Social Sciences (CertHE)


Is this programme for me?

The Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) in Social Sciences is not only a stand-alone qualification, but also a potential entry route to further study.

If you don't currently hold all of the general entry requirements for the Economics, Management, Finance and Social Sciences degrees, you may be able to access these programmes if you complete the CertHE successfully.

Taught Programme

The Certificate of Higher Education is a taught programme and must be studied at a recognised teaching institution listed in our Directory of Institutions.

Key dates
Application deadline You will need to apply directly to your chosen teaching institution, so please contact them directly for their deadlines.
Registration deadline 31 October
Examinations take place May/June

Programme structure and estimated study hours

The programme consists of four full courses (or the equivalent). You have between 1-5 years to complete it, although it is usually taken over one year. You are expected to study for 35 hours per week, including lectures and tutorials.


The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) provides academic direction for this programme. LSE is regarded as an international centre of academic excellence and innovation in the social sciences.


In addition to the Social Science degrees offered through the International Programmes, several universities in the UK (including LSE and other University of London Member Institutions) will consider you for entry into the second year of a degree. You will need to have passed syllabuses similar to those taken at the Institutions concerned and achieved very high marks.



Structure and Syllabus

You must pass all four courses in order to be awarded the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences. If you are applying for the programme with the intention of proceeding to one of the degrees in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences, you should choose your courses with care. You should consider the courses that are available on the degree that interest you and choose courses that are common to both that degree and the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences. This will help to ensure that you will receive credit towards the degree for the courses you have passed when you successfully complete the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences.

Please note: the following course information sheets are in pdf format.


  • Students can take a maximum of two Law courses
  • EC1002 Introduction to economics can only be taken at the same time as, or after MT105A Mathematics 1 and  ST104A Statistics 1
  • MT105B Mathematics 2 can only be taken at the same time as, or after MT105A Mathematics 1
  • ST104B Statistics 2 can only be taken at the same time as, or after ST104A Statistics 1
  • Registration with the Online Library is a requirement for successfully completing the course Legal system and method
  • Course Information Sheets are updated annually in line with updates to syllabuses and reading lists
  • Course availability will vary according to the courses offered at your chosen teaching institution.
Study materials

How you study

Our programmes allow you to obtain a prestigious qualification at a reasonable cost.

You study the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences at a local institution to benefit from face-to-face tutorial support and the opportunity to interact with fellow students in person.

Study materials

The specially written study materials are developed by academics appointed by LSE. They guide you through the textbooks which are the real focus of your study. The cost of your study pack is included in your initial and continuing registration fees. Study materials include:

  • a Programme handbook containing practical information and advice such as how to enter for exams
  • a Subject guide for each course, designed to guide you through the syllabus and offer advice on how to use textbooks in an organised and productive manner. Partial versions of EMFSS subject guides are available to view
  • past exam papers and Examiners' commentaries which are updated annually and available to download. These provide an insight into how questions should have been tackled and outline common mistakes made by students in the past. Copies of the most recent exam papers and Examiners’ commentaries are available for reference on our website, see EMFSS past exam papers. A fuller back catalogue is available for all registered students through the VLE.

We also provide all students with a student registration card.

Online support

When you register we will send you a username and password giving you access to the Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key online resources:

The virtual learning environment (VLE)

The online virtual learning environment (VLE) provides electronic copies of all printed study materials. There are also forums that allow you to share interests and experience, and to work collaboratively with other students to solve problems and discuss subject material.

Online support materials are being developed continuously and for some courses audio-visual tutorials, recorded lectures, academic interviews and debates are available, along with self-testing activities and expert study skills advice.

In preparation for examinations, several of the largest courses will have additional revision materials added to their VLE pages and discussion forums will be moderated by academics. 

The Online Library

The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Optional courses held at LSE in London

The LSE Summer School is held annually, usually from early July to mid-August. It offers a range of stimulating and challenging courses, allowing you to undertake a period of intensive study in areas of interest.

EMFSS students and alumni receive a 15% discount on Summer School fees. 



The fees below relate to new students registering for the 2017-2018 session and are subject to annual review.

Academic session2017-2018
Registration fee£ 874
Examination fee (per full course)£ 264
Examination fee (per half course)£ 132
Total for CertHE in Social Sciences£ 1,930
Other fees (as applicable)
Continuing registration fee£ 399
Additional registration fee for students taking law courses (per course)£ 53
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.

When to pay

Applications are made direct to the teaching institution so contact your chosen teaching institution in good time to ask for their closing date for receiving applications.

The registration fee is payable to the University when you register. The closing date for registrations is 31 October.

The examination fee is payable when you choose to enter an examination. Examination entries are accepted from mid-December to the closing date of 1 February. Examinations take place in May or June each year.

The continuing registration fee is payable in the second and subsequent years of registration at the time when you complete the continuing registration task each year. It is payable if you progress to a BSc degree or if you continue on the Diploma. The closing date for continuing registration is 1 November.

How to pay

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts: 

  • Western Union - Quick Pay.
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB).
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque.
  • International money/postal order.

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  • textbooks (this may well be in the region of £300 per year)
  • tuition costs (if studying at a teaching institution)
  • LSE Study weekend and Summer School (optional)
  • the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.


