History is a popular and hugely rewarding subject to study. At the heart of our programme is flexibility – you will have the freedom to discover and explore your own interests as a Historian. This is all backed up with excellent teaching, a clear sense of progression, and the chance to work with leading researchers in their fields.
Our compulsory modules in year 1 cover the core skills all trainee historians need. They will expose you to the history of all periods from the 16th century to the recent past, and you will get a sense of the different issues and approaches relevant in those periods. Year 1 focuses on offering you breadth, with a range of modules that touch on all our key themes and take advantage of our beautiful and hugely historic Oxford location.
In year 2 you can start to specialise in the topics that you have the most interest in. Our History programme is structured around 7 core themes. We place particular emphasis on the links between teaching and research, so many of our modules are based upon leading research in our department.
We have the following specialisms:
- Early Modern History
- History of America
- History of Crime
- History of Ideas
- History of Medicine
- Modern Political History
- Social and Cultural History
We bring these themes to life with modules such as Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld; Gender, Sexualities and the Body; The Making of the American Giant; and Conflict and Belief in the Early Modern World.
In year 2 you will also have the option to take a work placement as part of your degree. This allows you to enhance your CV whilst you study and also gain valuable work experience. We will place you in an organisation with historical links or interests, such as in a museum, the heritage industry, schools or archives.
Year 3 is heavily focused on developing your own research and giving you the chance to study your chosen topics in depth. The dissertation is a focal point of year 3 and allows you to carry out an in-depth piece of research with the support of an expert in the field.
Final year modules are known as ‘Advanced Study’ modules and are directly linked to the research specialisms in the department. The modules are all double credit, and they stand out from year 1 and year 2 modules (which are typically taught by teams of lecturers) as they are primarily designed and taught by individual researchers in the programme. This characteristic allows you to acquire considerable knowledge and understanding within a particular field of research, an expertise which builds a strong basis should you wish to go on to further study.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.
- A People’s History of Britain
- Europe and the World, 1450-1750
- Making History: Core Concepts and Skills for the Historian*
- Superpowers: an International History of the Cold War
- What’s the Big Idea: Adventures in the History of Ideas*
- World at War: A History of the First World War
*For combined honours students only these modules are compulsory
- Bloody Histories: Crime and Violence in the West
- Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society
- Oxford in History
- The Faiths of the West
- History and Documents*
- Historical Writing
*For combined honours students only this module is compulsory
- A History of Modern Ideas
- Brave New Worlds: Evolution and its Discontents
- Conflict and Belief in the Early Modern World
- Crime and Punishment through the Ages
- Culture, Community and Family in Britain, 1660-1918
- Gender, Sexualities and the Body
- History Work-Based Learning
- Independent Study I (Semester 1)
- Independent Study II (Semester 2)
- Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld
- Politics, Society and Culture in Modern Britain
- The Crisis of the West
- The Early Modern State
- The Making of the American Giant, 1861-1945
There are seven pathways offered annually (each entitled "Advanced Study in..."), which represent the research specialisms within the History programme. The specific modules within each pathway vary year on year, as they reflects the current research of the department. This final year structure offers you the opportunity to pick one or two pathways and develop a specialism, or opt for a more varied programme and choose a selection of modules from multiple themes.
In total you will take eight taught modules in your final year plus a dissertation. The dissertation is a focal point of year 3 and allows you to carry out an in-depth piece of research on a topic of your own choosing, with the support of an expert in the field.
Examples of modules from previous years can be seen below:
Advanced study in Early Modern History
- Deviants and Social Outcasts
- God, Man, Spirit: Christianity in Western Society 1500-1700
- Power and Freedom in the Early Modern World
- The Tudors: Reformation and Rebellion
Advanced Study in the History of Ideas
- Evil in European Thought and Culture, 1750-1950: From Candide to Eichmann
- Race and Modernity: A Global History
- The Storm of Progress
Advanced Study in the History of Medicine
- Debating Issues in Health, Past and Present
- War and Medicine from the French Revolutionary Wars to Afghanistan
Advanced Study in Modern Political History
- Britain and the Sea since 1600
- The Soviet Revolution, 1914-1941
- The Unravelling of Russia, 1825-1917
Advanced Study in Social and Cultural History
- Childhood and Youth in the West, 1750-1950
- Life in Renaissance Italy
- Making Men: Masculinities in England, 1700-1918
- The History of Food: Politics and Society
Advanced Study in the History of America
- Anglo-American Relations
- Reagan and His Legacy
- The United States and the Vietnam War
Advanced Study in the History of Crime
- Forensic Medicine in Western Society
- In Cold Blood: Violence in the Modern Era
- Witchcraft, Magic and Belief in Early Modern Europe
Modules in detail » Module diagrams »
You will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement module as part of your degree. This could involve gaining experience in libraries, the heritage industry, schools, museums or archives.
As well as enhancing your CV, such experience will broaden your skills base, make you more employable, and support applications for further study.
Work placements are facilitated by the university, however students are responsible for their own travel and associated costs. Most travel costs are minimal as placements are organised to be within easy reach of the campus or in local Oxford. Placements in the surrounding area, such as at Blenheim palace or Witney, will require bus travel which can amount to between £3-8 for a return ticket.
Work placements »
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Exchanges take place in the second year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes