History | University of Oxford (2024)

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Last updated

9 Apr 2024

HomeAdmissionsUndergraduateCoursesA-Z of coursesHistory

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Admissions Requirements
  • Careers
  • Fees and funding
  • Studying at Oxford

Course overview

UCAS code:V100
Entrance requirements:AAA
Course duration:3 years (BA)

Subject requirements

Required subjects:Not applicable
Recommended subjects: History
Helpful subjects:Not applicable

Other course requirements

Admissions tests:HATWritten Work: One piece

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 71%
Successful: 24%
Intake: 220
*3-year average 2021-23


Tel:+44 (0) 1865 615000

Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

About the course

Oxford’s History course combines the examination of large regions over extended periods of time with more focused work on smaller social groups, shorter periods and particular themes. It provides a distinctive education by developing an awareness of the differing political, cultural, social and economic structures within past societies and how they interrelate.

The course combines vigorous debate over questions of interpretation with rigorous attention to source material, while the constant enrichment by cross-fertilisation from other disciplines leads to new questions about the past.

Oxford is celebrated for the broad chronological sweep of its courses and the enormous amount of choice offered. Students can study options on any part of British and European history from the declining years of the Roman Empire to the present day.

The geographical range is also broad: there are options on North American, Latin American, Asian and African history (visit the department website for further details).

Students are encouraged to adopt a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to their work, and the faculty is strong on intellectual and cultural history options. The Oxford History Faculty is at the forefront of research.

Oxford also possesses exceptional library provision for History in:

  • theBodleian Library
  • theHistory Faculty Library
  • The Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library
  • TheWeston Library’s special collections
History | University of Oxford (2)History | University of Oxford (3)

'In the past year I’ve studied a wide range of topics on aspects of history I’d never even considered before, spanning from monasticism in the 11th Century to the French Revolution and Napoleon. I also did some papers in sociology and art history, which helped me find new perspectives and ways to approach my work. I love the diversity of my courses, and the fact I have control over every term’s study. The tutors are flexible too, meaning I can choose essays on topics which interest me. The library provision for History is amazing: wherever I work, I feel like I’m inside a historical attraction rather than just reading about them!'


'The best thing about my course is the freedom. Right from the start I was given the choice of 7 different time periods, and since then have had the opportunity to study a range of topics and periods, finding out what I like most. One term, I was studying Europe and the world in the 19th Century, the next I was doing a source-based module on medieval crime and punishment. It's so great to have the freedom to pursue my own interests, and gives me a real sense of control over my studies. Plus, the tutors are fantastic (not as scary as I'd imagined!) and genuinely consider my thoughts and ideas, despite knowing so much about the topic themselves!'


Unistats information

Discover Unicourse data provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford for a particular undergraduate course.

Please select 'see course data' to view the full Unistats data for History.

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

Visit the Studying at Oxford section of this page for a more general insight into what studying here is likely to be like.


A typical week

During the first year, you will be expected to attend around five lectures each week, participate in regular meetings with tutors to discuss work, conduct independent research and write at least one essay a week.

In the second and third years you will have the opportunity to choose from an enormous variety of lectures, and your regular tutorials will be supplemented by faculty classes where you will discuss work with a larger number of students.

The third-year thesis will give you the opportunity to engage in a piece of independent research. Generally students are very much in charge of their own timetable throughout their course.

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students and a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose. There would usually be no more than around 12 students although the more popular classes may include up to 30 students.

Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are usually studying at doctoral level.

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit ourAcademic Yearpage.

Course structure

Year 1



Four courses are taken:

  • History of the British Isles
  • European and world history
  • Historical methods (choice of Approaches to history; Historiography: Tacitus to Weber; Quantification; one of several foreign text papers)
  • Optional subject (choice of around 20 including: Theories of the state; Making England Protestant, 1558–1642; The rise and crises of European socialisms, 1881–1921; Radicalism in Britain, 1965–75)

First University examinations: four timed, written papers.

Years 2 and 3



Six courses are taken:

  • History of the British Isles
  • European and world history
  • Further subject (choice of about 35, including: China since 1900; The Near East in the age of Justinian and Muhammad, c527–700; The Middle East in the age of empire, 1830–71; The authority of nature: race, heredity and crime, 1800–1940; Culture, politics and identity in Cold War Europe, 1945–68; Britain at the movies: film and national identity since 1914)
  • Special subject: a paper and an extended essay (choice of about 30, including: The Norman conquest of England; Politics, art and culture in the Italian Renaissance, Venice and Florence,c1475–1525; The Scientific Movement in the 17th century; English architecture, 1660–1720; Race, religion and resistance in the US, from Jim Crow to Civil Rights; Britain in the seventies; Terror and forced labour in Stalin’s Russia; From Gandhi to the Green Revolution: India, independence and modernity, 1947–73; Nazi Germany, a racial order, 1933–45; The Northern Ireland troubles, 1965–85)
  • Disciplines of history
  • Thesis
For the latest information on all course details and options visit theHistory website.

