LSE-PKU Double MSc Degree in International Affairs

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of International History
  • Application code V2IA
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Beijing, Houghton Street, London

Organised jointly by LSE and Peking University (PKU), this double master’s degree offers an outstanding opportunity to study the international relations of China and the Asia Pacific region, as well as the theory and history of global international relations.

This programme will be ideal for graduate students and young professionals. You will spend your first year at the School of International Studies at Peking University, and the second year at LSE. It will allow you to:

  • experience a full academic programme in both China and Europe
  • take courses in both the International Relations Department and the Department of International History at LSE
  • combine an empirical and a theoretical approach to contemporary international affairs
  • study in small seminar groups of no more than 15 students
  • engage at an advanced level with the latest academic research and undertake your own research-based term work and dissertations

The programme provides an excellent preparation for careers in academia, business or consulting, government or international agencies, the media, politics and law.

The courses in London will be taught in English, while those in Beijing will be taught in Chinese or English, giving students a choice about which language they want to use for their studies.

All applicants apply via LSE. This includes applicants from the People’s Republic of China, and areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and PKU students.

Once you successfully complete your studies at both institutions, you will be conferred Master Degree of Law and Master Degree of Sciences by PKU and LSE respectively.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc International Affairs, LSE and Peking
Start date September 2020 at PKU, Beijing (provisional)
Application deadline 8 March 2020
Duration 24 months full-time only
Tuition fee Year one: TBC (for 2018 entry, fees were CNY 95,000, at PKU)
Year two: £23,520 (provisional) (2020 continuing, at LSE)
Financial support Chinese Government Scholarship programme for year one study at PKU for non-PRC students; 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  PKU, Beijing, China (year one), Houghton Street, London (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-PKU Double MSc Degree in International Affairs

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 our 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 applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

All applicants apply via LSE. This includes applicants from the People's Republic of China, and areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and PKU students. All applications will be reviewed by a joint admissions panel. Applicants from Mainland China, upon meeting the eligibility of applying to this programme, will take the written test arranged by SIS, and both written test and interview arranged by the joint committee from both LSE and PKU. For international applicants and those from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, interviews (via phone or skype) will be arranged when necessary.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- statement of academic purpose
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

Applicants from mainland PRC withouth dual citizenship

All applicants from the mainland of People’s Republic of China who do not have dual citizenship (ie, do not hold a second passport) must complete the National Entrance Examination for Postgraduate Students in China. Applicants holding identity cards from Macau, Hong Kong, or Taiwan do not need to take the National Entrance Examination but must register with PKU Graduate School. It is necessary for these students to contact the School of International Studies at Peking University before submitting an application to assess their eligibility for PKU, by mid-December.

For this programme, dual citizenship means you have a full passport of another country, aside from the passport, residence permit or identity card for the People's Republic of China, including Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.

Non-PRC applicants

All non-PRC students, upon accepting the offer, must go to the PKU online application (pre-registration) system and must complete the following steps. Unless otherwise required, PKU needs to receive this package (normally by May - TBC). If you do not complete the registration process with PKU and mail the required documents before the deadline, you will not be able to be enrolled by PKU for the year of 2017.

- complete the PKU form,
- pay the pre-registration fee, CNY 400 online (normally by April - TBC)
- print out and sign the form and, together with TWO passport size photos (and copy of the passport page with name) and post to:

Ms. XUE  Yanfeng,
Program Officer,
B101, School of International Studies, Peking University,
No.5 Yiheyuan Road, 100871, Beijing,
Tel: 86-10-62759199, Fax: 86-10-62758954

The outcome of your application

For joint admissions, notification will be sent by LSE on behalf of both institutions by the end of May. An official PKU admission letter and visa form (for international students) will be sent by early July.
Except in special circumstances (for example illness or bereavement,) we do not allow entry deferrals. Candidates who have to withdraw are welcome to reapply in the following year.

Further information about the application process

For further information about the National Entrance Examination for Postgraduate Students in China, and about the application process, please contact Mr Zhang Chunping, Director of International Programs Office, on or or call +86 10 6276 5111 or fax +86 10 6275 8954.

Programme structure and courses

First year, at Peking University

At Peking University, you will take a compulsory course on Chinese Politics and Diplomacy, a compulsory thesis writing seminar, and complete your first year with a dissertation. If you are a non-Chinese student, you are required to take a compulsory Chinese Language Course offered by the PKU Chinese Language Centre in the first semester.

You can select other elective courses among the wide variety on offer in the School of International Studies. For elective courses, students have to choose 5 courses (3 credits each) for a total of 15 credits. If you are a Chinese student, you must take at least 4 courses taught in English. See the Department of International History's website for more details.


Dissertation and Oral Defence (the dissertation can be written either in English or Chinese).

Progression to Year 2

In order to successfully progress to year 2 at the LSE, students must obtain 22 (18+4 for the language course) credits and complete their dissertations at Peking University. N.B.: Even though it is compulsory to complete a dissertation at PKU, the PKU dissertation does not carry any credits.

Students will progress to Year 2 at LSE upon meeting the following standards:

Students are required to achieve minimum pass grades in all courses and dissertation as formulated by PKU for this Programme.

Failure to achieve pass in any courses (including the dissertation) will lead to retaking the courses and re-sitting the exams in the following year.

In addition to passing all PKU required exams to progress to year 2, students are required to pass their PKU dissertation defence before 15th July, which is the date when the progression list is sent to LSE. Students who fail to pass the thesis defence will NOT progress to the second year study at LSE. As per PKU regulations for graduate students are that all the study and assignments should be completed within two academic years. If a student cannot meet this requirement and needs to defer graduation due to delay in thesis defence, they must formally request an extension by submitting the extension application form to the University.

PRC students who cannot achieve the English language proficiency qualifications required by the LSE for this Programme by 15th July of year 1 will not be allowed to progress to year 2 and consequently drop off from the programme. Students in their year 1 at PKU will receive visa invitations to the UK (including the CAS code) and information on registration at LSE once LSE has received the progression list from SIS/PKU in mid-July. This list contains the names of students who are qualified for progression to year 2 at LSE.

Second year, at LSE

At LSE, you will take courses in both the International Relations and the International History Departments. You will also take a third course from the wide range of options offered by the two Departments, and complete the programme with a dissertation on a relevant topic in international history.

Core course: Crisis Decision-Making in War and Peace 1914-2003
Examines the history of international relations from the First World War to the Iraq War.

An independent research project of up to 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice.

Courses to the value of two unit from a range of options

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


The courses in London will be taught in English, while those in Beijing will be taught in Chinese or English, giving you a choice about which language you want to use for your study. 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. Assessment is primarily by examination, although some courses also have an assessed course work component. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide

To successfully progress to the second year at the LSE, you must obtain 22 credits and finish a dissertation in year one at Peking University. Please note that while its completion is compulsory, the PKU dissertation does not carry any credits. To progress to the second year you must also achieve minimum pass grades in all courses and the dissertation defence before 15th July.

Failure to achieve pass in any courses (including the dissertation) will lead to retaking the courses and re-sitting the exams in the following year. Students who have failed the defence in July will have another chance to defend their thesis either by September 10 of the same year or by 15 July of the following year. In the latter case, the student will not be allowed to progress to LSE in the second year. In case of a second failure to defend the thesis, the student will drop off from the programme.

PRC students who cannot achieve LSE’s required English language proficiency qualifications required by 15th July of the first year will not be allowed to progress to the second year. Students who qualify for progression for the second year at LSE will be included on a progression list sent from PKU to LSE in mid-July. These students will then receive information about applying for their visa and registration at LSE.

Upon successful completion of studies at both institutions, students will be conferred Master Degree of Law and Master Degree of Sciences by PKU and LSE respectively.

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.


The programme provides an excellent preparation for careers in academia, business or consulting, government or international agencies, the media, politics and law.

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-PKU Double MSc Degree in International Affairs

UK/EU students, first year: TBC (2018 fee was CNY 95,000, at PKU)
Overseas students, first year: TBC (2018 fee was CNY 95,000, at PKU)
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. As this is a double degree, this applies only to the year spent at LSE.

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 £13 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

Funding for the first year, at PKU

Non-PRC students can apply to the Chinese Government Scholarship programme for year one study at PKU. Applications must be submitted via the Chinese Embassy of the student’s country of origin. The CGS will provide awardees with a monthly living stipend and assistance with accommodation arrangements. The PKU tuition fee will be partly covered by the CGS (students are expected to make up for the difference by other means). 

All students are eligible to be awarded designated scholarships or financial aid based on their overall performance during year one at PKU. Since 2014, students who met the requirement were awarded RMB 2,000-10,000 respectively depending on different types of scholarship or financial aid.

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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