Programmes

MPhil/PhD Economic History

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Economic History
  • Application code V3ZE
  • Starting 2021
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The MPhil/PhD is an advanced research degree. You will begin on the MPhil, and will need to meet certain requirements to be upgraded to PhD status. The main objective of this programme is the elaboration of a substantial piece of work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to the field of economic history.

The Department is home to by far the largest group of researchers in economic history in the UK and one of the largest in the world. This is a pluralistic Department which encourages different approaches to the discipline: quantitative economic history; global history; history of economic thought; historical demography; historical economic geography; international economic history; business history; financial and monetary history; and social history. We also offer a wide chronological and geographical coverage of economic history, with specialists in almost every continent and any historical period from the medieval age onwards. For this reason, the Department is able to supervise a wide range of topics, in line with the research interests of the teaching staff.

We particularly value a comparative outlook on research, and the fruits of our research have been used by international agencies, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, government departments and local communities. Our faculty have included among their research commitments the editorship of The European Review of Economic History and Economic History of Developing Regions.

All our students are expected to gain a broad knowledge of the subject from graduate level course-work in the first year which complements the deeper knowledge gained from intense thesis research. In addition, many of our research students take the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience on undergraduate courses. 

Teaching and learning in 2021
We hope that programmes beginning in September 2021 will be unaffected by Coronavirus. If there are going to be any changes to the delivery of the programme we will update this page to reflect the amendments and all offer holders will be notified. For more information about LSE's teaching plans for 2020 please visit: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Prospective-students/Teaching-Methods and to view our Coronavirus FAQ's for prospective students please see: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/meet-visit-and-discover-LSE/COVID-19/Coronavirus-FAQs-for-prospective-applicants

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Economic History
Start date 27 September 2021
Application deadline 29 April 2021. However please note the funding deadline
Duration Three-four years (minimum two) full-time. Students may apply to study part-time after the successful completion of the first year
Tuition fee Home: £4,517 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £20,136 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 14 January 2021 and 29 April 2021)
ESRC funding (deadline 14 January 2021)
Minimum entry requirement Merit in a taught master’s (or equivalent) in economic history or a related social science subject
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Research (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for MPhil/PhD Economic History

Merit in LSE's MSc Economic History (Research). Direct entry for applicants with a merit in an master's in economic history or a similar field (Economics, History, and so on) subject to sufficient knowledge of Economic History, will be considered. Students are also accepted for the so-called 1+3 programme, a one year MSc in Economic History (Research) followed by a three year research programme. 

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission. 

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
- statement of academic purpose
- references
- CV
- outline research proposal
- sample of written work.

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do.

See our English language requirements for further information.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 29 April 2021. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Fees and funding

Every research student is charged a fee in line with the fee structure for their programme. The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2021/22 for MPhil/PhD Economic History

Home students: £4,517 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £20,136 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges home research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification.

Scholarships, studentships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide generous scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships, and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding. Selection for the PhD Studentships and ESRC funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.  

Funding deadline for first round of LSE PhD Studentships and ESRC funding: 14 January 2021 
The deadline for the second round of LSE PhD Studentships: 29 April 2021

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

External funding 

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Information for international students

LSE is an international community, with over 140 nationalities represented amongst its student body. We celebrate this diversity through everything we do.  

If you are applying to LSE from outside of the UK then take a look at our Information for International students

1) Take a note of the UK qualifications we require for your programme of interest (found in the ‘Entry requirements’ section of this page. 

2) Go to the International Students section of our website. 

3) Select your country. 

4) Select ‘Graduate entry requirements’ and scroll until you arrive at the information about your local/national qualification. Compare the stated UK entry requirements listed on this page with the local/national entry requirement listed on your country specific page 

Programme structure and courses

During the programme, we expect participation in departmental workshops and other seminars held within the University of London and, later, at conferences and seminars at other universities. In addition to progressing with your research, you will also be expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses.

