History at Balliol College

Balliol has long enjoyed an outstanding reputation for History teaching and research. The College’s commitment to History is reflected in its provision of four Fellows in the subject - exceptional among Oxford colleges - and a Library whose holdings in the subject are second to none. The College’s coverage of the syllabus is correspondingly wide, ranging across ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern history. Undergraduates, therefore, enjoy great freedom in their selection of options. Balliol History students participate in the exciting opportunities for archival research provided by the undergraduate thesis, and some funds are available to assist students with their research work.

Between one-quarter and one-third of our undergraduates typically proceed to postgraduate work in Oxford or elsewhere, and the College maintains a thriving community of graduate students in History. Others move on into careers in the law, the Civil Service, journalism, television, and many other fields.

Balliol historians are noted for their important contributions to both History and several other disciplines. They include Christopher Hill, V.H. Galbraith, Keith Thomas, Richard Southern, John Keegan, Raphael Samuel, Maxine Berg, Richard Cobb, Maurice Keen, Colin Lucas, Christopher Bayly, Rodney Hilton, E.H. Carr, and Lyndal Roper. They also include the popular historians Dan Snow, Suzannah Lipscomb, and Dominic Sandbrook; the novelists Graham Greene, Anthony Powell, and L.P. Hartley; the politician Chris Patten, the journalists David Aaronovitch and Mark Lowen, and the lawyer Lord Bingham.

Number of places at Balliol: 12.


Mark Baker
Career Development Fellow in Modern Global History
Professor Martin Conway
Professor of Contemporary European History, MacLellan-Warburg Fellow and Tutor in History
John-Paul Ghobrial
Associate Professor, Lucas Fellow and Tutor in History, and Praefectus of Holywell Manor
Helen Gittos
Associate Professor, Colyer-Fergusson Fellow and Tutor in Early Medieval History
Simon Skinner
Associate Professor, Keen Fellow and Tutor in History
Beau Woodbury
Lecturer in History

Follow the Balliol Historians on Twitter

About the course

Please see the Faculty of History website and the University’s course pages.

Course requirements and selection criteria

Balliol highly recommends that candidates study History to A-Level or an equivalent level (such as Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB, or another equivalent). See also:

How to apply to read History at Balliol College