History

Why Pembroke?

Our History students come from a wide range of backgrounds and have diverse interests that span the breadth of the historical disciplines on offer at Oxford. Amidst this broad range of interests and specialities, our historians are united in their desire to fulfil their intellectual potential while at Pembroke. Consequently, our history community is both very friendly and ambitious.

Pembroke has quite a large team of tutors and lecturers. The Senior History Tutors are Stephen Tuck, an expert on the history of America, and Adrian Gregory, a specialist in First World War history and the writing of historical memory. Other lecturers include Dr Conor O'Brien (Early Medieval) and Dr Gemma Allen (Early Modern). The college also usually has a Career Development Fellow in Early Modern History.

Whilst this covers a range of historical areas of study, students are not limited to just these topics. Pembroke encourages students to take a broad selection of papers, and arranges teaching with specialists in other colleges where appropriate. The only restrictions on choices of paper are those set by the faculty (eg at least one paper must pre-date 1700).

Due to the range of options and plentiful opportunity to specialise, studying on any given week can vary from student to student. For example, 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, such as combining teaching for the first year Approaches to History paper and the third year Comparative History paper through means such as group discussions and student presentations.

What extra activities are on offer?

Throughout the year, Pembroke’s History community will often arrange dinners and other social occasions such as quizzes and film nights for the historians in college to meet together, in addition to regularly held academic presentations and talks.

Pembroke’s relatively high intake of students in history joint schools also broadens the appeal and diversity of our history community, making it even easier to meet and socialise with other historians.

Could you be a Pembroke Historian?

At admissions, we assess a wide range of information, and all history applicants (including joint schools) are required to take the History Aptitude Test (HAT). Students need not have read anything specific before interview, but a keen interest in History, as well as good analytical and communication skills, are essential.

If you are considering this course, please attend an open day where you can meet our tutors and students and find out more.  This is the best way to get a feel for whether you should make an application.  We look forward to meeting you!

Have you considered our joint honours courses?

History can also be taken as part of several joint honours courses, including History and English, History and Modern LanguagesHistory and Economics and History and Politics. Find out more about each on their respective course pages.

History Course Video

2023, History

Isabel Thompson

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer! 

Isabel Thompson (2023, History)

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer!

 

It sounds so unbelievably cliché but BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Imposter syndrome should never get in your way - if you’re from an underrepresented background this is especially relevant. The Oxford application process is long, and the admissions tests and interviews can make you second guess yourself a lot, and online forums for students do nothing but exacerbate these anxieties. You can’t really guess how tutors will look at your interviews or written work, so as long as you believe it is your best – that is all that matters.


Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.


If you are someone from an underrepresented background, I especially implore you to never count yourself out – Oxford has changed a lot and is becoming more and more welcoming with every cohort, you are the change Oxford needs. Best of luck!

2023, History

Isabel Thompson

Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.

Isabel Thompson (2023, History)

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer!

 

It sounds so unbelievably cliché but BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Imposter syndrome should never get in your way - if you’re from an underrepresented background this is especially relevant. The Oxford application process is long, and the admissions tests and interviews can make you second guess yourself a lot, and online forums for students do nothing but exacerbate these anxieties. You can’t really guess how tutors will look at your interviews or written work, so as long as you believe it is your best – that is all that matters.


Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.


If you are someone from an underrepresented background, I especially implore you to never count yourself out – Oxford has changed a lot and is becoming more and more welcoming with every cohort, you are the change Oxford needs. Best of luck!

History gives us an opportunity to combine narrative, experience and identity into several modes of knowledge. I am always very interested into how interdisciplinary history can be, allowing space for a variation of interpretations of the same topic or event. 

Pembroke has great teaching staff ranging across topics and periods which made it very easy for me as a history student to have as much flexibility as I desired in my course. My favourite course to date is Race, Religion and Resistance, which features an array of history surrounding black American religion and its intersections with protest culture, race relations and identity. This course was taught by Stephen Tuck, an amazing and renowned historian who is part of Pembroke’s staff.

Xaira Adebayo (2018, History)

Meet Our Academics

History

Why Pembroke?

Our History students come from a wide range of backgrounds and have diverse interests that span the breadth of the historical disciplines on offer at Oxford. Amidst this broad range of interests and specialities, our historians are united in their desire to fulfil their intellectual potential while at Pembroke. Consequently, our history community is both very friendly and ambitious.

