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Best UK University For History

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2 Where Should I Study History in the UK?

Figuring out which UK universities for history can give you the best career jumpstart is a daunting task. With so many universities to choose from, how can you ensure you choose the best one for you? 

That’s why our history summer school students receive 1:1 personalised educational guidance from expert tutors. Of course, you’ll need as much counsel as possible to make a wise, educated decision. 

This guide will take you through the essentials of choosing a history degree from a UK university, including rankings, course options, and career prospects. When you’re done reading, you’ll be more confident and knowledgeable about your next steps in education.

Is a History Degree Worth It?

Yes, a history degree is worth it if you’re passionate about studying History. You’ll also find various career opportunities available to history graduates. Do you know that 58.9% of humanity graduates, of which History is a part, agree that their skills are relevant in their current work? 

History teaches you to think critically, utilise information, and express yourself in written and oral presentations. These skills are vital for a successful career. What are the top career options for History graduates? Check out our article on career paths for history students to find out more. 

However, The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) 2021/22 survey reports that for History graduates to earn a salary closer to the average earnings for all subjects, they’ll have to proceed to further education. 

So if you’re passionate about History and you’re willing to proceed to further education if it means increasing your salary, then taking a history degree is worth it!

Where Should I Study History in the UK? 

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the world’s most renowned universities. Do you know the Times Higher Education (THE) ranked Oxford #1 in the world for 6 consecutive years from 2017-2022? In addition, it supports a diverse community with students from more than 160 territories and countries. 

Why is the University of Oxford one of the best universities in History UK? The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks Oxford #1 in the UK for History. And the excellence of its teaching shows in the success of its History graduates. 

Where Do Oxford History Graduates Go? 

Did you know that according to a survey from Discover Uni, 80% of Oxford History graduates go on to work or study further within 15 months after graduation? In addition, the average entry-level earnings for those employed is £28,000. 

Where are Oxford History graduates employed 15 months after completing the course? 90% work in highly-skilled professions in:

  • Business
  • Advertising
  • Accountancy
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Administrative
  • Public Service
  • Management
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Journalism
  • Museums
  • Librarianship

Who are some of the employers who hired Oxford History graduates? 

  • Pendle Heritage Centre 
  • Historic Scotland
  • Schneider-Ross
  • Esso
  • National Museum of the US Navy
  • Procter & Gamble

What Are the Major Skills Oxford History Graduates Gain?

Some of the important skills Oxford History graduates learn include:

  • Data analysis
  • Analytical skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Oral and written communication
  • Argumentation and persuasion skills 
  • Time Management

These are some of the transferable skills that open diverse career paths for Oxford History graduates.

What Makes the Oxford History Course for Undergraduates Unique?

The Oxford History programme offers its students a vast breadth of choices for their optional subjects, such as:

  • Any segment of British and European history from the Roman Empire’s decline to the present day
  • North American History
  • Latin American History
  • Asian History
  • African History

Here’s a most awaited part, Oxford provides distinct guidance on helping its History students develop an awareness of the 

  • Social
  • Political
  • Cultural 
  • and Economic systems

in past societies and how they interrelate. 

You’ll also engage in high-spirited debate with your peers over the interpretation of source material. Helping you develop your confidence, presentation, and argumentation skills. 

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has produced history-changing graduates since 1209, including 121 Nobel Prize Laureates and 210 Olympic medallists. True to its legacy, the QS World University Rankings 2023 ranks Cambridge #2 worldwide. Producing over 315,000 living alumni as of May 2022. 

Why is the University of Cambridge one of the best universities for History UK? Because the Complete University Guide 2023 ranks it #2 in Cambridge, and the Guardian 2021 ranks it #4 in the UK for History. In addition, Cambridge History graduates succeed in their respective career and educational paths.

Where Do Cambridge History Graduates Go? 

Discover Uni reports that 87% of Cambridge History graduates are employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. For those employed, they enjoy entry-level salaries of £27,000. 

In addition, 80% of those employed feel satisfied with their job because they find it meaningful. And 70% agree that their present work aligns with their future goals.

What are some of the industries Cambridge History graduates work in?

  • Journalism
  • Broadcasting 
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Finance 
  • Consultancy
  • Law 
  • Public Administration

The Top 3 Skills employers find particularly attractive in Cambridge History graduates include:

  • Effective evidence evaluation
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative
  • Clear and persuasive argumentation and presentation 

What Makes the Cambridge History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

The Cambridge History course enables its students to explore the interaction between history and other academic disciplines, such as:

  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

What’s more, Cambridge offers libraries and museums to provide students with the books, manuscripts, and art they need to maximise their study of History.   

