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LSE-Colombia University Double Degree in International and World History

Course Description

About the MA programme

This master's programme at Columbia and LSE will ask students to explore our world by studying the forces that have been remaking it: migration, trade, technological revolutions, epidemic disease, environmental change, wars and diplomacy.

Working with preeminent historians in the field, students will analyse large-scale historical processes, pursue empirical research, and produce their own comparative and cross-cultural histories.

The LSE - Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History draws on the faculties of two of the world's leading centres of international affairs, which have the expertise and commitment to provide the training and skills needed. It offers close contact in seminars and colloquia with mentors in different intellectual and cultural settings in two global cities.

Compulsory language requirement

The ability to comprehend multiple languages is important to the study of international and world history. There is no language requirement for entry into the programme. However, in order to graduate from the programme, students must fulfil a language requirement in one of four different ways:
◾by taking two years of language training while at Columbia and LSE.
◾by taking and passing two translation exams. (Both translation exams must be taken at Columbia.)
◾by taking and passing one translation exam and studying a language for one year, either at Columbia or at LSE.
◾by taking and passing an intensive summer language course (that equals the same number of credits as a year-long language course) combined with either a passed language exam or an additional year of language classes.

Students have the choice between focusing on a single language or splitting the requirement between two different languages. It is possible to continue further study of a language after a student has passed the translation exam in that language.

Programme details

In London, the LSE - Columbia Double Degree in International and World History is run by LSE's Department of International History; and in New York the degree is run by Columbia’s History Department. It provides the chance to study international and world history from the early modern era up to today in an environment that emphasises broad study, global perspectives, and intellectual debate.

At the heart of the MA programme is a 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 core courses taken at Columbia and LSE, as well as a large range of courses that allow for specialisation and language study.

Year one: Columbia

In the first year of the programme students are required to complete 30 credits, including the core components of the programme: Approaches to International and Global History and MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop. At least 22 of these credits must be courses in the History Department. Most students must also take a course (or courses) to meet their language requirement (see below). Students can also take courses outside of the History Department, provided that both the MA director (Dr Line Lillevik) and the course instructor approve.

In late December/early January of their first year, students identify a topic for their dissertation. When the students have finalised their thesis topics in MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop, one Columbia adviser and one LSE adviser are designated to advise and guide them through completion of the dissertation in year two at LSE.

Compulsory courses
◾ Approaches to International and Global History introduces students to the conceptual possibilities and problems of international and world history.
◾ MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods Workshop is a series of practical workshops including training in the use of archives and other primary sources, the organisation and documentation of research, and presentation and publication of findings.


History Department options at Columbia vary significantly from semester to semester. Up-to-date course offerings can be found on Columbia University's Directory of Classes.

Please note that the course offerings for the Fall semester will be available in mid-March. Each course runs for a semester only, and some require permission of the instructor.

[[Year two: LSE ]]

At LSE, students are required to complete three full units in addition to the final core component of the programme: the LSE-CU Dissertation Workshop. At least two of these three units must be chosen from the wide range of international history and economic history course offerings. Students may complete their third unit in another department at LSE, provided that both the double degree's academic director and the teacher responsible for the course approve.

Compulsory course

All students are required to take the year-long Dissertation Workshop, which is designed to help students write their dissertations and think about where they would like to take their careers. It provides a specialised forum for discussion and debate on what it means to write history and be an historian.

The dissertation itself – a master's thesis in the American system – must be no more than 15,000 words in length and is due in the first week of the Summer term. It is supervised and assessed at LSE in accordance with its MSc regulations.

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

While many dual degree students go on to undertake PhDs, some choose to apply the insights gained to a career outside of academia, including journalism, public policy, non-profit, or the private sector.

Visit the LSE-Colombia University Double Degree in International and World History page on the London School of Economics and Political Science website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Thais Narciso

I was at LSE as an undergraduate and decided to come back because I was keen on studying IPE, and the British approach to it was more in tune with my priorities; namely, less focus on quantitative skills and greater emphasis on history, norms and critical thinking. Moreover, I really like the flexibility the programme gives you of choosing courses in different departments.

The Double Degree is unique in that it exposes you to two very different systems. On the one hand you have Sciences-Po, with its strong emphasis on oral presentations, long coursework hours, and the practical approach of a professional master's. On the other hand, you have LSE and its emphasis on academic research and independent study. In brief, what I most like about this programme is that it has allowed me to develop a multiplicity of skills and a more flexible approach to learning. The many compulsory subjects I took at Sciences-Po were instrumental in deepening my analysis at LSE. Besides, living in Paris and London is great!

The best thing about being at LSE is that it gives you so many opportunities as long as you are ready to go for them. I have really profited from one-on-one meetings with professors in their office hours as well as from numerous public lectures with experts in their fields. Finally, interacting with people from so many different nationalities is definitely an enriching experience.

The focus on independent study at LSE has allowed me both to explore my interests in greater depth and develop time-management skills. I would also highlight the Language Centre resources. I started learning French and Spanish as an undergraduate here and have now managed to attain a proficient level in both languages. During this master's, I am studying Chinese and Spanish and I take great advantage of the Centre's parallel activities such as film screenings and public debates.

In the future I would like to work with policy analysis in the nexus between environment, energy and development either in a think-tank, international organisation or the private sector.


Graduate Support Scheme - 20+ Awards

Around £2 million is available annually in the form of awards from the Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). This scheme is designed to help students who do not have the necessary funds to meet all their costs of study.The standard value of GSS awards ranges from £3,000 to £10,000, depending on financial need.In 2010, we offered 9.2% of applicants an award from the Graduate Support Scheme.The intention of the Graduate Support Scheme is to support students who would otherwise struggle to come to LSE for financial reasons. The numbers of applicants in this category vary from year to year; you are encouraged to apply as early as possible because funds are limited. Your financial information will not be considered as part of your application for a place at the School.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£3,000 - £10,000


The Graduate Support Scheme is open to all applicants

Application Procedure

If you are an applicant to one of the double degree programmes, you are eligible to apply to the Graduate Support Scheme but you will need to apply, once accepted as a student, during your first year (whilst at LSE's partner institution), and not prior to beginning the programme as a whole.

We will contact you to invite you to apply whilst you are in your first year of study.

Please note that LSE expects all students who register on a programme of study, regardless of its duration or whether one or more years takes place at a partner institution, to register with sufficient funds for the duration of their programme. Since there is no guarantee of receiving funding from the Graduate Support Scheme for the second year of your programme, it is important that you consider alternative options to ensure you can finance two years of study.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

2:1 degree or overseas equivalent in any discipline. English standard level requirement.

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