Hello! I’m Oliver, and I’m a first year studying history.

Going to Oxford had been a lifelong dream for me, and so in many ways getting my acceptance letter was as scary as it was exciting. I wasn’t sure how much would be expected of me, how I’d have to schedule work, and whether I’d fit in. These are pretty typical issues, and ones I’m sure many of you have as well. I can definitely say, however, that most of my worries were unfounded.

I quickly found a good group of friends – or at least people who tolerate me! – and talk to people from across the college and university at large regularly. There are lots of amazing people here from all kinds of places and backgrounds, who’ll do everything from try and decipher Minoan scripts in the Ashmolean Museum with you to doing poetry readings in the JCR (that’s the term for the undergrad student body and a room in college). It never feels intimidating, though, and everyone can fit in with ease. No matter what your interests, someone else at Oxford – and probably in Corpus – shares them.

The work is fascinating, and as a historian you get a lot of choice as to what you do. In my first year alone, I’ve covered the British Isles ca. 300–1100, Europe 1815–1914, mini-courses on anthropology, archaeology, and art history, and a special unit called “Nature and Art in the Renaissance”. Course requirements make sure you get a rounded view, but you get enough options that you can easily specialize in the areas you’re most interested in – or not, if you don’t want.

Our departmental library is the Rad Cam (or Radcliffe Camera, the big thing in the middle that everyone puts photos of on their Instagrams). I think we historians got pretty lucky with this, since it’s probably one of the prettiest buildings in Oxford, and is only a short walk from college. It’s stocked with a massive variety of books, plus a large body of e-books you can access from the moment you get an Oxford login. At Corpus, we’ve also got a college library which specializes in history and classics, so most books you need will be right there anyway. We have a great team of librarians who are always helpful – and don’t seem to judge me for taking out totally unrelated books every other day, which is a plus! (A nice bonus is that as an undergrad, you get to take out up to twenty books from college at once, including over the vacations, if you want some extra reading.)

There are options and opportunities to do different things everywhere, from events put on by college to student-organized things. Oxford’s really an incredible place to be, and I can’t recommend Corpus specifically enough. Feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, or interests you might have!


Resources categorised by subject and by Key Stage, as well as materials for applying to Oxford and finding out more about Corpus, can be found here.