The Student Room Group
Carr Saunders Halls, LSE
London School of Economics
London

Anthropology: LSE or Durham

So excited to get offers for both. Both are so different and have their own pro's. Any advice from those who have had to make this decision, or know of anyone who decided one way or the other? Any regrets either way?
Well Lse is pretty much the top of rankings for anthropology and arguably a better course. Big difference being in London v Durham as a city of course so depends what you like.
Carr Saunders Halls, LSE
London School of Economics
London
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous
Well Lse is pretty much the top of rankings for anthropology and arguably a better course. Big difference being in London v Durham as a city of course so depends what you like.

That's what makes it so difficult. I think the Durham's uni experience with collegiate system is really appealing and would make for a better student experience. LSE sounds more serious and cliquey. I know this is a steretype and may not be true. Also live in South and London would not be much of a different experience whereas being in Durham would be something different. Having said that, LSE has such a strong department and social anthropology course is great! You see? I'm going round and round in circles.
Original post by Teyat
That's what makes it so difficult. I think the Durham's uni experience with collegiate system is really appealing and would make for a better student experience. LSE sounds more serious and cliquey. I know this is a steretype and may not be true. Also live in South and London would not be much of a different experience whereas being in Durham would be something different. Having said that, LSE has such a strong department and social anthropology course is great! You see? I'm going round and round in circles.

Hey, I do the anthropology & law course at lse and also happen to have a few friends at Durham (doing other courses) so am clued up on the differences!

firstly, the LSE anthropology department is great. while the teaching style of each lecturer/class teacher varies and some are better than others, I've never heard of a member of staff being 'bad'. I imagine the teaching at Durham is also generally of good quality too though considering it's also a great university.

ultimately, your decision should come down to which you'd be happiest at as the biggest difference between the two is the culture as opposed to the standard of education/career prospects. lse feels a little more like school because its harder to see your friends unless youre on campus. being in London is cool but it also means that everyone is spread out across the city as some people commute while others live in lse accom/private accom. this means that it can be hard to maintain super close friendships as you may only be able to hang out with them on a regular basis in classes/lectures/on campus.

similarly, the wider student body does tend to be pretty divided and cliquey and people definitely do take things way to seriously at times. because it's 70% international (as in students who grew up abroad, not multicultural British students), intl students tend to stick with each other in cliques based on their country of origin which can make it particularly difficult in accommodation, unless you choose Passfield which is mainly UK-based students as you have to move your stuff out between terms.

The anthro department is definitely much less cliquey/overly serious and i find the people are really interesting and definitely typical anthro students if you know what i mean. there also tends to be more students who grew up in the UK in anthro, which also makes it easier in terms of culture/people's willingness to make friends with you and talk to you.

the friends i have at Durham really like it there. i often wish i went to a collegiate university as there definitely seems to be way more of a sense of community/the friendships they build seem to be way closer. if what you want out of university is the typical university experience of always being in a university town and walking distance (or even a few doors away) from you friends, going to the pub, doing silly things, having flatmates etc then I'd definitely lean towards Durham. Ofc, Durham is not very diverse so you also have to think about how much that matters to you if it applies to you at all. Durham also has a reputation for being very typically middle class/private school but LSE is actually like this to an even greater extent, so yet again another thing to consider if this concern applies to you at all.

LSE is more diverse even amongst home students and it has a slightly better reputation (although the reputational difference is marginal so I doubt it would have a massive difference on your career prospects). However, as someone who is at LSE and has found that it unfortunately does live up to lots of its stereotypes, I'd suggest picking Durham IF you're looking for the typical university experience. You're also going to get a lot more work at LSE and it's harder to get a first even for anthro, yet again another reason why people here have less fun. Essentially, as someone who had an offer at Durham for Law but rejected it because I was more concerned about silly things like rankings / the LSE name, I cannot stress how important it is that you choose the university that fits with your expectations, including any social considerations.
Reply 4
Original post by poppy2022
Hey, I do the anthropology & law course at lse and also happen to have a few friends at Durham (doing other courses) so am clued up on the differences!
firstly, the LSE anthropology department is great. while the teaching style of each lecturer/class teacher varies and some are better than others, I've never heard of a member of staff being 'bad'. I imagine the teaching at Durham is also generally of good quality too though considering it's also a great university.
ultimately, your decision should come down to which you'd be happiest at as the biggest difference between the two is the culture as opposed to the standard of education/career prospects. lse feels a little more like school because its harder to see your friends unless youre on campus. being in London is cool but it also means that everyone is spread out across the city as some people commute while others live in lse accom/private accom. this means that it can be hard to maintain super close friendships as you may only be able to hang out with them on a regular basis in classes/lectures/on campus.
similarly, the wider student body does tend to be pretty divided and cliquey and people definitely do take things way to seriously at times. because it's 70% international (as in students who grew up abroad, not multicultural British students), intl students tend to stick with each other in cliques based on their country of origin which can make it particularly difficult in accommodation, unless you choose Passfield which is mainly UK-based students as you have to move your stuff out between terms.
The anthro department is definitely much less cliquey/overly serious and i find the people are really interesting and definitely typical anthro students if you know what i mean. there also tends to be more students who grew up in the UK in anthro, which also makes it easier in terms of culture/people's willingness to make friends with you and talk to you.
the friends i have at Durham really like it there. i often wish i went to a collegiate university as there definitely seems to be way more of a sense of community/the friendships they build seem to be way closer. if what you want out of university is the typical university experience of always being in a university town and walking distance (or even a few doors away) from you friends, going to the pub, doing silly things, having flatmates etc then I'd definitely lean towards Durham. Ofc, Durham is not very diverse so you also have to think about how much that matters to you if it applies to you at all. Durham also has a reputation for being very typically middle class/private school but LSE is actually like this to an even greater extent, so yet again another thing to consider if this concern applies to you at all.
LSE is more diverse even amongst home students and it has a slightly better reputation (although the reputational difference is marginal so I doubt it would have a massive difference on your career prospects). However, as someone who is at LSE and has found that it unfortunately does live up to lots of its stereotypes, I'd suggest picking Durham IF you're looking for the typical university experience. You're also going to get a lot more work at LSE and it's harder to get a first even for anthro, yet again another reason why people here have less fun. Essentially, as someone who had an offer at Durham for Law but rejected it because I was more concerned about silly things like rankings / the LSE name, I cannot stress how important it is that you choose the university that fits with your expectations, including any social considerations.

