About us

Who we are

The Department of International History is one of the world’s leading centres for historical study and research. History at the LSE is consistently ranked amongst the top ten in the QS World University subject league tables, and in the top three in the UK and Europe.

Research Excellence Framework (REF): 78% of the Department’s research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent

Founded in 1954, the department’s acknowledged and long-established research and teaching strengths are reflected in the breadth and range of its coverage from the early modern to the contemporary era. Our historians explore developments in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas making us an ideal place to study world history. We have experts on political, social, cultural, religious, intellectual, military, and transnational history. The department’s students enjoy access to staff who carry out pioneering research, putting them at the forefront of their fields, where they publish books and articles with some of the leading academic presses. Our students also benefit from the fact that the department is located at the centre of one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. London is home to a wonderfully rich range of archives and libraries for any historian, and forms an exciting cultural and historical environment in which to work and study.

The department encourages debate and discussion of past events and historical controversies. Within an international framework its members explore such major subjects as the causes and conduct of wars; the crafting of peace settlements; the development of societies over time and their transnational connections; the emergence of empires and their governance; the rise of nationalism; the interactions between the state and religious beliefs; colonialism and decolonization; civil wars and insurgencies; the world wars of the twentieth century; and the development and ramifications of the Cold War. With a permanent academic staff of 27, around 190 postgraduate students, and 300 undergraduates, we are a large, diverse and welcoming Department, whose members are drawn from all over the world. We are committed to academic excellence and providing an absorbing learning environment for all our students, who we aim to give the fullest possible opportunity to fulfil their full potential.

Are you suited to the study of International History at LSE. Why should you study History?



Teaching and Research

We received the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) on 12 May 2022. Our assessment showed that 68% of outputs (i.e. publications) were world-leading (4*) in terms of originality, significance, and rigour at LSE History (International History and Economic History). The upper quartile average of outputs in the UK sector was 43%. Likewise, 75% of research environment activities were evaluated as world-leading (4*) in terms of vitality and sustainability, with an upper quartile average of 63% across the UK sector. These results were made on the basis of the combination of quality of publications and number of staff submitted, and a measure of research power. Find more information on LSE's impressive performance on the School’s 2021 REF report.

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.



National Student Survey

The Department of International History achieved excellent results in the 2022/23 National Student Survey (NSS), Undergraduate and Postgraduate Surveys. The overall satisfaction rating for undergraduate History degrees was 86.3%, and 78% for postgraduate students. Students recorded high levels of satisfaction with the courses and teaching on offer, making it one of the best performing history departments in the UK. The Department is confident that it can provide an excellent learning environment and a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for all of our students.

National and world rankings

The Department of International History has consistently performed well in the QS World University Rankings. In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2022, History at LSE tied for 5th overall in the world for the third year running, ahead of Columbia, Berkeley and Princeton. In the UK and in  Europe, History at LSE continues to rank third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of King's College London, UCL and Edinburgh.

Published annually since 2011, the QS World University Rankings by Subject are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The rankings use data from 1,453 institutions and nearly 14 million unique papers.

LSE has been ranked the 5th best university overall in the Guardian's Best UK Universities 2022 league table for the study of history - an improvement of one place on the 2021 rankings. Also according to the Guardian's 2022 league table by subject, LSE History is the second best in the UK for percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, or are in further study at professional or HE level, within fifteen months after graduation.

Also, LSE History jumped two places in the UK's independent Complete University Guide for 2022 and is currently ranked 5th in the country with the highest score for graduate prospects. LSE History is behind Cambridge, Oxford, St. Andrews and Durham but ahead of the London universities, Glasgow, Edinburgh an Warwick. The rankings of the Complete University Guide are based on student satisfaction, entry requirements, research excellence and employment prospects after graduation. Over the years, History at LSE has twice topped the Complete university Guide Tables and never finished lower than eighth.

Employability and earnings

LSE History students continue to have one of the ten best rates of employability after graduation in the UK. In the case of the Complete University Guide for 2022, LSE ranked 1st for job prospects. In the Guardian's Best UK Universities 2021 league table LSE History reached 2nd place for percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, or are in further study at professional or HE level, within fifteen months of graduation.

The latest Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset, released by the UK’s Department for Education in June 2021, shows that LSE History graduates are the second highest earners after 5 years. Out of all UK universities, for a cohort of male and female individuals, who graduated from LSE in 2012-13 in the field of historical and archaeology studies, their median salary was the second highest at £40,500 after 5 years. The LEO pinpoints which universities produce the highest-earning graduates by subject area after they have been in the labour market for five years.

A Returns to Higher Education report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which calculated the difference in earnings by subject and university choice throughout Britain five years after graduation, ranked History at LSE number 1 in June 2018. The report illustrates the average impact the different universities and subjects would have on the future income of an individual. History at LSE averaged a lifetime earnings boost of £14,000 for men and £15,000 for women when compared with studying history at any other university in the UK, including Oxford, St Andrews, Cambridge, KCL and UCL.