Working with External Examiners

Guidance on processes

This page explains the administrative arrangements for External Examiners involved in the scrutiny of assessments for the School's degree programmes and courses.

Education Committee has delegated responsibility for the appointment of External Examiners to the School's degree programmes and courses from the Academic Board. Two of Education Committee’s sub-committees, the Undergraduate Studies Sub-Committee (USSC) and the Graduate Studies Sub-Committee (GSSC), oversee all appointments and re-appointments of External Examiners for taught provision, with administrative responsibility resting with the Teaching Quality Assurance & Review Office


Who are External Examiners? 

External Examiners are individuals not otherwise linked to LSE who have the skills and experience necessary to scrutinise the assessment process (assessment setting, marking and standards) for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses.

What do they do?

The School expects its External Examiners to provide informed comment and recommendations upon whether: 

  • the School is maintaining the threshold academic standards set for its awards in accordance with the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications for UK degree-awarding bodies, applicable Subject Benchmark Statements and other relevant sector level standards;   
  • the assessment process measures student achievement rigorously and fairly against the intended learning outcomes of the programme(s) and is conducted in line with the School's policies and regulations;   
  • the academic standards and achievements of students are comparable with those in other UK degree-awarding bodies of which the External Examiners have experience.   

They share their comments in a report submitted once a year, the submission dates of which can be seen in the timeline for External Examiner activities.

Typical timeline for External Examiner activities

Typical Timeline of EE activities
Jul-Sep • Nomination for following academic year
• Confirmation of re-appoinment for following academic year
Oct • Appointment
• Right-to-work Check (required at the start of the 4-year term)
• Briefing for External Examiners
 Oct onwards Fulfil External Examiner responsibilities - scrutinise assessment setting and marking practices as instructed by department
• Sub-Boards of Examiners
• UG - Late-June (main board), September (resit and deferrals)
• PGT 9/10-month - Late-June (main board), late February (resit and deferrals)
• PGT 12-month - October (main board), late February (resit and deferrals)
Jul-Sep  • UG - complete Annual Report (July or September if involved with resit/deferred assessments)
• PGT - complete Annual Report (November, covering both the main board and resit/deferred assessments if applicable from the previous January)
Jul-Dec  • Receive fee payment (after Annual Report is submitted) and expense claim payment if applicable


Eligibility Criteria (for the nomination of new External Examiners)

Every programme or part of a programme (e.g. a course) that leads to a School award must be under the remit of at least one External Examiner.  The number of External Examiners appointed by a department will depend on the diversity of subjects and volume of assessment, but should be as small as possible without creating an unmanageable workload for the Examiner(s).   

Undergraduate Examiners are normally appointed to an individual or group of courses, whilst graduate Examiners are normally appointed to a programme.   

  1. The normal maximum period of appointment is four consecutive years, or, in exceptional circumstances, an appointment may be extended by one or two more years on a case by case basis with the approval of the USSC/GSSC. 
  2. The appointment is subject to confirmation for each year of the period. External Examiners should not normally have had a close involvement with the School during the five years preceding the planned date of appointment. This includes acting as an examiner for the LSE University of London International Programmes (UoLIP) programmes, holding a contract of employment for them or acting as an external examiner for them. If an external examiner has previously taught or studied at the School, in addition to the requirement that five years has elapsed, all students must have completed the programme with which the examiner was involved. 
  3. External Examiners should be experienced teachers in the same discipline and at the same level as the subject being assessed. They should also have good standing in the academic community. 
  4. External Examiners should have knowledge and understanding of current principles and practices in maintaining academic standards, quality assurance and enhancement, and methods of assessment. 
  5. External Examiners should usually have five or more years' experience of university teaching. 
  6. No more than one external examiner should be concurrently appointed from the same department of the same institution. 
  7. An External Examiner should not be succeeded in the same discipline by another external examiner from the same institution, unless there are exceptional circumstances and the appointment is approved by the USSC/GSSC. 
  8. An External Examiner should not normally concurrently hold more than two external examiner appointments regardless of the institution. 
  9. An External Examiner should not normally have a close professional, contractual or personal relationship with a student or any member of staff involved with the programme of study or course for which they would have responsibility. USSC/GSSC may permit such appointments in exceptional circumstances, e.g. where for disciplinary reasons the pool of eligible externals is small. 
  10. Other than in exceptional circumstances specifically approved by the appointing body, there should be no reciprocal arrangement whereby a School department or subject group and a department or subject group at another university or higher education institution exchange staff as External Examiners. 
  11. External Examiners should not normally be asked to act for more than one Board, Sub-board or Sub-committee of Examiners of the School at any one time unless a specific paper is shared across more than one programme. 

