MPhil/PhD International History

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

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 around 40 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.

In London you will find important archives and libraries for international history, such as 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 Library is one of the leading collections of materials for social science research, with substantial holdings in most of the key European languages.

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

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.

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


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 Who's Who 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 

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 you 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.

In your first year you will be required to attend the Department's research training programme – 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.

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.

Student stories

Alex Mayhew
PhD in International History, 2018

Watch Alex's video

Cornelis Heere
PhD in International History, 2014

Watch Cornelis's video

Ollie Elliot
PhD in International History, 2014

Watch Ollie's video



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.

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 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. 

External funding 

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

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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