London School of Economics and Political Science

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is located in the heart of London. In 2023, the Complete University Guide declared LSE the #1 University in London for the 11th consecutive year. 

In addition, the QS World and Subject Rankings 2022 declared LSE #3 in the world for Social Science and Management subjects. 

Why is LSE one of the Top Unis for History in the UK? According to the QS World University History Subject Table for 2021, LSE ranks #5 for History in the world for the 2nd time consecutively. And that’s an impressive feat, considering its lead ahead of prominent universities such as Stanford and Princeton. 

How about in the UK and Europe? The same league table places LSE at #3, just behind Oxford and Cambridge in 2021.

What Makes the LSE History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

The BA History course at LSE is unique in emphasising how domestic and international history relates to each other. If you do not study them together, you will fail to understand either. Hence, you’ll learn about the:

  • Political
  • Social
  • Economic
  • And Cultural developments

not only within states, but also including the interrelation among them. 

In addition, due to its location at the heart of London, LSE History students have access to resources and historical places not found anywhere else, such as:

  • British Library
  • British Museum
  • Royal Courts of Justice
  • National Gallery
  • National Archives
  • Buckingham Palace

Where Do LSE History Graduates Go?

These are the top sectors where LSE History graduates proceed to succeed in their respective careers:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • Consultancy
  • Education
  • Teaching 
  • Research
  • Public Sector 
  • Government
  • Policy
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Media
  • Journalism

Do you know that LSE History students are known to have some of the best rates of earnings and employability in the UK after completing their History course? The Complete University Guide 2020 ranks History at LSE #6 for job prospects. 

Furthermore, LSE History graduates earned superior salaries to any other UK university according to the Graduate Outcomes Subject by Provider from the Department for Education 2019. It reports that LSE History graduates who completed the course in 2010-11 earned a median salary of £43,200, 5 years after leaving university. 

Some of the primary skills LSE History graduates develop that make them valuable to many employers are:

  • Advanced analytical skills
  • Research
  • Efficient presentation of findings
  • Broad knowledge of world development

Durham University

Do you know that Durham University is among the Top 100 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023? In the UK, it’s ranked #6 according to 3 League Tables, namely:

  • Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • Guardian University Guide 2023
  • The Complete University Guide 2023

It’s a university that’s proud of its extraordinary people.

Why is Durham University one of the best universities for History in the UK? The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks it #3 for History in the UK. For the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, Durham is #4 in the UK for the same subject. 

In addition, the National Student Survey states that 88% of the Durham History graduates expressed student satisfaction, and 97% agreed the staff are efficient in explaining the subject matter. 

What Makes the Durham History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

Durham offers extensive modules that cover various periods from different parts of the world, including:

  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • South Asian
  • African
  • US
  • British
  • and European history

The study of History at Durham reflects several themes, such as:

  • Culture
  • Media
  • Politics
  • Gender
  • Social
  • Religion
  • Economic
  • International
  • Environmental history

Because Durham university nurtures a research culture, students are exposed to a rich assembly of primary sources found in Durham’s museum and archive collection. Here are examples of primary sources:

  • Beautiful mediaeval manuscripts found in the Cathedral archive
  • Prints, textiles, and ceramics located in the Oriental Museum
  • Personal and administrative records of the Sudan Archive

Where Do Durham History Graduates Go? 

Discover Uni reports that 89% of Durham History graduates are employed or enrolled in further studies within 15 months after graduation. For those employed, they enjoy average earnings of £26,000.

Some of the common occupations for Durham History graduates include:

  • Business 
  • Public Service Associate
  • Finance
  • Media
  • Teaching
  • Business
  • Research
  • Administrative professionals

Do you know that 90% of Durham History graduates find their work meaningful? Plus, 80% agree that their current job fits their future goals.

University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is the 3rd oldest university in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. In 2021, The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide ranked St Andrews #1 in the UK. Marking a significant history for being the first university to claim the #1 position in a league table other than Oxford and Cambridge in over 30 years!

The more recent Guardian University Guide 2023 also gives St Andrews the #1 rank in the UK, ahead of Oxford and Cambridge. 

Furthermore, do you know that the Complete University Guide 2023 ranks St Andrews #1 for Student Satisfaction in the UK? In addition, more than 89% of the final year students gave St Andrews top marks for an excellent learning experience, according to the National Student Survey 2022.  

Why is St Andrews one of the best unis for History UK? Because the Guardian University Guide 2023 ranks St Andrews #1 for History in the UK. For the Complete University Guide 2023, St Andrews is #5 for the same subject.

