Dissertation in International Political Economy

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Noah Zucker


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Political Economy (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

MSc students are required to write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic within the field of IPE approved by the student's dissertation lead. The dissertation need not be an account of original research and may rely on secondary sources. 


All MSc IPE students will be assigned dissertation supervisors before the end of the Autumn Term. The Department will allocate dissertation supervisors on the basis of the relevant expertise and availability of members of academic staff, with student preferences taken into consideration. Dissertation supervisors will be available to provide guidance in one-on-one meetings and through other forms of communication over the late Autumn, Winter, and Spring terms. Thereafter students are expected to work independently on their dissertations without further supervision.


In addition, the Department will provide support by offering a number of lectures and workshops throughout the academic year.  An introductory lecture in the Autumn Term will provide an overview of the MSc Dissertation and the processes involved in terms of requirements, oversight and supervision, research and writing, submission and assessment. Bespoke workshops will be offered in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring terms in collaboration with LSE Life to guide students in choosing a topic and research question, desgining and implementing a dissertation project.


The MSc IPE programme director will also offer a question-and-answer session in the Spring Term in conjunction with the LSE Life workshop. Over the summer period the Department will also offer ‘drop-in’ sessions for students with individual queries.

Indicative reading

Scott Ashworth, Christopher Berry, and Ethan Bueno de Mesquita. 2021. Theory and Credibility: Integrating Theoretical and Empirical Social Science. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita and Anthony Fowler. 2021. Thinking Clearly with Data: A Guide to Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Alexander George and Andrew Bennett. 2005. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

John Gerring and Lee Cojocaru. 2016. "Selecting Cases for Intensive Analysis: A Diversity of Goals and Methods." Sociological Methods & Research 45(3): 392–423.

Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 2021. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, New Edition. 2nd edition. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in August.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 24.4
Merit 61
Pass 13.8
Fail 0.8

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2022/23: 92

Average class size 2022/23: 18

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills