Colosseo and Venus temple columns from Roman forum, Italy.
Colosseo and Venus temple columns from Roman forum, Italy.
(Image credit: Shutterstock).

History (Ancient and Modern)

Course overview

UCAS code: V118
Entrance requirements: AAA
Course duration: 3 years (BA)

Subject requirements

Required subjects: Not applicable
Recommended subjects: History
Helpful subjects: A classical language, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: HAT
Written Work: One piece

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 67%
Successful: 24%
Intake: 24
*3-year average 2021-23

History contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 615000
Email: [email protected]

Classics contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288391
Email: [email protected]

Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

About the course

The Ancient and Modern History course enables students to study Afroeurasian history from the Bronze Age Mediterranean, through the Greco-Roman period, late antiquity, the middle ages and the early modern period, right up to British, European and World history in the present day. Fruitful comparisons between societies abound, and the methods by which we study them are mutually illuminating. You do not need to have a qualification in Latin or Greek to do this course and can learn either from scratch if you want to while here.

The extraordinary range of choices (more than 90 options) for this course reflects the breadth of interests of those who teach here. The Oxford Classics and History Faculties are world-famous for teaching and research. The people who will teach you here will often be leading researchers in their field, with lecturers encouraged to put on new courses which reflect their own interests.

Oxford also possesses exceptional library provision for History in:
• the Bodleian Library
• the History Faculty Library
• the Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library and the Weston Library’s special collections
• as well as a dedicated Classics Centre.

 students students at a lecture student

'Ancient and Modern History is the perfect degree if you have thematic rather than period specific interests. Studying AMH frees you from the constraints of having to adhere to geography or period specific requirements, which you would have to fulfil in the pure history degree. You can focus on a wide array of topics and how they change over time. Papers can range from Mediterranean Archaeology of 900BC to the Fall of the USSR. It is invaluable to be able to focus on topics that you enjoy; if you for instance want to study western religion you can take on Late Greece, The Rise of Islam, the late medieval period or the Reformation era. The AMH degree allows you to build on your previous knowledge seamlessly and to focus on the thing that interest you.'


'Studying AMH has been one of the most rewarding experiences, with such a variety of subject matter and historical periods to choose from. If you find it hard to narrow down your historical interest, then this course is for you. In my time at Oxford, I have studied topics from the queens of the Hellenistic world after the conquest of Alexander, all the way up to the implications of masculinity in the 1980s fashion. The course is so flexible and has something for everyone from politics to society and culture. You will be taught not just by experts of history but also in all aspects of the ancient world.'


'Ancient and Modern History has offered me an amazing freedom to cover topics as varied as Alexander the Great to Meiji Japan during my three years at Oxford. Talking to my friends on the traditional History course, it is really evident just how much flexibility we Ancient and Modern Historians enjoy and the sheer breadth that we are able to cover. It is amazing to be reading the first-hand accounts of Cicero’s experience of the Late Roman Republic in the morning and then be debating the role of the US and USSR in Africa during the Cold War in the afternoon.'


Unistats information

Discover Uni course data provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford for a particular undergraduate course.

Please select 'see course data' to view the full Unistats data for History (Ancient and Modern).

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small. 

Visit the Studying at Oxford section of this page for a more general insight into what studying here is likely to be like.

History (Ancient and Modern)

A typical week

During the first year, you will be expected to:

  • attend around four lectures each week
  • participate in regular meetings with tutors to discuss work
  • conduct independent research
  • and write at least one essay a week.

In the second and third years you will have the opportunity to choose from an enormous variety of lectures. Your regular tutorials will be supplemented by faculty classes where you will discuss work with a larger number of students. The third-year thesis will give you the opportunity to engage in a piece of independent research.

Generally, students are very much in charge of their own timetable throughout their courses.

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students and a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose. There would usually be no more than around 12 students. 

Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are studying at doctoral level. 

Visit our Academic Year page to find out more about how our teaching year is structured.

