Oxford has one of the most long-standing history departments in the world, the Faculty of History, which has been in existence for well over a century.
The University has perhaps the largest number of scholars and teachers of history in the world, and is a leader in both its teaching and its research. The Oxford History Faculty has nearly 100 permanent University post-holders researching and teaching an extraordinary range of subjects across a broad geographical and chronological sweep, from the last days of the Roman Empire to modern Japan.
Student numbers are large across the University, though divided into smaller cohorts by College. There are about 1000 undergraduates reading for the Final Honour School of History, for the joint schools with English, Modern Languages, Politics, Economics and Ancient History, and the History of Art.
The most striking thing about undergraduate History at Oxford is its extraordinary range and the enormous amount of choice offered to students (there are over 100 different options), reflecting the breadth of interests and expertise among those who teach here. Oxford is rightly celebrated for the broad chronological sweep of its courses. Students can study options on any part of British, European and Global History, from the last years of the Roman Empire to the present day. All undergraduates are encouraged to confront periods and concepts beyond those encompassed by a narrow chronological focus, and students are given the opportunity of seeing things not just in their immediate context but also in the perspective of long‑term developments.
In addition to Oxford’s specialists in British and European History, recent appointments have been made in non‑European fields, and this is reflected in popular student options on North American, Latin American, Asian, and African themes. Oxford historians have also been in the vanguard of the assault on a narrowly Anglo‑centric approach to British History, and there are options on the English and the Celtic peoples in the later twelfth century, on Irish Nationalism from 1870 to 1921, and on the Northern Ireland Troubles. Oxford pushes its undergraduate students to do as well as possible, as a result of dedicated one-to-one and two-to-one tutorials in all courses. The Oxford tutorial system is celebrated across the world.
There are also over 450 graduate students pursuing research for higher degrees. Oxford’s unrivalled teaching and research resources mean that the History Faculty attracts an unusually large number of high quality graduate students to work in a extended range of fields. Graduate students come to study degrees of different lengths and structures. These range from taught one-year (M.St or M.Sc.) and two-year (M.Phil) degrees to rather longer research degrees, most notably the doctorate (D.Phil).
As researchers, the members of the History Faculty benefit from a dedicated team, set up as a result of strategic decisions in 2007, who guide them in making successful research grant applications; and the Faculty’s success levels are high by Humanities standards.
The Faculty is committed to making the maximum impact with its research, and many of its research projects have a high prominence, such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, coordinated by Lawrence Goldman; the Changing Character of War programme, run by Hew Strachan, which is regularly consulted by the Ministry of Defence; and several innovative comparative projects, such as Cultures of Knowledge, run by Howard Hotson, which compares intellectual activities across Europe in the seventeenth century.
The project on China’s War with Japan, run by Rana Mitter, is having a considerable affect on the way the Chinese see their own past, while one of the Faculty’s recent developments is the formation of a Global History Research Centre, founded in June 2011, with the purpose of promoting Global History through the support of research projects and the provision of workshops, seminars and conferences.
In the 2008 Research Assessment exercise, the Oxford History Faculty was rated as the best in the country, according to the widely-used “power index”.
Page last updated: 31/10/2012, at 16:53
There are a number of ways that you can contact us directly:
Faculty of History
Oxford OX1 2RL
Tel: +44 1865 615000
Fax: +44 1865 250704