MSc Financial History

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Economic History
  • Application code V5F1
  • Starting 2024
  • Home full-time: Open
  • Home part-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The MSc Financial History provides students with a historical and interdisciplinary perspective on the main challenges facing the global monetary and financial system and capital markets. In the last decade, the field of financial history has experienced considerable growth globally. Fifteen years of financial turmoil have led to a revival of questions and debates about money and finance and stakeholders as well as have realised how a deeper knowledge of financial history can help to better inform and guide the current policy debate.

The programme will allow students from various academic backgrounds (history, finance, economics or any related discipline) to acquire a deep understanding of the functioning of capital markets and of the conduct of monetary affairs through a historical approach. It will train you, through the study of financial history, to think critically and deeply about monetary and financial problems.

Having successfully completed the MSc Financial History programme you will be able to:

  • Apply theories of money, banking and finance to concrete historical case studies from a broad range of countries;
  • Identify the causes of monetary and financial instability and crises through a combination of quantitative and qualitative historical methods;
  • Assess the effects of monetary and financial policies on the economy and capital markets through a historical analysis taking account of the broader economic, social, and political context;
  • Draw parallels between various historical episodes of credit booms, financial market bubbles, inflations, and crises and identify what can be learned from them;
  • Understand the historical origins of today’s global financial and monetary architecture;
  • Reflect critically on the main policy debates in the areas of money and finance and on the trade-offs they involve, for example with regard to financial regulation, quantitative easing, exchange rate regimes, and capital controls;
  • Put current monetary and financial problems into a long run perspective and analyse them with the eye of a financial historian.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Financial History
Start date 30 September 2024
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However, please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2022 289
Intake 2022 28
Financial support Graduate support scheme (see 'Fees and funding')
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in a social science
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 MSc Financial History

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in social science.

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 from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

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 predicted and achieved grades)
- statement of academic purpose
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, 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 graduate student is charged a fee 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 2024/25 for MSc Financial History

Home students: £27,480
Overseas students: £29,472

The Table of Fees shows the latest tuition amounts for all programmes offered by the School.

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.

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships 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 home and overseas students.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships.

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an offer for a place and submitting a Graduate Financial Support application, before the funding deadline. Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 25 April 2024.

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. Find out more about financial support.

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

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.

Part-time study
Part time study is only available for students who do not require a student visa.

Programme structure and courses

You will take courses in financial history and economic history to the value of two units, choose one half unit finance course delivered by the Department of Finance and one half unit course on quantitative research methods delivered by the Department of Economic History. You will also complete a dissertation in financial history.

(* denotes a half unit)

History of Global Finance 
Provides a comprehensive overview of the history the global monetary and financial system and of the major evolutions in the architecture of global finance and in the governance of international monetary affairs.

One from:

History of Financial Markets*  
Explores the historical evolution of financial markets from the early times to the present as well as the history of financial bubbles, crises and crashes.

Macroeconomic History* (suspended in 2024/25)
Studies the boom and bust of the business cycle in a historical perspective.

The History of Premodern Money*
Examines European monetary and financial policies up to the early eighteenth centuries.

History of Corporate Finance and Institutional Investment*
Provides students with an understanding of how some of the major features of modern finance emerged from the 19th century onwards with a particular focus on the US and UK.

One from:

Quantitative Analysis in Economic History I*
Explores how economic historians have used quantitative methods and with how researchers design and structure a research project. 

Quantitative Analysis in Economic History II*
Provides an overview of quantitative approaches in economic history mainly using cross-section and panel data.

Topics in Quantitative Analysis in Economic History*
Provides an overview of quantitative approaches in economic history with a focus on time series data.

One from:

International Finance
Equips you with the relevant academic research, techniques and analytical skills to interpret current developments in the fast-changing area of international finance, from the shifts in capital flows to the electronification of forex trading, from the persisting dominance of the US dollar in the international monetary order to China’s alleged exchange rate manipulations, from the development of cryptocurrencies to the turbulence in the oil market, from the rise in global imbalances to the Eurozone response to COVID-19.

Financial Markets (FM473M or FM473L)
Explores the way that firms and the capital market function to channel savings toward productive investments.

Managerial Finance (FM474M or FM474L)
Provides a comprehensive overview of firms' financial decision making. 

