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History is a natural partner to Economics. Fluctuations in the economy have shaped the course of history for as long as we’ve had monetary systems – so why not study both together?

What is History and Economics?

History and Economics is one of three courses that incorporate economics at Oxford, the others being Economics and Management and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. This course allows you to explore the rich intersection of history and economics.

Applied economics modules are closely linked to history, as you are studying the economy of different areas at different points in the past. This course gives you the ability to apply economic theories and concepts through a historical lens, opening up a unique insight into society in the past. 

Why does History go with Economics?

There have been some hugely significant economic events, just in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, such as: 

  • 1929 Wall Street Crash 
  • 1987 Stock Market Crash
  • 1994 Tequila Crisis
  • 2007 Global Financial Crisis 

This course will enable you to look at these events, see how they affected a currency and/or economy, and investigate the causes behind the economic shift.

Not only will you study the intersection of economics and history in this course, but you will also be able to study history and economics as two separate disciplines. If you loved history at school, and are keen to take this further, but also enjoy more quantitative subjects too, this could be the course for you! 

How hard is it to get into History and Economics?

The usual offer for History and Economics is AAA, and about 1 in 9 applicants are successful.

What’s studying History and Economics really like?

In your first year studying the course there will be about 5 lectures a week, and you will be expected to write at least 1 essay a week. Each essay will be followed up with a tutorial, where an expert tutor will dissect and explore your argument, allowing you to improve your understanding of the topic. Tutorials will usually be held with 1 other student.

You will also have some classes, slightly larger groups, where you will go through the economics problem sheets involved in the Introductory Economics module. 

Which modules will you cover in Oxford History and Economics?

In your first year you will cover four modules: 

Introductory Economics 

An economics module, giving the basic toolkit of economics. You will study all the essentials of economics, and quantitative methods behind them. 


European and World History

This is a history module, where you will have a choice of 4 different options to focus on:

  • Transformation of the Ancient World, 370-900
  • Medieval Christendom and its Neighbours, 1000-1300
  • Renaissance, Recovery and Reform, 1400-1650
  • Society, Nation and Empire, 1815-1914


Quantification in History

This is a history module, focusing on the skills behind history, rather than a specific event in time. This incorporates a wide range of options, including:

  • Approaches to history
  • Historiography
  • Tacitus to Weber


Industrialisation in Britain and France 1750-1870

A case study of a specific time period and location. This module can be replaced with other history modules.


Why do History and Economics?

This course allows you to appreciate the rich intersection between history and economics. You will study events that occurred through a historical lens, but then address how these events impacted the economy, and different classes. The huge impact industrialisation had on the British economy is the focal point of this course. 


If you’re interested in Economics, take a look at our reading list for Economics to explore it further. It might be especially interesting to have a look at older, classic Economics texts – you’ll be able to see how historical conceptions of the functioning of the economy have influenced the course of history.