Founded in 1954, the Department of International History is one of the youngest departments at LSE. But in its short life, it has risen to become one of the top five university history departments in the UK, thanks to both its internationally renowned graduate programme and research record. Its reputation as a centre of new developments in the study of international history is now recognised as a separate school of thought; the “London School”.
Like the other departments at the School, the Department of International History grew up around a Chair and a special subject within the BSc (Econ) degree introduced after the Second World War. The Chair itself dates back into the inter-war period and is one of the two Chairs founded by Sir Daniel Stevenson, the other being at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. From 1932 the Stevenson Chair, as it came to be called at the School, formed the nucleus of the emerging Department of International History.
To see if you are suited to the study of International History at LSE, please see Why Study History?
LSE’s Department of International History teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day. The Department has a permanent academic staff of 29, around 200 graduate students and 200 undergraduates. Its academic excellence and the cosmopolitan nature of the teaching staff and the student body contribute to making the LSE one of the world's leading centres for the study of international history.
The results from the last round of the UK’s national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008, placed the Department as joint fourth-best in the country based on the proportion of top-rated research. 35 per cent of research activity was deemed world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. A further 30 per cent of research was deemed internationally excellent.
The Department of International History is an ideal location for those wishing to explore world history. The courses offered, at both undergraduate and graduate levels cover a wide range of cultures and periods, and allow students to build upon and move beyond the nationally based histories normally taught at school and in many other universities.
The opportunities to study single countries in greater depth are thus flanked by the option of examining wider regions (the Middle East for example) or movements and trends which affect numerous countries (nationalism, the Cold War, European integration). Particular areas of expertise include Europe, the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Japan and the United States.
The Department's teaching builds upon a long-standing tradition and it retains the reputation as one of the leading world centres for the study of international history. The current staff have all built up a considerable expertise in one or more regions of the world, are actively involved in international research, and bring their knowledge and experience to bear in their teaching and their supervision.
The cosmopolitan nature of the student body itself only reinforces LSE’s claim to be an ideal centre for international history.
Amongst the nationalities represented in the current student body are members of different European nations, the Americas, Sri Lankans, Russians, Chinese, Armenians, Chileans, Israelis, Icelanders and South Africans. As a result, any class discussion of past and present international controversies is enriched by a wide range of national viewpoints and perspectives. Being situated in central London itself further strengthens this international approach, since the surrounding city is cosmopolitan in both outlook and population. It not only hosts a rich mixture of cultural events, but is also well equipped with the libraries and archives that are crucial to the study of history.LSE thus represents a logical choice as a location for the study of international history, at undergraduate and graduate level.
The Department of International History achieved outstanding results in the 2013 National Student Survey (NSS). The overall satisfaction rating for undergraduate History degrees was 98%, an improvement on the already-impressive 95 % in 2012, and included an unprecedented 100% satisfaction rating amongst BA History students.
In the recently published Complete University Guide for 2014, International History at LSE ranked in third place, just behind Cambridge and Durham but ahead of Oxford and St Andrews, in its History subject table. The rankings are based on student satisfaction, entry requirements, research excellence and employment prospects after graduation. The same Guide noted in April 2012 that 87% of LSE History students secured graduate level jobs within six months of graduation. This is by far the best result for any History degree in the UK.
The Guardian's University Guide 2014 awarded History at LSE 4th place, just behind Cambridge, St Andrews and Brunel, while the independent Complete University Guide for 2014 lists LSE in 3rd place, ahead of Oxford and St Andrews on their History subject table. Both tables also makes clear that LSE history students continue to have the best rate of employability after graduation in the UK.
The Department of International also performed impressively in several recent university league tables. The QS World University History Subject Table for 2014 ranks History at LSE 7th overall in the world as one of 3 UK universities in the top 10. Other UK institutions feature in the top 40 include Warwick (24), KCL (26) and UCL (32).
Department of International History, 1972