The London School of Economics and Political Science (informally the London School of Economics or LSE) is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and degrees were issued to its students from 1902 onwards. Despite its name LSE conducts teaching and research across the entire range of the social sciences, including accounting and finance, anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations, law, media and communications, philosophy, politics, psychology, social policy and sociology.
LSE is based in Westminster, central London, on the boundary between Covent Garden and Holborn. It has around 8,700 full-time students and 1,300 academic staff and had a total income of £220.9 million in 2009/10, of which £23.9 million was from research grants and contracts. LSE's library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science, contains over 4.7 million volumes and is the world's largest social and political sciences library. LSE was found to have the highest percentage of world-leading research of any British university in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
LSE is among the world's most selective universities and in 2008 had the lowest undergraduate admissions rate of any university in Britain. It has a highly international student body, and at one time had more countries represented by students than the UN has members. LSE has produced many notable alumni in the fields of law, economics, business, literature and politics. There are currently 16 Nobel Prize winners amongst LSE's alumni and current and former staff, as well as 34 world leaders and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners and fellows of the British Academy.
LSE is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, the European University Association, the G5, the Global Alliance in Management Education, the Russell Group and Universities UK. It forms part of the 'Golden Triangle' of British universities.