Global Financial Systems
Examines the academic and policy debates on the operation of the global financial system.

One course to the value of a half unit from a range of options


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 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.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Teaching is usually spread over the Autumn and Winter Terms, with the Spring Term generally reserved for one week of teaching and revision sessions, followed by preparation for exams or other assessment, and/or the writing of your dissertation.

The average taught course contact hours per half unit is 20-30 hours and a full unit is 40-60 hours. This includes sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.


All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

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 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 specific courses. 

Disability and Wellbeing Service – they 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 and arranging exam adjustments. They run groups and workshops. 

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

LSE Faith Centre – this is 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 nine 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 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 is 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; offers one-to-one sessions with study advisers who can help you with reading, making notes, writing, research and exam revision; and provides 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 – this 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 – this 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 advisers – we have a Deputy Head of Student Services (Advice and Policy) and an Adviser to Women Students who can help with academic and pastoral matters.

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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. 

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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

The following is a list of general economic history books that you might want to take a look at before you arrive at LSE. Please note, these books are listed as a general introduction to economic history and may not appear on the reading lists of the courses that you actually take - they are presented as a starting point.

Ahamed, L. (2009), Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, Penguin Press.

Aliber, R., & Kindleberger, C. P. (2015). Manias, panics and crashes: A history of financial crises. Palgrave.

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.

Cain, P. J., and A. G. Hopkins (2016), British Imperialism, 1688-2015, Routledge.

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

De Roover, R. (1974). Business, banking, and economic thought in late medieval and early modern Europe. University of Chicago Press.

Eichengreen, B. (1992), Golden Fetters, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eichengreen, B. (2008). Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System. Princeton University Press.

Eichengreen, B. (2015). Hall of mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses-and Misuses of History. Oxford University Press.

Ferguson, N. (2008). The ascent of money. A financial history of the world. Penguin.

Galbraith, J. K. (1980), The Great Crash, 1929, London: A. Deutsch.

Gorton, G. (2012), Misunderstanding Financial Crises, Oxford: Oxford University Press

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

James, H. (2001), The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression, Harvard: Harvard

University Press


Kindleberger, C. (1986), The World in Depression, 1929-1939, Berkeley: University of

California Press

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

Lamoreaux, N. R. (1994), Insider Lending: Banks, Personal Connections, and Economic Development in Industrial New England, New York: Cambridge University Press.  

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.

Neal L. (2015). A concise history of international finance. Cambridge University Press.

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

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



Pistor, K. (2019), The Code of Capital. How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Quinn, W., and J. Turner (2021), Boom and Bust. A Global History of Financial Bubbles,

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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

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

Taleb, N.N. (2007). Black Swan. The impact of the highly improbable. Random House.

Tooze, A. (2018). Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. London: Penguin Books.

Trivellato, F. (2019), The Promise and Peril of Credit, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Von Glahn, Richard (2016), The Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century (CUP)


Quick Careers Facts for the Department of Economic History

Median salary of our PG students 15 months after graduating: £42,000          

Top 5 sectors our students work in:

  • Information, Digital Technology and Data            
  • Financial and Professional Services              
  • Education, Teaching and Research            
  • Accounting and Auditing              
  • Consultancy

The data was collected as part of the Graduate Outcomes survey, which is administered by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Graduates from 2020-21 were the fourth group to be asked to respond to Graduate Outcomes. Median salaries are calculated for respondents who are paid in UK pounds sterling and who were working in full-time employment.

Economic history graduates can be found in management and administration in the public and private sectors; banking; journalism; economic consultancy; and library and museum services, to mention just a few.

Further information on graduate destinations for economic history graduates

Jacob Hipps

MSc Economic History
Senior Manager Global Supply Chain Strategy, Walmart


I worked in corporate finance from 2008-10 and witnessed the fall-out from the financial crisis. The experience prompted me to explore the economic theories supporting US policies. I became interested in the history of economic thought and LSE had the only dedicated program in this area.

I look back on my experience at LSE as a great watering of intellectual seeds. LSE was a year of tremendous intellectual growth. It is rare to be surrounded by folks who think deeply and instinctively and jump into well-reasoned debates. The greatest thing I took from the LSE, which applies to my career, is comfort in forming, defending, and reforming my views.

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