Course structure

Year 1




Four courses are taken:

  • One period of either Greek or Roman history
  • One of the periods of European/world history offered
  • The world of Homer and Hesiod; or Augustan Rome; or one of the History optional subjects
  • A text-based paper on Herodotus; or Sallust; or Approaches to history; or Historiography: Tacitus to Weber from the History syllabus or a Greek/Latin language paper


First University examinations: four timed written exams

Years 2 and 3




Six courses are taken:

  • A period of Greek or Roman history
  • A period of European/world history or one of the periods of the history of the British Isles
  • A choice of further subjects including work on primary sources, textual or archaeological (at least one of the further or the special subjects must be ancient) from the History syllabus; or an ancient further subject, including:
    • Athenian democracy in the classical age
    • Politics, society and culture from Nero to Hadrian
    • Religions in the Greek and Roman world c31 BC–AD 312
    • The Greeks and the Mediterranean world 950–500 BC
    • Art under the Roman Empire AD 14–337
    • The Hellenistic world: societies and cultures, c300 BC–100 BC
    • The Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BC
  • Special subjects (at least one of the further or the special subjects must be ancient) including work on primary sources, textual or archaeological. A choice of about 30 special subjects from the History syllabus or an ancient special subject, including:
    • Alexander the Great and his early successors
    • Cicero: politics and thought in the late Republic
    • The Greek city in the Roman world from Dio Chrysostom to John Chrysostom
  • Disciplines of history
  • Thesis
  • Optional Greek/Latin language paper


Final University examinations: six timed written exams and one thesis; or five timed written exams, one extended essay and one thesis; optional additional language paper.

Visit the History website and Classics website for the latest information on all course details and options.

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

Academic requirements





Advanced Highers:


International Baccalaureate (IB):

38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

Any other equivalent qualification:

 View information on other UK qualifications, and international qualifications.

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.

Read further information on how we use contextual data.

Subject requirements


It is highly recommended for candidates to have History to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent.


A classical language, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History can be helpful to students in completing this course, although they are not required for admission.

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Astrophoria Foundation Year

If you’re interested in studying History (Ancient and Modern) but your personal or educational circumstances have meant you are unlikely to achieve the grades typically required for Oxford courses, then applying for a Foundation Year might be right for you.

Visit our Foundation Year course pages for more details of academic requirements and eligibility.


All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on our Applying to Oxford pages.

The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test



Test date:

21 October 2024

Registration window:

15 August to 4 October 2024 

All candidates must take the History Admissions Test (HAT) as part of their application. 

Visit the HAT page for guidance on how to prepare.

We are putting in place new arrangements for our admissions tests for 2024 onwards. We will provide more information on these arrangements at the earliest opportunity. 

Written work


All candidates are required to send in an essay on an historical topic, written in their own time as part of their normal school or college work. 

The essay may deal with a topic from ancient or modern history.


10 November 2024

Read our further guidance on the submission of written work for more information, and to download a cover sheet.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for intellectual curiosity, as well as a flexible approach to engaging with unfamiliar concepts or arguments and an enthusiasm for ancient history or classics, even if you have not studied them before. If you are shortlisted, you may be asked to discuss your submitted written work and personal statement during interview. Candidates may also be asked to read and talk about a short passage as part of the interview. 

Visit the History website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


Oxford historians move on to careers in fields as varied as :

  • the law
  • teaching
  • investment banking and consultancies
  • advertising
  • accountancy
  • the Civil Service
  • publishing
  • journalism and the media
  • global charity work
  • museums and librarianship and archive work.

Recent Ancient and Modern History graduates include a civil servant, a librarian and a charity campaign manager.

Mary-Kate says:

‘Through my joint course I developed skills in working flexibly and under pressure, enhanced my analytical skills and learnt to be independently minded. These have all proven to be invaluable assets in my career as a Fast Streamer for the Home Office. Being a Fast Streamer means that you follow an accelerated training and development graduate programme.’

Heather now works as a Lecturer in British History at the Humboldt University in Berlin. She says:

‘Learning to work independently and under time pressure as an undergraduate was the perfect preparation for an academic career. It gave me the skills I needed to teach successfully at a university level and the self-confidence necessary to publish and present my research before my peers.’

Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2024. Course fee information for courses starting in 2025 will be updated in September.

We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circumstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.


Fee status

Annual Course fees


Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

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

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 2024 are estimated to be between £1,345 and £1,955 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


A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2024 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £50,000 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £32,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.

*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.

 See further details.

(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


Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships 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 Ancient and Modern History

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

Contextual information

Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your tutorials will be doing the same course as you. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first-year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

Read more about Oxford colleges and how you choose