Master of Philosophy in British and European History, from 1500 to the present

The regulations of the Board of the Faculty of History are as follows:

  • 1.    Candidates for the Master of Philosophy in British and European History, from 1500 to the present, must follow for at least six terms a course of instruction and directed research and must, upon entering the examination, produce from their society a certificate to that effect.

    2.    Candidates must attend such lectures, seminars and classes as their supervisor shall determine. In addition to the formally examined programme elements described below, each candidate will be expected to attend and complete in-course requirements for a series of skills and specialist options based on a schedule to be published from year to year by the Faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee. The candidate’s individual programme, agreed with her/his supervisor, will be subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the programme convenor, by Friday of Week One of Michaelmas Term; subsequent changes must be agreed by the Director of Graduate Studies not later than Friday of Week Three of Hilary Term. Class teachers will report to the Chair of Examiners on the candidate’s attendance and participation, and, where appropriate, test results, not later than Monday of Week Nine of Hilary Term, except in the case of three-term language classes where the respective reporting deadline will be Monday of Week Nine of Trinity Term.

    3.    The final examination shall comprise (i) one extended essay based on the programme’s theory and methods component plus an annotated bibliography based on the sources and resources component, (ii) one extended essay based on an Advanced Option, (iii) one extended essay based on a class on the writing of History, and (iv) one dissertation proposal in the first year of the programme, and (v) one research methodology essay and (vi) a dissertation of not more than 30,000 words in the final year of the programme.

    • I.    During Michaelmas Term of the first year each candidate will attend core classes on historical theory and methodological approaches as well as a series of classes on sources and resources. The core classes will be assessed by an extended essay of between 4,000 and 5,000 words and the sources and resources component by an annotated bibliography. The essay and the annotated bibliography, must be submitted to the Examination Schools must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site by 12 noon on Monday of Week One of Hilary Term of the candidate’s first year. Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work. The assessment of the annotated bibliography will be on a pass/fail basis only, and candidates who fail this element will be given the opportunity to submit a revised version in the first year of the programme.

      II.    In Hilary Term of the first year candidates must choose one Advanced Option, either from the joint Advanced Options for the Master of Studies and the Master of Philosophy in British and European History, from 1500 to the present, or from the Advanced Options for one of the Faculty of History’s other Master’s programmes. The choice of Advanced Option will depend on the candidate’s training objectives or dissertation project. Details of available Advanced Options are published on WebLearn. Approval of the Advanced Option choice must be obtained from the programme convenor, the person responsible for the delivery of the requested advanced paper, the candidate’s supervisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies by Friday of Week Four of Michaelmas Term. The request for approval must be sent to the History Graduate Office. On recommendation from the candidate’s supervisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the programme convenor, may approve relevant taught papers from Master’s programmes offered by faculties other than History, provided that the respective faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee is satisfied that the candidate has an adequate background in the subject. Such candidates will be assessed according to the regulations with respect to the form of assessment and deadlines governing that option (i.e. the regulations of the programme under which the option/advanced paper is offered), but the modes of assessment and deadlines for the other course elements of the programme for which the candidate is registered will remain in force. This part of the programme will be assessed by one extended essay of between 6,500 and 7,500 words. The essay must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site by 12 noon on Monday of Week Nine of Hilary Term of the candidate’s first year. Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work. Essays should reflect skills and understanding the candidate has developed by following the approved choice of paper. The essay may complement but must not share significant content with the essay submitted under I. above. Teaching may not be available for all the Advanced Options each year, and restrictions may be imposed on the combination of Advanced Options that may be taken in a particular year.

      III.    In Trinity Term candidates take a class on Writing History and finalise a proposal for their dissertation research during the Long Vacation and Michaelmas Term of their second year. The Writing History classes will be assessed by an extended essay of between 4,000 and 5,000 words. The essay may complement but must not share significant content with the essays submitted under I. and II. above. THe extended essay must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site must be submitted to the Examination Schools by 12 noon on Monday of Week Nine of Trinity Term of the candidate’s first year. Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work.

      IV.    Candidates must prepare an extended dissertation proposal of between 2,000 and 2,500 words. The extended dissertation proposal must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site by 12 noon on Monday of Week Six of Trinity Term of the candidate’s first year. Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work.

      V.    Candidates must prepare one methodological essay (of up to 7,000 words) and a seminar presentation for a class on ‘Historical concepts and controversies’, to be examined in Trinity Term of the candidate’s second year. Students may choose a topic for their essay and presentation in an area proximate to their dissertation subject, but may not replicate any other material submitted for examination. The extended essay must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site by 12 noon on Monday of first week of Trinity Term of the candidate’s second year. The candidate will be required to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work.

      VI.    A dissertation of not more than 30,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography, on a topic approved by the candidate’s supervisor and the Programme Convenor of the M.Phil. in British and European History, from 1500 to the present. Candidates must apply in writing to the Programme Convenor for approval of the proposed topic of their dissertation. The application must be submitted to the History Graduate Office by 12 noon on Monday of Week Six of Trinity Term of the candidate’s first year. The dissertation must uploaded to the Assignments section of the British and European History WebLearn site by 12 noon on Monday of Week Eight of Trinity Term of the candidate’s second year, accompanied by a declaration indicating that it is the candidate's own work. Dissertations submitted must not exceed the permitted length. If they do the Examiners will reduce the marks awarded. The presentation and footnotes should comply with the requirements specified in the Regulations of the Education Committee for the degrees of M.Litt and D.Phil and follow the Conventions for the presentation of essays, dissertations and theses of the Faculty of History. Each dissertation must include a short abstract which concisely summarises its scope and principal arguments, in about 300 words. This is not included in the word count. One printed copy of an M.Phil. dissertation which is approved by the examiners must be deposited in the Bodleian Library. This final copy should incorporate any corrections or amendments which the examiners may have requested. It must be hard bound, in a dark colour, and lettered on the spine with the candidate’s name and initials, the degree, and the year of submission.

  • 4.    A candidate who, at the end of the first year of the course, is unable to continue on to the second year, may, with the support of his or her college and supervisor, apply to the Director of Graduate Studies in History for permission to transfer to the status of a student for the Master of Studies in British and European History, from 1500 to the present, and to enter that examination in the current year.

    5.    The examiners may award a distinction to candidates who have performed with special merit in all parts of the examination for the Master of Philosophy in British and European History, from 1500 to the present.

A candidate who fails the examination will be permitted to retake the examination on one further occasion only, not later than one year after the initial attempt. A candidate whose dissertation has been of satisfactory standard will not be required to resubmit the dissertation. A candidate who has reached a satisfactory standard on the extended essays will not be required to retake those papers. If it is the opinion of the examiners that the work done by a candidate, while not of sufficient merit to qualify for the Degree of Master of Philosophy, is nevertheless of sufficient merit to qualify for the Degree of Master of Studies in British and European History, from 1500 to the present, the candidate shall be given the option of resitting the M.Phil. (as provided under the General Regulations § 2, cl. 4, and in accordance with this regulation) or of being granted leave to supplicate for the Degree of Master of Studies.