Final University examinations: five written papers; one extended essay; one thesis; an additional thesis may be offered.

The content and format of this course may change in some circ*mstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements





Advanced Highers:


International Baccalaureate (IB):

38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

Any other equivalent qualification:

View information onother UK qualifications, andinternational qualifications.

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.

Read further information onhow we use contextual data.

Subject requirements


It is highly recommended for candidates to have History to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent.

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Astrophoria Foundation Year

If you’re interested in studying History but your personal or educational circ*mstances have meant you are unlikely to achieve the grades typically required for Oxford courses, then applying for the course with a Foundation Year might be right for you.

Visit ourFoundation Year course pagesfor more details.


All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on ourApplying to Oxfordpages.

The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test



Test date:

To be confirmed

Registration deadline:

To be confirmed

All candidates must take theHistory Admissions Test (HAT)as part of their application.

Visit theHAT pagefor guidance on how to prepare.

We will be putting in place new arrangements for our admissions tests for 2024 onwards. We will provide more information on these arrangements at the earliest opportunity.

Written work


All candidates are required to send in an essay on a historical topic, written in their own time as part of their normal school or college work. If these requirements cause any problems, please contact the Tutor for Admissions at your college of preference.

Note that in selecting work for submission you should choose a piece which has enthused you and on which you are willing to talk. Do not worry if you have changed your mind on the topic since writing it. Tutors are impressed by candidates who remain intellectually engaged with their work.


10 November 2024

Visitourfurther guidance on thesubmission of written workformore information, and to download a cover sheet.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for intellectual curiosity as well as a flexible approach to engaging with unfamiliar concepts or arguments and an enthusiasm for history.

If you are shortlisted, you may be asked to discuss your submitted written work and personal statement during interview. Candidates may also be asked to read and talk about a short passage as part of the interview.

Visit theHistory websitefor more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


History graduates go on to follow diverse careers in fields such as:

  • the law
  • investment banking and consultancies
  • advertising
  • accountancy
  • the Civil Service
  • publishing
  • journalism and the media
  • global charity work
  • museums
  • librarianship and archive work
  • teaching.

Edward, a curator, says: ‘My degree helped me acquire a position with the Pendle Heritage Centre and then at Historic Scotland. Afterwards I became a curator for the National Museum of the US Navy.’

David, who is now a history teacher, says: ‘A History degree was a prerequisite to teaching history to A-level and IB, but the Oxford degree accelerated my career path, allowing me to step straight into a position at an academic school. I use my degree on a daily basis, in teaching a wide range of historical topics as well as advising students about Oxford.’

Robin is the Managing Director of Schneider-Ross. He says: ‘On graduating, I joined Esso UK. Having met my wife there, in 1989 we decided to set up our own consultancy, Schneider-Ross, specialising in global diversity and inclusion. I feel History gave me all the skills I’ve called on to analyse data, make arguments and convince people of the need to change… and the confidence to work at board level with FTSE 100 companies (it’s just like a tutorial really).’

Sian says: ‘Since graduating I have worked as assistant brand manager on Pringles and Braun at Procter & Gamble. My degree taught me analytical skills, time management and the ability to think critically, all of which are crucial in my role.’

Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2024. Course fee information for courses starting in 2025 will be updated in September.

We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circ*mstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.


Fee status

Annual Course fees


Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

For more information please refer to ourcourse fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see ourguidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as ourworld-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2024 are estimated to be between£1,345 and £1,955 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit ourliving costs webpage.

Financial support


A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2024 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £50,000 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £32,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.

*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.

See further details.

(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man


Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

**If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for History

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

Contextual information

Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your tutorials will be doing the same course as you. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first-year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

Read more about Oxford colleges and how you choose



  • Listen to the course podcast
  • Visit the History Faculty's website

History | University of Oxford (4)

Our 2024 undergraduate open days will be held on 26 and 27 June and 20 September.

Register to find out more about our upcoming open days.

Top-ranked history department in the UK

With more than 180 historians, Oxford's submission to REF 2021 was by far the largest in the United Kingdom.

More than 50% of our research* was ranked as 4* (world leading) putting us no. 1 in the country for 'research power'.

*Overall profile, impact and environment. Visit the REF website for more detail.


  • Which Oxford colleges offer my course?
  • Interviews
  • Your academic year
  • UCAS
  • Financial support
  • Foundation Year

Related courses

  • Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
  • Foundation Year (Humanities)
  • History of Art

History | University of Oxford (5)


Why not have a look at some History magazines such asHistory TodayorBBC History(which also hasweekly podcasts).

You may also like to explore theBritish MuseumwebsiteorBBC Radio 4 archives, both of which have excellent links to historical materials.

Follow us on social media

Follow us on social media to get the most up-to-date application information throughout the year, and to hear from our students.

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History | University of Oxford (2024)
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