Applying for Graduate Study
Advice on ...
To apply for a Masters course you do not need to have a single honours/major degree in history, but you do need some experience of working on a historical subject at university level. You need to have a solid idea why you want to undertake your proposed project, know what skills you have, and how you’re going to gain the skills you don’t have.
To apply for a DPhil you need significant historical training in higher education, be able to write a detailed research proposal, and have experience of the skills needed to carry out your research. Such experience is usually obtained through a masters degree in history, but relevant experience can be gained from other graduate courses.
The standard offer for Masters applicants is to achieve at least a high Upper Second class in their undergraduate degree. On a percentage scale this is equivalent to an overall score of 68% or above. The standard requirement for a 4-point GPA scale is 3.75. Masters applicants are also expected to score at least 68% on their undergraduate dissertation.
We expect our DPhil applicants to have an undergraduate degree at the level required for a Masters application, and a Masters degree with a high-pass or distinction. On a percentage scale, this is equivalent to 68% or above. The standard requirement for a 4-point GPA scale is 3.75. DPhil applicants are also expected to achieve a score of at least 68% on their Masters dissertation.
If your university uses a different marking scale, your offer will be translated to match that scale.
If there are mitigating circumstances for your results being lower than expected, you will be able to explain these in your application, and they will be taken into account when assessing your application.
Adjustments will also be made if your overall score is lower than our requirements state, but your marks for history courses are high.
Please be aware that your academic results are not the only part of the assessment.
DPhil students must be able to work in the original language of their research material. You are not expected to be fluent before starting, but must have substantial experience of the relevant language(s). Training is available through the university language centre and at other departments for more specialized study.
Masters students can use translations in their research, but need the basics of the original language and must take a relevant language course, either at the university language centre or Faculty-organised courses.
For more detail on language learning, please use the Language Learning link on the left of this page.
Your proposal should show your academic potential and convince us that you have the right intellectual qualities, academic knowledge, and skills to undertake the course. The proposal is the centrepiece of your application and should demonstrate the viability of your topic and the level of background research already done. The depth and structure will naturally differ with the nature of the programme for which you are applying: a proposal for a DPhil should be more detailed, but not necessarily longer.
- Be precise
- Give your dissertation/thesis a preliminary title
- Describe the work you have already done and how you will build on it
- Give an account of the current state of scholarship and any central issues or problems
- Explain what contribution your work will make
- Indicate what kinds of sources you expect to use, where they can be found, how they will contribute to your work, what skills are needed to use these sources (for example, languages or data analysis), and to what extent you have those skills already
- Give an indication of your methodology and approach to dealing with these sources. For example, the level of your inquiry (micro, macro, regional, national, transnational, comparative), will your research be quantitative or qualitative? will you use samples or case studies? will your research draw on a body of theory? does your research draw on the agendas or methods of other disciplines (for example anthropology, literary studies, sociology)?
We normally require three academic references. Your application will be passed for assessment if two references are received by the relevant application deadline, but we will usually ask for a third before an offer is made. Referees must upload their reference directly, through the University admissions portal. More information on and for referees is available here.
We understand that finding three academic references isn’t always possible for mature students. In such cases, two academic references and one professional reference are acceptable.
If you are not a native English speaker and do not permanently reside in a majority English-speaking country (as defined by UK Visa & Immigration), you will need to prove you have the required level of English language ability by providing a certificate from a recognised language test taken within two years of your proposed start date. Recognised test providers, required scores, and further details can be found on the University’s information on English proficiency . Please note that History applicants need to achieve test results at the higher level.
You do not need to provide a test result in order to make an application, but if you are made an offer you will be required to submit test scores at the required level as part of your academic conditions.
You can apply for an English language waiver if you have completed a course taught entirely in English, which lasted at least nine months, within two years of your proposed start date. If the course was not in a majority English-speaking country (as defined by UK Visa & Immigration), you will need to provide evidence that the course was taught in English.
You can also apply for an English language waiver on the basis of professional experience within two years of your proposed start date. You will need to provide proof of the English language required for your role.
You can apply for multiple programmes and your applications will be treated separately.
Please note that you will have to pay the application fee for each application.
Part-time students do not need to live in Oxford, but must attend the Faculty in person regularly for courses, supervision, skills training, research, and participation in seminars. Part-time study is not distance learning.
Students on Masters courses, are expected to be present in Oxford for two days a week during term. You will therefore need to live within a few hours travelling time of Oxford, or be able to stay in Oxford for one or two nights a week.
Part-time DPhil study cannot be accomplished by evening and weekend study alone. You will need to spend time during the week on your research, and be present in Oxford during the week when needed. Attendance requirements are flexible and should be discussed and agreed with your supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Part-time students working alongside their studies must have the approval of their employers.
You cannot undertake another course at another institution (or Oxford) while studying part-time.
We cannot sponsor student visas for part-time study as the study patterns are not compatible with Home Office regulations on attendance monitoring. However, other options may be available and you should contact the History admissions office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss.
You are welcome to reapply if you did not receive an offer, or had to decline an offer. All applications will be assessed without consideration of any previous applications.
Please be aware that if you reapply after declining an offer there is no guarantee that you will be made an offer again.