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History and English at Oxford - Course Outline

First Year


Students need to take the following four papers.

  • The history of the British Isles
  • History optional subject or Historiography or Approaches to history: Tacitus to Weber
  • Introduction to literary studies
  • Old English literature or Victorian or modern literature or Middle English literature


First University examinations
Four written papers
(All exams should be passed, but marks will not be counted towards the final degree)

Second and Third Year


Seven papers are taken

  • Two interdisciplinary bridge papers, studied in the 2nd year, evaluated as submitted extended essays
  • A period of British history, which is not studied in the first year
  • Two papers must be taken from the Honour School of English Language and Literature
  • Either one additional subject from the Honour School of English Language and Literature or two papers from the Honour School of History and one subject from the Honour School of History that will be either a general history period, a further subject or an additional British history period
  • Possible optional thesis


Final University exams
Seven papers along with a maximum of three of those papers by extended essay and thesis (optional)

A Weekly Timetable

Some of the students have one to two tutorials per week and often working on two papers at the same time. Many students attend three to four lecture courses per week. In the second year, students need to attend the classes in interdisciplinary bridge paper wherein the two disciplines are brought together.

Application Procedure

Candidates are required to follow the application procedure as mentioned in the how to apply page. The following information helps students to apply for the History and English course.

Written Work

Candidates shall be required to submit their one piece of written work for history based on a historical topic and two pieces for English. Students are advised to get further information from the university website.

Written Test

Candidates should take the History Aptitude Test generally at their own college or school by the prescribed date. Candidates should ensure that they are available to take the test at this time. However, candidates for this combined course are not needed to take the English Literature Admissions Test. For more information, students are advised to refer the History Faculty website.

Candidates who are short-listed shall normally be given minimum two interviews one with the English tutor and one with the History tutor or tutors. In the English interview, candidates can be asked to discuss a piece of verse or prose provided at the time or before the interview. Successful candidates read widely, enjoy talking about history, writing, language and literature. They will be interested in pursuing a comparative approach to literary and historical texts.

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