History and Joint Schools

BA Hons History (and Joint Schools Degrees)

Image of Pierre Mignard via Wikimedia Commons

Average intake at Wadham: 12 (including joint schools)

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.

In the joint schools choice is even wider; but in general we encourage students to make their choices in such a way as to bring the two parts of their subject together. In some joint schools there are designated bridge papers which address the comparative methodology of the two subjects. Your tutor will offer advice and suggestions, but those students who get the most out of their degree put increasingly independent thought into choosing to focus on those issues which will develop their particular historical imagination.

The Courses

BA (Hons) History
BA (Hons) Ancient and Modern History
BA (Hons) History and English
BA (Hons) History and Modern Languages
BA (Hons) History and Economics
BA (Hons) History and Politics

History at Wadham

History has traditionally been a strong subject at Wadham, both in quantity and quality. The broad mix of single-honours history and joint-school students is a deliberately distinctive feature of history at the college, and provides a stimulating interdisciplinary environment.

Students have the opportunity of being taught for specialist papers by tutors in other colleges, but the College tutors retain oversight of each student’s individual course of study. Lectures and seminars are provided on a University basis.

A Student's Perspective

Yuna, 3rd Year Historian

The history course at Oxford is based almost entirely on optional modules, with only one compulsory methodology paper and a requirement that you study a Medieval, an Early Modern and a Modern paper at some point during your degree. I chose to apply to Wadham because the tutors here cover a wide base of topics, which means that you can have some great tutorials in college. But they also make sure that you’re sent to the best tutors around Oxford if you’re doing a paper they don’t teach. There are quite a few historians in each year, including joint honours students, which not only brings interesting perspectives to classes, but also makes for a really fun and supportive community within college.

Oxford has really great resource provisions in general, and you’ll almost certainly be able to find any books you’re looking for in one of the libraries. The university also has subscriptions to most major journals so you’ll also have access to a huge pool of online material. And in the rare case that you can’t find a book, you can ask the Wadham librarians and they’ll order it for you!

In a typical week you’ll have one or two tutorials and a few lectures. Tutorials can comprise anything from one to three people, and will be based on the latest essay that you’ve written. Here you can clarify any things you didn’t understand, and you’ll be encouraged to defend your arguments, as well as consider any new points or perspectives that your tutor brings your attention to. This means that it’s largely up to you as to how you organise your time, so you’ll have lots of scope to explore life at Wadham and Oxford in exactly the way you want!