We admit around eleven students each year in total to study History, Ancient & Modern History, History & Economics, History & Politics, and History & Modern Languages. We do not at present admit students to read History & English.
The first part of the History course, leading to the Preliminary Examination at the end of the first year, comprises four papers, chosen in each case from a wide range: British History; a thematic European and World History course; a source-based Optional Subject; and a Methodological paper (including Approaches to History and papers based on foreign texts). The second part, called the Final Honour School, comprises a research-based dissertation; Disciplines of History (in two different strands: historiography and comparative history); and four other subjects chosen from a wide range: British History, European and World History, a source-based Further Subject, and a Special Subject examined by means of an extended essay and a documents paper. The dissertation gives students an opportunity to engage in primary research of their own choosing, and often proves to be the highlight of the course: in recent years topics have included witchcraft and the devil in early modern England, changing notions of an 'ideal' woman in 20th century France, the charismatic authority of Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh, and colonial impressions of Egyptian women’s dress in the 19th century. In 2020, two Brasenose History students won faculty-wide prizes for their dissertations in Black History and Modern European History respectively.
The various joint schools combine elements of the History course with papers in Ancient History, Economics, Modern Languages, or Politics, as the case may be.
Brasenose has a strong tradition in History. There are two Tutorial Fellows. Dr Alan Strathern teaches European and world history of the early modern period and most of his research has focussed on Asia. Professor Abigail Green specializes in modern European and international Jewish history. Dr Will Clement, a Departmental Lecturer and Associate of Brasenose College, is replacing Professor Green between 2020-23 and teaches modern British and European history. In addition, Dr Rowena E. Archer, a Supernumerary Fellow of Brasenose, teaches later medieval history, and Dr Helen Gittos teaches early medieval history, shared with Balliol College. The College has an excellent record of results in History.
The College also has a number of very good graduate students studying for the MSt and DPhil in History. There is also a vibrant student-run History society — the Ashmole Society — which organises events throughout the academic year.
We find, in common with colleagues in other universities, that employers value a degree in History very highly as a preparation for careers of every kind. In recent years Brasenose history graduates have entered careers in the legal profession, the charity sector, journalism, publishing, teaching, advertising and investment banking. A number have gone on to postgraduate research and now hold positions in various British universities.