Dissertation: LSE-PKU Double Degree MSc in International Affairs; MSc Theory and History of International Relations

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Antony Best SAR 3.14


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The dissertation is an exercise in using primary source material to write on a precise topic in the history of international affairs. Although candidates may engage with relevant theories and concepts, the dissertation should be largely devoted to utilising such theories and concepts in the analysis of one or more specific historical events and should be based largely upon primary sources. Candidates should aim to include an element of originality in the conceptualising of the thesis or the treatment of evidence. The subject must fall within the syllabus of the degree and must be supervised by a member of staff in the Department of International History


Four one-hour sessions in the Autumn Term. 

HY498 teaching is provided through HY498 Dissertation workshop sessions and through the individual supervision of dissertation projects by supervisors in the Department of International History. Students should use the Autumn Term to find, decide on, and develop a suitable dissertation topic and consider possible dissertation supervisors. Help with this process is available from the students' personal advisers. Students are then required to complete the HY498 Dissertation Proposal Form and to seek approval for their project from their dissertation supervisor. It is the students' responsibility to locate a supervisor. They should meet with the potential supervisor in late Autumn term (every member of staff has weekly office hours) to discuss their dissertation proposal, and then ask the supervisor to sign the HY498 Dissertation Proposal Form before the published deadline. It is the student's responsibility to contact their supervisor to arrange at least one but no more than three meetings in the Spring Term to discuss their dissertation. At this stage the supervisor will be prepared to read and give feedback on a draft table of contents and a draft chapter, or a section or a detailed plan of the dissertation of no more than 1,000 words. Students should note that if they submit a dissertation proposal after the deadline the Teacher Responsible for the course may need to allocate them to a non-subject-specialist supervisor, if no specialists are available.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in September.

The dissertation must not exceed 10,000 words (100% of course mark), including text and footnotes but excluding the cover page, the table of contents, the list of abbreviations, the bibliography and appendices. A Fail cannot be compensated, and a degree cannot be awarded unless HY498 has been passed. The dissertation must be submitted by the published deadline.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2022/23: 32

Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: One Unit

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