History is one of the largest subjects at Oriel, with 9 or 10 undergraduate students admitted each year. Undergraduate students can select options from the whole Oxford history curriculum, ranging from the end of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam to modern America and China.
All varieties of History are pursued to excellence in Oxford: the faculty is one of the largest and best in the world. As students of the past we become specialists in some areas whilst retaining an interest in the connections and differences between individuals and societies across time and space.
In their first year, Oriel students study how History has been influenced by anthropology, archaeology, art history, economics, gender theory, and sociology. In the second year, we hold fortnightly seminars on historiography (the history of History) and comparative history, covering issues such as the history of emotions, the interplay between humans and nature, and even the character of knowledge itself. The highlight of the undergraduate course is probably the thesis, which is an independent research project undertaken in the third year. Recent topics have included the morale of First World War officers, the reputation of Jesse James, and sexual behaviour in the thirteenth century. Anything is possible!
The college library has one of the largest History collections in Oxford, and the student-run history society organizes visiting speakers, day trips and social events. As an alternative to the single-subject History course, you might like to consider one of the joint courses.
The admissions process at Oriel is exactly the same as at all other colleges. For further information, please visit the History Faculty admissions pages.