History


At Oxford Brookes we teach history that uncovers the origins of the modern world and explains how it works. At the core of our programme are issues that have defined the human experience across time and place up to the present day. With us, you won’t just learn stories from the past; you’ll learn why individuals act as they do, how societies form and function, and how understanding history helps us to engage with present issues and shape the future. 

At Oxford Brookes you can study history at undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation level: 

History on Twitter History Society on Twitter

Research-led teaching

Our modules cover over 500 years of British, European, and American history. Each one is designed by expert academics in the department and reflects their expertise.  We review our modules on a regular basis to make sure our programme is up-to-date and innovative.

All of our modules explore issues, questions, and concepts which continue to shape our world today. Our main subject areas are:

  • War and Conflict
  • Crime and Justice
  • Culture, Race, and Identities
  • Government and Power
  • Faith and Belief
  • Ideas and Ideology

We also believe in giving students the opportunity to explore their own interests. That is why we offer the Investigation and Discovery module, where students spend a semester working one-on-one with a member of staff to create a project on an historical topic of their own choice. All students also have this opportunity when they do their final year dissertation. Many students use their dissertations to explore the historical origins of problems, questions, and issues that they see in the world today, creating fresh insights which enrich our understanding of both past and present.

Oxford Brookes History Society

You will have the chance to join the student-run History Society. Each year, the History Society runs socials, movie nights, pub quizzes, and field trips into Oxford. The Society also runs a Guest Lecture Series which hosts historians from around the world who speak about the historical origins of any number of present-day issues, from the history of pandemics to the ups and downs of the Labour Party over the twentieth century.

Many of these guest lectures have been made into a podcast which can be accessed via iTunes or Spotify. 

The advantages of Oxford

You will also have the chance to benefit from studying in a city steeped in history. Be inspired by Oxford’s many historical sites, including the Ashmolean Museum and Blenheim Palace, or simply walk around and soak in the city’s world-class architecture. As an Oxford Brookes student, you will also have the opportunity to access the world-class Bodleian Library in your final year of study, or as a postgraduate taught or research student, where you can conduct research to enrich your studies. 

Finally, we’re a short train or coach ride away from London, where many of our students go to visit historical sites, libraries, and archives.

Bodliean Library

Current research by our History staff

Historicising Race Discussion

Oxford Brookes historian Professor Marius Turda is an expert on the history of eugenics, race, and racism. In this clip, Professor Turda introduces his co-authored book Historicising Race (Bloomsbury 2018). In response, Sasha Coutinho (first year International Relations and Business Management) and Dr Graham van Wyk (Oxford Brookes International) reflect on the contribution the book makes in understanding the idea of “race” and its implications today. The event took place at Oxford Brookes University and was chaired by Syed Imam (second year, History).

All Our Footsteps

Oxford Brookes historian Professor Glen O’Hara is part of the team working on the exciting new research project ‘All Our Footsteps.’ The project explores the role of local government, civil society, the third sector, and citizen-activists in creating the public ways network in England and Wales after the Second World War. 

As part of the Think Human Festival at Oxford Brookes, the team organised a guided walk from Headington Campus to Parson's Pleasure. This was followed by a panel chaired by Professor Glen O’Hara with panellists Dr Tom Breen (Oxford Brookes University), Jack Cornish (Ramblers), Jayne Gray (Oxfordshire County Council), Dr Rose O'Neill (Campaign for National Parks), and Dr Jackie Parsonage-Harrison (Oxford Brookes University). 

The short film-poem gives a flavour of the walk, with words and images responding to the route.

Student experience

Tara Bentley

Tara Bentley chose to study History at Oxford Brookes because she enjoyed studying the subject at A-level. She wanted to choose a subject that both interested her and gave her a broad range of skills and opportunities, allowing her to choose from a variety of career paths in the future. 

History at Oxford Brookes is well known for its pioneering research in the field and during the Open Day I was impressed with the enthusiasm and passion that came across from the lecturers and students that I met. I liked the course modules and the fact that many world-renowned historians were part of the teaching team. I have found all the staff very friendly and approachable. Because the lecturers are not only teaching staff but also active researchers, you really get the sense that you are part of an exciting, world-leading department.

I grew up in Oxford and just love this city! I have lived in other parts of the country and even in other parts of the world but have always been drawn back to Oxford.

Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell’s teachers told him that Oxford Brookes had a good history department. Now, as a freelance television researcher working on factual programmes and developing ideas for future productions, he is extremely happy that he studied here.

At Brookes I really developed my research skills and the ability to read around a topic relatively quickly and assess the key points; always useful when a producer asks you to find some interesting facts about a subject you’ve never heard of by the end of the day! 

The variety of modules on offer on the history course was the best part, overseen by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. I had the chance to learn not only the history of other parts of the world, but also other aspects of British history. It was my first time studying social history, and I loved it. 

I think being in a city full of libraries, lecture halls, and bookshops definitely shaped my approach to learning. It isn’t possible to leave Oxford after three years and not have that affect you in some way.