At Corpus, we offer the main History course, but also three of the joint schools with History – Ancient and Modern History, History and English and History and Politics.
Students particularly enjoy the opportunity to write their own extended projects – theses – which they research and write for themselves in the third year of the degree. They welcome the chance to develop their own particular interests while also being presented with periods and problems they have never studied before. Over the course of the degree, they typically find their own voices – their own ideas about what was important in the past and how things worked, the issues that matter to them, and their own strategies for writing, talking and arguing about them.
What do you see as the benefits of studying History at Corpus?
Corpus has a really amazing collection of History books, running along one whole side of the main floor of the old Library, with plenty more material downstairs and online – so finding books is never a problem here. History is a large subject in a small college, and the historians are a lively and prominent community. The History tutors believe that undergraduate historians should be able to choose freely from the options available to them (we don’t prioritise the papers that are taught in College), and our aim is to support our students in developing their own independent understandings and approaches. We provide support through tutorials, classes and skills-based training, but we encourage our students to pick up the ball and run with it.
Who teaches History at Corpus
Medieval History, 1000-1550: Professor John Watts; American History to 1870: Professor Katherine Paugh; Late Roman History: Dr Neil McLynn; Roman History: Dr Anna Clark; Modern British and Caribbean History: Dr Michael Joseph; Early Medieval Byzantine and World History: Dr Marek Jankowiak. Besides the tutors, there are several other historians at Corpus, notably the Chaplain, Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby, who works on early modern religion, Professor Jas' Elsner, who works on Roman Art, Dr Yusen Yu, who works on Chinese art in the Islamic world, and Dr Alice Little, who is a historical musicologist.
What have students from the last few years gone on to do after their degree?
Historians do many things, because history encourages analytical and expressive skills and teaches us about how people and groups behave. From Corpus, students have gone into law, consultancy, investment banking, small business and entrepreneurship, NGOs and the civil service, charities, heritage work, the armed forces, teaching and academic research.
What do tutors look for in the History application process?
The selection criteria for History are available on the Faculty website, and we use these in making decisions at Corpus, just as our colleagues do at other colleges. Indeed, the admissions process at Corpus forms part of a larger process which is the same for all applicants across Oxford, and even though we are a small college, offering just 9 places a year in History (usually 5 in the main school, 1 in History and English, 1 in Ancient and Modern and 2 in History and Politics), our applicants have the same chances of a place at Oxford as they would at any other college.