Fees are subject to annual revision and typically may be increased by up to 7% per annum. 



When you decide you are ready, you enter for unseen written examinations. These are set and marked by our academics to ensure your work is assessed to the same standard as College-based students at LSE. Examinations are held once a year, in May/June, at local centres in over 190 countries as well as in London. You will be charged a fee by your local examination centre (this fee will vary).

For most courses you sit a three-hour paper (or a two-hour paper for each half course). For the following courses a project/coursework also counts towards the assessment:

  • IS1060 Introduction to information systems
  • IS2182 Innovating digital systems and services
  • IS3139 Software engineering: theory and application
  • IS3159 Research project in information systems.

Academic Requirements

To be eligible for the CertHE in Social Sciences you must:

  • normally be 18 years or older before 31 December in the year you first register with the University
  • have passed one GCE/A level at grades A-E and 4 GCSE/O levels at grades A-C OR six GCSE/O levels at grades A-C, or equivalent; and
  • have passed GCSE/O level Maths with a grade C or above or equivalent. This qualification will count towards the number of GCSEs/O levels required as stated above; and
  • provide proof of competence in English which is acceptable to the University. (A test of proficiency may be required - see below for more details); and
  • have been admitted to a full- or part-time course of instruction at an institution which is recognised to teach the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences.

Note: Applicants with other qualifications not listed above will be considered on an individual basis. There are many other acceptable Entrance Qualifications (both from the UK and overseas), which the University accepts instead of UK GCSEs or 'O' levels.

The entrance requirements as above are a minimum level. Institutions may set higher entry requirements that students will need to meet to gain access to the programme at their chosen institution.

Language Requirements

The language of instruction, reading and assessment is English. To succeed on our programmes you need a good level of competence in English. If you doubt your ability in written or spoken English we advise you take a course and test in English language before enrolling on the programme.

Required standard of English

You will usually meet the English language requirement for undergraduate programmes if you:

  • hold a UK GCSE / GCE O level in English at grade C or above
  • have five years secondary schooling taught solely in English or have passed GCE A levels or IB in essay-based subjects
  • have passed an International Foundation programme that permits entry onto a recognised UK bachelor degree
  • hold a full Postgraduate award, or a full first degree or Associate degree taught and examined in English from an institute that is acceptable to the University
  • have passed, within the past three years, an Associate degree, Diploma or Higher Diploma awarded by an acceptable institute / polytechnic / university in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, or
  • have passed, within the past three years, a test of proficiency in English language from an organisation acceptable to the University.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Please note if an applicant satisfies one of the above conditions yet provides evidence of a test of proficiency in English language, awarded within the past three years, which is below the University’s minimum requirements then they will be required to retake such a test before being offered admission.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB.

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Additional computer requirements for this programme

You will need Adobe Flash Player 7.0 or later to view video material in the VLE. Some courses will require you to have a media player that plays MP4 files. Courses with a coursework or project component may have additional software and hardware requirements (such as CD writing equipment). For the BSc Management and Digital Innovation, and courses on other programmes related to information systems, you will need access to a computer with standard database, spreadsheet, programming language and word processing software.

Academic leaders

LSE academic leadership

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the Colleges of the University of London and a world-leading social science institution. Academics from LSE provide the academic direction for this programme.

Since its foundation in 1895, LSE has been regarded as an international centre of academic excellence and innovation in the social sciences. Its teaching and research is recognised worldwide as a benchmark of quality.

The School’s academic profile spans the broad range of social sciences – disciplines that reflect how we interact with one another and with society. LSE is an institution renowned for focusing on ‘real world’ issues. Current areas of research and expertise include globalisation, human rights, risk and business management, new communications technologies, urban and regional policies, and new forms of governance.

LSE alumni and former staff include 16 Nobel prize winners and 37 past or present heads of state. LSE academics come from all over the world and from many social, educational and ethnic backgrounds. They are in constant demand as commentators and analysts in the media, act as advisors to governments, and are seconded to national and international organisations.

Academic leaders

Elizabeth Aitken

Director of the University of London International Programmes at LSE

Director of the LSE’s Summer Schools and Executive Programmes (SSEP), in mid-2015, Elizabeth was also appointed Acting Director for the UoLIP at LSE for two years. Elizabeth has developed the LSE’s Summer School programme from an intake of just under 1000 students to what is today one of the largest and most successful of its kind in the world, attracting more than 5,000 students from 119 different countries. As director of the SSEP, she has also been responsible for establishing the LSE-PKU Summer School in Beijing, whilst successfully broadening the units’ portfolio of courses across executive and postgraduate education.

Professor Richard Jackman

Academic Director of the University of London International Programme at LSE

Richard is an experienced Professor, belonging to LSE’s world-renowned Economics Department and is also the original founder of its Summer School and the ICEF Programme in Moscow. He brings his high-level academic experience of working with the Programme Directors on the Summer School to working with the Academic Coordinators and Department Heads in order to encourage further departmental engagement with the International Programmes.

Please note: 2017-18 is the final year that new applications are being permitted for Individual courses. Final examinations will be in 2018-19, for resit students only.