What Makes St Andrews History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

By studying History at St Andrews, you’re looking into the histories of:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Law
  • Science
  • Environment
  • Commerce

across all periods from Mediaeval to Modern. With the geographic range extending from Scotland to the Middle East. 

There are several undergraduate History courses you can choose from, including:

Where Do St Andrews History Graduates Go?

For recent St Andrews Ancient History graduates, they moved into careers such as:

  • NHS
  • Financial Industry
  • Human Resources
  • Civil Service
  • Heritage Management
  • Conference Management

What transferable skills do St Andrews Ancient History graduates develop that open them to various career opportunities? Valuable skills include:

  • Flexible Thinking
  • Ability to understand various viewpoints and critical approaches
  • Reflection
  • Critical Judgement
  • Time Management 
  • Independent Work
  • Project Planning
  • Teamwork
  • Efficiency in oral and written communication
  • Gathering, processing, organising, and using information

What about St Andrews Modern History graduates? Here are some of the careers they go into: 

  • Publishing
  • Law
  • Service Industries
  • Armed Forces
  • Financial Sector
  • Arts
  • Media

You may be more inclined to take a particular career opportunity than others, depending on what specific history course you choose. 

To help you decide what career path to take, you can go to the St Andrews Careers Centre for one-to-one advice. They also offer a programme to assist you in building your employability skills.

University College London (UCL)

The University College London has been changing the world and disrupting thinking since 1826. Do you know that UCL was the first to welcome women and students of any religion to university education in England? It has raised over 30 Nobel Prize laureates in its 196 years of teaching. 

Today, UCL is one of the top universities in the world. With the QS World University Rankings 2023 placing it at #8. And the Research Excellence Framework 2021 rated it #2 in the UK for research power. 

What makes UCL one of the best universities for History UK? The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks UCL #6 overall and #4 for graduate prospects for History UK. For the Guardian 2021, UCL is at #7.

What Makes UCL History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

There are three options you can choose from among UCL’s History courses:

History BA

The UCL History course allows you to study ancient, mediaeval, and modern history from the 3rd millennium BCE to the present.

Ancient History BA

How about the UCL Ancient History course? You’ll zero in on Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Middle East from the 3rd millennium BC to late antiquity.

History with a Year Abroad BA

Do you want to study History while having the opportunity to spend your 3rd year abroad? Then, UCL History with a Year Abroad is the perfect course for you! Past students studied at institutions in South America, North America, Ireland, and other locations. 

Whichever History course you choose, UCL promises that everyone who teaches History wants to teach you. And that every piece you worked on will be returned to you with a 1:1 tutorial from the professor who taught you. Yes, that includes even exam papers! 

Where Do UCL History Graduates Go? 

Here are the employment rates of UCL History graduates according to Discover Uni:

  • History- 89% 
  • Ancient History – 87% 
  • History with a Year Abroad – 87% 

UCL History graduates, in general, enjoy average earnings of £29,000, 15 months after completing the course.

Common occupations for UCL History graduates include:

  • Business
  • Public Service
  • Teaching
  • Finance
  • Research
  • Administrative professionals

What are the major skills UCL History Graduates gain? 

  • Gathering and organising evidence
  • Analyse information
  • Present a structured and persuasive argument
  • Express oneself clearly in both oral and written communication

These transferable skills make UCL History graduates one of the most sought-after by employers.

University of Warwick

Do you know that the University of Warwick is among the #10 for highest earnings in the UK? Warwick graduates earned some of the highest earnings over 11 subjects within 5 years after graduating. Plus, the QS World University Rankings 2023 ranks Warwick the Top 64 university in the world. 

Warwick is one of the best universities for History in the UK. The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks it #7 in the UK for History. Moreover, Warwick’s History department is rated #1 in the UK for world-leading research according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. 

Discover Uni states that 94% of Warwick History graduates for the Single Honours Degree were satisfied with the course’s quality. 

What Makes the Warwick History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

The University of Warwick believes that History should exist in colour, not black and white.

Do you want to study history through emphatic eyes rather than the dispassionate spitting of facts? Are you fearless in asking questions because you’re intellectually curious? Then, you’ll love studying History at Warwick.

A team of well-renowned academics will expand your view of history from being Eurocentric to seeing the global whole. So you’ll better understand the relevance of studying History to contemporary society and culture.

There are three types of Warwick History degrees you can choose from:

Single Honours Degree 

History (BA)

You can choose to focus on Modern History or Renaissance and Modern History. Both are facilitated by Warwick’s History Department. 

