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Elle96

History Masters Oxford Background help!

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Hello! So I am currently an undergrad at a Russell group university studying International Relations, many of my modules are History-based and Global in nature, finally my dissertation and work/research experience is in the field of Political Economy. I am planning on applying to the History department at Oxford for its 2 programs: MSc Economic and Social History or the the MSt Global and Imperial History.

I don't know how attractive my application looks as I am not from a pure Economics or History background. Does anyone know of someone that got into either programs without a History or Economics BA?

I am graduating this year but will only submit an application next year (I need a year off for family reasons). I have found work as a researcher in economic policy and I am also looking at any history research positions.

Any info on this would help! 

Edited by literarymixtape

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History is the department here, in the US, that I work with second-most closely. I would say that one thing history and anthropology have in common is that a tremendous number of their PhD students have BAs in area studies and its many permutations. (In my department, we have also tended to attract students with BAs in philosophy and education, while the history department seems to like BAs in English/literature or economics.) Unlike in philosophy or psychology, there's not much of a premium on undergraduate training in the subject. I can't speak to Britain, but I doubt that your BA subject would be a red flag for a PhD in the US, and thus would be even less so for an MA. Your year-off job sounds fine, even great; a history research position might be better if you're still struggling to define your research interests, but if the economic one pays better, don't worry about it. Most jobs don't directly pertain to PhD applicants' research interests, and it's common to be able to refine your interests in your time off anyway.

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Honestly, just contact the graduate admissions person at the history faculty with the question, "Is my background going to count against me and is it common for students in the two courses I'm interested in to have profiles like mine?" If the admissions person brushes you off or gives you an unsatisfactory answer, carefully and politely email the convenors of the two programs, whose names you'll find in the degree handbooks, or the director of graduate studies.

(It took me less than a minute to find the handbooks: https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/history/documents/media/graduate-handbook-ESH-MSc.pdf and https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/history/documents/media/graduate-handbook-GIH-1617.pdf)

For what it's worth, I suspect your profile will not be treated as problematic by the economic and social history program but may warrant a stronger justification to the global and imperial history program. But in general it's not uncommon for people with historical interests but without history degrees to apply to master's programs in history, so as long as you explain the connection to your research/coursework well in your statement, I'd expect you to be okay.

Edited by L13

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1 hour ago, L13 said:

"But in general it's not uncommon for people with historical interests but without history degrees to apply to master's programs in history, so as long as you explain the connection to your research/coursework well in your statement, I'd expect you to be okay."

I'm a case in point to your comment.  I earned a BA in Psychology and an MPA with no prior historical training.  I met with the history MA grad advisor before applying and mentioned that I developed an interest in studying history after a career in the public sector.  The advisor suggested I sample a wide range of courses to get a grounding in the historical method and I was off and running.  

 

 

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