History

Pembroke College has a thriving and successful history community.  Our History students come from a wide range of backgrounds and have diverse interests, but they are united in their desire to fulfill their intellectual potential while at Oxford. Consequently the Pembroke history community is both very friendly and ambitious.

Prospective students need not worry if their face will fit at Oxford. We encourage all students to apply who are keen to learn and take full advantage of the wonderful resources available at Pembroke and Oxford.

Course Details

History courses offered:
History, History & Economics, History & English, History & Modern Languages, History & Politics.

Pembroke has quite a large team of tutors and lecturers. The Senior History Tutors are Stephen Tuck and Adrian Gregory. Stephen Tuck is primarily a historian of America, and writes on race relations and racial protest. His prize-winning first book was on the civil rights movement, and he is currently writing a history of the longer struggle for racial equality from 1863. Adrian Gregory is an expert on World War I and writes primarily on historical memory. Other lecturers of Pembroke students include: Jane Humphries (economic history), and John Blair (Anglo-Saxon). Follow the links to any of these lecturers for more information.

Obviously this team of lecturers covers a wide range of papers. However, students are not restricted to these areas of history. Pembroke arranges teaching with specialists from other colleges where appropriate. Indeed, we encourage students to make a broad selection of papers, and to tackle subjects they have not studied before. The only restrictions on choices of paper are those set by the faculty (eg at least one paper must pre-date 1700).

Studying history at university can be quite a solitary experience. In a given week, a student may only have one hour of tutorials, a few lectures, and may be the only person working on a given topic. For this reason, we look for many ways to teach Pembroke students in groups too. For example, we teach both the first year Approaches to History paper and the third year Comparative History paper by means of student presentations and group discussions. We also arrange dinners and other social occasions for the historians in the college to meet together.

Pembroke has a strong reputation in history joint schools and has recently decided to boost the numbers of joint school history places. Our intention is to take eight joint school students each year across the four history joint schools - one of the highest intakes of any college. Obviously the intention is that any student will have at least one other peer taking their course. The tutors in English, Economics, Politics and Modern Languages work closely with the history tutors to ensure that the courses are well integrated. We trust students in the joint schools will get the best of both worlds.

Admissions

At admissions, we assess a wide range of information: your application form and references, your written work and your performance at interviews. In all cases, we are seeking to admit students not just on past results but on potential for three years study at Oxford. Students need not have read anything specific before interview, and there is no written test during the interview period. Our policy at interview is to discuss issues based on what you do rather than don't know, though obviously this will extend to areas that you may not have thought through fully before. Current Pembroke students are also on hand to welcome interviewees and answer any queries.

All applicants for History and Joint Schools involving History are required to take the History Aptitude Test (HAT). For details about the test click here. Applicants who have taken the HAT may be invited for interview. For interview dates click here. Applicants will need to submit to Pembroke College one essay, of around 2000 words, on an historical topic which should be a marked essay at A2 level, or equivalent, written in their own time ideally during the previous three months or fairly recently, as part of their school/college work.

Other matters

Clearly a short introduction such as this may raise as many questions as it answers. Prospective applicants are welcome to contact the senior history tutors directly (Dr Adrian Gregory or Dr Stephen Tuck). You are also welcome to visit the college in person.  We would also recommend that you look at the Faculty main web page which will introduce you to the range of topics and structure of the University Course.

Joint School applicants should look at the relevant English, Economics, Politics and Modern Languages webpages to find out more information about the tutors in those subjects.