Social Sciences


Developed by academics at LSE, the Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) in Social Sciences is a stand-alone qualification and a potential entry route to further undergraduate study.

If you are interested in our undergraduate degrees in Economics, Management, Finance and Social Sciences but do not currently meet all the entry requirements, the CertHE may provide you with an entry route to these courses.

Video: Academic direction from LSE
Learn more about studying with academic direction from LSE.

Study this course at a Teaching Centre near you

You can receive local support from a local teaching centre, use the dropdown to find your nearest centre.

Taught Programme

This taught programme consists of four courses (or the equivalent, where you choose half-courses). You have a broad choice of subjects, from mathematics and information systems to international relations.

Programme details

Programme structure, courses and specification

This taught programme consists of four courses (or the equivalent, where you choose half-courses). You have a broad choice of subjects, from mathematics and information systems to international relations.

See the CertHE Social Sciences structure

If you are considering one of our undergraduate degrees in the social sciences, you may wish to choose courses that are shared between the CertHE and your preferred degree. This will help to ensure that you receive credit for these courses when you apply for the degree.

Key dates

2021 intake
Application deadline 31 October 2021
Registration deadline 31 October 2021
Examinations May and June

How you study

In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

You must study the CertHE Social Sciences at a teaching centre that has been approved to provide support for the course. It is not available for independent study.

You should contact teaching centres directly for information on their teaching start dates and schedules.

Find a local teaching centre near you

Study materials

We give you access to core study materials that are developed by academics to guide you through the programme.

We will send you study materials developed by academics appointed by LSE. These include a Programme Handbook of practical information (such as how to enter exams); a Subject Guide for each course; and past exam papers and commentaries, which give you valuable tips for performing well in exams.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here, you can access electronic copies of all printed study materials, resources including audio-visual and revision guides, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others.
  • 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.

Student Support

We are committed to delivering an exceptional student experience for all of our students, regardless of which of our programmes you are studying and whether you are studying independently or with a Recognised Teaching Centre.

You will have access to support through:

  • The Student Advice Centre - provides support for application and Student Portal queries.
  • TalkCampus - a peer support service that offers a safe and confidential way to talk about whatever is on your mind at any time of day or night.

Time commitment

You have 1-5 years to complete the course, although it is usually completed in one year. To complete in the minimum time, you will be expected to study for 35 hours per week, which includes lectures and tutorials.

Each approved teaching centre offers its own study schedule. The number of hours you need to attend each week depends on the centre’s timetable.


Each course is assessed by an unseen written exam, which is usually held in May or June. You can sit your exams at any approved centre around the world. These centres charge a fee for hosting the exams.

Your exam is set and assessed by academics, ensuring that your degree is of the same standard as those studying on-campus at LSE.

The ‘Introduction to information systems’ course (if selected) also requires coursework.

More about exams

Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

For access to the CertHE Social Sciences, you will usually meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18+ by 31 December in the year of registration.
  • Hold either one GCE A Level (grade A-E) plus 4 GCSE/O levels (grade A-C) or 6 GCSEs (A-C), or equivalents. This should include GCSE/O level Maths (grade C).
  • Meet the English language requirements.
  • Have a place to study at an approved teaching centre for the programme.

Find equivalent qualifications where you live.

Approved teaching centres may set higher entry requirements. You will have to meet these if you wish to study the course at a particular centre.

Even if you do not meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits. Our Admissions Panel will consider whether any alternative/incomplete qualifications or work experience you have are suitable for entry to the programme. If we are unable to issue you an offer then if available we will advise on further alternatives such as our International Foundation Programme or on additional qualifications you need to take in order to meet our minimum entrance criteria.

English language requirements

You need to demonstrate a good level of English to be admitted to our programmes. We accept a range of evidence, including proficiency test scores. If you don’t have evidence but believe you can meet the standard, we may consider your case.

Do I meet the language requirements?

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this programme, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements

Courses with a coursework component may have further requirements (such as CD writing equipment). For courses related to information systems, you will need access to a computer with standard database, spreadsheet, programming language and word processing software.


The fees below relate to the 2021-2022 session. They may increase by up to 5% per year.

Academic year 2021-2022
Registration fee £1146
Examination fee (per full course) £346
Examination fee (per half course) £173
Indicative total (based on 1 year completion) £2530
Other fees (as applicable):
Continuing registration fee £523
Additional registration fee per law course £62

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool

If your study period extends beyond a year, you pay a 'continuing registration fee' in the second or subsequent years to retain your student status.

The indicative totals reflect average annual fee increases and assume that you complete the qualification within the minimum time – without resits, and with no law courses (which require additional fees). Indicative totals will be available shortly.

More about the programme fees

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for:

  • Teaching centre tuition costs.
  • Textbooks (could extend to around £300 per year).
  • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees

Please note: all student fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.

Further information on Sales Tax

Your payment provider may apply additional transaction fees (if in doubt, please check with them before making a payment).

Further information about fee payment options can be found in the “How to pay your fees” link above.

Further study opportunities

This course can set you on the path to a University of London degree with academic direction from LSE. Many of our graduates have gone on to work in major banks, multinational corporations, and professional services companies.

Transfer to the UK

Several universities in the UK (including LSE and our other member institutions) may consider you for entry into the second year of a degree. To be considered, you must have studied a syllabus similar to those taught at the institution concerned and achieved very high marks.

Academic leadership

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.

Academic co-ordinator

Professor Emeritus Richard Jackman belongs to LSE's world-renowned Department of Economics and is the original founder of its Economics Summer School and the ICEF Programme in Moscow. He works with academic coordinators and department heads at LSE to facilitate the academic delivery of the programme.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London diploma anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there may be additional sources of support depending on where you live.

More on funding your study.

About the LSE Summer School

LSE’s Summer School is the most well-established and the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe, with over 80 academically rigorous courses on offer. Each year over 6,000 students from 120 nations study at the LSE campus in the heart of Central London.

Courses are taught by LSE faculty and complement the content of this degree. If you complete two Summer School courses you may be able to claim Accreditation of Prior Learning equivalent to one course on the degree. As a student on this programme you will receive a 15% discount on tuition fees to attend the LSE Summer School.

Full details and how to apply are available on the LSE Summer School website.

Apply online