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 first issued to its students in 1902. Despite its name, it conducts teaching and research across the entire range of the social sciences - accounting and finance, anthropology, applied statistics, actuarial science, economic history, economics, geography, government, history, international development, international relations (which LSE pioneered as a study), law, management, philosophy, politics, psychology, social policy and sociology - as well as in logic and the scientific method, mathematics and statistics.
LSE is based in Westminster, central London, on the boundary between Covent Garden and Holborn in an area historically known as Clare Market. LSE is organised into around 25 academic departments and 15 research centres. 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 a number of recent years has had the lowest undergraduate admissions rate of any British university. 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. To date, there have been 18 Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni and current and former staff, as well as 34 world leaders and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners and fellows of the British Academy.