About us

Department of International Relations


What IR scholarship or IR as a subfield of political science brings to the study of international politics is the application of concepts, theories and methods.


International Relations: An Introduction International Relations: An Introduction
Contributors: Professor William A Callahan, Dr Toby Dodge, Dr Jens Meierhenrich, Professor Iver Neumann, Professor Karen Smith, Dr Stephen Woolcock


Welcome from the Head of the Department of International Relations


Welcome to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), one of the world's leading social science institutions, and to the International Relations (IR) Department. As a Department we are now in our 95th year, making us one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.

The Department has about 500 students in any given year, drawn from more than 30 countries. There are approximately 225 undergraduate students, the majority of whom are on the three years of the BSc IR programme, and the remainder on the one-year General Course. We also have about 220 postgraduate students on our MSc programmes. In addition, we have about 50 research students registered in the Department at any one time. Our research students are initially registered for the MPhil but the majority go on to complete a PhD and many then go into academia in the UK and overseas. We will offer a number of exciting public events this year - you can find the details here.

The Department also has a vibrant research culture which enhances our teaching programme. Details of staff research interests and areas of expertise, research centres and units attached to the Department and IR research student topics are included on this website, in addition to a detailed breakdown of programmes of study and FAQs. We hope that you will find the website of interest and assistance.

Professor Jeffrey M Chwieroth
Head of Department

About the department

The Department of International Relations celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002-2003. You can read about the Foundation and History of the International Relations Department.

International Relations has been taught at LSE since 1924 when Philip Noel-Baker was appointed to a new, privately-endowed Chair of International Relations. The Department, which was set up three years later, was not only the first of its kind, but has remained a leading world centre for the development of the subject ever since. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the most recent National Research Assessment Exercise when the IR and Government Departments, assessed as one unit, received one of the highest rankings.

In the early years the Department drew heavily on other disciplines, in particular Diplomatic History and International Law; but in the 1960s the leadership passed to Geoffrey Goodwin and Fred Northedge, both of whom were graduates of the Department. They took the study of IR into a new era, as well as helping to establish the Centre for International Studies in 1967, and the graduate programme in European Studies launched in 1972. They also helped found the student-run journal, Millennium: Journal of International Studies which is one of the most prestigious IR journals.

The Department is also closely associated with the development of a specifically 'English School' of International Relations. But although many of its leading figures -- Martin Wight, Hedley Bull, and John Vincent -- did indeed teach in the Department, we have never endorsed a particular orthodoxy. Indeed, many new developments in the subject have been pioneered by us such as the increasing concern with international political economy which owes much to the work and inspiration of Susan Strange, and the interest in revolutions and IR which owes much to Fred Halliday. Our aim is to offer students a broad range of options including major theoretical perspectives on IR, the study of conflict as well as conflict management, the work of the major international institutions, and the major regions of the world from Europe to the Middle East.

The Department has always been strongly international in character and today the majority of our graduate students, a good proportion of our undergraduates, as well as many members of the faculty are drawn from Europe, North America and further afield. At the same time we have always prided ourselves as having both a national and an international role in training diplomats and future university teachers. At least fifty former students are now teaching International Relations in universities both in Britain and abroad.

Staff-student liaison committees

The International Relations Department has three staff-student liaison committees.

Find out more

Academic staff and GTA handbooks

These handbooks are both available online. 

Find out more

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at LSE

LSE is committed to building a diverse, equitable and truly inclusive university. LSE believes that diversity is critical to maintaining excellence in all of our endeavours. We seek to enable all members of the School community to achieve their full potential in an environment characterised by equality of respect and opportunity.

One of our guiding principles in LSE’s 2030 Strategy is to sustain excellence through an inclusive and diverse community. We work to build a School – and a society – in which everyone is able to fulfil their potential, and everyone’s contribution is valued.

Through events celebrating Black History Month, LGBT+ History Month, Disability History Month and International Women’s Day, we have consistently demonstrated our commitment to an inclusive LSE.

LSE has a number of important initiatives that are designed to lead to equity, diversity and inclusion for us all:

  • Ethics Code: The LSE community is expected to act to the highest standards of ethical integrity, in accordance with the ethical principles set out in our Ethics Code.
  • Report it, Stop it: If you have experienced, or witnessed, any form of bullying, harassment (including that based on protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010), hate crime or sexual violence, we encourage you to report this to LSE.

    - Online Form: Incidents can be reported via the online Report it Stop it form. This report can be completely anonymous, if you prefer. If you do leave your contact details, LSE can take action with your permission to find a resolution to your case. Find out more or report an incident

    - Safe Contacts: Reports can also be made to LSE Safe Contacts, who are trained members of LSE staff offering confidential support and guidance to individuals who have experienced, or are experiencing, any form of bullying, harassment, hate crime or sexual violence. Find out more information on Safe Contacts.

    - Consent.ed: LSE’s educational programme focused on consent, fostering respectful and inclusive behaviour on campus. All students are expected to participate, though opting out is respected for personal reasons. Learn more about Consent.Ed.

    - Rape Crisis: Rape Crisis Centres provide frontline specialist, independent and confidential services for women and girls of all ages who’ve been subjected to any form of sexual violence, at any time in their lives. LSE has partnered with Rape Crisis so that any student or staff member can book appointments with a designated Sexual Violence Support Worker anytime. Find out more about Rape Crisis.

    - Survivors UK: LSE has recently partnered with Survivors UK to provide independent sexual violence advisor services to any man, boy, transgender or nonbinary person in the LSE community. Any staff or student can book a confidential appointment. Learn more about Survivors UK.
  • AccessAble: Accessibility guides of all LSE campus buildings, ensuring inclusivity for everyone. Visit AccessAble.
  • LGBTQ+ Role Models and Allies Directory: provides a list of staff who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) Role Models and Allies. Visit the directory.
  • Our Race Equity Framework has been developed for improving the representation and attainment of BAME1 (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) students at all levels, and improving the representation and progression of BAME staff in academic and PSS (professional services staff) roles. Visit our website to learn more.
  • Our Athena SWAN action plan has been developed for the advancement of gender equality at LSE. The plan includes actions to embed EDI in departmental culture, to support women in applying for research grants, to support trans staff and students and increase the proportion of female students undertaking postgraduate research programmes. Visit our website to learn more.
  • LSE Students’ Union: You can view all student representatives, including Women’s, LGBTQ+, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and Neurodiversity and Disability Officers on the LSESU website

For further information about these initiatives and the support available - plus our partnerships, training and workshops, and inclusive EDI policies - please contact the EDI Team on or visit our EDI website