Part-Time History Degree

History (BA) (Part-time with the Centre for Lifelong Learning)

The Warwick part-time History degree takes 4-8 years to complete. Do you want to take your undergraduate degree on a part-time basis? This one’s perfect for you!

Joint Degrees 

By taking a joint degree, you’ll be a member of two Warwick departments. Therefore, you have access to the support and teaching of both. 

Where Do Warwick History Graduates Go?

Discover Uni states that 87% of Warwick History graduates for the Single Honours Degree were employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. Those employed enjoyed average entry-level earnings of £25,000.

Some of the occupations Warwick History graduates took are:

  • Historians
  • Archivists and curators
  • Conservation professionals
  • Arts officers
  • Producers and directors
  • Chartered and certified accountants
  • Actuaries, economists and statisticians
  • Financial account managers
  • Business sales executives
  • Barristers and judges
  • Public relations professionals
  • Journalists, newspaper and periodical editors
  • Solicitors
  • Researchers

Here are some of the employers Warwick History graduates have gone on to work for:

  • Admiral Group
  • Amnesty International
  • BBC
  • Deloitte
  • Ipsos Mori
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Penguin Random House
  • Sky
  • UBS

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a member of the distinguished Russell Group committed to you and dedicated to your future. Do you know that Exeter is #143 in the world according to Times Higher Education 2022?

The First Teaching Excellence Framework also awarded it the “gold standard” for its sterling quality teaching. Furthermore, the latest Research Excellence Framework recognised 98% of Exeter’s research as international quality. 

Why is the University of Exeter one of the top unis for History UK? The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks Exeter #8 for History in the UK. In addition, the Research Excellence Framework 2021 placed Exeter at #6 for its outstanding research in History. 

What Makes the Exeter History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

You can study 1,500 years of world history to its full, starting from the fall of the Roman Empire to the post-Communist era. The vital topics you will explore include:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Global Imperialism
  • Diverse Geographical Regions

Exeter is particularly adept at teaching Modern European and Early Modern British history. And as well as the specialisms in the histories of

  • Identity
  • Power
  • Knowledge
  • And resources 

You’ll be inspired when studying History at Exeter due to the city’s rich history and heritage. Here you have access to:

  • University Library containing historical collections and holdings
  • Art galleries
  • Museums
  • Historical Architecture
  • Research centres specialising in Medical History and Mediaeval Studies

What are the History course options in Exeter?

  • BA History
  • BA History with Study Abroad
  • BA History with Employment Experience
  • BA History with Employment Experience Abroad

Where Do Exeter History Graduates Go?

According to Discover Uni, 90% are employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. For those employed, they earn average entry-level salaries of £25,000. 

What are some of the job positions of Exeter History graduates?

  • Account Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Digital Marketing
  • Researcher
  • Parliamentary Researcher
  • TV Researcher
  • Archivist
  • Historian
  • Civil Servant
  • Event Project Manager
  • Events Executive

Exeter History graduates have an excellent reputation in the employment market due to the highly transferable skills they gain during the course, such as:

  • Critical analysis
  • Assessment of information
  • Research
  • Clear written and verbal communication
  • Idea development
  • Information management and interpretation
  • Argumentation
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

The University of Exeter is dedicated to helping expose its students to potential employers via its award-winning Careers Service. Here students find the careers advisors, mentors, and tools they need to find relevant employment in the field they choose upon graduation.

What Postgraduate Degrees Do Some of the Exeter History Graduates Proceed In? 

Some of the postgraduate courses Exeter History graduates proceed to include:

  • MA History
  • MA Conflict, Security and Development
  • MA English Literary Studies
  • MSc International Management
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • PGCE

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is recognised as the original “redbrick” University. What does it mean to be a “redbrick?” The term refers to a group of universities founded in England’s Industrial Cities in the 19th century.

Birmingham is also a member of the distinguished Russell Group, signifying its reputation as a research-led university celebrated for its academic excellence. In addition, the QS World University Rankings 2023 ranked the University of Birmingham #91 in the world. 

Do you know that the University of Birmingham is one of the UK’s top universities for History? The Complete University Guide 2023 for History ranks Birmingham #9 in the UK. In addition, the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 declares Birmingham a Top 100 school for History.

What Makes the Birmingham History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

Is History a plain narrative of events? The University of Birmingham heavily disagrees. What makes the Birmingham History course unique is that you can go as far as African and Byzantine History to broaden your understanding. 

Here you can question the preconceptions, prejudices, and myths surrounding various Historical subjects. With over 200,000 rare books, some of which are as old as 500 years old, and 4 million manuscripts in the Cadbury Research Libraries, you’re sure to have the resources you need to learn. 

