Study Programmes

WHY STUDY INTERNATIONAL HISTORY? The International History Department of the Graduate Institute – the oldest school of international relations in Europe located in Geneva, the site of historical international organisations and historically of the League of Nations – enables students to pursue historical research and analysis in the context of the Institute’s anchoring in both the humanities and the comparative analysis of contemporary policy and governance.

A Dynamic Study Plan

The particular contribution of the International History Department is to bring a historical methodology to the study of international affairs, including policy-making, political systems and institutions. These methods – specifically qualitative and textual analysis, archival research and attention to structural change and continuities over time – allow students to coherently link history, politics and the contemporary environment.

A degree in international history at the Graduate Institute in Geneva can lead to a career as an international historian and it also provides a set of tools for a practical career in politics and diplomacy as well as in the private sector.  The same methods that make for a great international historian are a tremendous, indeed indispensable asset in the world of global politics. Of particular importance are the ways that historians illuminate the political relevance of questions of meaning, culture, mentalities and deep economic structures locally and globally.

The Department’s mission is to encourage dynamic and cross-cutting historical approaches to understanding, contextualising and situating current international politics and policies. Members of the faculty teach and research governmental and non-governmental actors and organisations; human rights, humanitarianism and humanitarian actions/interventions; development politics, policies and ideologies; nation-building and state-building; civil society and social movements, gender, women and public policies, labour, employment and trade unions; international and global public health; environment and environmentalisms, climate change and political ecologies; immigrants, refugees and diasporas; international finance and economy; conflicts and international security issues, political violence and terrorism; transnational actors, institutions, histories and processes; and foreign policies, multilateral diplomacy, negotiations and co-operation, regional integration, and North-South relations.

Master in International History


Ph.D. in International History

  • 3 compulsory courses (18 credits)
  • 12 elective courses (72 credits)
  • 8 to 10 courses in discipline of specialisation (48 to 60 credits)
  • 2 to 4 in one or several other disciplines (12 to 24 credits)
  • Thesis (30 credits)
  • Total of 120 credits
  • 2 compulsory courses (12 credits)
  • 2 elective courses (12 credits)
  • Preliminary thesis dissertation (30 credits)
  • Option to choose other discipline minor (18 credits)
  • Dissertation
  • Total of 54 credits or 72 (with minor)