The study of history develops an awareness of differing political, cultural, social and economic structures in past societies and their interrelationship.

Average intake: 12, including joint schools

  • St John's history undergraduates are part of the Oxford History Faculty, one of the largest and most diverse in the world, offering papers in global history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the present day, supported by the internationally-important collections in the Bodleian Library and the University Museums.
  • History has a long and distinguished tradition at St John's. Our fellowship includes Ross McKibbin, the leading historian of twentieth-century Britain; Keith Thomas, the pre-eminent historian of early-modern belief; and Malcolm Vale, a world expert on medieval Chivalry, as well as junior research fellows working on themes from Dark Age Spain to the body in medieval England.
  • Our current tutors write on feudalism, medieval violence, early-modern global religion, and the history of architecture, amongst other issues. Their research has been rewarded with numerous prizes, and all are enthusiastically committed to tutorial teaching.
  • The College possesses a wealth of manuscripts in the library, ranging in date from 10th to the 20th century, including some of great historical importance.
  • St John's has an active History Society, which meets termly for dinners and talks with distinguished invited speakers, as well as more frequently for informal drinks. Our students perform consistently well in university examinations, and many stay on for further study.
  • A significant number of St John's history students go on to become professional historians, including the important early-modernists  Professor Peter Burke, Professor Paul Slack, and Professor Rosemary Sweet; the distinguished historians of modern Britain Sir David Cannadine and Sir Brian Harrison; and internationally-recognised writers such as the great historian of empire, Professor John Darwin (Oxford). History alumni have also achieved notable success in careers in the media, law, civil service, politics and finance.

Read profiles from St John's students studying History and Joint Schools:
Ancient and Modern History
History and Economics
History and Politics

Watch a St John's student talking about studying History and French:

History and Joint Schools tutors