OMG thank you for taking the time to share your experience and thoughts.

It has really given me food for thought. The course at LSE is much more appealing to me but having a university experience is also important to me and I am not sure I like it that much more to outweigh the whole experience of university... thank you so much for your sharing your experience.
Original post by Teyat
OMG thank you for taking the time to share your experience and thoughts.
It has really given me food for thought. The course at LSE is much more appealing to me but having a university experience is also important to me and I am not sure I like it that much more to outweigh the whole experience of university... thank you so much for your sharing your experience.
no problem and I'm happy to help if you have any more questions!
Original post by poppy2022
Hey, I do the anthropology & law course at lse and also happen to have a few friends at Durham (doing other courses) so am clued up on the differences!
firstly, the LSE anthropology department is great. while the teaching style of each lecturer/class teacher varies and some are better than others, I've never heard of a member of staff being 'bad'. I imagine the teaching at Durham is also generally of good quality too though considering it's also a great university.
ultimately, your decision should come down to which you'd be happiest at as the biggest difference between the two is the culture as opposed to the standard of education/career prospects. lse feels a little more like school because its harder to see your friends unless youre on campus. being in London is cool but it also means that everyone is spread out across the city as some people commute while others live in lse accom/private accom. this means that it can be hard to maintain super close friendships as you may only be able to hang out with them on a regular basis in classes/lectures/on campus.
similarly, the wider student body does tend to be pretty divided and cliquey and people definitely do take things way to seriously at times. because it's 70% international (as in students who grew up abroad, not multicultural British students), intl students tend to stick with each other in cliques based on their country of origin which can make it particularly difficult in accommodation, unless you choose Passfield which is mainly UK-based students as you have to move your stuff out between terms.
The anthro department is definitely much less cliquey/overly serious and i find the people are really interesting and definitely typical anthro students if you know what i mean. there also tends to be more students who grew up in the UK in anthro, which also makes it easier in terms of culture/people's willingness to make friends with you and talk to you.
the friends i have at Durham really like it there. i often wish i went to a collegiate university as there definitely seems to be way more of a sense of community/the friendships they build seem to be way closer. if what you want out of university is the typical university experience of always being in a university town and walking distance (or even a few doors away) from you friends, going to the pub, doing silly things, having flatmates etc then I'd definitely lean towards Durham. Ofc, Durham is not very diverse so you also have to think about how much that matters to you if it applies to you at all. Durham also has a reputation for being very typically middle class/private school but LSE is actually like this to an even greater extent, so yet again another thing to consider if this concern applies to you at all.
LSE is more diverse even amongst home students and it has a slightly better reputation (although the reputational difference is marginal so I doubt it would have a massive difference on your career prospects). However, as someone who is at LSE and has found that it unfortunately does live up to lots of its stereotypes, I'd suggest picking Durham IF you're looking for the typical university experience. You're also going to get a lot more work at LSE and it's harder to get a first even for anthro, yet again another reason why people here have less fun. Essentially, as someone who had an offer at Durham for Law but rejected it because I was more concerned about silly things like rankings / the LSE name, I cannot stress how important it is that you choose the university that fits with your expectations, including any social considerations.
Hi, I applied for social anthropology this year, do you know if the department are still giving out offers, just because if not I can just withdraw!!
Durham's contact hours are pitiful for that course. Unless you think 8 hours or so is good value for money?
Original post by random_matt
Durham's contact hours are pitiful for that course. Unless you think 8 hours or so is good value for money?

LSE's contact hours are also only 8 a week !
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I applied for social anthropology this year, do you know if the department are still giving out offers, just because if not I can just withdraw!!

I don't know for sure, but LSE notoriously takes ages to give out offers. No answer doesn't necessarily mean a rejection.
Reply 10
Does that include tutorials/seminar times as well as lectures then?
Original post by teyat
Does that include tutorials/seminar times as well as lectures then?

At LSE, you do 4 modules in first year. Every week, you'll have a 1 hour lecture for each module followed by a one hour class/seminar on the lecture content and readings. Depending on which optional module you choose in first year you may end up having a 2 hour lecture a week instead of a 1 hour lecture, but your contact hours every year are generally between 8-10 hours a week. I imagine Durham has a similar format but I honestly wouldn't worry much about the contact hours at either. When you actually get to uni, you'll be grateful not to have to do a 9-5 every day like some STEM students. At both universities, the anthro department is likely to put on various events throughout the week anyway which you can attend to further supplement your learning. For example, LSE anthro holds an optional lecture on a different anthro topic every Friday afternoon which members of the public can also attend. They also have a few free film screenings of ethnographic films/documentaries every month
(edited 2 weeks ago)
Original post by poppy2022
LSE's contact hours are also only 8 a week !

Really? Hmm, perhaps it is the same across all universities then.

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