Year One

Training courses

Compulsory (examined)

Approaches to Economic and Social History

Historical Analysis of Economic Change
And
Research Design and Quantitative Methods in Economic History *
* Unless already taken as part of the master's degree, and, where appropriate, a pre-sessional statistics course

Optional (not examined)
Supervisors may require you to take other relevant economic history courses, methodological courses provided by the Department of Methodology or the Institute of Historical Research or skills training courses as required for your thesis topic.

Transferable skills courses

Compulsory (not examined)
 
Thesis Workshop in Economic History

Year Two

Training courses

Compulsory (not examined)
 
Thesis Workshop in Economic History

Year Three

Training courses

Compulsory (not examined) 
Thesis Workshop in Economic History

Year Four

Training courses

Compulsory (not examined)  
Thesis Workshop in Economic History

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises. 

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Supervision, progression and assessment

Supervision 

You will be assigned a lead supervisor (and a second supervisor/adviser) who is a specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies.

Progression and assessment

You will need to meet certain criteria to progress to PhD registration. 

Please refer to the PhD Handbook (pp. 13-16) for full details of progression requirements.

Your final award will be determined by the completion of an original research thesis and a viva oral examination.

More about progression requirements

Student support and resources

We’re here to help and support you throughout your time at LSE, whether you need help with your academic studies, support with your welfare and wellbeing or simply to develop on a personal and professional level.

Whatever your query, big or small there are a range of people you can speak to and who will be happy to help.  

Department librarians – they will be able to help you navigate the library and maximise its resources during your studies. 

Accommodation service  - they can offer advice on living in halls and offer guidance on private accommodation related queries. 

Class teachers and seminar leaders – they will be able to assist with queries relating to a specific course you are taking. 

Disability and Wellbeing Service – the staff are experts in long term health conditions, sensory impairments, mental health and specific learning difficulties. They offer confidential and free services such as student counselling, a peer support scheme, arranging exam adjustments and run groups and workshops. 

IT help– support available 24 hours a day to assist with all of your technology queries.  

LSE Faith Centre – home to LSE's diverse religious activities and transformational interfaith leadership programmes, as well as a space for worship, prayer and quiet reflection. It includes Islamic prayer rooms and a main space for worship. It is also a space for wellbeing classes on campus and is open to all students and staff from all faiths and none.  

Language Centre– the centre specialises in offering language courses targeted to the needs of students and practitioners in the social sciences. We offer pre-course English for Academic Purposes programmes; English language support during your studies; modern language courses in 9 languages; proofreading, translation and document authentication and language learning community activities.

LSE Careers ­- with the help of LSE Careers, you can make the most of the opportunities that London has to offer. Whatever your future career plans, LSE Careers will work with you, connecting you to opportunities and experiences from internships and volunteering to networking events and employer and alumni insights. 

LSE Library  Founded in 1896, the British Library of Political and Economic Science is the major international library of the social sciences. It stays open late, has lots of excellent resources and it’s a great place to study. As an LSE student, you’ll have access to a number of other academic libraries in Greater London and nationwide. 

LSE LIFE – this is where you should go to develop skills you’ll use as a student and beyond. The centre runs talks and workshops on skills you’ll find useful in the classroom, offer one-to-one sessions with study advisers who can help you with reading, making notes, writing, research and exam revision, and provide drop-in sessions for academic and personal support.(See ‘Teaching and assessment). 

LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) – they offer academic, personal and financial advice and funding. 

PhD Academy - is available for PhD students, wherever they are, to take part in interdisciplinary events and other professional development activities and access all the services related to their registration. 

Sardinia House Dental Practice - offers discounted private dental services to LSE students. 

St Philips Medical Centre - based in Pethwick-Lawrence House the centre provides NHS Primary Care services to registered patients. 

Student Services Centre – our staff here can answer general queries and can point you in the direction of other LSE services.  

Student advocates and advisers– we have a School Senior Advocate for Students and an Adviser to Women Students who can help with academic and pastoral matters. 

Student life

As a student at LSE you’ll be based at our central London campus. Find out what our campus and London have to offer you on academic, social and career perspective. 

