International History at LSE
The LSE was founded in 1895 originally as an institute of higher education for graduate students. The Department of International History reflects this tradition and takes its responsibility for graduate teaching and research supervision very seriously. We admit nearly as many masters students as undergraduates, with a critical mass of graduates usually numbering over 150 in a year. Consequently our graduates never feel on the margins of the department or an after-thought which often can be the case at some other London institutions geared more for undergraduate teaching. We have one of the most cosmopolitan graduate communities in London and for international history in the UK and it is therefore one of the most vibrant and dynamic. You will have use of our library, famous for being the best university library in London. In addition, we have an IT network and training facilities that are acknowledged to be leading the field.
With its emphasis on the international and transnational context of historical developments, the Department of International History at LSE provides a supportive, but challenging environment for those individuals interested in undertaking a research project leading to a PhD in international history. The department currently has about 20 faculty engaged in innovative research who are ideally placed to supervise research students on a wide range of subjects. The Department of International History at LSE can offer a comprehensive range of special areas for research, ranging from the early 16th century to the late 20th century.
Proposals on all aspects of historical research from c.1600 onward are welcome, although more details on the department's particular areas of expertise are available in the Research Clusters webpage. Each year we receive a large number of applications from prospective PhD students from all over the world. The department currently has over 35 graduate research students in the department, from virtually every corner of the world, which provides a vibrant and friendly community at the heart of the PhD process. Our graduates teach in some of the best university departments in Britain and overseas, or work in the media, civil service or private and voluntary organisations. More details on the research degree programme and the department's research seminars can be found in the links at the side of this page.
LSE History rankings
The Department of International History has consistently performed well in the QS World University Rankings. In the QS World University History Subject Table for 2021, History at LSE ranked 5th overall in the world for the second year running, ahead of Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley and Princeton. In the UK and in Europe, History at LSE continues to rank third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of King's College London, UCL and Edinburgh.
Research in the Department
The department is divided into five research clusters covering a wide range of subjects taught in the Department. We have our own blog, LSE International History Blog, where students and non-LSE historians contribute historically-informed perspectives on contemporary affairs. We also have our own podcast, Our Histories, with each episode devoted to the research conducted by one of our faculty members.
LSE and departmental events
Graduate students in the Department of International History have a research seminar with guest speakers and there are guest lectures. We organise a weekend away at Cumberland Lodge, Great Windsor Park once a year. This is designed to enable graduates to get to know each other better and to develop their ideas about a particular topic. Additionally throughout the year, students can take advantage of the great LSE tradition of inviting famous (and infamous) figures from the world of politics, business, media and international affairs. Please see the Department's Public Lectures and Events for a good range of history events hosted by us during the academic year as well as the LSE Public Lectures and Events. This helps make the LSE a particularly fertile and exciting place to be studying international history. There is an almost bewildering range of societies and clubs engaging with international politics, single issues, the 'third world', social justice problems or just dedicated to sport, music, dance and a whole range of pursuits which we lecturers haven't got a clue about. We highly recommend our students join the LSE Student Union History Society. We have a gym and squash courts on site and one of the largest student shops on campus. There is also a large student bookshop owned by Waterstone's selling new and used books.
We are very fortunate at the LSE in being so centrally located in the capital. We are in walking distance of the British Library, Covent Garden, the Royal Courts of Justice, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the West End theatres as well as Trafalgar Square, the Barbican, Buckingham Palace, River Thames and the London Eye. Much of our graduate accommodation is located in prime real-estate sites in central London. Our graduate students can take advantage of all the intellectual resources that this capital is home to, including the National Archives south of the river at Kew and the world's largest newspaper archive in North London. Not surprisingly our students are able to produce dissertations of the highest quality benefiting from such easy access to a range of primary sources and people willing to help.
London and LSE
London and LSE has much to offer anyone studying for a higher degree in history. The LSE International History Department is one of the leading history departments in the UK, and the main European centre for the study of international history. Working as part of the world's premier institution for social science research, the staff and students in the Department come from many different countries and continents, and contribute to the unique cosmopolitan experience of studying at LSE.
In London you will find important archives and libraries for international history, such as the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), the Public Record Office, the British Library, and the libraries of the specialised schools of the University of London, such as the Institute of Historical Research, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. The LSE's British Library of Political and Economic Science Library is one of the leading collections of materials for social science research, with substantial holdings in most of the key European languages. 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.