My Study


There are plenty of people at LSE to support you and help you develop during your studies. A key contact is your Academic Mentor.

Your Mentor will not be an expert in all areas and may direct you to your course teacher with specific questions but they will be able to answer general questions about academic standards, academic writing and the expectations of work standards at LSE, as well as discuss contemporary themes in your subject and current affairs.

How can my Academic Mentor help with my studies?

Your Academic Mentor's role is to:

  • Advise you on course choice.
  • Advise you on study, planning, academic standards and assessments.
  • Help you understand feedback and think about areas for improvement when you’re doing well and when things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped.
  • Help you set meaningful goals and work out how to meet them.
  • Give you advice on your subject and the career landscape more generally.
  • Listen to you when you raise a concern.
  • Advise you on the best source of support for individual questions or issues when you’re unsure.

Your Academic Mentor is not responsible for:

  • Reminding or chasing you to hand in work.
  • Reminding you to revise or planning your revision for you.
  • Telling you how or when to work, or doing any of your work for you.
  • Making inquiries on your behalf, unless appropriate and agreed with them on each occasion.
  • Filling in your paperwork or registering you for services such as the GP.
  • Updating your parents or carers on your progress.

These are your responsibilities, not the responsibility of LSE staff. If you’re having trouble with planning work, managing your time or understanding the demands of university-level study, that’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s normal to feel challenged and find some things harder than others. Getting an LSE degree can be extremely challenging but you wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think you could do it.

If it feels overwhelming or you just wonder whether there’s a better way of approaching your studies, all you need to do is take the initiative and speak to your Mentor, teachers or the advisers in LSE LIFE and they will help you move forward.

Deferrals, Exceptional Circumstances, Special Exam Provisions, Deadline Extensions, Exam Barring, Interruptions of Study and Repeat Teaching

Your Academic Mentor is a good first point of contact if something unexpected has come up and threatens your studies. There are several different options available when things aren’t going to plan and the best one for you will depend on your circumstances. Deadlines apply to each of these options so as soon as an issue emerges, you should speak to your Mentor. If, for any reason, you can’t get in touch with your Mentor quickly, contact the Student Services Centre.

The definitions below should help you identify which option would be best for you. 


Deadline Extension

If you feel you will most likely miss an assessment deadline for any reason, let us know sooner rather than later. It may be possible to get a deadline extension. There are slightly different procedures across the School, so find out as soon as you can by contacting your Mentor, course teacher or the course administrators. If it’s not possible to get an extension in your circumstances, you should get in touch with your course teacher or an LSE LIFE adviser for guidance. They can’t complete work for you but they can give you tips and advice on how to progress.  

If you’re finding that meeting deadlines is an ongoing issue, let your Academic Mentor know and they can help you understand why or discuss it further with you. If a specific issue such as time management, perfectionism or confidence causes problems for you, book an appointment with an LSE LIFE adviser or the LSE Counselling Service.

Exceptional Circumstances

Exceptional circumstances are unforeseen events that were totally out of your control but may have had a significant impact on your performance in any summative assessment you completed (not just exams). Telling the Exam Board about your circumstances will allow them to consider granting you a further attempt or for them to look again at your final classification (final years only).  Marks for an individual piece of work will never be altered through this process.

If you do feel your studies were impacted by something out of your control, you should fill in an exceptional circumstances form and submit it to the Student Services Centre (either hand it in to counter staff or drop it into the drop-box opposite the counter).

When you apply for exceptional circumstances, the obligation is on you to prove what happened and how it impacted on your studies. This means you need to take filling in the form and providing evidence very seriously and not expect the people assessing your form to chase you for further information. You need to fill in the form and submit via the Student Services Centre even if you’ve told your department about your circumstances in person.

There’s more information on the LSE exceptional circumstances website, including the deadlines that you must meet.

Special Exam Provision

Special Exam Provision (SEP) is where a special exam paper can be set in the same academic year if you have been unable to attempt or complete a timed, unseen exam due to unforeseen and "very exceptional" medical or other circumstances. Undergraduate, General Course and Taught Masters students may be able to apply for Special Exam Provision in very exceptional circumstances.

The full SEP Procedure can be seen here but if you do want to make a SEP request, you should consult the Advice, Communications and Operations Team for advice first. 

Exam Barring

LSE's regulations state that attendance is mandatory. If you're absent for more than two sessions in a row or regularly, your Academic Mentor will be advised through LSE for You. If you're unable to explain your absences, or failure to hand in work, your Academic Mentor can put a provisional Exam Bar on you. This can only be lifted by the Departmental Tutor or through escalation to the central School, and only if you meet the conditions put on your attendance.

If you fail to meet these conditions, the Exam Bar will be enforced. This will prevent you from sitting all exams to which the bar applies. The exam attempt will count and you will be awarded a zero-absence-fail as the result. If you have been barred in more than one unit you will consequently be unable to progress into the following year of your studies.

If you fail to progress whilst carrying exam bars you would be required to apply for repeat teaching the following academic year.

For further information or advice on exam bars please speak to your Departmental Tutor or contact

Interruption of Studies

If you feel that you need to take a break from your studies for one calendar year, perhaps because of health issues or problems at home, it is possible to apply for an interruption of studies. You’ll leave LSE then return at the start of the same term the following year, so, for example, if you leave in February, you’ll return at the start of Lent Term the following year. This should give you the time and space you need to deal with whatever’s happening before you return to LSE.

If you wish to do this, the first person you should speak to is your Academic Mentor.

If you’re considering interrupting, you should think about all the things that may be affected, including accommodation, visas, fees and finance and future plans. Your Mentor, the Student Services Centre and the Students’ Union should be able to support you with the process.


If you’ve received all your teaching in an academic year but something unexpected has come up that means you really don’t feel it’s plausible to submit your dissertation or sit your exams until the next academic year you can apply for a deferral.

The deferral form asks you to outline your reasons for wanting a deferral, asks for supporting evidence and then allows the Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners to decide whether or not to grant the deferral in your case.

Common reasons for deferral include bereavement, severe and sudden illness or accident, sudden and unexpected caring demands or being a victim of a crime. This isn’t an exclusive list so if you feel deferral may be the right thing for you, discuss it with your Academic Mentor.

You should make sure you fully understand the implications of this option by carefully reading the LSE deferral website and asking questions if there’s anything you’re unsure about.

Repeat teaching

If you have failed to progress or complete your degree but have exam attempts remaining, you may be able to apply for repeat teaching and take your classes for the year again. Applications are only considered if there are also extenuating circumstances. Guidance for students who are looking for repeat teaching can be found here.

The deadline for application is usually late July, when all documents must be submitted to the Departmental Tutor. If you need to apply for repeat teaching, do start the process as soon as you can to make sure your application can be considered. Your Academic Mentor, the Student Services Centre and the LSESU Advice team can all help you to understand what you'll need to do to apply.

Sometimes, the most appropriate source of help may be the Students' Union Advice team. Since they're independent from the School, they can advise on appeals and complaints as well as a range of other queries about your studies.