UG Research Portal FAQs

Your questions answered

Unsure whether to take the plunge into research?  We hope the answers below will encourage you.

Firstly, you can read a summary of LSE GROUPS participants' reflections on their experiences of conducting original research at the LSE. (Here is the full collection of reflections.)

Are the opportunities only for people who wish to pursue an academic career or a career involving research?

Undergraduate research opportunities can be useful to anyone. 

They will prove extremely relevant for anyone wishing to pursue an academic career or a career which involves research. However, the broader skills which participants can develop and acquire through undergraduate research are of use in many additional areas of life. 

These reflections from LSE GROUPS participants show the range of benefits on offer: the development of research, writing and presention skills; meeting new people; developing in confidence; learning more about the world and your own interests; shaping debate on the issues that matter to you.

Do they take a lot of time? Would taking up an UG research opportunity affect my studies?

All opportunities require a time commitment, but extracurricular undergraduate research opportunities at the LSE are of varying lengths and take place at different times during the academic year. 

For example, LSE GROUPS consists of a full-time, immersive two-week long project, and takes place at the end of the summer term. Internships may be either term- or holiday-based (or both); they take weeks or months, and ask for varied time commitment within that.  Working for, or submitting to, a student journal varies even more. Browse the opportunities (activities; internships) for further information about specific kinds of involvement.

All of the research opportunities available at the LSE are expected to fit around your study commitments. As a general rule, no activity or internship should exceed the time LSE considers reasonable for part-time work (15 hours per week in term-time, full time during vacations). You could discuss with your academic mentor whether to engage with research, and if so, how to balance it with your studies and other requirements.

'I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in LSE GROUPS as I found it to be the perfect way to cool down after a long year of studying, yet still manage to stay productive.'
Jahan, Mathamatics

Do I need particular knowledge or skills to participate? Can I apply for opportunities outside of my own department?

Many activities are open to people from any department to participate with no specific skill-set required (such as LSE GROUPS or LSE Change Makers).  These are often the activities that aim to foster interdisciplinary inquiry. 

Other initiatives may be particularly attractive to students from certain departments, but are, in fact, open to all (Posters in Parliament, for example, which often appeals to students in the Department of Government). 

The departmental internships are usually only promoted among the various departments’ individual cohorts.  If you wish to apply to an internship which is offered in a department other than your own, contact the department to ask if this is possible.  If your area of expertise or skill-set fit the role well, then there is a possibility that you will be considered for it.  Some internships offered, for example, by the US Centre, recruit students from a variety of departments (International History; International Relations; etc.) whose work relates closely to that of the Centre. 

Sometimes a specific skill-set is needed (the ability to speak a particular language, for example); but for other roles, supervisors are more than keen to teach new skills, and all that is required is a willingness to learn!

The student journals focus on specific areas of research (politics; philosophy; information systems; etc.) which may or may not align with your areas of expertise.  However, there are many of them!  A number of journals, too, are open to submissions from researchers with expertise in aligned and complementary subject areas that may be a little 'outside' of their core focus.  If you have an idea for a submission and you are unsure about the subject match, ask the relevant editorial team.

Click through to an opportunity in one of the opportunities sections here (activitiesinternships) or contact the relevant department or centre for further information. 

Should I only try research in my final year?

Many programmes are open to people from any undergraduate year (including LSE GROUPS, Change Makers, Posters in Parliament).

In many departments, second- and third-year students are particularly welcome to apply for undergraduate research internship opportunities; but, in the majority of cases, first-year students may also apply.  If you are unsure, check with the relevant department or centre.

The student journals listed on this site are open to submissions from undergraduate students irrespective of their year of study.  Submissions may be more common from second- and third-year students, however, if only because they have had more time in which to produce original research.

'LSE GROUPS 2018 was one of the highlights of my first year at LSE and is something that I look back at with fond memories.  As a wide-eyed first year student itching to try something new in university, I remember signing up for GROUPS without much thought when my department first advertised it back in early 2018.  I’ve had no regrets participating in the programme.'
Jeria, Economics

'I decided to take part in GROUPS as a first year, excited to step into the world of research and learn more about how it works in real life... Even now, having graduated, I still look at my 2 weeks of summer doing GROUPS as one of the best times of my undergraduate life.  It is one of the best ways to get started in the world of research, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!'  
Krittika, Economics

Are research opportunities free? Will I get paid?

All of the extracurricular undergraduate research opportunities at the LSE featured on this site are free to participate in. 

Some opportunities – notably the departmental internships, and LSE Change Makers – also pay participants a wage, which forms part of a work contract.

All opportunities offer the chance to learn new skills, to work with different peers and academics, and to contribute to knowlege creation.

Some departments have an internship scheme (different from an LSE research internship) which facilitates students' work placements in external organisations (charities, and small and medium-sized enterprises).  The internships schemes fund these placements by paying the students directly.

Who will I be working with?

Many undergraduate research opportunities include collaborative work with peers (such as LSE GROUPS, and student journals).  Some involve work with LSE academics (the undergraduate internships).  Many opportunities require broader collaboration with professional services staff, or members of the public, depending on the nature of the research.  Some opportunities, such as Posters in Parliament or LSE Change Makers, enable participants to interact with influential individuals (Members of Parliament, or LSE senior staff, respectively). 

Although many opportunities can be undertaken as a solo researcher (LSE Change Makers, Posters in Parliament, your final year dissertation) you will normally be offered a supervisor to work with, to ensure you have the practical and ethical support to carry out the project.

Individuals may submit pieces to student journals or conferences (see some examples here). If the piece has been developed by a group, do seek permission before disseminating the findings as an individual!

What’s it like working as an intern with an established academic? I’m nervous!

The LSE academics who offer internships want to work with you, and recognise the value of your contributions! 

Normally, the contract offered you will specify the terms of the collaboration (how often and where to meet; means of contact; how many hours of work are expected), which will facilitate co-operation.

If you want to gain further insight into the nature of the work, including of the collaboration, from a student perspective, then you can read the reflections of previous interns in this section.

When and where should I look out for opportunities?

You can look throughout the year for opportunities.  Check the pages (on activities and internships) that relate to your interests; many of them have an approximate start date for the next cycle.   

Read departmental communications (such as newsletters) for their specific opportunities. 

Do I need to be on campus or can I work remotely?

This depends on the opportunity. LSE GROUPS, for example, requires participants to be on campus full-time for two weeks.  Departmental internships, on the other hand, often allow work to be completed at a distance. It really does depend!  If in doubt, contact the person responsible for the opportunity you’re interested in.