If your application is accepted by the School, you will be assigned an academic supervisor within the Department. The teacher who will be assisting you is responsible for providing advice on selecting a topic, on the use of historical sources, on the writing process, and on how to successfully complete a thesis in history. Your supervisor is your first port of call on academic matters throughout your time in the Department, although he or she may advice you to consult other members of staff or members of other departments within the School for specific queries. The Research Student Advisor in the Department, who heads the research student programme, may also be consulted by all research students on questions relating to their programme.
For a list of potential academic supervisors please see the people's section.
The doctoral thesis is the core of the training at the PhD level. For most students, the thesis is the first major piece of writing you have put together, and it takes much preparation to complete successfully. You need to learn, first of all, about the ways historians interpret the past, and about how to find your own voice within the profession. You also need practical knowledge about how to prepare and organise for such a substantive undertaking as writing a thesis in history is. You have to learn about how archives work, and about how to carry out research in them. And, perhaps most important of all, you have to learn how to construct and argue for the key hypotheses of your work based on your original research, so that the thesis becomes an important addition to academic knowledge in the field.
The Department has developed a well-functioning framework in order to guide you through to the completion of your thesis within three to four years of your arrival here. While the supervisor will be your main guide throughout the process, there are a number of seminars available in the Department, at LSE, and in the University of London Institute for Historical Research that will be relevant to your work, from sessions on how to write a thesis to seminars that discuss overall historiographical developments in specific areas of international history. The PhD programme at LSE includes a international history workshop (compulsory for 1st year students), which helps prepare you for the research and writing process and introduces key methodological and historiographical topics. We also strongly encourage you to make use of the many opportunities that exist within the school and in London to receive further specialist training and to discuss your work and your interests with renowned experts in the field.