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: 1–2.
Dr Bysshe Inigo CoffeyEarly Career Fellow in EnglishEnglish
Professor Martin ConwayProfessor of Contemporary European History, MacLellan-Warburg Fellow and Tutor in HistoryHistory
Professor John-Paul GhobrialProfessor of Modern and Global History, Lucas Fellow and Tutor in HistoryHistory
Dr Helen GittosAssociate Professor, Colyer-Fergusson Fellow and Tutor in Early Medieval HistoryHistory
Professor Seamus PerryProfessor of English Literature, Massey Fellow, Tutor in English, Fellow Librarian and Fellow for Charity MattersEnglish
Dr Simon SkinnerAssociate Professor, Keen Fellow and Tutor in HistoryHistory
Dr Frederick SmithEarly Career Fellow in Early Modern HistoryHistory
Professor Adam SmythProfessor of English Literature and the History of the Book, Clarendon University Lecturer, A.C. Bradley‑J.C. Maxwell Fellow and Tutor in English LiteratureEnglish
Dr Hannah RyleyLecturer in EnglishEnglish
Dr Cathleen SartiLecturer in HistoryHistory
Follow the @BalliolHistory
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.