Programmes

MSc Theory and History of International Relations

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of International History
  • Application code V1S8
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • UK/EU part-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Overseas part-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

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The MSc Theory and History of International Relations is a specialist, multidisciplinary degree taught by the Department of International History and the Department of International Relations – both have a global reputation for their high quality research and dynamic contributions to the development of their respective disciplines.

This unique joint degree programme has been designed for students who want to understand and appreciate both the theoretical and the empirical approach to the study of international relations. The curriculum offers students the opportunity to take courses tailored to their specific interests, in terms of method, time-frame and geographical scope. The choices available are wide and deep since this is a joint degree with the International Relations Department and the International History Department (where it is based). 

The curriculum combines an exceptional level of analytical training in theory, balanced with the discipline of historical based case-studies and advanced research. You will be taught by leading experts in both disciplines. You can choose one broad course from each Department. For your third option you can chose one of many highly specialised courses offered by either Department. You will then complete your degree by doing a history dissertation, which will give you the chance to conduct your own empirical research on a detailed historical case study.

This well-balanced and bespoke course, allows you to develop your intellectual understanding and ability to analyse a wide range of international relations’ history, organisations, trends and challenges  including world wars, East-West conflict, North-South relations, European integration, globalisation, diplomacy and peace-building.

A hugely flexible joint degree, it can be tailored to provide you with a more advanced understanding of international relations and theory, or it offers an exceptional foundation if you are making the transition from related disciplines such as political science, modern languages, economics, sociology, law or journalism.  You will have the opportunity to study alongside students drawn from a wide range of disciplines. In addition, you will benefit from being in the wider LSE learning environment with its many guest lecturers and speakers including policymakers, world-leaders and practitioners, all tackling today’s complex and rapidly changing world of international relations. 

This popular, long-established and well-respected course will better equip you to progress towards your chosen career including  within the field of analysis, consultancy, research, policy making, global and local governance, crisis intervention, peace-building, risk assessment, journalism, intelligence gathering and academia.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Theory and History of International Relations
Start date 28 September 2020
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2018 112
Intake 2018 26
Tuition fee UK/EU: £14,640
Overseas £22,608
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 27 April 2020)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (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 MSc Theory and History of International Relations

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree 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.

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.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, 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

Programme structure

The structure of the degree is intended to ensure a good balance between International History and International Relations. You choose one broad course in each Department, before using your third option to select one of the many highly specialised courses offered by the two Departments. You then complete your degree by doing a history dissertation, which will give you a chance to conduct your own empirical research on a detailed historical case-study.

Courses

Courses to the value of three units from a range of options

Watch our HY course videos

Dissertation
An independent research project of 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice

Dissertation

This component of the degree reflects our belief that Masters level history students should be willing to engage in detailed historical research. In preparing this piece of work, students are provided with guidance about how to choose an appropriate topic, how to identify and locate the necessary sources, and how to write up their research findings. This is done through a combination of departmental workshops and discussions between individual students and their dissertation supervisor. But ultimately the dissertation is a test of the research abilities and writing skills of each individual student.

While in London, students preparing dissertations can take advantage of numerous world-class research libraries and archives. These include the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), the British Library, the libraries of specialised schools of the University of London such as the Institute for Historical Research, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and the LSE's own library, the British Library of Political and Economic Sciences. 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.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

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

Within your programme 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.

Assessment

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.

Academic support

Each graduate student is supported by a mentor who they meet at least twice a term - as many times as need be - to discuss any aspect of their life at the LSE. The mentor is the first point of contact if you have any worries about your time in London and at LSE. The Department also has a Masters Programme Tutor, who oversees the Graduate programme and he is also available to meet students. Graduates can also approach the Postgraduate and Research Programme Manager, Mrs Nayna Bhatti. Finally, there are graduate representatives on School committees and the Graduate Staff-Student Committee and we value their input.

The Department of International History is committed to the idea that graduate teaching should be done in small groups. In order to meet this commitment, and to ensure that students can work with their teachers in an environment where real dialogue and interchange is possible, the number taking some courses does have to be controlled. This means that it becomes very important to indicate in advance to the Department what options the incoming students wish to take.

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.

Careers

Graduate destinations

This well-known and respected programme provides an excellent preparation for careers in business, consulting, government, international agencies, the media, politics and law, or for advanced academic research.

LSE History graduates find employment in almost any job sector due to the wide range of transferable skills developed during their studies.

Very few people with a degree in History go on to work as historians, but students with a degree in International History have many skills that are in high demand today.

History students learn to read and process large amounts of information, to sift out unreliable data, to analyse and organise the material available, and to form a coherent argument orally or in writing. Students at the LSE learn to set and achieve personal goals, manage their time to meet deadlines, and have confidence speaking in public. In our knowledge-based economy, employers value these skills. Learning history is learning skills.

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.

Student profiles

Aabha Sharma
MSc Theory and History of International Relations (2015)

Sharma

Aabha is working at PricewaterhouseCoopers India's Government Reforms and Infrastructure Development (GRID) practice. She works as a Consultant, providing advisory on Public Financial Management (PFM) matters for Governments in India and in developing nations.

Find out what other MSc History of International Relations students have been doing since graduating

Student stories

Student profile

Kevin Hempstead, UK

Hempstead

WATCH VIDEO>

Class profile

This multidisciplinary degree taught by the Department of International History and the Department of International Relations is designed for students who want to understand and appreciate the theoretical and the empirical approach to the study of international relations. Students are taught by leading  experts in the field and can specialise in recent international history. The choice of courses on offer means this course has the potential to provide you with a more advanced understanding of international relations and theory. Or it can give you an exceptional foundation if you are making the transition from related disciplines such as political science, modern languages, economics, sociology, law or journalism.

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 MSc Theory and History of International Relations

UK/EU students: £14,640
Overseas students: £22,608

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.

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

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 27 April 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. 

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

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.

LSE History rankings

The department has consistently performed well in the QS World University Rankings. In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2019, History at LSE ranked 6th overall in the world ahead of Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, UCLA and Chicago. In the UK and in Europe, History at LSE ranked third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of UCL, KCL and Leiden.

Research in the Department

The department offers a number of established and well-respected taught programmes which give students a range of core and specialist topics, the latter enabling our staff to teach topics which form their current research projects (which also saves you money as you don't have to buy the book later on!). While on the subject of research, 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.

Contact us

Programme and admissions enquiries

With questions related to your application or the admissions process, please check our admissions frequently asked questions page.

If you have any queries which are not answered on the website, please contact the department's Graduate Admissions Advisor.

Lewis1

Dr Joanna Lewis
Associate Professor in International History
Email

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