Diploma in Social Sciences
Is this programme for me?
The Diploma in Social Sciences is a qualification in its own right. It also provides an entry route to all LSE-led degrees we offer if you do not meet our degree entrance requirements. By successfully completing the programme you will develop analytical competence allowing you to undertake further undergraduate study.
The Diploma is a taught programme and must be studied at a recognised Diploma-teaching institution listed in our Institutions directory.
|Application deadline||You must apply directly to the Diploma-teaching institution. Please contact them for their application deadline.|
|Registration deadline||31 October|
|Examinations take place||May/June|
Programme structure and estimated study hours
The Diploma consists of four full courses (or the equivalent). You have between 1-5 years to complete the programme, 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.
Several universities in the UK, including LSE and other University of London Colleges, 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 Colleges concerned and to have achieved very high marks.
Structure and Syllabus
You must pass all four courses in order to be awarded the Diploma in Social Sciences. If you are applying for the Diploma 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. Consider the courses that are available on the degree that interest you and choose courses that are common to both that degree and the Diploma. This will help to ensure that, when you successfully complete the Diploma, you will receive credit for the courses you have passed.
Please note: the following course information sheets are in pdf format.
- Principles of accounting
- Introduction to international development
- Introduction to economics
- Principles of banking and finance
- Human geography
- Physical geography: fundamentals of the physical environment
- Methods of geographical analysis (half course)
- Introduction to international relations
- World history since 1945
- Introduction to information systems
- Introduction to computer systems architecture and programming
- Common law reasoning and institutions
This comprehensive introduction to the English legal system seeks to convey what is distinctive about the common law approach as a legal methodology and as it refl ects the history and politics of England and Wales. It examines the sources of law, the civil and criminal court structures, the role of judges and the jury. A running concern of the course is the question of fairness: the impact of the Human Rights Act on the criminal justice system and the issues of access to justice in the civil courts. This course is also vital in initiating students into the process of legal research and the final examination has a compulsory section on research activities carried out during the year.
[Registration with the Online Library is a requirement for successfully completing this course.]
- Introduction to business and management
- Mathematics 1 (half course) (half course)
- Mathematics 2 (half course) (half course)
- Introduction to modern political thought
- Introduction to political science
- Principles of sociology
- Reading social science (half course) (half course)
- Statistics 1 (half course)
- Statistics 2 (half course) (half course)
- Elements of the law of contract
Four courses from the following
The structure shown above is subject to confirmation in the 2013-2014 Regulations. The Regulations also contain full details on the rules that govern the choice of any course including prerequisites (courses which must be passed before you can attempt more advanced courses). Students already registered on the programme should consult the current Regulations of our website.
Course Information Sheets are updated annually and students should ensure they are reading the correct information sheet for their year of study. Course Information Sheets for 2013-14 will be available from Summer 2013.
How you study
Our programmes allow you to obtain a prestigious degree or other qualification at a reasonable cost.
You can choose to study independently or, where available, pay for additional educational support at a local institution to benefit from face-to-face tutorial support and the opportunity to interact with fellow students in person.
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 Student handbook containing practical information and advice such as how to enter for exams
- Strategies for success which provides help with study techniques
- 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.
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.
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.
The fees below relate to the 2013-2014 session and are subject to annual review.
|Registration fee||£ 675|
|Examination fee for four full courses||£ 565|
|Other fees (as applicable)|
|Continuing registration fee||£ 330|
|Additional registration fee if you choose a law course (per course)||£ 44|
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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. Examinations take place in May or June each year and examination entries are accepted between 30 November and the examination entry closing date, 1 February.
The examination fee given above is for four full courses taken in the same year. Different fees apply if you choose to enter the examination for fewer than four full course in one session.
The continuing registration fee is payable in the second and subsequent years of registration at the time when you confirm the courses that you will be registered for during that year. It is payable if you progress to a BSc degree or if you continue on the Diploma. The continuing registration fee is effective between 1 March and 30 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.
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 review and the University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.
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
- IS3139 Software engineering: theory and application
- GY3157 Independent geographical study
- IS3159 Research project in information systems.
To be eligible for the Diploma in Social Sciences you must:
- normally be 18 years or older before 31 December in the year you first register with the University
- be admitted to a course of instruction at a Diploma-teaching institution listed in our Directory of Institutions.
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 34 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.
Dr Keith Sharp: Programme director
Keith has 20 years experience of working in British universities, including Coventry University, De Montfort University and the University of Gloucestershire, where he was dean of faculty and associate pro-vice-chancellor. In 2009-10 he spent a year as head of the UK HE International Unit based at Universities UK.
Keith is very familiar with the area of international partnerships and transnational education. Partnerships and internationalisation formed part of his remit at De Montfort and Gloucestershire. In his position as head of the UK Higher Education International Unit, he was regularly consulted by universities for advice on their international strategies, including international marketing. More recently, he has been acting as a consultant to a number of public and private sector HE institutions on various aspects of their international marketing and recruitment strategies.
Keith took his undergraduate degree at LSE between 1984-87 and graduated with a first in sociology, as well as being awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Prize. Further details of the University of London International Programmes at LSE team can be found on the Who's who page on the LSE website.