At NUS, the graduate curriculum is based on the modular system. Workloads are expressed in terms of modular credits (MCs), and academic performance is measured by grade points on a 5-point scale. Candidates read 1 core and 9 elective modules to earn a total of 40 MCs, and obtain the degree. Each module is worth 4 MCs and generally requires 10 hours of work a week, including participating in lectures, seminars, and workshops, and completing assignments and readings. Those who obtain a cumulative average point (CAP) of 4.0 and above after the first semester of study can opt to take 2 less elective modules and write the 10,000-word thesis, which is worth 8 MCs. The programme is taught by a combination of full-time and adjunct members of the faculty. From time to time, the Department may also engage guest lecturers, retired policymakers, visiting professors, and working professionals to instruct classes. More information about the programme can be found here.
The majority of the taught modules at NUS adopt the continuous assessment method to assess the progress of the candidates. Instructors may require candidates to craft research essays, deliver seminar presentations, participate actively in class discussions, submit book reviews or opinion pieces, or take quizzes. These assignments will be graded and the scores will add up to 100 percent of the final grade of the module. In some classes, instructors may require candidates to sit for a final examination. The score obtained at the finals is worth a percentage of the overall grade. Finally, candidates writing the MA thesis will need to complete and submit their projects by the end of the second semester for examination.
Candidates can approach the Department’s graduate or programme coordinator if they need assistance on academic or personal matters while they are at NUS. They can also contact the module instructors or thesis supervisors for guidance. Finally, they may seek the help of the staff at the Graduate Studies Division, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, to address any issues they may encounter. Other useful information can be found here [PDF].
Contact hours and independent study
At LSE you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. 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.
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.
The programme will be delivered largely through a two-hour seminar in which all students will be expected to contribute to discussion of the weekly topics and readings. Small group work will also be undertaken in seminars, the material allocated for that week will be examined and views fed back to the wider class. The seminar presentations offer a chance to ask questions and clarify issues suggested by reading, or for students to disagree over and debate particular points and interpretations. The stress throughout will be on participation and inquiry. Engagement in such seminar-based discussion is a way for students to develop the critical thinking skills that are important to the learning outcomes, as well as to accumulate a knowledge base in the major historiographical arguments. The small group will help students to learn from each other's insights and will foster the engagement with primary sources which is also one of the key learning outcomes. The dissertation project will provide the opportunity for students to develop skills in planning and implementing independent research.
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.
Essays provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have grasped the range of intellectual issues raised by the course and can express sophisticated arguments relating to the topics in writing. Presentations allow students to demonstrate that they have grasped the complex issues raised by their topic, to prioritise the most important information to cover and arguments to make, and to express themselves eloquently and with confidence in front of an audience.
Exams are held between mid-May and late June. Exams assess a student's ability to assemble an argument and support it through the use of evidence under timed conditions.
For this programme, dissertations are submitted in September and assessed in accordance with LSE’s MSc criterion.
You will also be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns. You will meet the mento at least twice a term - as many times as need be - to discuss any aspect of your life at the LSE. The mentor is the first point of contact if you have any worries about your time in London and at LSE. The Department also has a Masters Programme Tutor, who oversees the Graduate programme and he is also available to meet students. Graduates can also approach the Postgraduate and Research Programme Manager, Mrs Nayna Bhatti. Finally, there are graduate representatives on School committees and the Graduate Staff-Student Committee and we value their input.
The Department of International History is committed to the idea that graduate teaching should be done in small groups. In order to meet this commitment, and to ensure that students can work with their teachers in an environment where real dialogue and interchange is possible, the number taking some courses does have to be controlled. This means that it becomes very important to indicate in advance to the Department what options the incoming students wish to take.
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.