LSE-Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of International History
  • Application code Apply via Columbia University
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London, New York City

Our world is more interconnected than ever. We call it globalisation, but without good histories to explain how we got here, we cannot begin to know where we are heading.

This master's programme at Columbia University and LSE asks you to explore our world by studying the forces that have been remaking it; migration, trade, technological revolutions, epidemic disease, environmental change, wars and diplomacy. Working with preeminent historians in the field, you will analyse large-scale historical processes, pursue empirical research and produce your own comparative and cross-cultural histories.

The further development of the study of international history in this broad sense depends on the internationalisation of the training and skills of the next generation of experts. This double degree draws on the faculties of two of the world's leading centres of international affairs, which have the expertise and commitment to provide the training and skills needed. It offers close contact in seminars and colloquia with mentors in different intellectual and cultural settings in two global cities. You will spend the first year at Columbia University, New York, and the second year at LSE in London.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc International and World History (LSE and Columbia)
Start date September 2020 at Columbia University, New York
Application deadline Apply via Columbia by 15 January or 16 March 2020
Duration 22 months full-time only
Tuition fee Year one: TBC 
Year two: £23,520 (provisional) (2021 continuing, at LSE)
Financial support Tuition Reduction Scholarships at Columbia, Graduate Support Scheme (for year two at LSE, apply in year one)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Columbia University, New York, USA (year one), Houghton Street, London, UK (year two)
For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for LSE-Columbia Double Degree in International and World History

Upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent in any discipline. 

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

Assessing your application

We welcome applicants from all academic and professional backgrounds. Students are selected for admission based on their academic and professional pursuits, in addition to their unique interests and life experiences.

Students in our programme have backgrounds in history as well as a wide range of other academic fields including comparative literature, philosophy, anthropology, area studies, political science, journalism and business. Students with backgrounds outside of the humanities and social sciences are also welcome to apply, so long as their Statement of Purpose explains why they wish to study history.

Although work experience is considered desirable, the programme will also accept students who are currently finishing their undergraduate studies. Students with a previous master’s degree are welcome to apply, although the majority of incoming students are likely not to have a degree beyond the Bachelor’s degree.

Applications are reviewed by both institutions, however you submit apply via Columbia University.

Programme structure and courses

At the heart of the programme is the two-year dissertation, a piece of original scholarly work based on detailed empirical research and analysis. The dissertation is supported by a sequence of three compulsory courses taken at Columbia and LSE, as well as a large range of electives that allow for specialisation. Rigorous language study is also an important component of the curriculum as it enables projects that are international in nature. 

The programme begins with Approaches to International and Global History which introduces the conceptual possibilities of International and World History and the year-long MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods. The latter is a series of practical workshops that help you develop your dissertation topic and begin your research. At LSE, you will enrol in your final compulsory course, a year-long Dissertation Workshop, designed to help you write your dissertation as well as think about where you would like to take your career after the programme has finished.  

First year, at Columbia University, New York

At Columbia University, you will complete 30 credits, including the core components of the programme. At least 22 of these credits must be obtained through courses in the History Department.

You could also take courses outside of the History Department (up to eight elective points, or two courses), provided that both the MA/MSc academic adviser (Dr Line Lillevik) and the course instructor approve. You can take classes from other departments within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) as well as in other schools at Columbia, including the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Journalism School, Teachers College and the School of the Arts (SOA). 

Please note that the programme does not permit R credits. Language classes taken to meet the programme’s foreign language requirement generally do not count towards the minimum 30 credit hours. The definitive guide to courses being offered in a given semester can be found online Columbia Directory of Classes.

Approaches to International and Global History
Introduces the conceptual possibilities and problems of international and world history.

MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop
A series of practical workshops including training in the use of archives and other primary sources, the organisation and documentation of research, and the presentation and publication of findings.

Courses up to the value of 30 credits from a range of options

Second year, at LSE 

At LSE, you will complete three full units in addition to the dissertation.

At least two of these three units must be chosen from the wide range of international history and economic history course offerings. You may complete a third unit in another department at LSE, provided that both the academic director at LSE and the teacher responsible for the course approve.

You will also take the year-long Dissertation Workshop, which is designed to help you research and write your dissertation and to think about where you would like to take your career after your time at LSE has finished. It provides a specialised forum for discussion and debate on what it means to write history and to be an historian.

Although it’s not mandatory, you are also welcome to attend the larger graduate-level Research Training Workshop for all international history master’s students at the LSE, which focuses on practical research and study skills.

LSE-Columbia University Double Degree Dissertation
Provides assistance in writing your dissertation and thinking about the direction in which you want your career to go. It provides a specialised forum for discussion and debate on what it means to write history and be a historian.

Dissertation workshop

Optional courses to the value of three units

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page. 

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

At LSE you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. This includes sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar  within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research. 

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.


All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

For this programme, dissertations are submitted in the first week of the Summer Term and assessed in accordance with LSE’s MSc criterion. Exams are held between mid-May and late June.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns. 

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.


While many dual degree students go on to undertake PhDs, some choose to apply the insights gained to a career outside of academia, including journalism, public policy, non-profit, or the private sector.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2020/21 for LSE-Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History

UK/EU students, first year: TBC 
Overseas students, first year: TBC 
UK/EU students, second year: £23,520 (provisional) (2021/22 at LSE)
Overseas students, second year: £23,520 (provisional) (2021/22 at LSE)

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status.
However any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a Home (UK/EU) or Overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

Funding for the first year, at Columbia

Tuition Fee Reduction Scholarships are available. Recipients are selected by Columbia University.

Funding for the second year, at LSE

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships. You must apply for these needs-based awards from LSE, during your first year of study, submitting an application by the funding deadline, normally in April each year.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas.

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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