The Department of International Relations celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002-2003. You can read about the Foundation and History of the International Relations Department.
International Relations has been taught at LSE since 1924 when Philip Noel-Baker was appointed to a new, privately-endowed Chair of International Relations. The Department, which was set up three years later, was not only the first of its kind, but has remained a leading world centre for the development of the subject ever since. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the most recent National Research Assessment Exercise when the IR and Government Departments, assessed as one unit, received one of the highest rankings.
In the early years the Department drew heavily on other disciplines, in particular Diplomatic History and International Law; but in the 1960s the leadership passed to Geoffrey Goodwin and Fred Northedge, both of whom were graduates of the Department. They took the study of IR into a new era, as well as helping to establish the Centre for International Studies in 1967, and the graduate programme in European Studies launched in 1972. They also helped found the student-run journal, Millennium: Journal of International Studies which is one of the most prestigious IR journals.
The Department is also closely associated with the development of a specifically 'English School' of International Relations. But although many of its leading figures -- Martin Wight, Hedley Bull, and John Vincent -- did indeed teach in the Department, we have never endorsed a particular orthodoxy. Indeed, many new developments in the subject have been pioneered by us such as the increasing concern with international political economy which owes much to the work and inspiration of Susan Strange, and the interest in revolutions and IR which owes much to Fred Halliday. Our aim is to offer students a broad range of options including major theoretical perspectives on IR, the study of conflict as well as conflict management, the work of the major international institutions, and the major regions of the world from Europe to the Middle East.
The Department has always been strongly international in character and today the majority of our graduate students, a good proportion of our undergraduates, as well as many members of the faculty are drawn from Europe, North America and further afield. At the same time we have always prided ourselves as having both a national and an international role in training diplomats and future university teachers. At least fifty former students are now teaching International Relations in universities both in Britain and abroad.