Masters programmes

The Department of International History at LSE offers the following masters programmes:

Why study with us?

The LSE was founded in 1895 originally as an institute of higher education for graduate students. The Department of International History reflects this tradition and takes its responsibility for graduate teaching and research supervision very seriously. We admit nearly as many masters students as undergraduates, with a critical mass of graduates usually numbering over 150 in a year. Consequently our graduates never feel on the margins of the department or an after-thought which often can be the case at some other London institutions geared more for undergraduate teaching. We have one of the most cosmopolitan graduate communities in London and for international history in the UK and it is therefore one of the most vibrant and dynamic. You will have use of our library, famous for being the best university library in London. In addition, we have an IT network and training facilities that are acknowledged to be leading the field.

The department has consistently performed well in the QS World University Rankings. In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2019, History at LSE ranked 6th overall in the world ahead of Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, UCLA and Chicago. In the UK and in Europe, History at LSE ranked third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of UCL, KCL and Leiden.

The department offers a number of established and well-respected taught programmes which give students a range of core and specialist topics, the latter enabling our staff to teach topics which form their current research projects (which also saves you money as you don't have to buy the book later on!). While on the subject of research, the department is divided into five research clusters covering a wide range of subjects taught in the Department. We have our own blog, LSE International History Blog, where students and non-LSE historians contribute historically-informed perspectives on contemporary affairs. We also have our own podcast, Our Histories, with each episode devoted to the research conducted by one of our faculty members.

Graduate students in the Department of International History have a research seminar with guest speakers and there are guest lectures. We organise a weekend away at Cumberland Lodge, Great Windsor Park once a year. This is designed to enable graduates to get to know each other better and to develop their ideas about a particular topic. Additionally throughout the year, students can take advantage of the great LSE tradition of inviting famous (and infamous) figures from the world of politics, business, media and international affairs. Please see the Department's Public Lectures and Events for a good range of history events hosted by us during the academic year as well as the  LSE Public Lectures and Events. This helps make the LSE a particularly fertile and exiting place to be studying international history. There is an almost bewildering range of societies and clubs engaging with international politics, single issues, the 'third world', social justice problems or just dedicated to sport, music, dance and a whole range of pursuits which we lecturers haven't got a clue about. We highly recommend our students join the LSE Student Union History Society. We have a gym and squash courts on site and one of the largest student shops on campus. There is also a large student bookshop owned by Waterstone's selling new and used books.

We are very fortunate at the LSE in being so centrally located in the capital. We are in walking distance of the British Library, Covent Garden, the Royal Courts of Justice, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the West End theatres as well as Trafalgar Square, the Barbican, Buckingham Palace, River Thames and the London Eye. Much of our graduate accommodation is located in prime real-estate sites in central London. Our graduate students can take advantage of all the intellectual resources that this capital is home to, including the National Archives south of the river at Kew and the world's largest newspaper archive in North London. Not surprisingly our students are able to produce dissertations of the highest quality benefiting from such easy access to a range of primary sources and people willing to help.

Teaching and support

Each graduate student is supported by a mentor who they meet at least twice a term - as many times as need be - to discuss any aspect of their life at the LSE. The mentor is the first point of contact if you have any worries about your time in London. The Department also has a Masters Programme Tutor, who oversees the Graduate programme and he is also available to meet students. Graduates can also approach the Postgraduate and Research Programme Manager, Mrs Nayna Bhatti. Finally, there are graduate representatives on School committees and the Graduate Staff-Student Committee and we value their input.

The Department of International History is committed to the idea that graduate teaching should be done in small groups. In order to meet this commitment, and to ensure that students can work with their teachers in an environment where real dialogue and interchange is possible, the number taking some courses does have to be controlled. This means that it becomes very important to indicate in advance to the Department what options the incoming students wish to take.

Masters dissertation

This component of the degree reflects our belief that Masters level history students should be willing to engage in detailed historical research. In preparing this piece of work, students are provided with guidance about how to choose an appropriate topic, how to identify and locate the necessary sources, and how to write up their research findings. This is done through a combination of departmental workshops and discussions between individual students and their dissertation supervisor. But ultimately the dissertation is a test of the research abilities and writing skills of each individual student.

Examples of topics tackled by previous Masters students at the Department include:

  • The role of the UK in Early Sino-American Contacts regarding the Vietnam War. A Missed Opportunity?
  • The Anglo-Argentine Negotiations on the Transfer of Sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, 1966-1968
  • The European mediation of the Indian Concept of Aryanism and its subsequent implications for Hindu nationalism
  • Racial stereotyping and the Japanese Fall of Singapore
  • The British Government and the BBC: Foreign Policy in Action in Kenya and Rhodesia during the 1960s
  • 'Conqueror and Captive': The British Romantics and Napoleon.

While in London, students preparing dissertations can take advantage of numerous world-class research libraries and archives. These include the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), the British Library, the libraries of specialised schools of the University of London such as the Institute for Historical Research, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and the LSE's own library, the British Library of Political and Economic Sciences. The LSE's archive also contains much valuable research material, as do the collections of the Imperial War Museum, the Warburg Institute and many others.


Q: Does my first degree have to be in History?
A: We will consider applicants with good first degrees in any discipline and a commitment to the field covered by the MA/MSc.

Q: What is the minimum entry requirement by the department?
A: Upper second class degree or equivalent. Full list of entry requirements.

Q: Do I have to sit the GRE?
A: No.

Q: What level of proficiency is required in English?
A: TOEFL 107 or IELTS 7.0 or 70% in the LSE test. Full list of English language requirements.

Q: How long is the dissertation and what topic must it be on?
A: 10,000 words. The only formal limit on the choice of subject for the dissertation is that the subject must fall within the taught syllabus, and must be supervised by a member of staff in the Department of International History.

Q: Will I have to remain in London to complete my dissertation?
A: Many of our overseas students return home at the end of June and work on completing their dissertations at home. The dissertations must be handed in by the due date in September, but overseas candidates often submit these via a registered courier mail service.

Q: Will my master's qualification prepare me for PhD work?
A: This MSc degree is a good preparation for a research degree.

Q: What sort of career will this degree prepare me for?
A: This degree provides excellent training in the field for related careers in government, the media, teaching, library and museum posts, politics, law and international business.

Q: Can I learn a language at the LSE?
A: The School has an excellent Language Centre which is available to all students.

Q: When will I find out my examination results?
A: Normally at the end of November, either via the Student Services Notice Board or the LSE For You. The Department does not supply this information. Transcripts will also be sent out by the School rather than the Department.