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BSc International Relations and History

The joint honours BSc International Relations and History is offered by the Department of International History in conjunction with the Department of International Relations.

Students who wish to complement the in-depth understanding of the complex unfolding of historical events with a theoretical perspective on how international society is organised can take a degree in International Relations and History.

Students taking a degree in IR and History take an equal number of courses from each of the two departments. History courses range from relations between Muslims, Christians and Jews in early modern Spain to the Russian Revolution, from the rise and fall of the British Empire in India, to the Cold War. For a full list of the courses we offer, please see: Undergraduate Course Guides.

As part of this degree, students take three required courses in International Relations: The Structure of International Society, Foreign Policy Analysis, and International Organisations. Final year students have the option of writing a 10,000 word History dissertation. For full details on what courses students can take at each stage of their degree, please see the LSE Calendar.

The degree places a strong emphasis on developing analytical skills, with a focus on discerning academic opinions, interrogating sources, and developing arguments.

First year

In your first year, you are going to study:

Concepts of International Society is an examination of the theories and concepts designed to explain the nature of contemporary international relations.

International History since 1890 is the history of international relations from the 1890s through the 1990s.

Your final two options are chosen from:

From Empire to Independence and War and Society or from the wide range offered by other departments at LSE, including language courses.

From Empire to Independence: The Extra European World in the 20th Century is an introductory survey of events outside Europe in the twentieth century. 

War and Society from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic Era c.1500-1815 provides a broad, thematic study of war and society from the early sixteenth century to the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Second and third years

In the second year you take the compulsory course International Political Theory.

Additionally you take a core course in international relations (Foreign Policy Analysis or International Organisations), and courses in international history.

International Political Theory is the core subject for specialists in international relations. It consists of a survey, in two parts, of thinking about international relations, with emphasis on the political aspects.

Foreign Policy Analysis offers various theoretical perspectives on foreign policy, and the means of conduct of the main actors in the international system towards each other.

International Organisations explores major theoretical and empirical aspects of the role of international organizations in international politics.

You also take two modern history international options.

In the third year, you take a further international relations core course with one international relations course, one of the document based special subjects in international history and a further course in either subject (this may include a dissertation in history) or from another department.

You also take Foreign Policy Analysis or International Organisations, whichever you did not take in the second year.

Click here for a full explanation of the Programme Regulations and a full list of courses available.

You will have a combination of weekly lectures and small classes, amounting to about eight contact hours per week. In addition, you will need to read extensively and write between three to five essays and/or class papers per course. You will have an academic adviser who will offer support if any problems should arise.You will have a written three hour examination for each course. A 10,000 word dissertation is an option in the final year of the BSc International Relations and History.