CU Dual Degree Academics


LSE-CU Dual Degree Dissertation Regulations

 HY458  LSE-CU Double Degree Dissertation Regulations

1. The HY458 dissertation in International History is mandatory for the LSE–Columbia University Double Degree in International World History. It is the single most important component of the Double Degree. The dissertation requires students to pursue sustained research in an area of particular interest to them, and it is the sole paper in which a narrow fail mark cannot be compensated by good marks elsewhere. Coming to terms with the dissertation process is therefore imperative.

The dissertation for the LSE-CU double Master's degree is an exercise in using primary sources to write on a topic related to World History (including international history, economic history, cultural history and social history). Dissertations that represent contributions to disciplines outside History, such as International Relations or Politics, will not be approved or accepted. Dissertations must therefore be based substantially on a critical analysis of primary sources, and candidates should aim to include an element of originality in the conceptualising of the thesis and/or the treatment of the evidence. When there is any question about the suitability of a particular topic, the CU Faculty Director will be consulted but the Academic Director of the LSE-CU double Master's degree at LSE will be the final judge of whether a particular topic falls within the above definition.

2. The HY458 dissertation must not exceed 15,000 words, including text and footnotes (but excluding the table of contents, bibliography and appendices). Dissertations exceeding the word limit will be subject to the following sliding scale of penalties: for up to every 100 words over the limit one mark out of 100 will be deducted, and any dissertation more than 1,000 words over the limit will be given a FAIL mark of 0 automatically. In that event, you would have to re-sit HY458. This would mean re-submitting a new dissertation within the deadline for resubmission. Students are formally required to state the total number of words on the front cover of their dissertations.

3. Two bound copies of the dissertation must reach Mrs Nayna Bhatti in E409 by 12 noon on the first Monday of the Summer Term in your second year. Students must not put their name or student number, but only their candidate number, on the front page of their dissertation. Students must also submit a signed declaration with their dissertations to the effect that they have read and understood the School’s Regulations on assessment offences (see the online LSE-CU handbook) and that apart from properly referenced quotations the work submitted is their own. In particular, they must confirm that they understand the School's Regulations regarding plagiarism (see point 11 below). The declaration form may be obtained from the public folders or from Moodle.

4. In addition to two bound copies of the dissertation, students must also submit an electronic copy of their dissertation BEFORE the deadline as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx), a Rich Text Format document (.rtf) – but not as a PDF – by e-mail attachment to

5. Dissertations not submitted by the set deadline (or extended deadline as appropriate) will be subject to the following penalties: five marks out of 100 will be deducted for coursework submitted within the 24-hours of the deadline and a further five marks will be deducted for each subsequent 24-hour period (working days only) until the coursework is submitted.

6. If a student expects to be unable to meet the submission deadline due to serious reasons such as illness or bereavement, he or she should immediately discuss the matter with their Academic Adviser and/or the Academic Director of the programme. If deemed appropriate, students shall then apply in advance for a formal extension from the Chair of the MA/MSc Examinations Board in International History. Normally such applications should be made approximately one week prior to the submission deadline. Retrospective extensions after the passing of the deadline can and will not be granted. All applications must be backed by supporting evidence such as a medical certificate or similar written evidence. In accordance with Departmental policy, computer hardware, software or printer malfunctions will not be accepted as valid reasons for late submission. Students are expected to retain and update back-up copies of all their work.

7. Dissertations must include a bibliography of all consulted sources at the end, listing first primary sources (by collection and folders, not referring to individual documents), then secondary sources. Dissertations that do not provide a bibliography are subject to penalties. Failure to include a bibliography will result in the deduction of 5 marks out of 100. For further guidance on bibliographic formats see the guidance documents on the HY458 Moodle site.

8. Students may include an appendix of no more than 12 pages, containing key documents, and transcripts of oral history interviews, maps, illustrations or other visual sources. The appendix must not contain additional dissertation text: if it is found to do so, it will be counted towards the word limit and penalties are likely to be incurred as a result.

9. Your dissertation must be typed in double spacing on one side only of A4 paper (or its nearest American equivalent) and tape or spiral bound.  Sub-headings are usually helpful guideposts for the reader. All notes should be footnotes rather than endnotes and should be numbered consecutively throughout the dissertation. For further guidance on referencing formats see the guidance documents on the HY458 Moodle site.

10. Before submitting your dissertation, your dissertation supervisor is allowed to read and comment on up to 5,000 words of your dissertation in draft form but no more. It is up to you and your supervisor to discuss which 5,000 words would be most appropriate for them to read and when you should submit this. A mark will not be included in feedback you receive.

11. The work you submit for assessment must be your own. If you try to pass off the work of others as your own you will be committing plagiarism.

Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons, including other candidates, must be clearly identified as such, being placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to their sources must be provided in proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. 

It is also an offence to commit self-plagiarism, in other words to submit, without appropriate mention in the references, extracts from work that you have written for other purposes and have had assessed elsewhere or at an earlier stage of your work at the School.

The examiners are vigilant for cases of plagiarism and the School uses plagiarism detection software to identify plagiarised text.  Work containing plagiarism may be referred to an Assessment Misconduct Panel which may result in severe penalties.

If you are unsure about the academic referencing conventions used by the School you should seek guidance from your tutor or the Library.

The Regulations on Plagiarism can be found at the following web link:

12. Students, who change their subject without discussing it with their supervisor bear full responsibility for ensuring that their subject is within the regulations of the HY458 dissertation (Please see point 1 above); if it is not, the dissertation will be failed.