When approaching a potential new External Examiner for nomination, the department should ask the External Examiner to confirm that they are eligible for appointment in accordance with these conditions. 

If you need clarification on any of the conditions for eligibility as set out above, please contact the Teaching Quality Assurance and Review Office at

Nomination (appointment of new External Examiners)

To make a nomination for an External Examiner, please log in to Salesforce with your LSE email address and password. You can access guidance about how to do this here for PDF format or here for videos. You can also see the questions included on the form so you know what information to prepare.

External Examiners are nominated by academic departments, with nominations considered with reference to the above eligibility criteria. Nominations are processed (approved) by the Teaching Quality Assurance & Review Office if they comply with the aforementioned criteria. If exceptions are requested by academic departments, the Chair(s) of the Undergraduate or Graduate Studies Sub-Committees will consider the nomination on behalf of the Education Committee.  
Nominations should be submitted between July and mid-September each summer for the following academic year.  

After you have submitted your nomination request on Salesforce, a review process will take place. You may be contacted to submit further information, or you may receive the outcome of approval directly via email. 

Once appointments have been confirmed by the School, External Examiners will receive an appointment contract sent by the Teaching Quality Assurance & Review Office for signature and return. Details of their responsibilities, an acceptance form and other documents will also be provided.  

If you have any questions about submitting an External Examiner nomination via the Salesforce platform please contact

Re-appointment (of existing External Examiners)

The normal maximum period of appointment is four consecutive years.  All appointments are subject to annual reconfirmation by both the School and the External Examiner.  This process is called re-appointment. 

To coincide with the period for submitting new nominations, academic departments will be asked to confirm the re-appointment of existing External Examiners between July and mid-September each summer for the following academic year. The Teaching Quality Assurance & Review office will write to department contacts each summer to initiate this process. 

Once re-appointments have been confirmed by the School, External Examiners will receive an appointment contract sent by the Teaching Quality Assurance & Review Office for signature and return.  

Right to Work checks

It’s a legal duty that we ensure all people working for the School have the legal right to do so. From July 2023, all External Examiners will need to complete a Right to Work (RTW) check to finalise their appointment or re-appointment.  From 2024, only newly nominated External Examiners will need to complete a RTW check. 

Information about RTW checks will be provided as part of the appointment contract. The RTW checks will be conducted by the Human Resources Division on behalf of the School. 

Briefing for External Examiners

Sub-board Chairs are responsible for arranging inductions with External Examiners, which should include information about:   

  • the syllabus of the programme and/or individual courses;  
  • methods of assessment, assessment criteria as published for students and marking criteria, including examples of previous exam papers or other assessments;  
  • methods for exam and assessment setting scrutiny;  
  • marking and classification schemes;  
  • planned  dates  for  Sub-board  meetings  and  other  key  dates  /  deadlines  in  the assessment cycle;  
  • names and contact details for key academic and professional services staff in the department;  
  • any other material which will assist the External Examiner with their duties.   

Where practical and mutually agreed, Sub-board Chairs should meet new External Examiners on or near the planned date of appointment.  This is particularly useful if the Examiner has little or no prior experience of external examining and/or of assessment practice at LSE. It may also be advisable to arrange this to coincide with Right to Work Checks when a face-to-face visit to LSE’s campus is required for this purpose.   

External Examiners should liaise with the appropriate academic department(s) for more detailed information about their role. Further pertinent information can also be found in the Instructions for Examiners

Claiming expenses

For expense claims External Examiners should download, complete and return an  External Examiner Expenses Claim Form. Expense claim forms should be submitted to

Annual Reports

External examiners are required to submit an Annual Report form as soon as possible after the examination sub-board(s) for the relevant programmes and courses they are responsible for. Payment of the external examining fee is only made when a satisfactory annual report has been completed and submitted to the School. 

Blank report template can be downloaded here. Due dates for the annual reports are 30 September for Undergraduate programmes/courses and 30 November for Postgraduate programmes/courses. 

Reports should be submitted to Once submitted, the forms will be reviewed and circulated to appropriate members of staff within the School.

Payment of fees

External Examiners will be paid their annual fee once the Teaching Quality Assurance & Review Office has received their completed annual report. Payment is processed by the Payroll team, so personal information including date of birth and bank details will be collected on a confidential webform as part of the appointment process. 

Payments are usually made around one month after a fee payment has been processed, but may take up to two months depending on payroll deadlines. Missing information could result in significant delay so please contact if you have any queries about this process.