LSE is a social science specialist university, so it’s perfect for those who are passionate about the social sciences. However if, like me, you find your interests to be vast and never-ending, then it’s hard having to choose one degree subject to specialise in. In the end, though, you find your main passion, and apply.
Hopefully, you get an offer and once enrolled you choose from optional modules, ready to begin your degree in law, history, politics, etc. But, if you still find a part of yourself thinking about your other interests, and what could have been, don’t worry! You’re in luck.
Because at LSE, all undergraduate students also have to partake in a compulsory half unit called LSE100. This course is designed to help students tackle multidimensional problems and global challenges, in collaboration with peers from other departments and leading LSE academics from across the School.
Before I joined LSE, I was presented with three themes, and I chose the one that best aligned with my interests. The options were:
- How can we avert climate catastrophe?
- How can we control AI?
- How can we create a fair society?
As a BA Geography student, it was a no-brainer. Climate change is something that I am extremely passionate about. However, I also find AI fascinating and am an activist who is immersed in human rights and eager to end injustices and inequalities in society. Therefore, I was really glad to see that all three themes were highly interrelated, with climate catastrophe affected by developments in AI, and our conception of a fair society only properly understood in the context of environmental changes.
In the climate theme, I was taught by a sociologist, and collaborated with law students, economists, historians and anthropologists. We all approached problems through different lenses, and I was highly interested by everyone’s points of view. We learnt about concepts such as green growth, waste pollution, climate justice, and activism, appealing to every discipline as we explored this theme in greater depth.
You have one 90-minute seminar, every other week, in which you discuss important topics, have debates, look over readings or dissect case studies. The diversity of LSE100 means that every seminar is a new experience to learn about another facet of a vast, yet important, global theme.
LSE100 was very flexible, allowing me to explore my interests through an independent research task, which makes up 50% of your overall grade. I really enjoyed writing this assessment and found it a lot easier, as it centred topics I was genuinely passionate about. I chose to write about climate mitigation in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to industrialised Western countries, through the lenses of climate justice, colonialism, and intersectional feminism. These themes actually made the basis of the personal statement that got me into LSE! You’re encouraged to view the theme through your own discipline, but as climate change is geographical at its core, I really appreciated being able to explore the fields of gender studies, sociology, and economics.
As well as this, 50% of your overall grade is reliant on a group research project in the second term. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet peers from other disciplines, especially if – like me – you commute and find that your circle of friends is mainly those in your degree course. You get to discuss fascinating and sometimes controversial topics with like-minded individuals.
Ultimately, LSE100 was the perfect addition to my degree programme.
During your first year, modules can be daunting, and it can be difficult to adjust to studying one discipline, after previously studying three or four. Thus, this module is perfect for social scientists who are curious and passionate individuals.