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.