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Department of International History
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street

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in Sardinia House (SAR)

Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6174
Fax: +44 (0)20 7831 4495

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Undergraduate Programmes

At LSE, you can study history in the heart of London with teachers of international reputation and access to some of the finest educational resources in the world. Entrance requirements are exacting, but an LSE degree can make you highly attractive to employers both in Britain and overseas.

The International History Department at the LSE is one of the UK's top History Departments, both in terms of the excellence of its teaching and of its research. Our undergraduate programmes are central to the work of the Department, and we pride ourselves on giving students the benefit of our research expertise through our teaching. This is reflected in the wide range of specialised courses we offer. Our teaching is backed up by the excellent Library and IT provision offered by the School. We pride ourselves on providing a supportive learning environment, and on maintaining small group teaching to ensure that every student is treated as an individual.

The Department is also one of the most cosmopolitan in the country, as befits its location and its traditions. Undergraduate students joining us will become an integral part of what is truly a unique International History Department - international both in the scope of its interests and in terms of its excellence.

Our undergraduate programme combines breadth with depth and ranges across many centuries and continents. It is distinctive for its commitment to providing students with a broad international perspective. However, it gives as much attention to political, economic, social and cultural developments within states as to the relations between them, in the belief that unless domestic and international history are studied together neither can be properly understood.

The next LSE Open Day for prospective undergraduate students will take place soon. More information will be advertised here. 

The Department offers the following undergraduate programmes:

BA History
BSc International Relations and History
General Course

You can take history as a single honours degree in BA History or in a joint honours degree with international relations in the BSc International Relations and History. There is a separate section on economic history. In all degrees you will study 12 courses over three years, plus LSE100.

At the heart of the intellectual rationale that shapes the undergraduate degrees offered in the Department of International History are two key elements: progression and breadth.

Progression means that through each stage of your three-year degree you are faced with different intellectual challenges. So, in your first year, you begin by studying broader, survey courses, which look either at the history of a particular part of the world, or particular themes, over a longer period of time.

In the second year, the range of choice open to you is much broader, and you are therefore able to develop more specialised personal interests in the history of particular countries, regions or themes.

Finally, in the third year, you can study detailed, document-based "special subjects" which allow you to reach a new depth of understanding of a particular topic.

BA History students are also required to write a long essay or dissertation, while BSc International Relations and History students have the option to do this. This is your chance to pursue independent research in any field of history in which you have developed an interest during your degree.

At each stage, therefore, our degrees challenge you in different ways. The goal is simple: to facilitate your intellectual development.

Breadth is the other principle at the heart of our degrees. This refers to the range of choice available to you, particularly in the second and third years. It also refers to our requirement that BA History students maintain an early modern component through the first two years of their degree. Breadth is also enhanced through the provision that all first year students should take 'an approved paper taught outside the Department'.

What does this mean? Well, this is your chance to follow up an established interest in another field, perhaps, government, or economics or law from across the wide range of courses offered by other departments at the LSE.

All in all, an undergraduate degree in the Department of International History offers an exceptional opportunity to develop and expand your intellectual horizons in a world renowned, cosmopolitan setting.

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 most courses. Some courses contain elements of continuous summative assessment.  A 10,000 word dissertation is compulsory in the final year of the BA History, and is an option in the final year of the BSc International Relations and History.

Further information:

For more details on the undergraduate course of study, please consult the relevant sections of the LSE Calendar.