History tutorial at Balliol College (photo: Rob Judges)

History and English

History and English at Balliol College

The Joint School draws on two of the College’s best-known and established subjects.

Balliol has long enjoyed an outstanding reputation for History teaching and research. The College’s involvement in History is reflected in its provision of four Fellows in the subject, and a Library whose holdings in the subject are second to none. The College’s coverage of the syllabus is correspondingly wide, and there is no attempt to steer undergraduates towards one option rather than another. Balliol History and English students participate in the exciting opportunities for archival research provided by the undergraduate thesis. 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 to careers in the law, the civil service, journalism, television, and many other fields.

Balliol was, moreover, one of the first colleges to appoint a Fellow in English when the Honours School was established, and the subject has flourished here ever since. Students are encouraged to use their interdisciplinary skills throughout the syllabus, and to develop their academic interests in the final-year Special Papers. English graduates go on to pursue a variety of careers, including academia, journalism, teaching, media, law, and finance. Some become writers. There are College prizes for essays and for poetry; and an occasional reading party or theatre trip may be organised by tutors.

Number of places at Balliol: 12.


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About the course

Please see the Faculty of History website and Faculty of English 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). Please see also the University’s entrance requirements.

For information on how applicants are assessed, see the Faculty of History website and the Faculty of English website.

How to apply to read History and English at Balliol College