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.
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 excellent results in the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS). The overall satisfaction rating for undergraduate History degrees was 86% and 86% also agreed they were fully satisfied with the teaching of their courses.
At the national level, the Guardian's University Guide 2016 awarded History at LSE 5th place, behind Cambridge and St Andrews, but ahead of Oxford, UCL and King's College London - an improvement from 2015, when History at LSE had ranked 8th.
The independent Complete University Guide for 2016, ranked International History at LSE 7th place, behind Oxford, Warwick and Exeter, but ahead of York and UCL, in its History subject table. The rankings of the Complete University Guide are based on student satisfaction, entry requirements, research excellence and employment prospects after graduation.
Both tables make clear that LSE history students continue to have one of the best rate of employability after graduation in the UK. In the case of the Complete University Guide, University League Table 2016, LSE is placed in 6th overall for job prospects.
The Department of International History also performed impressively in international university league tables. The QS World University History Subject Table for 2015 ranks History at LSE 6th overall in the world and one of three UK universities in the top 10. Other UK institutions featuring in the top 30 are Cambridge (2), Oxford (3), Warwick (15) and KCL (27).