Pembroke has quite a large team of tutors and lecturers. The Senior History Tutors are Stephen Tuck, an expert on the history of America, and Adrian Gregory, a specialist in First World War history and the writing of historical memory. Other lecturers include Dr Conor O'Brien (Early Medieval) and Dr Gemma Allen (Early Modern). The college also usually has a Career Development Fellow in Early Modern History.

Whilst this covers a range of historical areas of study, students are not limited to just these topics. Pembroke encourages students to take a broad selection of papers, and arranges teaching with specialists in other colleges where appropriate. The only restrictions on choices of paper are those set by the faculty (eg at least one paper must pre-date 1700).

Due to the range of options and plentiful opportunity to specialise, studying on any given week can vary from student to student. For example, 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, such as combining teaching for the first year Approaches to History paper and the third year Comparative History paper through means such as group discussions and student presentations.

What extra activities are on offer?

Throughout the year, Pembroke’s History community will often arrange dinners and other social occasions such as quizzes and film nights for the historians in college to meet together, in addition to regularly held academic presentations and talks.

Pembroke’s relatively high intake of students in history joint schools also broadens the appeal and diversity of our history community, making it even easier to meet and socialise with other historians.

Could you be a Pembroke Historian?

At admissions, we assess a wide range of information, and all history applicants (including joint schools) are required to take the History Aptitude Test (HAT). Students need not have read anything specific before interview, but a keen interest in History, as well as good analytical and communication skills, are essential.

If you are considering this course, please attend an open day where you can meet our tutors and students and find out more.  This is the best way to get a feel for whether you should make an application.  We look forward to meeting you!

Have you considered our joint honours courses?

History can also be taken as part of several joint honours courses, including History and English, History and Modern LanguagesHistory and Economics and History and Politics. Find out more about each on their respective course pages.

History Course Video

2023, History

Isabel Thompson

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer! 

Isabel Thompson (2023, History)

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer!

 

It sounds so unbelievably cliché but BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Imposter syndrome should never get in your way - if you’re from an underrepresented background this is especially relevant. The Oxford application process is long, and the admissions tests and interviews can make you second guess yourself a lot, and online forums for students do nothing but exacerbate these anxieties. You can’t really guess how tutors will look at your interviews or written work, so as long as you believe it is your best – that is all that matters.


Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.


If you are someone from an underrepresented background, I especially implore you to never count yourself out – Oxford has changed a lot and is becoming more and more welcoming with every cohort, you are the change Oxford needs. Best of luck!

2023, History

Isabel Thompson

Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.

Isabel Thompson (2023, History)

Oxford was never on my radar, never an option I considered at all, until I attended an open day. Looking around the city (and around Pembroke!) made me feel so inspired and welcomed, despite being from a working-class and first-generation to university background. The rest was history! I put in my application, attended the interviews, cried many tears, and got my offer!

 

It sounds so unbelievably cliché but BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Imposter syndrome should never get in your way - if you’re from an underrepresented background this is especially relevant. The Oxford application process is long, and the admissions tests and interviews can make you second guess yourself a lot, and online forums for students do nothing but exacerbate these anxieties. You can’t really guess how tutors will look at your interviews or written work, so as long as you believe it is your best – that is all that matters.


Oxford may seem daunting and scary, but it is a fantastic opportunity and you should never deprive yourself of that. The university itself has a series of grants available such as the Crankstart scholarship or the Oxford bursary (both are means-tested). As a recipient of the Crankstart scholarship myself, I can assure that it very much soothes the financial burden and worries that moving to university carries. Furthermore, individual colleges have their own ways to assist, such as hardship funds or academic grants.


If you are someone from an underrepresented background, I especially implore you to never count yourself out – Oxford has changed a lot and is becoming more and more welcoming with every cohort, you are the change Oxford needs. Best of luck!

History gives us an opportunity to combine narrative, experience and identity into several modes of knowledge. I am always very interested into how interdisciplinary history can be, allowing space for a variation of interpretations of the same topic or event. 

Pembroke has great teaching staff ranging across topics and periods which made it very easy for me as a history student to have as much flexibility as I desired in my course. My favourite course to date is Race, Religion and Resistance, which features an array of history surrounding black American religion and its intersections with protest culture, race relations and identity. This course was taught by Stephen Tuck, an amazing and renowned historian who is part of Pembroke’s staff.

Xaira Adebayo (2018, History)

Meet Our Academics