Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/internationalHistory
Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 26
RAE: 65 per cent of the Department's research was rated world leading or internationally excellent
Location: East Building
About the Department
Founded in 1954, the Department of International History is one of the youngest departments at LSE. But in its short life, it has risen to become one of the top five university history departments in the UK, thanks to both its internationally renowned graduate programme and research record. Its reputation as a centre of new developments in the study of international history is now recognised as a separate school of thought; the 'London School'.
Like the other departments at the School, it grew up around a Chair and a special subject within the BSc (Econ) degree introduced after the Second World War. The Chair itself dates back into the inter-war period and is one of the two Chairs founded by Sir Daniel Stevenson, the other being at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. From 1932 the Stevenson Chair, as it came to be called at the School, formed the nucleus of the emerging Department of International History.
LSE's Department of International History teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day. The Department has a staff of 26, around 200 graduate students and 200 undergraduates. Its academic excellence and the cosmopolitan nature of the teaching staff and the student body contribute to making the LSE one of the world's leading centres for the study of international history.
The results from the last round of the UK's national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008, placed the Department as joint fourth-best in the country based on the proportion of top-rated research. 35 per cent of research activity was deemed world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. A further 30 per cent of research was deemed internationally excellent.
The Department of International History is an ideal location for those wishing to explore world history. The courses offered, at both undergraduate and graduate levels cover a wide range of cultures and periods, and allow students to build upon and move beyond the nationally based histories normally taught at school and in many other universities. The opportunities to study single countries in greater depth are thus flanked by the option of examining wider regions (the Middle East for example) or movements and trends which affect numerous countries (nationalism, the Cold War, European integration). Particular areas of expertise include Europe, the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Japan and the United States.
The Department's teaching builds upon a long-standing tradition and it retains the reputation as one of the leading world centres for the study of international history. The current staff have all built up a considerable expertise in one or more regions of the world, are actively involved in international research, and bring their knowledge and experience to bear in their teaching and their supervision.
The cosmopolitan nature of the student body itself only reinforces LSE's claim to be an ideal centre for international history. Amongst the nationalities represented in the current student body are members of different European nations, the Americas, Sri Lankans, Russians, Chinese, Armenians, Chileans, Israelis, Icelanders and South Africans. As a result, any class discussion of past and present international controversies is enriched by a wide range of national viewpoints and perspectives. Being situated in central London itself further strengthens this international approach, since the surrounding city is cosmopolitan in both outlook and population. It not only hosts a rich mixture of cultural events, but is also well equipped with the libraries and archives that are crucial to the study of history.
LSE thus represents a logical choice as a location for the study of international history, at undergraduate and graduate level.
Opportunities for research
Research students will initially be registered for the MPhil. In June of the first year you will produce an extended written submission. If this demonstrates satisfactory progress in your research you will be able to register for the PhD. We will continue to monitor your progress each year.
In addition to research involving the more common European languages, we can also supervise work drawing on materials in Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese, among others.
Throughout your registration as an MPhil/PhD student you will undertake a research training programme as well as working on your thesis. In your first year the training programme includes a preliminary workshop where members of the Department present practical issues of relevance to new researchers in the Michaelmas term and students make presentations of preliminary findings in the Lent and Summer terms. It also includes introductory seminars at the Institute of Historical Research and attendance at a specialised research seminar as well as elements tailored specifically for your requirements, including courses in computing and foreign languages. In the second and subsequent years you will continue your research training by, among other things, participating in the Department's advanced workshop and at least one specialised research seminar while you are in London, and by developing other skills specific to your needs.
The LSE Library is an outstanding resource for the history of international relations, with substantial printed primary and secondary source materials, journals, IT and computing facilities. Students will also be able to draw on an unparalleled diversity of other library and archival resources in London, often close to LSE. These include libraries in the University of London, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Institute of Historical Research (whose collections cover all major types and areas of manuscripts), the German Historical Institute, and the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) as well as a number of more specialised archives.
As a research student you will be able to attend meetings of the History Society and use the Department's computer rooms. You will also be encouraged to participate in the lively series of lectures and seminars organised in the Department itself, LSE and at other, nearby specialist institutes related to your research.