Undergraduate Diploma in English Local History
The Diploma in Local History is a part-time, modular course, lasting two years. The level is that of a second-year undergraduate programme. The course covers the main themes and sources of English local history and the techniques needed for interpreting historical evidence. No formal qualifications are required and the course is designed for anyone interested in exploring the history of local communities.
It provides an opportunity to learn from tutors specially chosen for their expertise in particular subjects. Guidance from a tutor and regular contact with fellow mature students within the context of a small, friendly and supportive group are especially important features.
For those with no prior experience of studying local history, the preparatory course "What is Local History?", offered in September, is a useful foundation. There will be six two-hour sessions on Monday and Thursday evenings for three weeks, starting on Monday 5 September 2016. The course will provide an introduction to the sources, themes, and methods used by local historians in recording the history of the manor, the parish, and the town. It will include a visit to the Oxfordshire Record Office. The course is accredited, and one short piece of written work (1,000 words maximum) will be required. Although it may not be a condition of entry to the Diploma, many candidates choose to take the preparatory course as an introduction to the Diploma and to give them an opportunity to meet future members of the class. For further details, contact the Weekly Class Programme Office at email@example.com or telephone 01865 280892/280893.
Diploma: structure and syllabus
The Diploma has two modules, which divide into ‘Medieval' and ‘Modern' at about the year 1530. You can take the modules in either order. In 2016 the 'Modern' module will run from October 2016 to June 2017. Classes will be held on Monday evenings, 7pm - 9pm, but there will be an Induction Day for new students on Saturday 1 October 2016. There will also be one Saturday session in Hilary Term, and two in Trinity Term. The Saturday sessions are from 10am - 12pm and 1pm - 3pm. There will also be a residential weekend in Oxford from Saturday 26 November to Sunday 27 November 2016.
Module 1: English Local History to c.1600, starting in October 2017
This module covers the period from the Anglo-Saxons to the eve of the Reformation. Its emphasis is on local communities, and the lives, occupations, beliefs and environments of those who formed them. The communities are those of family and household, manor and village, parish, town and guild. The evidence is exciting and diverse, extending from Anglo-Saxon charters and place-names, through Domesday Book, to the letters and wills of the later medieval period. The unwritten evidence is that of archaeological finds, the landscape of countryside and town, and buildings, including houses, farm buildings, market halls, and parish churches.
Module 2: English Local History from c. 1600, starting in October 2016
This module covers the period from the Reformation to the twentieth century. It concentrates on local communities - of family, household, village, town, parish, city, suburb or workplace - and the lives, education, religion, work and leisure of their members. It explores the impact of central government on local government and the measures taken to relieve poverty and improve public health, as well as the effects of civil and national war and industrial and agrarian revolution. The evidence ranges from parish registers, census returns, Parliamentary papers, social surveys, and estate records and maps to the personal testimony of wills, letters and diaries. In addition, there is the unwritten evidence of landscape archaeology and ecclesiastical and vernacular architecture.
Who is it for?
This course requires a high level of motivation, enthusiasm and interest in local history, and a willingness to devote time to study over a two-year period. You do not need any formal academic qualifications in history. In previous years the course has attracted people from various occupations, including acting, healthcare, law, local government, medicine, photography, publishing, retail, social work, and teaching. After the closing date for receipt of applications, you may be invited for an informal interview.
English Local History from c.1600.
This module covers the period from the Reformation to the twentieth century. It concentrates on local communities - of family, household, village, town, parish, city, suburb or workplace.
Provisional Timetable for 2016 - 2017
Except where stated the course is held at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA, on Mondays 7.00-9.00pm.
Michaelmas Term 2016
- Sat 1 October Induction day held at Rewley House, Wellington Square
- 3 October Introduction to the 17th-18th centuries
- 10 October Family life and social change in the 17th century
- 17 October The impact of the English civil war
- 22 October The early modern town
- 23 October Religion and society
- 24 October Material life: An industrious revolution
- 7 November The old poor law
- 14 November Agrarian change and rural history
- 21 November Enclosure
- 28 November Popular culture
Hilary Term 2017
- 9 January Introduction to the modern period
- 16 January The industrial revolution
- 23 January 18th and 19th century religion
- 30 January Industrial buildings
- 6 February The nineteenth-century countryside
- 13 February Nineteenth-century towns
- 20 February Victorian culture and leisure
- 27 February Education in the nineteenth century
- 6 March The new poor law
Trinity Term 2017
- 17 April The impact of world war one
- 24 April Depression and war
- 8 May Post-war social change
- 15 May Special Subject
- 23 May Special Subject
- 3 June Presentation Day
- 5 June Special Subject
- 12 June Special Subject
- 19 June Special Subject
- 26 June Special Subject
- 1 July Field Trip
Summary of course requirements
Each module involves the equivalent of 35 two-hour sessions; students must attend a minimum of 75% of these as well as the study sessions during the residential weekend.
For each module, students will be required to complete four out of a choice of five written assignments of no more than 2,500 words in length, one extended essay of no more than 5,000 words in length and one portfolio of work on primary sources of 5,000 words in length.
