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The MSc programme draws on knowledge and skills acquired in many years of providing specialist classes in local history, and profits from close links with local, social and economic historians elsewhere in the University. The programme is overseen by the University’s Continuing Education Board, and admission is through the Department for Continuing Education. All graduate students must apply also for membership of a college. Most choose to become members of Kellogg College, which caters particularly for part-time mature students and which is closely associated with the Department.

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Teaching and supervision on the MSc programme is provided by the Department’s University Lecturer, Dr Mark Smith, and specialist tutors from the Department and elsewhere in Oxford and further afield. An impression of the interests represented in the Department’s teaching and research supervision can be gained from the Advanced Papers currently offered as part of the Master’s course: Power and patronage in the later medieval localities; Kinship, culture and community: Provincial elites in early modern England; Poverty and the Poor Law in England, 1660-1800; Enclosure and rural change, 1750-1850; Religion and community in England, 1830-1914; The social history of English architecture, 1870-1940; the English suburb, 1800-1939.

The Department’s graduate students are members of the Continuing Education Graduate School and have access to the full range of Oxford University’s library, archive and computing facilities.

The course is designed to combine a systematic training in historical research techniques with the study of a range of major local historical themes and the chance to undertake an individually researched dissertation. It will be relevant to potential or practising teachers, archaeologists, environmental planners, archivists, librarians, museum professionals and teachers in adult education, and indeed anyone wishing to pursue the subject for its own sake.

IT skills

Please note that most Departmental courses require assignments to be submitted online, and although the online submission system is straightforward and has step by step instructions, it does assume students have access to a PC and a sufficient level of computing experience and skill to upload their assignments. Applicants should be familiar with the use of computers for purposes such as word-processing, using e-mail and searching the Internet.

College Affiliation

It is a requirement of Oxford University that Master of Science students are matriculated members of the University and one of its colleges. Masters students based in the Department for Continuing Education are encouraged to apply to become members of Kellogg College. In previous intakes almost all students on this course have chosen to join Kellogg. Continuing education and life-long learning in Oxford have been formally linked to the collegiate system of the University since 1990, when Kellogg College, the University’s 36th college, was established. Kellogg College is specifically geared to the needs of mature and part-time students

Libraries and computing facilities

Registered students receive an Oxford University card, valid for one year at a time, which acts as a library card for the Departmental Library at Rewley House and provides access to the unrivalled facilities of the Bodleian Libraries which include the central Bodleian, major research libraries such as the Sackler Library, Taylorian Institution Library, Bodleian Social Science Library, and faculty libraries such as English and History. Students also have access to a wide range of electronic resources including electronic journals, many of which can be accessed from home. Students on the course are entitled to use the Library at Rewley House for reference and private study and to borrow books. The loan period is normally two weeks and up to eight books may be borrowed. Students will also be encouraged to use their nearest University library. More information about the Continuing Education Library can be found at

The University card also provides access to facilities at Oxford University Computing Service (OUCS), 13 Banbury Road, Oxford. Computing facilities are available to students in the Students'Computing Facility in Rewley House and at Ewert House.


Assessment is based on a mix of coursework assignments and a dissertation. The assessment falls into two parts, the first of which is called by the University a Qualifying Test and the second of which is called the Final Examination.

The Qualifying Test

The Qualifying Test, which must be passed in order to proceed to the rest of the degree, consists of a total of three assignments related to the work of the first term.

Assignment 1: A review of a work of local history (500 words). 10% of the marks for the test.

Assignment 2: An essay on issues relating to the nature of local history (2,000-2,500 words). 40% of the marks for the test.

Assignment 3: An essay on issues relating to the sources and practices of local history, especially the relationship of fieldwork and/or quantification to other sources and approaches (2,500-3,000 words). 50% of the marks for the test.

The Final Examination

The second part of the assessment determines the final classification of the MSc and comprises eight written assignments and a dissertation.

There will be 2 x 2,500 word assignments for each of the Sources, Methods and Foundations papers. (In total the assignments for the Sources, Methods and Foundations papers comprise 10% of the marks for the final examination.)

There will be 2 x 5,000 word essays for each of the Advanced Papers. (In total the essays for the Advanced Papers comprise 40% of the marks for the final examination.)

There will be a dissertation of 15,000 words (The dissertation counts as 50% of the marks for the final examination.)

Visit the MSc in English Local History page on the University of Oxford website for more details!




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