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Department of International History

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2015

Quick guide

There are two programmes offered by the International History department at LSE. One is a single honours degree programme, the other a joint-honours one combined with International Relations. Entry requirements for both programmes are given below:

Programme Name


Applications 2013

Places 2013

Standard A level offer

Standard IB offer

Essential Qualifications

BA History





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL


BSc International Relations and History





38 points with 7,6,6 at HL


 Frequently asked questions...

  1. What qualifications does LSE look for?
  2. Which international qualifications are accepted by LSE?
  3. What does LSE look for in the Personal Statement?
  4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy?
  5. Does LSE consider mature applicants/applicants with non-standard qualifications?
  6. What should I do if my circumstances change after I've submitted my UCAS form?
  7. Where can I find out more information about the course?

1. What qualifications does LSE look for? 

(a) Subject combinations
The International History selectors are looking for academic students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the social sciences, with a particular emphasis on international history. There is no one 'ideal' subject combination, however, as with all degree programmes at LSE, at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred. Common sixth form subject choices include a combination of History; English; Economics; Government and Politics; Sociology, modern languages and Philosophy. However A level History is not a required subject.

Please note:  The information regarding subject combinations given above is for guidance purposes only. Candidates who are taking alternative subjects to those listed above will not necessarily be disadvantaged or rejected on the basis of their subject combinations. Further information about A level (or equivalent) subject combinations is available in the Entry requirements| section.

(b) Academic profile (predicted and achieved grades)
Successful applicants for these degrees are, typically, predicted at least AAA in their A level examinations (or 38 and above IB points, with higher level subjects as the above list) and have already achieved good GCSE grades including a significant number at A or A*. In terms of GCSE grades, the selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have, but also your overall GCSE subject profile.

If you are currently following an A level or IB programme but have not previously studied a GCSE curriculum, you should still list your most recent school leaving qualifications in the relevant section of the UCAS form.

Your AS grades are also taken into consideration as these give the selectors a clear indication of your ability to satisfy the minimum A level entry requirements. Thus the higher your AS grades the better chance you will have of being made an offer.

Please remember, however, that the information above relates to minimum entry standards. Applicants who are predicted AAB at A level or 37 and above points for the IB are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as motivation and commitment to further study, as outlined in the personal statement.

The selectors have the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to vary the standard A level or IB offer, if they feel it is appropriate to do so.

Entry profiles for the two International History degree programmes are available on the UCAS website by following the link to 'Course Search|'

2. Which international qualifications are accepted? 

A wide range of international qualifications are accepted in lieu of A levels, for example the American College Board Advanced Placement (AP), the Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC), the European Baccalaureate (EB), the French Baccalaureate (FB) and the Abitur. Canadian and Australian High School Diplomas are also accepted.

In addition strong applicants with other international qualifications may be asked to sit our LSE UG Admissions Assessment (UGAA)| test. This allows LSE academics to see examples of written English performed under examination conditions and is particularly useful where school certification is not based upon a standardised national curriculum. The UGAA test, which comprises a précis section, an essay section and a Mathematics section, can be taken at any recognised centre anywhere in the world; without any financial cost.

For more information on the qualifications that are accepted without the need to sit the UGAA test and those for which the UGAA will be required, see the country-by-country guide. 

3. What is looked for in the Personal Statement? 

The International History Department at LSE does not routinely interview applicants as part of its decision making process, hence the personal statement plays a key role in the application process. General guidance on how to structure your personal statement is available on our Admissions Criteria website by following the link to the personal statement| section. You are strongly advised to make use of this information prior to submitting your application, although as with your predicted grades, simply following the guidelines will not automatically guarantee that you will be made an offer.

For both programmes, we are looking for an original and well written statement which provides evidence of your genuine interest in history or in international relations and history, together with an understanding of what studying these subjects at LSE involves. We are interested in your views and opinions as well as the experiences you have had which have resulted in your desire to focus on this wide ranging and challenging field of study. Your extra-curricular activities will be taken into account, particularly where they provide evidence of your motivation and desire to succeed, however, they are deemed to be less significant than your academic qualities. Work experience, however, is not used as a selection criterion. The main point to remember is that the majority of your personal statement should be based around your subject interest and enthusiasm. The selectors are keen to know why you wish to study history, whether there are any aspects of the programme which are of specific interest to you, how it relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or other activities you have undertaken which have led you to apply for one of these particular degree programmes.

For the combined degree, preference is given to those applicants who give balance to both disciplines. At LSE you should expect to devote a similar amount of time to the study of both subjects and clearly your ability to convey this through your personal statement is important. It is also worth remembering that you may find that you have slightly less freedom in the specific mix of programmes available to you during your studies when following a combined programme compared to a single-honours one. Above all you need to ensure that you can convince not just the International History Department's selector, but also the selector for International Relations that you are serious about your degree choice. 

If your main interest is in the study of History or International Relations this combined programme may not be appropriate, since it is designed to allow you to develop your understanding of contemporary society through the study of two related disciplines and hence acquire a range of transferable skills. However, the benefit of undertaking a combined programme is that it allows you to acquire a wider knowledge base.

Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of History and International Relations at LSE (as a single or combined programme) will be those such as the abilities to read extensively; evaluate and challenge conventional views; communicate effectively; show initiative and enthusiasm and demonstrate attention to detail. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.

4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy? 

Applications for deferred entry are considered, although you may, in some circumstances, be asked to achieve higher grades than the published standard offer in the year of application. If you are unsuccessful in securing a conditional deferred entry offer initially, you are welcome re-apply in the following cycle, provided your actual grades satisfy our minimum entry standard.

If you already know that you are planning to take a gap year you are advised to explain how you plan to spend it, how you think it will affect you and how it will benefit you specifically, as part of your personal statement.

If, after submitting your application, you subsequently decide that you wish to take a gap year and commence your programme at LSE a year later than originally planned, you should contact the undergraduate admissions office with your request. However, no guarantees can be given that you will automatically be allowed to defer your entry, and the selectors reserve the right to refuse your request to be considered for deferred entry, or, if you are already an offer holder, to alter the conditions of your offer.

5. Do you consider mature applicants/applicants with non-standard qualifications? 

Yes we do. Applications from the above are welcome and are considered individually on their own merit.  Unlike many school leavers, mature applicants often benefit from a range of experiences which make them well suited to further study, however, it is possible that they will be asked to sit the School's UG Admissions Assessment (UGAA)| test and/or be invited for an interview. We recognise that it is a big commitment to return to or start an academic programme of study after some time out of mainstream education and wish to satisfy ourselves that you know what will be expected of you if you were to be offered a place at LSE.

6. What should I do if my circumstances change after I've submitted my UCAS form? 

We normally expect all relevant information to be provided on your UCAS form. However, we recognise that in a few cases, your family, personal or educational circumstances may change.

If you are affected by any changes such as revised predicted grades (possibly as a result of re-sits), illness (possibly requiring a period of hospitalisation), disruption to your education (possibly caused by a change in staffing or a move to a different school), you should contact the undergraduate admissions office who will be able to offer you further advice.

7. Where can I find out more information about the programme? 

You can read more about the structure and content of the BA International History| or the BSc International Relations and History| programmes, here and on the Department of International History| website.