Adam, a History undergraduate at St Edmund Hall
-A +A

Student profile - Adam, History

What do you like best about your course?

The History course at Oxford offers me such a wide range of choice, so that I’m always studying a topic which I find really interesting. There are very few restrictions on which courses you can pick, which gives me plenty of opportunity to pursue my interests and experiment with new eras and topics. The tutorials are also an extremely rewarding experience - it’s nice to be able to spend an hour or two discussing a subject with your tutor and it's always interesting to hear other perspectives on issues and have your ideas challenged.

How is your subject taught at Oxford?

A lot of independent learning is necessary if you're doing a History degree. In a typical week I will normally have either one or two tutorials, for which I must write an essay (normally around 2000 words). To complete this, I will have been given a reading list and then have to spend some time in the library and reading the relevant sections so that I can write my essay – this is what I spend the bulk of my time on when I am working. The tutorials are the main way in which the subject is taught - it's usually an hour or two with your tutor discussing a topic in detail. I might also have a class, for which there would be some preparatory reading, and sometimes we will prepare short presentations. Finally, there are also normally a couple of lectures a week to attend.

What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?

The best advice I have is to do some wider reading around the areas of History in which you're interested. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to read massive academic tomes, but the reading should be challenging. Try and think critically about what you're reading – as you're reading, ask yourself questions about the text. How would I summarise the author's argument? What do I find convincing about it? What other questions or issues arise from reading this? If you study History at Oxford, you're going to be doing a lot of reading, so getting some practice now would be very useful!

What is life like as a student here?

Being a student at Teddy Hall is a fantastic experience. The College has a real community spirit, which makes it easy to get to know people quickly and there's always something going on which you can get involved in, whether its sports, music, arts, drama, or student politics. The short nature of the Oxford terms means that whilst here, people always have something to do, whether it's their tutorial work or their extra-curricular activities, but equally, there is still plenty of downtime, where you can just relax and socialise with your friends.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?

As a very average sportsman, I've got involved with various college sports, with varying degrees of success. I turn out for the college football 1st XI each week and captained the team to Cuppers (the inter-collegiate tournament) success, and have also played for the cricket, darts and even basketball teams. Additionally, I've just come to the end of my time as Access Officer for the JCR (Junior Common Room, the undergraduate student body). This has involved taking part in and promoting outreach programmes for the College, such as the annual Teddy Hall Access Roadshow, where a team of four Student Ambassadors and the Schools Liaison Officer visit a number of state schools over a week to run workshops on applying to Oxford.

Find out more about studying History at St Edmund Hall