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School of History

What are we looking for?

We want to recruit the brightest and most motivated students from all backgrounds. Every application is assessed on an individual basis, taking into account:

We may also invite you to an informal interview, so that we can meet you in person and answer any questions you might have.

Your grades

We look carefully at the grades you have achieved so far, paying special attention to your GCSE and predicted A Level results. We understand that students do not always get the grades they deserve, and that different students will develop intellectually at a different pace. So don’t panic if your GCSEs were not as good as you had hoped. If there are any special circumstances you think we should know about, ask your teacher to include them in your reference.

Our standard entry requirement is ABB in three A Levels (or equivalent), including at least a B in History, Ancient History or Classical Civilisation. This excludes General Studies and Critical Thinking.

For more information on our entry requirements, please click here.

Writing Your Personal Statement

The Personal Statement is your chance to tell us who you are and why you would like to study history. It is our first encounter with your style of writing and can provide a starting point for discussion at interview. So it is worth spending real time and care on this part of the UCAS form.

Every Personal Statement is different, so there are no hard and fast rules on what to write. Here are some guidelines, however, which we hope you will find useful:

We are looking principally for students with a love of their subject, who will read widely and make the most of the opportunities on offer at university. So tell us about your interests, your enthusiasms and your reasons for wanting to study history. Have you read a book that particularly caught your imagination, or a documentary that sparked your interest? What did you find especially interesting, and what questions did it raise in your mind?

Tell us about the history you have studied at school and the topics you have found most intriguing – but tell us, too, if there are other areas of history you would like to know more about. Our syllabus will give you the chance to explore new fields, like the history of medicine and the history of film, or the history of Africa, China and Japan. So think about what you would like to know more about, and why.

We are also interested in the other subjects you are studying at school, and in how they enhance your understanding of history. Perhaps you have studied a novel in English Literature, which gave you a better understanding of postwar Britain; or perhaps you have studied a foreign language, which would enable you to study sources in French or German. We are just as pleased to see A-Levels in Maths and the Sciences as we are in the Humanities, so think about how these subjects may have enhanced your historical understanding.

Finally: do check your Personal Statement for spelling and grammar! It is easy to miss small errors, so ask a friend or a teacher to look over it as well. It is important that you present yourself in the best possible light, as well as showing your assessor that you take good care with your work. It would be a shame to misspell the name of the historian you so admire, or to get the title wrong of a book you have enjoyed!

We have created a breif course to help you write a suitable personal statement when applying to study history at University. We hope to take the hassle out of planning and writing a personal statement, whilst providing a basic structure to follow.

Your School Reference

Your reference will be written by one of your teachers, usually with input from other members of staff. We read these references very carefully and greatly value teachers’ assessments. The best way to get a good reference is to work hard at school, but do tell your teacher if there is anything you think they should include. They might tell us, for example, if your work has improved markedly since your GCSEs, or if there are any personal circumstances that might have affected your results.

We are enormously grateful to teachers for the time they devote to these references, which are invaluable in making our decisions.

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