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LSE – Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History

About the MA programme

Our world is more interconnected than ever. We call it globalisation, but without good histories to explain how we got here, we cannot begin to know where we are heading. This master's programme at Columbia and LSE will ask students to explore our world by studying the forces that have been remaking it: migration, trade, technological revolutions, epidemic disease, environmental change, wars and diplomacy. Working with preeminent historians in the field, students will analyse large-scale historical processes, pursue empirical research, and produce their own comparative and cross-cultural histories.

The further development of the study of international history in this broad sense depends on the internationalisation of the training and skills of the next generation of experts. This double degree draws on the faculties of two of the world's leading centres of international affairs, which have the expertise and commitment to provide the training and skills needed. It offers close contact in seminars and colloquia with mentors in different intellectual and cultural settings in two global cities.

Compulsory language requirement

The ability to comprehend multiple languages is important to the study of international and world history. There is no language requirement for entry into the programme. However, in order to graduate from the programme, students must fulfil a language requirement in one of four different ways:

  • by taking two years of language training while at Columbia and LSE
  • by taking and passing two translation exams. (Both translation exams must be taken at Columbia)
  • by taking and passing one translation exam and studying a language for one year, either at Columbia or at LSE
  • by taking and passing an intensive summer language course (that equals the same number of credits as a year-long language course) combined with either a passed language exam or an additional year of language classes

Students have the choice between focusing on a single language or splitting the requirement between two different languages. It is possible to continue further study of a language after a student has passed the translation exam in that language.

Programme details

In London, the LSE-Columbia Double Degree in International and World History is run by LSE's Department of International History; and in New York the degree is run by Columbia’s History Department. It provides the chance to study international and world history from the early modern era up to today in an environment that emphasises broad study, global perspectives, and intellectual debate.

At the heart of the MA programme is a two-year dissertation, a piece of original scholarly work based on detailed empirical research and analysis. The dissertation is supported by a sequence of three core courses taken at Columbia and LSE, as well as a large range of courses that allow for specialisation and language study.

The programme offers numerous benefits:

  • two master's degrees - an MA from Columbia University and an MSc from LSE - from two of the top universities for history and the social sciences. At Columbia and LSE, students will have the opportunity to take courses in several subject areas as well as in other world-class departments, while at the same time engaging in rigorous language training
  • a research oriented programme which goes far beyond classroom study. Students will design original projects while working closely with staff who offer expertise in an immense variety of geographical regions and research methodologies
  • engagement with vibrant intellectual communities, including the opportunity to participate in seminars, debates, and public lectures offered by LSE IDEAS, the LSE’s Centre for Diplomacy and Strategy, and the Centre for International History at Columbia, among others
  • flexibility to tailor programmes to diverse interests and divergent career paths. Those with a history background can focus on cutting-edge fields of research and prepare themselves for PhD study. Others can develop historical expertise, writing skills, and language training as part of a career in international affairs. The programme is designed to attract a diverse student body with complementary interests, including teaching, journalism and public or private administration
  • the opportunity to develop life-long contacts on both sides of the Atlantic, using LSE and Columbia as launching pads for careers combining intellectual and professional development

Year one: Columbia 


In the first year of the programme students are required to complete 30 credits, including the core components of the programme: Approaches to International and Global History and MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods. At least 22 of these credits must be courses in the History Department. Most students must also take a course (or courses) to meet their language requirement (see above). Students can also take courses outside of the History Department, provided that both the MA director (Dr Line Lillevik) and the course instructor approve.

In late December/early January of their first year, students identify a topic for their dissertation. When the students have finalised their thesis topics in MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods, one Columbia adviser and one LSE adviser are designated to advise and guide them through completion of the dissertation in year two at LSE.

Compulsory courses

  • Approaches to International and Global History introduces students to the conceptual possibilities and problems of international and world history.
  • MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop is a series of practical workshops including training in the use of archives and other primary sources, the organisation and documentation of research, and presentation and publication of findings.


History Department options at Columbia vary significantly from semester to semester. Up-to-date course offerings can be found on Columbia University's Directory of Classes.

Please note that the course offerings for the Fall semester will be available in mid-March. Each course runs for a semester only, and some require permission of the instructor. 

Year two: LSE

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for LSE-Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

Graduate destinations

While many dual degree students go on to undertake PhDs, some choose to apply the insights gained to a career outside of academia, including journalism, public policy, non-profit, or the private sector.

lse.ac.uk/internationalHistory, worldhistory.columbia.edu

Application code: Applications should be made to Columbia via worldhistory.columbia.edu/

Please note that applications are reviewed by both institutions.

Start date: September 2017at Columbia, New York

Duration: 22 months full-time only

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: year one at Columbia $51,765 (estimated); year two at LSE (in 2018) £20,904

Financial support: Tuition Reduction Scholarships, selected by Columbia, see Fellowships and financial aid. Graduate Support Scheme for year two at LSE (see Financial support)

Application Deadline: 15 January and 15 March 2017

Note: All CU-LSE dual degree students must complete their first year of study at Columbia and second year at LSE. Students cannot receive a master's degree from Columbia without completing the requirements for the second year. The CU-LSE programme exclusively awards dual degrees