Home > Study > Undergraduate > How to apply > Departmental Admissions Criteria 2016 > Department of International History

Department of International History

Undergraduate Admissions selection criteria
Entry 2016

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 2014

Places 2014

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 to achieve or have already achieved at least AAA in their A level examinations (or a minimum of 38 points in their IB Diploma, with higher level subjects as above). In addition a strong pre-16 academic profile is looked for (GCSE grades of A or A*). The selectors consider not just the number of top GCSE grades that you have, but also your overall GCSE subject profile. GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics should be at grade B or higher.

If you are currently completing an A level or IB Diploma programme but have not previously followed a GCSE curriculum, you should list your most recent school leaving qualifications (e.g. O Levels, IGCSEs, national qualifications, etc.) in the relevant section of your UCAS application.

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

Please remember, however, that the information above relates to minimum academic entry standards. Applicants who are predicted AAA at A level or 38+ points for the IB Diploma are not automatically guaranteed an offer; much will depend on other factors, such as motivation and commitment to further study, relevant wider reading and other activities that have prepared you for life as an LSE undergraduate. These should be outlined in your 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), Scottish Advanced Highers (AH), the Cambridge Pre-U Certificates, 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, please see the country-by-country guide. 

Students whose application is regarded as strong by the selectors but whose qualifications do not grant them direct entry will receive their invitation to sit the UGAA from the Undergraduate Admissions Office. The selectors’ final decision will be based upon the performance in the UGAA.


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, thus the personal statement plays a key role in the selection 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 or achieved 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 dual-honours 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 dual-honours programme compared to a single-honours degree. 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. Students applying for a place on the dual-honours programme should also possess excellent time management skills, as they will be required to manage the demands of two different departments.



4. What is LSE's deferred entry policy? 

Applications for deferred entry are welcomed by the International History department, 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 deferred entry offer initially, you are welcome to re-apply in the following cycle, provided your grades meet 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 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 via your UCAS application. However, we recognise that in some cases, your family, personal or educational circumstances may change.

If you are affected by any changes such as revised predicted grades, 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.