History and Economics | University of Oxford
History and Economics
Roman coins.
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History and Economics

The History and Economics course integrates these two subjects to form a coherent and intellectually stimulating programme. The combination allows insights that neither subject can realise alone. However, it is possible to specialise primarily in either History or Economics while still preserving the benefits of an integrated approach. The combination of economics, economic history and history (political as well as social) means that you will be equipped to view issues in the real world from a variety of contrasting perspectives. You will learn both the historian’s careful approaches to evidence and argumentation and the economist’s analytical and quantitative methods, providing an excellent preparation for a range of professional, financial and academic careers.

 

The course is designed to equip you with the basic tools of both history and economics, while introducing you to some of the areas which you can study later in more depth. You will be given a wide choice of subjects. Everyone studies introductory economics, which is designed to give a solid understanding of the foundations of both micro- and macro-economics. The Economics course is identical to that for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and students for both courses are generally taught together.

HECO Careers

Some of the most popular careers for History and Economics graduates include working in industry, management consulting, law, teaching and many branches of the public service, including the Civil and Diplomatic Services, and the Bank of England. Recent History and Economics graduates include a management consultant, a charity officer and an economist.

Michael is currently the Managing Director for Thomson Reuters’ Treasury business across Asia Pacific. He says: ‘Running a broad region as diverse as Asia Pacific requires me to think laterally across cultures coupled with a concise and engaging focus – traits that one hones quickly from the tutorial approach at Oxford.’

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other History courses, History of Art or PPE.

A typical weekly timetable

You will be expected to attend about five lectures a week during the first year, participate in regular meetings with tutors to discuss work, research in libraries and write at least one essay a week. In the second and third years you will have the opportunity to write a thesis on economic history, which will enable you to do a piece of independent research.

1st year

Courses

Four papers are taken:

  • Introductory economics
  • General history (primarily European): four options available
  • Historical methods (available options: Approaches to history; Historiography: Tacitus to Weber; Foreign texts)
  • Optional subject (involving the use of primary sources): 21 options available

Assessment

First University examinations: Four written examinations

2nd and 3rd years

Courses

Core courses in Economics and Economic History

Economics Core papers:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Quantitative economics

History Core papers:

  • A period of British history (7 options) or of general history (19 options)
  • British economic history since 1870

Optional papers:

  • two further subjects in History
  • two further subjects in Economics
  • one further subject in History and one in British history/General history
  • one further subject in History and one further subject in Economics

Compulsory thesis

A thesis from original research, usually in Economic history

The curriculum for this course is currently under review and is likely to change. For the latest information on all course details and options see the History and Economics websites.

Assessment

Final University examinations:
Seven written papers, and one compulsory undergraduate thesis

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

It is highly recommended for candidates to have both History and Mathematics to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent.

All candidates must also take the History Aptitude (HAT) as part of their application. Please see how to apply for further details.

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2017.

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU£9,250£0£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands
& Isle of Man)
£9,250£0£9,250
Overseas£15,755£7,350£23,105

For more information please refer to our tuition fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2017 are estimated to be between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A full loan is available from the UK government to cover tuition fees for Home (UK) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your tuition fees up front.

Tuition fee support arrangements for EU students commencing their studies in 2017 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. Information will be updated on this page as soon as it is announced.

In 2017 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford support page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for History and Economics

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Written work

Candidates are required to submit one recent marked coursework essay on a historical topic, or equivalent. This should have been written in the candidates’ own time as part of their normal school or college work.  Please note that a submitted essay in Economics is no longer required. Instead, you will have to answer a special Economics question in the History Aptitude Test, as below.

For more information, and to download a cover sheet, please see our further guidance on the submission of written work.

Written test

All candidates must take the History Aptitude Test (HAT), normally at their own school or college, on 2 November 2016. The test will include a question specifically for candidates applying for History and Economics (HECO). Separate registration for this test is required and the final deadline for entries is 15 October 2016. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. See further details about the History Aptitude Test.

What are tutors looking for?

Submitted work and UCAS personal statements are likely to form starting points for discussion in your interview.

