I’ve loved History since I first started collecting "Dead Famous" and "Horrible Histories" books and I discovered a strong interest in politics and philosophical ideas in my teens… History & Politics seemed like the obvious way to resolve the History/PPE dilemma!
I most love those wonderful moments when the disciplines overlap (e.g. when political philosophy pops up in action in history) - mostly the two halves of the course are kept separate but it’s nice when they intersect and remind you why it’s worth the effort to study the two together.
One of my tutors is notoriously intimidating but actually becomes incredibly animated and gets this mischievous boyish spark in his eyes when he talks about a topic he loves; I’ve had a couple of tutorials with him where he’s become so absorbed by the subject that we’ve accidentally over-run by nearly an hour! That genuine passion is something I can never get enough of and I always come away from tutorials with him feeling really excited to learn more.
I chose History and Politics because I wasn’t ready to pick just one subject. I love History, but at the same time I wanted to take a wider variety of courses. The work is intense and essay crises are frequent, but you’ll find Hist/Pol students involved in every aspect of university life. A frequent piece of advice I receive from alumni is that if you do just your degree, it’s a waste of your time here. Oxford has so many opportunities for you to get involved in, and Hist/Pol allows you to do just that. Also, it’s okay if you haven’t studied Politics at A-Level or had a British education – the wide range of courses available means that students can play to their strengths and explore their interests.
History and Politics is an incredible course with a huge range of additional course options. The best part is that both subjects improve your knowledge of the other. At Oxford, there are a huge number of resources at your disposal. The schedule of a History and Politics student is fairly straightforward: one or two tutorials and a few lectures per week. Most students’ weeks revolve around essay deadlines, which means that, between essays, you have plenty of free time.
The subject is so broad that it’s quite hard to recommend one thing, but a substantial part of my education came from historical/political documentaries, which seem to be almost endlessly on television and are an easy way to get a quick insight into a topic. One of the great things about history and politics is that we’re immersed in them all the time - just reading the news holds a lot of interest for a HisPol.
Make sure you read the official prospectus entry for the course which contains entry requirements, full course structure, additional interesting resources and full details of the application process.
If you're going to apply, you'll want to check which Oxford colleges offer this course.