Student societies and activities

Your time at LSE is not just about studying, there are plenty of ways to get involved in extracurricular activities. From joining one of over 200 societies, or starting your own society, to volunteering for a local charity, or attending a public lecture by a world-leading figure, there is a lot to choose from. 

The campus 

LSE is based on one campus in the centre of London. Despite the busy feel of the surrounding area, many of the streets around campus are pedestrianised, meaning the campus feels like a real community. 

Life in London 

London is an exciting, vibrant and colourful city. It's also an academic city, with more than 400,000 university students. Whatever your interests or appetite you will find something to suit your palate and pocket in this truly international capital. Make the most of career opportunities and social activities, theatre, museums, music and more. 

Want to find out more? Read why we think London is a fantastic student city, find out about key sights, places and experiences for new Londoners. Don't fear, London doesn't have to be super expensive: hear about London on a budget

Preliminary reading

Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J. (2012), Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. London: Profile.

Allen, R.C. (2009), The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Austin, Gareth M. Markets, Slaves and States in West African History, c.1450 to the present. (Cambridge: CUP 2013)

Austin, Gareth M. & Kaoru Sugihara (eds.) Labour-intensive industrialisation in Global History. (London: Routledge 2013).

Baten, Joerg (2016), A History of the Global Economy. Cambridge.

Broadberry, S. and O’Rourke, K. (eds.) (2010), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Clark, G. (2007), A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Crafts, N.F.R. and Fearon, P. (2013), The Great Depression of the 1930s: Lessons for Today. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Darwin, J. (2007), After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000. London: Allen Lane.

Engerman, Stanley L. & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Economic Development in the Americas since 1500: endowments and institutions. (Cambridge: CUP/NBER 2012).

Findlay, R. and O’Rourke, K. (2009), Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium, (Princeton Economic History of the Western World), Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Floud, Roderick, Fogel, Robert, Harris, Bernard, and Hong, Sok Chul (2011), The Changing Body: health, nutrition, and human development in the western world since 1700. Cambridge.

Greif, A. (2006) Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hatcher, J. and Bailey, M (2001), Modelling the Middle Ages: The History and Theory of England’s Economic Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Herschman, Albert O. (2013), The Passions and the Interests: political arguments for capitalism before its triumph. Princeton.

King, Mervyn (2016), The End of Alchemy: money, banking and the future.  Little, Brown.

Livi-Bacci, Massimo (2012), A Concise History of World Population.  Wiley Blackwell.

Mackenzie, D (2006), An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Morgan, Mary S. (2012), The World in the Model: How Economists Work and Think. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

North, D.C., Wallis, J.J. and Weingast, B. (2009), Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

Parthasarathi, P. (2011), Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Divergence, 1600-1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Piketty, T. (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Pomeranz, K. (2000), The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Reinhart, C.M. and Rogoff, K.S. (2009), This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Rosenthal, J-L and Wong, R. Bin (2011), Before and Beyond Divergence: The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe. Harvard University Press.

Roy, T. (2012), India in the World Economy: From Antiquity to the Present (New Approaches to Asian History). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Von Glahn, Richard (2016), The Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yun-Casalilla, B. and O’Brien, P. (2011), The Rise of Fiscal States: A Global History, 1500-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Careers

Graduates of the programme have gone into a wide variety of careers, including university teaching and research posts, as well as jobs at international economic agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Matthew Partridge

PhD Economic History, 2011
Senior Writer, MoneyWeek

DrMatthewPartridge170x230jpg

I chose to do my MSc and PhD at the LSE because I won an ESRC studentship, and because I was impressed by the expertise of the department. Its global reputation was also a major factor in my decision.

One of the reasons why I was hired was because of my PhD (the other one was because I had done some financial spread betting). My knowledge of Economic History comes in very useful when I'm looking at issues such as the future of the single currency.

I really enjoyed my time at the LSE. However, while I did do a lot of things, both inside and outside the seminar room, there was still a lot more that I could have done.

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Many leading organisations in the field give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers

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