Why study History at Bristol?

Historians in the making

When you become part of the Department of History, you will be on the way to becoming an historian, rather than just a student of history. This means that you will actively engage in exploring and interpreting the past, rather than just storing up historical knowledge. What makes our students distinguishable is that they themselves want to investigate what happened, and why, rather than merely being told about events by someone else.

Real historians are united by their passion to explore the past, through the writings of other historians (secondary sources) and the material produced by those we study (primary sources). As historians, we know that communicating findings to others is the key to our work, helping us refine our ideas and advance historical debates. As an undergraduate at Bristol, you will be given the skills to communicate your work clearly and vividly with a wide range of audiences and undertake your own original research. This culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation based on extensive engagement with both secondary and primary sources in the final year.

Because of the emphasis on exploring a variety of sources, the environment of lively discussion and ideas-sharing, as well as the encouragement we give undergraduates  to follow their own passions in history, the dissertations produced are often highly original pieces of work, making significant contributions to historical debates.

It may be that only a few of you will end up as professional historians. However, studying history at Bristol will prepare you for any number of careers. It will equip you with a range of marketable skills and attributes, underpinned by the reputation of one of the top universities in the country, as well as providing a highly rewarding and memorable learning experience.

A lecturer photographs a manuscript document, while a student watches on

Dr Evan Jones and student photographing texts in the University Special Collections


The dissertations produced by our undergraduates are often highly original pieces of work, making significant contributions to historical debates.

See recent examples

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