MSc Human Rights and Politics LSE

i just know this is going to be a very far stretch, but does anyone have any information about the MSc in Human Rights and Politics program at the London School of Economics? I’m a U.S. citizen who eventually wants to go to law school to study human rights in the states (ideally aiming for GULC), but i found the MSc degree from LSE super intriguing, especially since it’s literally what I want to do later on.

like, is the alumni network good enough to where if i wanted to come back to the states and work a bit before LS that i could find a decent-paying job w/ the degree (i ideally want to work for an organization such as the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, United Nations, Amnesty International, etc.)? does LSE typically help fund international students who are pursuing their master’s? if not, are there other universities that have a similar program that may be more open to funding students?

thank you in advance!

Hi Kalons,

I’ve actually studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science! I did a law programme, which has specialisms which share courses with the MSc in Human rights. However, I am a Brit not an American so may not be the best suited to ask your questions but I’ll share my perspective.

Firstly, the teachers are amazing. There are so many famous and influential academics in the department. People I had been writing about during my entire undergrad were suddenly the ones who I were having a chat with in their office.

As to alumni networks. In the UK, for social sciences LSE is seen as a peer to Oxbridge (if not better) by people in the know - most international rankings show this. In South America, Asia and Europe LSE is extremely well respected. As such, it boasts an impressive alumni network - I believe over 50 world leaders studied here. In North America it is a slightly different story - I’ve found many people will have barely heard of Oxford. However, that being said LSE is an extremely international school and 10% of its intake a year are Americans! A couple Canadian leaders have studied here. JFK was supposed to study here but had to leave due to health complications. Jon Ossoff, who recently won the Georgia race, also studied here. David Rockerfeller, George Soros. There are many more of course. My point is that LSE has a great network despite it’s very small size and I don’t think you will suffer from an education at LSE. Any HR department worth their salt will at least have heard of Oxbridge and the University of London colleges (LSE and UCL). Moreover, I also hear that there are regular LSE alum meet ups in the states in the major cities (though I cannot vouch for this).

I’ll also add that LSE has a habit of sending people to NGOs and international bodies such as the WHO and the UN. Among others.

Furthermore, I don’t think LSE will hinder you getting into law school at Georgetown. LSE is well respected by US schools. It has formal academic partnerships with Columbia Law School, NYU and Berkley. During my time I met people from the Ivies and people who went onto top US school after their time here. So I wouldn’t worry about that aspect. LSE ranks 6th (according to QS) in the world for law and 2nd in social sciences (what it specialise in). Rankings are not be all and end all though, London is an amazing multicultural city. I’m still finding new things to do and I’ve been a Londoner my entire life!

One thing to consider is the price of London. It’s exceptionally expensive to live here. Also perhaps consider the likely situation of COVID in the UK around the time the course starts. The UK is currently in its 3rd multi-month lockdown.

Best of luck!

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aaahhh, thank you so much for your perspective! i appreciate it so much.

if you wouldn’t mind my asking, what were the classes you took that coincided with the MSc in Human Rights like? i feel like the way the educational systems between the states and the UK differ a bit in that regard.

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No worries!

I didn’t actually study human rights, I know others who did however. I believe the law programme shared courses with the MSc in Human Rights (and not Human Rights and Politics which seems like a different programme). However, I think you’ll take courses across multiple departments and generally the teaching at LSE is good.

From what I have heard the UK system is more independent study based than the American system. Also bear in mind that UK masters are almost always 1 year, not 2 years, due to the fact UK students specialise in their undergrad from day 1: ie you study (or major in) sociology, law, history, economics, medicine etc exclusively. But that being said, most will be in a similar boat to you as LSE is overwhelmingly international students (70% total).

In the UK system you’re not really taught the content. You’ll usually have a 1 hour lecture which introduces the topic for the week. Then you do all the reading (and there is A LOT) which adds the meat to the bones. At which point, you will meet up in small groups, called seminars or tutorials, and you will discuss your ideas with your classmates and the professor. That’s the general gist of the study style here - you get out what you put into it. There is of course, other opportunities to meet academics. For example, some of my classes used to grab regular coffees with one of our professor’s to pick his mind.

Another difference is exam style. There tends to be just 1 exam for each course at the end of the year. There can also be coursework (ie research essays) due throughout. Though this depends on the courses you take.

Courses for each programme are available online (in something called the LSE calendar and on the programme page).

Hi there! Thanks so much for all this info. Out of curiosity - did you apply to any other places in the UK? I’ve read that UCL can be better than LSE in terms of relationships with professors, and that it can be really hard to have a close working relationship with professors at LSE. Would love your advice on this! Thanks!

I assume you’re talking to me? If not my bad!

I applied to UCL, yes, but ended up choosing LSE over it - disclosing my bias straight away. For me, and I think most people, LSE is an easy decision, over UCL, at postgrad at least. The faculty at LSE, for social sciences, is the best in the country. And it has one of the best research out of any university in the UK, I believe it beats Oxford (this is measured by the UK government). I think as to relationships with profs being better at UCL, I’m not sure that’s true. I would have coffee with some of my professors and would be in constant email connection (about questions and ideas I had). They also have office hours. The UK system is very self-driven and independent in general though. I will say, interaction with professors is better at postgrad then undergrad. UCL I’m sure is equally great - like I say it’s easily the 3rd best multi-faculty university in the UK (with Imperial and LSE being specialist schools at the rough level of Oxbridge). So UCL is amazing too! Either way you can’t go wrong.

General conclusions: faculty is great, there are opportunities to get to know them but the UK system doesn’t really stress close working relationships anyway. Every week you get to discuss with them in tutorials too.

Hope that helps.

For taught Masters? don’t hold your breath: they are money-makers for unis. LSE and UCL have some money available- but it is very limited (typically a few thousand quid), and a US student would want to be very highly qualified to have a good chance,