Part-time qualifications in history

Undergraduate and graduate programmes for adult learners

Enrich and extend your knowledge with a part-time Oxford University course

Our part-time award and graduate degree programmes in history are designed for adult learners with busy lives, who come from a variety of backgrounds. Teaching takes place in smaller groups than many full-time degree courses, and (depending on the course) is held during evenings, weekends, short residencies or online. Tutors and students get to know each other in an informal, supportive and friendly environment.

Whether you're just returning to study, or are a committed lifelong learner – we have a flexible, part-time course for you.

Interested in studying local and social history? Then take a look at our local history undergraduate and graduate programmes.

Undergraduate study

Foundation Certificate in History

This two-year part-time course is equivalent to the first year of a full-time degree in history at the University of Oxford. The course covers extended periods of modern British and European history. You will also study an optional subject, such as the Spanish Civil War, in more detail. Working primarily from source material on this topic, you will have the chance to develop and refine the skills needed by a historian.

Applicants without recent experience of study or examinations should not be deterred from applying. Tutors are familiar with the problems faced by those returning to study and are able to offer appropriate guidance and support. 

Find out more about the Foundation Certificate in History.

Certificate of Higher Education

Credit earned from our short online courses, weekly classes and the Oxford University Summer School of Adults is transferable towards our Certificate of Higher Education - a part-time undergraduate course in which you study a main subject discipline but also undertake study in other academic subjects.

Find out more about the Certificate of Higher Education.

Postgraduate study

Postgraduate Certificate in Historical Studies

This is a one-year part-time course. It offers a unique opportunity for you to combine focused study of key historical themes and concepts in British and Western European history with either a broad-based approach to history or with the opportunity to specialise by period or in a branch of the discipline (political, social, economic, art, architectural and local).

The course team welcomes applications from candidates with an undergraduate degree in any subject discipline. The course is taught in five-weekend units in Oxford, supplemented by tutorials and three 5-hour online modules. 

Find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate in Historical Studies.

MSt in Historical Studies

The MSt provides an opportunity for those successfully completing the Postgraduate Certificate to extend their studies for a further year. Seminar classes will build upon the skills and knowledge acquired in the Postgraduate Certificate year and focus on the development of the research skills and methodological and theoretical approaches underpinning modern historical research.

Find out more about the MSt in Historical Studies.

MSt in Literature and Arts

This two-year part-time master’s degree has a twofold aim – to explore the past through the lens of human creativity, and to inform our understanding of that creativity by studying the context from which it emerged. It is an interdisciplinary programme which encompasses literature, art and architectural history, history, and philosophy/history of ideas. 

Find out more about the MSt in Literature and Arts.

DPhil in Literature and Arts

The part-time DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy, equivalent to a PhD) is normally studied over four to eight years. Students will often build on research and skills developed during the MSt in Literature and Arts, and prospective students are recommended to look at the MSt as a progression pathway to this DPhil. 

Find out more about the DPhil in Literature and Arts.

Student spotlights

Martin Gallagher

Martin Gallagher

The Certificate prepared Martin for his next academic challenge: full-time study at the University of Oxford.

Pushpa Kumbhat

Pushpa Kumbhat

Since studying with the Department, Pushpa has started a PhD at Leeds University with a fully funded research scholarship.

Amy Lim

Amy Lim

Having completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Historical Studies and the MSt in Literature and Arts, Amy is now studying for a D.Phil with the History Faculty at Oxford.