What’s more, Birmingham offers paid Arts Internships to its History students. Allowing them to gain valuable experience in areas such as event management, publishing, or marketing. You can also make use of a free language tuition to better equip you with the skills employers look for! 

It’s no wonder that 92% of Birmingham History graduates are employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation.

Where Do Birmingham History Graduates Go?

The Graduate Market 2022 report states that the University of Birmingham is the #4 most targeted university by UK’s Top Graduate Employers. 

Here are some of the careers Birmingham History graduates go to after completing the course:

  • Accountancy
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Retail Management 
  • Publishing
  • Library and Archive work
  • Teaching
  • Media
  • Housing
  • Charity work
  • Law
  • International Development

Unsure which career path suits you best? Birmingham’s Careers Network is dedicated to giving expert, tailored advice to its students. They’re supportive in helping you find and apply for jobs and gain the necessary experience and skills.

What skills do Birmingham History graduates develop that make them highly sought after by the UK’s top graduate employers? 

  • A thorough understanding of the past
  • Strong communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Competent analysis and interpretation of complex information
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Time management
  • Ability to prioritise workload
  • Come up with concise and efficient arguments

University of Manchester

Do you know Manchester is one of the most liveable cities in the world? It’s ranked #28 according to the Global Liveability Index for 2022. Manchester even beats London at #33. 

What better city to consider your place in the world and explore what positive difference you can make than studying in one of the UK’s best cities for quality of life? The University of Manchester is the only UK university that prizes social responsibility as a core goal. 

Plus, the Times Higher Education 2022 ranks Manchester as the #8 best university in the UK. 

Why is the University of Manchester one of the best universities in History UK? Because the Guardian 2021 for History ranked it #9 in the UK. And the High Fliers Research 2022 review reports that Manchester is the most targeted university by UK’s Top Graduate Employers.

What Makes the Manchester History Course for Undergraduates Unique? 

The Manchester History course is unique because of “Flexible Honours.” Flexible Honours allows you to add an additional subject, whether arts, language or cultures. So you can create a unique combination that’ll give you the experience and transferable skills you’ll need for your personal and professional goals. 

Moreover, Manchester gives you access to online resources to support your learning. You’ll also have the opportunity to increase your professional and personal growth by participating in Stellify to help you stand out in the real world. 

Manchester also encourages you to bring your History knowledge to life by participating in the Manchester Histories Festival!

The History course at Manchester has a vast scope, covering almost the entirety of human history, including:

  • European
  • British
  • American
  • African
  • Asian History

from the Classic Era of Greece and Rome through mediaeval and modern periods until the late 20th century. Manchester offers its students a variety of approaches to studying History, such as:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Gender
  • Cultural
  • And Colonial

Where Do Manchester History Graduates Go?

Manchester History graduates benefit from the school’s well-established connections with Top UK employers, including:

  • Accenture 
  • Aviva
  • Barclays
  • BBC
  • Deloitte
  • Marks and Spencer
  • KPMG

What transferable skills does Manchester instil in its History students?

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Analysis
  • Research 
  • Argument and Debate
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Presentation
  • Time Management

Here are some of the common occupations History graduates take on:

  • Teaching & Academia
  • Marketing & Public Relations
  • Law & Accountancy
  • Policy and Think Tanks
  • Finance 
  • Media & Journalism
  • Creative Industries
  • Heritage & Museums
  • Civil Service
  • NGOs

Is History a Popular Degree in the UK?

Yes, History is a popular degree in the UK. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), up to 85,940 students enrolled in the Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies category from 2019/20 to 2020/21. 

While Medicine and Dentistry only have 77,035, and Physical Sciences only 68,195. However, History has fewer students than Education and Teaching (136,045) or Law (138,080).

So History may not be the most popular UK degree, but many students still enrol in the subject.

Which UK Unis Have the Best Social Life?

According to the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018, the universities with the Best Social Life discussed in this article are:

  • University of Exeter at #8
  • University of Oxford at #11
  • Durham at #13
  • University of St Andrews at #14

Hence, among the best universities for History UK in our list, the University of Exeter has the best social life.

Which UK University Has the Best Student Life?

The UK University with the best student life is the University of St Andrews, according to the National Student Survey 2022. More than 89% of its final-year students give St Andrews the top rating for excellent learning quality and teaching experience. 

There you have it! You’re now better aware of the best universities for History UK. So whether you’re looking to study at St Andrew’s because of its top-notch academic experience or at Manchester because it’s one of the best cities to live in the world, we at Immerse Education wish you the best of luck!


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