Some colleges may require you to read a short passage of historical writing which they will ask you to discuss as part of the interview process. The tutors are not so much interested in the level of your knowledge as in your ability to think historically. We do not require any previous formal qualification in economics, but we do expect you to demonstrate a real interest in the subject.

Selection criteria

Candidates may wish to refer to the selection criteria for History and Economics.

Suggested reading

The best way to prepare for a History degree is to read the history books which interest you, either related to your school work or ranging beyond it – and be prepared to discuss your views of those books and their arguments.  To find such material, you might want to follow up on references made in your school or college text books, or your History teacher may also be able to recommend particular works for you to read on topics that you find most interesting.

One good way of broadening your historical horizons is to read one of the popular History magazines: History Today or BBC History, which has weekly podcasts. You may like to look at the books which are being reviewed in the quality press.

You may also like to explore the websites of public institutions which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or BBC Radio 4 archives.

Lastly, delving into some historical sources can be a great way to develop your ideas and understanding. You could try exploring literature, art, music or even films produced by different societies, and consider what these can tell us about the people of that time.

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis, both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have, is The Economist or the economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s Economics is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

Apply

Rory Considine, 2nd year

Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.

Mark, who graduated in 2003

He is now a post-doctoral researcher at the Political Theory Project at Brown University. He says:

‘My area of research is economic history and in this respect studying History and Economics at Oxford has been very important for my career as my current work builds directly on what I learnt as an undergraduate. The joint degree allowed me to obtain a broad education. I was able to take a diverse range of courses including early medieval history and early modern political thought. At the same time the degree programme was sufficiently structured as to ensure that I took enough economics courses to be able to go on to do graduate work in economics.’

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provide a lot of numbers about the Oxford experience – but there is so much about what you get here that numbers can’t convey. It’s not just the quantity of the Oxford education that you need to consider, there is also the quality – let us tell you more.

Oxford’s tutorial system

Regular tutorials, which are the responsibility of the colleges, are the focal point of teaching and learning at Oxford. The tutorial system is one of the most distinctive features of an Oxford education: it ensures that students work closely with tutors throughout their undergraduate careers, and offers a learning experience which is second to none.

A typical tutorial is a one-hour meeting between a tutor and one, two, or three students to discuss reading and written work that the students have prepared in advance. It gives students the chance to interact directly with tutors, to engage with them in debate, to exchange ideas and argue, to ask questions, and of course to learn through the discussion of the prepared work. Many tutors are world-leaders in their fields of research, and Oxford undergraduates frequently learn of new discoveries before they are published.

Each student also receives teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. But the tutorial is the place where all the elements of the course come together and make sense. Meeting regularly with the same tutor – often weekly throughout the term – ensures a high level of individual attention and enables the process of learning and teaching to take place in the context of a student’s individual needs.

The tutorial system also offers the sustained commitment of one or more senior academics – as college tutors – to each student’s progress. It helps students to grow in confidence, to develop their skills in analysis and persuasive argument, and to flourish as independent learners and thinkers.

More information about tutorials

The benefits of the college system

  • Every Oxford student is a member of a college. The college system is at the heart of the Oxford experience, giving students the benefits of belonging to both a large and internationally renowned university and a much smaller, interdisciplinary, college community.
  • Each college brings together academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and college staff. The college gives its members the chance to be part of a close and friendly community made up of both leading academics and students from different subjects, year groups, cultures and countries. The relatively small size of each college means that it is easy to make friends and contribute to college life. There is a sense of belonging, which can be harder to achieve in a larger setting, and a supportive environment for study and all sorts of other activities.
  • Colleges organise tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and one or more college tutors will oversee and guide each student’s progress throughout his or her career at Oxford. The college system fosters a sense of community between tutors and students, and among students themselves, allowing for close and supportive personal attention to each student’s academic development.

It is the norm that undergraduates live in college accommodation in their first year, and in many cases they will continue to be accommodated by their college for the majority or the entire duration of their course. Colleges invest heavily in providing an extensive range of services for their students, and as well as accommodation colleges provide food, library and IT resources, sports facilities and clubs, drama and music, social spaces and societies, access to travel or project grants, and extensive welfare support. For students the college often becomes the hub of their social, sporting and cultural life.

More about Oxford’s unique college system and how to choose a college