high at UCL, but my impression (could very well be wrong) is there are a lot more, very entitled rich 'snobs' at LSE. It also seems a bit more right wing.
-accommodation seems more pricey
One word: LSE!!! :wink:
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous
UCL Pro's
-Seems to be a better work/life balance, will probably have more fun there
-Year Abroad, added fluency of a language + experience of another country
-more flexibility with modules, get a broad base in many social sciences in the first year (will then likely specialise in philosophy and political theory)
-Seems stronger for philosophy, especially political philosophy.
-BA
-I'm really interested in a lot of the modules
-The student body/university itself seems more tolerant
-Seems a bit more left wing? Probably not much in it between them however.
-It's in a small department so even if contact hours are a bit lower than LSE, it seems you get more attention within the course, with the advisers, and everyone does the same module first year. Compared to other UCL courses contact hours are higher, and you do get more attention with academic supervisors.
-accommodation is a bit more reasonable

Cons
-Higher Offer - A*AA (still likely achievable)
-Probably worse prospects post degree, not sure how well-reputed ESPS is anymore after the introduction of the dual degree and ISPS.
-4 year degree
-Likely won't be able to french or spanish - as I didn't do them A-Level, unless I take a gap year - which would mean 5 years total before I graduate. If I don't take a gap year I'd do italian (which is less useful to me and I've never studied it before, while on the other hand spanish is a high B1 and french probably A2/B1).
-If I do italian my year abroad would be in italy - and I'm not sure the italian, partner unis are very well reputed in philosophy (reputed for politics however).

LSE - Pros
- 3 year degree, (can take my language learning independent of uni at a language school in my gap year).
- Lower offer (AAA)
-Seem to be better career prospects (especially networking/connection wise) LSE is a much smaller uni and it seems like it would basically set me up for life to work there. Assuming better respected for postgrad as well?
-I'd probably get a bit more support/contact hours at LSE - there seem to be more and smaller classes. The individual course is also very small (not sure how much this translates to more support however, as it's within two larger departments)

LSE Cons
-BSC, it wouldn't be an issue as I do maths A-Level, yet a more quantitative analysis on politics interests me less so, It's a useful and necessary skill so I'd still probably do modules on it at UCL, but It seems a much larger component at LSE.
-There seems to be less of a work/life balance + students more intense and less outgoing. My impression is I'd probably be less happy there.
-Fewer and less flexible modules - generally 4 courses / year, with less choice even in the optional ones
-Seems less tolerant (under my current impression) -while the majority of students are international - the ratio is also very high at UCL, but my impression (could very well be wrong) is there are a lot more, very entitled rich 'snobs' at LSE. It also seems a bit more right wing.
-accommodation seems more pricey

ESPS is still really well regarded, ISPS hasn’t changed that. It’s all just a matter of language. ESPS came first after all, I’m pretty sure they just launched ISPS because of the success of ESPS programme and due to doubts about a possible exit from the EU in the future impacting the ESPS intake (which hasn’t really happened anyway). It has A*AA requirement plus an admissions test for a reason - it’s a very competitive and niche course! And there’s not many similar to it in the UK, PPE without the E & history/law instead or HSPS at Cambridge are the most similar but none offer the language aspect.

If you don’t find Italian particularly useful perhaps you could study Russian? Regardless, UCL’s course is still a great course and in fact two of the IR/politics lecturers at LSE studied ESPS at UCL. You mustn’t worry about its “prestige” factor. You can make clear what you specialised in on your CV and you can take modules outside of Europe. The prestige of your uni on your year abroad won’t matter too much either.

To me, it sounds like you are more interested in the UCL course and more excited about the prospect of UCL in general. I must disagree with the perception that LSE would offer you better contact hours and support due to it being small - there’s a reason they have more masters students and a lot of undergrads are unhappy. However it depends on the person and on your tutors. It is true LSE’s approach to politics is more focused on quantitative analysis and theoretical approaches.

Going to LSE will not set you up for life. You would still have to go there and work extremely hard and a certain percentage will not make it. Just how going to Oxbridge doesn’t set you up for life, it helps you get one foot in the door but the rest is up to yourself. Choose the course and the uni you actually want to study at as that will increase your likelihood of a first. Anyway, UCL is almost as prestigious as LSE and there really isn’t much of a difference between the two nationally at all (LSE is definitely a bigger global brand tho). LSE is specialised in social sciences so naturally there is the perception that it is stronger than UCL in politics but I’m not sure how much that is the case. Brian Klass leads the ESPS programme to my knowledge and actually taught at LSE for many years before taking up the job at UCL.

I have also heard the ESPS programme at UCL is great and one of the best departments wise at the uni. I’m not sure about the full details but if you wanted to specialise in both politics and philosophy with ESPS that might pose some issues as they prefer you to specialise in a single area rather than two but it’s still possible although studying both might pose some issues for graduate study as you are having to divide your time between the both of them + a language so how specialised are you really? Maybe double check that. Italian is useful anyway, all languages are. If you can’t study French or Spanish, what other choices are there? Maybe some Slavic choices, maybe Russian that’s very important, Dutch perhaps (Belgium, Netherlands and some European organisations) maybe German? But Italian is useful. Studying one of these more niche languages can actually be much more useful than French or Spanish. Lots of British students can speak one or both of those but how many know Czech? Or Polish? Or Icelandic? Etc etc

The decision really comes down to which course you prefer and where you want to study. Prestige doesn’t really matter in this case as it’s like choosing between the 3rd best uni in the country compared to the 5th or along those lines.UCL is still ranked 8th in the world!

If you do want to choose UCL but feel bad about turning down LSE - there’s always a chance of a masters at LSE. Lots of ESPS graduates have gone on to study at LSE at masters level.

Good luck and well done!

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending