Programmes

MPhil/PhD International History

  • Graduate research
  • Department of International History
  • Application code V1ZH
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

 PhD-Video-747x420

This programme offers the chance to undertake a substantial piece of work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to the field of international history. You will begin on the MPhil, and will need to meet certain requirements to be upgraded to PhD status.

The Department of International History at LSE is one of the UK's leading centres of historical research. With its emphasis on the international and transnational context of historical developments, it provides a supportive, but challenging environment for those individuals interested in undertaking a research project leading to a PhD in international history. The Department currently has about 20 faculty engaged in innovative research who are ideally placed to supervise research students on a wide range of subjects. The Department of International History at LSE can offer a comprehensive range of special areas for research, ranging from the early 16th century to the late 20th century.

Each year we receive a large number of applications from prospective PhD students from across the globe. The Department currently has over 35 graduate research students, from virtually every corner of the world, who provide a vibrant and friendly community at the heart of the PhD process. You will benefit from partaking in research training alongside your academic research, attending and participating in workshops and specialised research seminars, and from access to an unparalleled diversity of archival resources in London. Our graduates teach in some of the best university departments in Britain and overseas, or work in the media, civil service or private and voluntary organisations.

Currently, programmes beginning in September 2020 are unaffected by Coronavirus. If there are going to be any changes to the delivery of the programme then all applicants will be notified. If you are unable to attend in September 2020 you can reinstate your application for 2021 entry, please see lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Offer-holders/How-do-I/Secure. For more information see the Graduate Admissions news page (lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/News) and the School's Coronavirus FAQ page: info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/Coronavirus-FAQs

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD International History
Start date 28 September 2020
Application deadline 19 June 2020. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration Three-four years (minimum two) full-time
Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,435 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £19,368 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 10 January 2020)
Minimum entry requirement Taught master’s degree in related discipline with at least 67 overall and in the dissertation
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Research (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

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 MRes/PhD International History

Taught master’s degree (or equivalent) in a related discipline with at least 67 per cent overall and in the dissertation.

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 for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

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 existing and pending qualifications)
- statement of academic purpose
- references
- CV
- outline research proposal
- sample of written work

Applications which demonstrate a pre-existing level of language competence required to complete the PhD will be favoured.

See further information on supporting documents

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

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 19 June 2020. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Programme structure and courses

In addition to progressing with your research, you are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. You may take courses in addition to those listed, and should discuss this with your supervisor.

At the end of your first year, you will need to satisfy certain requirements and if you meet these, will be retroactively upgraded to PhD status.

First year

Training courses

Compulsory (not examined)
International History Research Student Workshop
Aims to introduce students to effective archival research, issues in the preparation of a thesis and means of launching a career in academic or related fields; and the opportunity to present research in progress.

Second year

Training courses

Optional (not examined)

International History Research Seminar
Second, third and fourth year PhD students will present their research for discussion. 

Cold War History Research Seminar
Second and third year PhD students will present their research for discussion.

Third year

Training courses

Optional (not examined)

International History Research Seminar
Second, third and fourth year PhD students will present their research for discussion. 

Cold War History Research Seminar
Second and third year PhD students will present their research for discussion.

Fourth year

Training courses

Optional (not examined)

International History Research Seminar
Second, third and fourth year PhD students will present their research for discussion. 

Cold War History Research Seminar
Second and third year PhD students will present their research for discussion.

Browse the latest programmes of the International History Research Student Workshop and the International History Research Seminar and the Cold War Research Seminar.

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.

Supervision, progression and assessment

Supervision

If your application is accepted by the School, you will be assigned an academic supervisor within the Department. The teacher who will be assisting you is responsible for providing advice on selecting a topic, on the use of historical sources, on the writing process, and on how to successfully complete a thesis in history. Your supervisor is your first port of call on academic matters throughout your time in the Department, although he or she may advice you to consult other members of staff or members of other departments within the School for specific queries. The Research Student Advisor in the Department, who heads the research student programme, may also be consulted by all research students on questions relating to their programme.

Your supervisor is your main guide through this learning process. You and your supervisor share responsibility for transforming your efforts into a successful thesis. If you are to have a productive relationship with your supervisor, at your first meeting you must work out together a detailed plan both for the first year and for the completion of your thesis. Although this plan may, by agreement, be changed later on, it is essential for the supervision process that you keep your supervisor regularly informed of your progress. It is also very important that you follow your supervisor’s advice on key aspects of the thesis. Your supervisor will have much experience both in research and writing, and it is by following her/his advice that you will be able to complete successfully and on time. You will be required to keep an electronic Supervision Logbook, in which you will record all substantive items discussed at meetings with your supervisor. This record will require the approval of your supervisor. At the end of the year a copy of the electronic Logbook will be submitted to the Doctoral Programme Director and retained in the Department’s archives. 

For a list of potential academic supervisors please see the People's section.

The doctoral thesis is the core of the training at the PhD level. For most students, the thesis is the first major piece of writing you have put together, and it takes much preparation to complete successfully. You need to learn, first of all, about the ways historians interpret the past, and about how to find your own voice within the profession. You also need practical knowledge about how to prepare and organise for such a substantive undertaking as writing a thesis in history. You have to learn about how archives work, and about how to carry out research in them. And, perhaps most important of all, you have to learn how to construct and argue for the key hypotheses of your work based on your original research, so that the thesis becomes an important addition to academic knowledge in the field.

The Department has developed a well-functioning framework in order to guide you through to the completion of your thesis within four years. While your supervisor will be your main guide throughout the process, there are a number of seminars available in the Department, at LSE, and in the University of London Institute for Historical Research that will be relevant to your work, from sessions on how to write a thesis to seminars that discuss overall historiographical developments in specific areas of international history. The PhD programme at LSE includes an international history workshop (compulsory for first-year students), which helps prepare you for the research and writing process and introduces key methodological and historiographical topics. We also strongly encourage you to make use of the many opportunities that exist within the School and in London to receive further specialist training and to discuss your work and your interests with renowned experts in the field.

Progression and assessment 

All research students admitted to the International History Department are initially registered for the MPhil degree in their first year. After eight months of study, students who want to be registered for a PhD have to submit the materials required for the upgrade. Most of the work the students undertake with their supervisors during the first year of study is geared toward passing the upgrade exercise.

Students registered for the MPhil/PhD in International History are required in their first year to attend the Department's research training programme HY501 – International History MPhil/PhD Research Training Workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to familiarise new MPhil/PhD students with the practical research and writing skills necessary for the preparation of a first-rate PhD thesis in history, and to discuss some general methodological and theoretical issues in international history as a research field. Students are also advised to attend relevant seminars organised within the School or in other colleges of the University of London.

As said above, in order to be upgraded from MPhil registration to PhD, you must prepare a dossier for submission (three hard copies) in the Summer Term of your first year of study, if you are a full-time student starting in the Michaelmas term. The review process is designed to determine whether the student will be able to meet the requirements of a PhD, and whether the chosen topic will be suitable for a doctoral dissertation. The Department uses the Code of Practice as a determinant of the general responsibilities of research students and their supervisors. All students should make an effort to familiarise themselves with its contents.

After the first year, we require you to formally report on your progress at least twice a year. If your progress is deemed unsatisfactory by the Doctoral Programme Director or supervisor your position will be assessed and you will not be allowed to continue in the programme.

The Department expects that research students will submit their theses within four years and the reviews of your progress are geared to achieving that goal.

Faculty

Programme Director

Harmer

Dr Tanya Harmer
Associate Professor of International History
Department of International History

If you have any queries which are not answered here, please contact Dr Harmer who is also the department's PhD Programme Admissions Advisor.

Student stories

Katherine Arnold
PhD in International History student

PhDVideoArnold

WATCH VIDEO>

Alex Mayhew
PhD in International History, 2018

PhDVideoMayhew

WATCH VIDEO>

Cornelis Heere
PhD in International History, 2014

Heere

WATCH VIDEO>

Ollie Elliot
PhD in International History, 2014

Elliot

WATCH VIDEO>

View the profiles of our current students

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates teach in some of the best university departments in Britain and overseas, or work in the media, civil service or private and voluntary organisations.

LSE history students continue to have one of the best rate of employability and earnings after graduation in the UK. The Complete University Guide 2020 places History at LSE 6th overall for job prospects. Guardian's University League Tables 2019 places History at LSE in 8th place. The latest 2019 report on Graduate Outcomes Subject by Provider from the Department for Education places History at LSE top of the table with earnings superior to any other university in the UK with 2010-11 LSE graduates' median salary at £43,200 5 years after graduating.

A report on relative labour market returns, also from the Department for Education, which calculated the difference in earnings by subject and university choice throughout Britain five years after graduation, ranked History at LSE number 1 in June 2018. The report illustrates the average impact the different universities and subjects would have on the future income of an individual. History at LSE averaged a lifetime earnings boost of £14,000 for men and £15,000 for women when compared with studying history at any other university in the UK, including Oxford, St Andrews, Cambridge, KCL and UCL.

Browse data regarding graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

The department is committed to supporting students' options after graduation in the world of work or futher studies by organising a careers programme tailored specifically to International History students with the help of LSE Careers. Also, 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 research student is charged a fee in line with the fee structure 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 MPhil/PhD International History

UK/EU students: £4,435 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £19,368 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and 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.

Scholarships, studentships 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, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships. Selection for the PhD Studentships is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.

The funding deadline for this programme: 10 January 2020.

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. 

Registered PhD students in their final writing up stages can apply for financial support from LSE. Read more about the in-course financial support for final stage PhD students scheme.

LSE's Postgraduate Travel Fund assists research students who are presenting at conferences related to their degree. Read more about the Postgraduate Travel Fund.

LSE PhD students can apply for funding to undertake research for two to three months at one of our institutional partners. Read more about the Partnership PhD Mobility Bursaries.

External funding 

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations, such as research councils, or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Why study with us?

International History at LSE

The LSE was founded in 1895 originally as an institute of higher education for graduate students. The Department of International History reflects this tradition and takes its responsibility for graduate teaching and research supervision very seriously. We admit nearly as many masters students as undergraduates, with a critical mass of graduates usually numbering over 150 in a year. Consequently our graduates never feel on the margins of the department or an after-thought which often can be the case at some other London institutions geared more for undergraduate teaching. We have one of the most cosmopolitan graduate communities in London and for international history in the UK and it is therefore one of the most vibrant and dynamic. You will have use of our library, famous for being the best university library in London. In addition, we have an IT network and training facilities that are acknowledged to be leading the field.

With its emphasis on the international and transnational context of historical developments, the Department of International History at LSE provides a supportive, but challenging environment for those individuals interested in undertaking a research project leading to a PhD in international history. The department currently has about 20 faculty engaged in innovative research who are ideally placed to supervise research students on a wide range of subjects. The Department of International History at LSE can offer a comprehensive range of special areas for research, ranging from the early 16th century to the late 20th century.

Proposals on all aspects of historical research from c.1600 onward are welcome, although more details on the department's particular areas of expertise are available in the Research Clusters webpage. Each year we receive a large number of applications from prospective PhD students from all over the world. The department currently has over 35 graduate research students in the department, from virtually every corner of the world, which provides a vibrant and friendly community at the heart of the PhD process. Our graduates teach in some of the best university departments in Britain and overseas, or work in the media, civil service or private and voluntary organisations. More details on the research degree programme and the department's research seminars can be found in the links at the side of this page.

LSE History rankings

The department has consistently performed well in the QS World University Rankings. In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2020, History at LSE ranked 5th overall in the world ahead of Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Princeton and UCLA. In the UK and in Europe, History at LSE ranked third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of KCL, Edinburgh and UCL.

Research in the Department

The department is divided into five research clusters covering a wide range of subjects taught in the Department. We have our own blog, LSE International History Blog, where students and non-LSE historians contribute historically-informed perspectives on contemporary affairs. We also have our own podcast, Our Histories, with each episode devoted to the research conducted by one of our faculty members.

LSE and departmental events

Graduate students in the Department of International History have a research seminar with guest speakers and there are guest lectures. We organise a weekend away at Cumberland Lodge, Great Windsor Park once a year. This is designed to enable graduates to get to know each other better and to develop their ideas about a particular topic. Additionally throughout the year, students can take advantage of the great LSE tradition of inviting famous (and infamous) figures from the world of politics, business, media and international affairs. Please see the Department's Public Lectures and Events for a good range of history events hosted by us during the academic year as well as the  LSE Public Lectures and Events. This helps make the LSE a particularly fertile and exciting place to be studying international history. There is an almost bewildering range of societies and clubs engaging with international politics, single issues, the 'third world', social justice problems or just dedicated to sport, music, dance and a whole range of pursuits which we lecturers haven't got a clue about. We highly recommend our students join the LSE Student Union History Society. We have a gym and squash courts on site and one of the largest student shops on campus. There is also a large student bookshop owned by Waterstone's selling new and used books.

We are very fortunate at the LSE in being so centrally located in the capital. We are in walking distance of the British Library, Covent Garden, the Royal Courts of Justice, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the West End theatres as well as Trafalgar Square, the Barbican, Buckingham Palace, River Thames and the London Eye. Much of our graduate accommodation is located in prime real-estate sites in central London. Our graduate students can take advantage of all the intellectual resources that this capital is home to, including the National Archives south of the river at Kew and the world's largest newspaper archive in North London. Not surprisingly our students are able to produce dissertations of the highest quality benefiting from such easy access to a range of primary sources and people willing to help.

London and LSE

London and LSE has much to offer anyone studying for a higher degree in history. The LSE International History Department is one of the leading history departments in the UK, and the main European centre for the study of international history. Working as part of the world's premier institution for social science research, the staff and students in the Department come from many different countries and continents, and contribute to the unique cosmopolitan experience of studying at LSE.

In London you will find important archives and libraries for international history, such as the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), the Public Record Office, the British Library, and the libraries of the specialised schools of the University of London, such as the Institute of Historical Research, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. The LSE's British Library of Political and Economic Science Library is one of the leading collections of materials for social science research, with substantial holdings in most of the key European languages.  The LSE's archive also contains much valuable research material, as do the collections of the Imperial War Museum, the Warburg Institute and many others.

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