At the heart of the programme is the two-year dissertation, a piece of original scholarly work based on detailed empirical research and analysis. The dissertation is supported by a sequence of three compulsory courses taken at Columbia and LSE, as well as a large range of electives that allow for specialisation. Rigorous language study is also an important component of the curriculum as it enables projects that are international in nature.
The programme begins with Approaches to International and Global History which introduces the conceptual possibilities of International and World History and the year-long MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods. The latter is a series of practical workshops that help you develop your dissertation topic and begin your research. At LSE, you will enrol in your final compulsory course, a year-long Dissertation Workshop, designed to help you write your dissertation as well as think about where you would like to take your career after the programme has finished.
First year, at Columbia University, New York
At Columbia University, you will complete 30 credits, including the core components of the programme. At least 22 of these credits must be obtained through courses in the History Department.
You could also take courses outside of the History Department (up to eight elective points, or two courses), provided that both the MA/MSc academic adviser (Dr Line Lillevik) and the course instructor approve. You can take classes from other departments within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) as well as in other schools at Columbia, including the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Journalism School, Teachers College and the School of the Arts (SOA).
Please note that the programme does not permit R credits. Language classes taken to meet the programme’s foreign language requirement generally do not count towards the minimum 30 credit hours. The definitive guide to courses being offered in a given semester can be found online Columbia Directory of Classes.
Approaches to International and Global History
Introduces the conceptual possibilities and problems of international and world history.
MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop
A series of practical workshops including training in the use of archives and other primary sources, the organisation and documentation of research, and the presentation and publication of findings.
Courses up to the value of 30 credits from a range of options
Second year, at LSE
At LSE, you will complete three full units in addition to the dissertation.
At least two of these three units must be chosen from the wide range of international history and economic history course offerings. You may complete a third unit in another department at LSE, provided that both the academic director at LSE and the teacher responsible for the course approve.
Optional courses to the value of three units
Watch our HY course videos
You will also take the year-long Dissertation Workshop, which is designed to help you research and write your dissertation and to think about where you would like to take your career after your time at LSE has finished. It provides a specialised forum for discussion and debate on what it means to write history and to be an historian.
LSE-Columbia University Double Degree Dissertation
Provides assistance in writing your dissertation and thinking about the direction in which you want your career to go. It provides a specialised forum for discussion and debate on what it means to write history and be a historian.
Although it’s not mandatory, you are also welcome to attend the larger graduate-level Research Training Workshop for all international history master’s students at the LSE, which focuses on practical research and study skills.
The dissertation is the single most important component of the MA/MSc program. It is an original scholarly work based on detailed empirical research and analysis.
Browse past dissertations from our programme's alumni.
This component of the degree reflects our belief that Masters level history students should be willing to engage in detailed historical research. In preparing this piece of work, students are provided with guidance about how to choose an appropriate topic, how to identify and locate the necessary sources, and how to write up their research findings. This is done through a combination of departmental workshops and discussions between individual students and their dissertation supervisor. But ultimately the dissertation is a test of the research abilities and writing skills of each individual student.
While in London, students preparing dissertations can take advantage of numerous world-class research libraries and archives. These include the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), the British Library, the libraries of specialised schools of the University of London such as the Institute for Historical Research, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and the LSE's own library, the British Library of Political and Economic Sciences. The LSE's archive also contains much valuable research material, as do the collections of the Imperial War Museum, the Warburg Institute and many others.
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.