Ross Brooks

MA History, 2017

Ross Brooks

I enjoyed the course immensely and was able to develop my leading research interests with the support of internationally-renowned historians of science and medicine

Ross reflects upon the MA History course, which empowered him to study his particular area of interest, the history of sexology, at doctoral level.

Having completed my BA in History at Oxford Brookes, I chose to undertake my MA in History there because I was always impressed that, as a part of my undergraduate degree, I was able to pursue my leading interest in medical and scientific concepts of sexuality-sexology. It has been a great pleasure to continue pursuing this interest with such open-minded historians of science and medicine. The MA in History, following a History of Medicine pathway, was the perfect platform for me to do this. There was such wide scope for independent thought and study within the course, the expertise of the tutors was very impressive and I particularly appreciated the dissertation workshops which were both informative and enjoyable.

For my dissertation I explored early concepts of sexuality-motivated violence which were developed prior to the well-known “sadism” diagnosis of the Viennese forensic psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. My interest in the history of sexology developed particularly during my undergraduate degree. The subject has crossover with a number of historiographical fields – including history of science and medicine, history of sexuality, gender history, and modern cultural history – which meant that there were several tutors within the Centre for Medical Humanities at Brookes who were ideally situated to help with my masters.

I enjoyed the course immensely and was able to develop my leading research interests with the support of internationally-renowned historians of science and medicine. The quality of my work developed significantly during the course and I was delighted when my dissertation was named as the runner up for the Rees Davies Prize 2018, awarded for outstanding Master’s thesis by the Royal Historical Society. I am currently preparing it for publication in a leading academic journal.

My advice to those who are considering doctoral study after the MA is that, it really is worth finding out about options, especially funding opportunities, at an early stage of your masters. There are lots of opportunities out there, but some of the deadlines for funding come and go during the first semester of the course.

I have stayed on at Brookes to continue studying the history of sexology at doctoral level within the Centre for Medical Humanities. The MA in History, in my case following a History of Medicine pathway, was the perfect springboard to the PhD. All my tutors helped me prepare an application for funding to the Wellcome Trust and I was delighted that this was successful.