Introducing LSE

We are a world-leading university, unique in our dedication to the social sciences

LSE is a global community of people and ideas in the heart of central London. We're a specialist social sciences university, ranking fifth in the world in the QS subject rankings 2023 and as the top university in London in the Complete University Guide 2023 and Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

LSE's motto "rerum cognoscere causas" means "to know the causes of things". It was chosen to support the School's founding purpose, "for the betterment of society".

Our ambition today is to be the leading social science university with the greatest global impact. Led by our President and Vice Chancellor, LSE alumna Minouche Shafik, our strategy LSE 2030 lays out the guiding principles that will help us achieve our goals and shape the world’s future.

Our history

In 1894, four prominent Fabian Society members, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw and Graham Wallas decided to use a £20,000 bequest to open a specialist higher education institution.

The idea was to found, “a London School of Economics and Political Science – a centre not only of lectures on special subjects, but an association of students who would be directed and supported in doing original work”.

The first students arrived in October 1895 and our founders’ vision is continuously being realised, here in London and across the world.

International outlook

We are committed to building a vibrant, equitable and truly inclusive environment for staff and students from all over the world.

We have partnerships with globally renowned universities spanning Europe, Africa, America and Asia including CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences.

In the UK, we are part of the Russell Group, the Aspect social science research commercialisation network, and the launch of SHAPE – Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy. 

An LSE education

We help students prepare for bright futures in world-changing roles. 

A rigorous social science education is designed to stretch students intellectually through specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, executive education, distance learning and summer schools.

LSE students are members of one of the largest economic and social science libraries in the world. Initiatives such as LSE LIFE, the PhD Academy, Student Futures, Careers, Volunteering and Generate provide academic, personal and professional support for students too. The student-led Houghton Street Press is one of many ways LSE students engage with the world.

Research and society

LSE academics conduct social science research that makes a lasting impact on society. This means students are taught by academics that regularly advise international bodies and governments, and who are also vocal in the media on current news.

The 2021 Research Excellence Framework, a national evaluation exercise, ranked LSE as a top university for research quality and impact. We're continuously expanding our research horizon to reflect and aid the changing society around us. Our current Understanding the UK Economy initiative brings together LSE research to shed light on the topic. 

You can find out more about how LSE research shapes the world through: