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Dual MA/MSc in International and World History, Columbia University and London School of Economics 2017, USA, UK

Publish Date: Oct 24, 2016

Deadline: Jan 15, 2017

Dual degree

The world is more interconnected than ever. Join leading historians to study how we arrived here. An innovative curriculum includes a two-year sequence of reading and research seminars, interdisciplinary electives, and intensive foreign language training, providing the students with new frameworks and tools to understand the transnational forces that have shaped our world: migration, trade, war, technology, epidemic disease, and environmental change. At the heart of the program is the two-year dissertation, an original scholarly work based on empirical research and analysis.

Students spend the first year in New York and the second year in London and receive degrees from both institutions. Immersed in the vibrant intellectual communities of two of the world’s great cities, graduates are prepared for careers in government, journalism, think tanks, NGOs, and academia.


At the heart of the program is the two-year dissertation (a master’s thesis in the American system), 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 electives that allow for specialization. Rigorous language study is also an important component of the curriculum as it enables projects that are international in nature.

The two-year core sequence begins with Approaches to International and Global History (HIST GR8930), which introduces the conceptual possibilities and problems of international and world history, and the year-long MA/MSc Research Skills and Methods (HISTGR5000). The latter is a series of practical workshops that help students develop their dissertation topics and begin their research. At LSE, students enroll in their final core course, a year-long Dissertation Workshop (HY458), designed to help students write their dissertations as well as think about where they would like to take their careers after their time in the program has finished.

During the summer between the years in New York and London, students are expected to work on their dissertations. The long summer (4 1/2 months) provides students with an opportunity to engage in ambitious research projects. Some students’ projects require working in multiple archives across the globe, while others are able to conduct the entirety of their research in a single city or using online resources. Many students choose to accompany their research with foreign language training, internships and other career opportunities. It is expected that students will have completed the majority of their research by the time they arrive at LSE and will be ready to start writing.

Language requirements 

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 program. However, in order to graduate from the program, students must fulfill a language requirement in one of four different ways:

1) By taking two years of language training while at Columbia and LSE.

2) By taking and passing two translation exams in different languages. (Both translation exams must be taken at Columbia.)

3) By taking and passing one translation exam and studying a language for one year, either at Columbia or at LSE.

4) 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.

Language Examinations (only offered at Columbia)

Language exams are offered four times per academic year: September, December, January, and April. They are graded pass/fail and do not go on students’ transcripts. Students who have completed their secondary schooling or undergraduate work in a language other than English, or whose native language is not English, receive an automatic pass for that language.

Sample translation exams can be found on the History Department website. Please notify the MA Program Office if you wish to take an exam in a language that is not listed on the departmental website. Language exams for East Asian languages are administered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture (EALAC). At the moment, there are no sample exams for Asian languages, but further information can be found on EALAC’s website.

Language Classes

Language at Columbia

Language classes do not count toward the 30-point requirement; they are in addition to it. Language courses can carry different numbers of points. The most intensive ones, which meet four times a week, can be as many as 5 points (e.g. Chinese). However, most introductory language classes are 4 points. Some introductory and intermediate language classes meet only once a week and carry 2 to 3 points (e.g. Rapid Reading and Translation). If the instructor approves, the program permits students to take language classes pass/fail.

History and approved elective courses taught in a foreign language offered at the 4000-level and above can generally be counted simultaneously towards both the 30-point requirement and the language requirement. (e.g. French Theater and Revolution; Fifty Years of Impatience: The Italian Novel between 1950-2000.)

Language at LSE

Language classes at LSE are taken through the LSE Language Center. The Language center offers Certificate Courses during the academic year, which are extra curricular in nature and can be taken by anyone including individuals not currently at LSE. Courses taken at the LSE Language Center cannot be counted towards the second year’s required elective units; they are in addition to them.


Students apply through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) at Columbia University. Applications should only be submitted to Columbia University. The Joint Teaching Committee with faculty members from both Columbia and LSE will evaluate the applications and make the final decisions jointly.

Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year are now open. Apply Here >>

For more information about the application process, please visit The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.

Application Deadlines

All applications are reviewed using the same guidelines. However, applicants who apply by the early application deadline will receive an admissions decision earlier. This may be an advantage for those applying for fellowships with early deadlines that require proof of admission.

All students admitted during a given year must begin the program in the fall. The MA/MSc program does not have a spring-start admissions cycle.

Early Application Deadline: January 15, 2017

Early applicants will be notified that their application has been accepted, denied, or waitlisted by late February/early March.

Applicants who receive a wait list decision during the first evaluation round will be automatically considered during the regular decision evaluation process and do not need to reapply.

Applicants who are denied admission during the first evaluation round cannot reapply for consideration during the regular decision evaluation process, but are welcome to apply again the following year (subject to the GSAS policy on reapplying).

Regular Deadline: March 15, 2017

All applications received after January 15, as well as applicants that were waitlisted during the first round, will be reviewed during the second admissions review process. All applications must be received by March 15, 2017 to be considered for admission. Applicants will be notified by late April/early May.

Important Dates

Applications open: Applications will open in September 2016 for the Fall 2017 intake.

Applications due for FLAS (early review, see below): TBD (February 2017) *** FLAS applicants MUST apply to the MA/MSc program by the early review deadline (January 15, 2017).

Applications close: March 15, 2017

Applicants notified: Late February-Early March for applicants who apply by January 15, 2017; Late April-Early May for applicants who apply by March 15, 2017.


*Applicants who are applying to the FLAS Fellowship Program MUST notify the MA/MSc program office ( Students applying for the FLAS fellowship must also submit their general program application in its entirety by the early application deadline (January 15, 2017) in order to be considered for early review admission and subsequent eligibility for the FLAS award. Please note that the FLAS requires a separate application. See the FLAS website for further details.

*If you would like to be considered for a Tuition Reduction Scholarship, please email your scholarship statement to by the MA/MSc application deadline. For TRS application instructions, please visit our Fellowships and Financial Aid page.

*Note: Students earn two degrees, one from each university. The program requires two years of full-time study, which must be taken in sequence. Students cannot attend the program part-time, nor is it possible to condense the dual-degree program into a single year of study. Coursework from previous MA studies cannot be used towards the Columbia-LSE dual degree program. Students cannot complete only one year of the program and receive only one degree. Degrees are awarded only after all program requirements at both Columbia University and the London School of Economics have been met.


The dual Master’s degree program in International and World History welcomes applicants from all academic and professional backgrounds. Students are selected for admission based on their academic and professional pursuits, in addition to their unique interests and life experiences.

Students in our program have backgrounds in history as well as a wide range of other academic fields including comparative literature, philosophy, anthropology, area studies, political science, journalism and business. Students with backgrounds outside of the humanities and social sciences are also welcome to apply, so long as their Statement of Purpose explains why they wish to study history.

Although work experience is considered desirable, the program will also accept students who are currently finishing their undergraduate studies. Students with previous master’s degrees are welcome to apply, although the majority of incoming students are likely not to have a degree beyond the Bachelor’s degree.

Tuition and fees


Tuition for 2016-17 is $51,768. Additional fees may vary depending on whether the student has separate medical insurance. All students are required to pay the Health Service Fee, Student Activity Fee, University Facilities Fee, and a one-time only Transcript Fee. The Health Service Fee is in addition to the medical insurance. For those of you who do not have outside medical insurance you are required to obtain CU Medical Insurance. Please visit the Student Financial Services website for more information on tuition and fees. The cost of tuition is the same for US citizens and international students.

Please be aware that Columbia charges an International Service Fee of $140 to all non-American students during both years of the two-year program.


The tuition cost for the second year at LSE is currently set at £19,344 for 2016-17, and £20,112 for 2017-18. LSE students from both the UK and overseas are covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Tuition is the same for UK/EU citizens and international students. For more information on tuition and fees, please consult the LSE table of fees.

Please consult the GSAS website and the program's financial aid page for informatin on financing the MA/MSc. 

*Note: The definitive sources for tuition information can be found on the Columbia and LSE websites.

**Note: If you purchase CU medical insurance please note it ends at midnight US EST on August 14. Health Insurance at LSE, through NHS, commences when you arrive in the UK. Students must register with the NHS, providing proof of a UK address.

Fellowships and financial aid

Columbia together with the LSE are aiming to provide substantial fellowships for the most promising applicants.

Because not all students will receive these fellowships, MA/MSc students are encouraged to apply for external fellowships. Please note scholarship programs often have application deadlines between six months and one year before the start of the academic program.

More information on external fellowships and financial aid at Columbia can be found on the website of the GSAS Office of Financial Aid. The office is open from 9 am to 4:45 pm, Monday through Friday. Each Wednesday students are seen on a walk-in basis. Students are also welcome to set up individual appointments on other days of the week. To contact the office, please call 212-854-3808 or send an email to

The Financial Support Office at LSE is another resource for fellowship information. The Financial Support Office holds drop-in sessions every day during term time between 1 pm and 2 pm in the Student Services Centre in the Old Building. During vacations, drop in sessions are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Students who are unable to attend any of the drop in sessions are welcome to contact the Office by phone (+44 (0)20 7955 6609), fax (+44 (0)20 7955 6099), or send an email to

For more information click "Further official information" below.


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