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UCL History Politics and Economics vs LSE International History

Hello all,

I currently hold an unconditional offer from UCL for History Politics and Economics and also a conditional offer from LSE for History (subject to attaining an A in my Politics A Level re-sit).

Last year my first choice was LSE history and I was given a rolling offer of sorts after complications with my A-Level results being under-marked (I went from ABC on results day to AAB).

I have now re-applied on UCAS to KCL LSE and UCL for a few courses and have already firmed LSE History and insured UCL HPE.

However, I recently went to an open day at UCL so that I ‘wouldn’t feel so bad’ if I missed my offer again this year.

I found however that I actually really liked the UCL course and am considering contacting LSE and UCL to ask them if I can reject LSE and firm UCL instead (which I have seen online is certainly very possible and usually not a problem).

Last year my motivation for applying to LSE for History was that I desired to study Economics however lacked the A-Level maths qualification required for most Russel group universities. As a result I settled for History which is a subject I also enjoy studying. After finding LSE’s History course (which is largely economic history modules as well an optional Economics modules) I decided to apply.

During this years application process however I developed a particular interest in Russian and Eastern European Studies, particularly the economics of this region and as a result the UCL course looks enticing as it would allow me to study both Eastern European languages and economics with the course narrowing down to 2 of the 3 subjects (I would likely pick Economics and History).

The pros and cons of each course goes as follows as far as I’m aware:

UCL pros:
Opportunity to study Languages

Opportunity to study Economics as a degree

I have heard that UCL is far more social/more societies/more events etc.

UCL cons:
Not as specialist a university for the study of Social Sciences and arguably not as prestigious (I simply like the LSE motto of finding the causes of things and this is certainly the reason I enjoy studying)

Potentially I may have trouble going down the economics pathway as I lack the maths qualification (they have optional 0 credit ‘refresher’ courses in first year although I am unsure if these are targeted for students with an A-Level already or what). I am sure that I would not want to be forced down a History & Politics pathway and would rather study straight History.

LSE Pros:

History modules all very economic history based (and may have the opportunity to just change my course to Economic History if anyone has any advice on this)

Opportunity to study some economics modules

Opportunity to study Russian Language and society as an optional module

LSE Cons:

Will have to choose between studying Russian and studying economics (again unless anyone has any further wisdom about this)

Worse social life potentially

History degree not an economics degree even if I study a lot of Economic History (again subject to not being able to change course)

Thanks for any help/advice, I had to take a gap year this year and now work at a very boring office job so I’m probably over thinking this as I have little better to do!
(edited 1 month ago)
very different situation to me in terms of motives but also similar, I had an offer between HPE at UCL and politics at LSE but chose UCL, I'm also on a gap year and I didn't take maths but I think doing something economics based is just too useful so I couldn't reject it. I also don't think you'll struggle with the maths in the economics part of the course, I did econ a level and I looked at the course content for HPE and it seems fairly straightforward from a maths pov. Also I know for a fact that while UCL social life isn't amazing (like unis such as KCL), its much better than LSE, LSE social life is just non-existent
LSE history is not "largely economic history" (that's a separate course and department) and the economics optional modules still expect you to have the same background as the economics students (because they're the same modules...). Just pointing out for posterity.

If you're keen on studying Russian (or any East European language) then it probably really is worth strongly considering SSEES. They are specialists in the region and the languages after all. While LSE does teach Russian they aren't specialists in that (they don't have a specific department for it and likely don't have the same depth of pedagogical experience in delivering it), so you may find that you aren't going to attain as high levels of proficiency in the language and/or it may be taught worse.

That said, bear in mind that the economics modules are taught by SSEES, not UCL Economics. Their modules are somewhat less mathematical (it does not appear the first year modules require A-level Maths, and there is a module which is compulsory for first year students in HPE without maths in mathematical methods to give you a similar background). While this is neither here nor there for your purposes for an undergraduate degree, it's probably worth bearing in mind this is unlikely to be something that will set you up to e.g. pursue a PhD in economics or similar.

Your primary interest seems to actually be economics, in which case I'd have suggested just taking a gap year and doing A-level Maths and ideally Further Maths (at least to AS level). Ultimately economics is a necessarily mathematical subject outside of the artificial limitations of the A-level syllabus, and if you aren't mathematical capable and willing to do maths extensively in a degree, economics is simply not a good choice.

You might want to spend some time reflecting on why you seem so fixated with economics, in spite of not apparently wanting to do and not having done the kind of things economics students do (i.e. maths).

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