Full regulations will be sent with each offer of a place.
Aims and learning outcomes
- To provide you with a survey of the main themes of English local history;
- To introduce you to a wide variety of documentary, archaeological and other sources used in studying the local community, and to help you to interpret them critically;
- To prepare you for further study of local history at a more advanced level;
- To awaken your interest in areas and periods of local history that you may not yet have encountered;
- To develop the analytical and logical communication skills needed to present historical argument;
- To build on the varied academic and professional experiences of people from differing backgrounds.
At the end of the course you should:
- Be able to demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of the main themes and sources of English local history;
- Know where to look for further information on a particular topic;
- Be able to compare the history of one region with another and to fit the history of a local community into a wider national framework;
- Be equipped and know how to undertake independent work in local history;
- Be able to analyse and interpret a variety of documentary and non-documentary sources and to relate one to the other;
- Be able to understand and evaluate conflicting uses and interpretations of evidence;
- Have developed an awareness of continuity and change within local communities;
- Have developed an empathy with earlier periods of history enabling you to avoid making judgements based on contemporary values;
- Have a firm grasp of the nature and development of history;
- Be able to think coherently and analytically and be able to communicate the results in structured and logical written or oral argument;
- Be able to work independently and manage the use of your academic time;
- Be able to work within a close group in both supportive and supported roles;
- Be able to select, interpret, and present appropriate maps, photographs, diagrams and other material to illustrate your arguments;
- Be able to present references and bibliographies in an appropriate and scholarly manner;
- Have mastered the techniques of researching in a variety of libraries and local archives;
- Be able to recognize the main architectural styles of ecclesiastical and vernacular buildings and understand how and why they evolved;
- Be able to interpret the archaeological features of a local landscape or the plan of a former village or town from aerial photographs;
- Have developed a heightened awareness of your surrounding environment.
The preparatory course, entitled What is Local History?; will take place in the early autumn. There will be six sessions of two hours, which will run on Mondays and Thursdays for three weeks, starting on Monday 5 September 2016. The course will provide an introduction to the sources, themes, and methods used by local historians in recording the history of the manor, the parish, and the town. It will include a visit to the Oxfordshire Record Office.
The course is accredited, and one short piece of written work will be required. Although it may not be a condition of entry to the Diploma, many candidates choose to take the preparatory course as an introduction to the Diploma and to give them an opportunity to meet future members of the class.
Award and credit transfer
Successful students will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Diploma in Local History. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. You will be invited to receive your diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.The Diploma carries a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) rating of 120 points at FHEQ Level 5. You may be able to transfer these credit points to other HE institutions. If you are considering taking advantage of transferring credit, you are recommended to consult our Registry (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01865 280355).
This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.
Course entry requirements
This course requires a high level of motivation, enthusiasm and interest in local history, and a willingness to devote time to study over a two-year period. You do not need any formal academic qualifications in history. In previous years the course has attracted people from various occupations, including acting, banking, healthcare, conservation, law, local government, medicine, photography, publishing, retail, social work, and teaching. After the closing date for receipt of applications, you will be invited for an informal interview.
Academic support will be provided by the Director of the course, Dr Jonathan Healey, and guidance on specific topics will be given by the tutors who teach them. The Course Director may be contacted at any time during office hours on 01865 280161, or by e-mail: email@example.com
If you have little or no recent experience of study or examinations, don't be deterred from applying for a place. Help and guidance will be provided as part of the course. In addition the Department runs a programme of study skills workshops designed to enable you to develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. For further information and to book a place, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 01865 280892.
For advice on educational opportunities, credit transfer, disability and/or special needs provision and sources of funding, please email: email@example.com or contact the Registry on 01865 280355.
Dr Jonathan Healey, Course Director of the Diploma in English Local History, is an Associate Professor in Social History at OUDCE and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He came to OUDCE in 2012, before which he was a Fellow in History at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. He is primarily a social historian of early-modern England, and has published articles on poverty, famine, social structure, and local politics and disorder. He has written a book on the poor in seventeenth-century Lancashire.
Dr Paul Barnwell is Director of Studies in the Historic Environment at OUDCE and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He previously worked for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and English Heritage, where, amongst other things, he supervised much research on industrial sites and settlements. He is a former President of the Vernacular Architecture Group, and a member of the advisory board for the journal Northern History. His current research interests include medieval parish churches, the cultural and landscape contexts of medieval buildings, and the transition from Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England.
Joan Dils is a Visiting Research Fellow in History at the University of Reading. She has taught on the Diploma almost since it started. Her particular research interests are local communities of Berkshire and south Oxfordshire. She is currently preparing an edition of some Tudor churchwardens’ accounts for the Berkshire Record Society.
Rosamond Faith is a Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College. She has published widely on the history of the medieval English peasantry and the growth of lordship.
Heather Falvey teaches various medieval and early modern local history courses, including one on riot and rebellion, c.1380-1650. Her PhD thesis studied participation in early modern enclosure riots in two particular places in Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire, and she is continuing her research into social unrest. She has recently jointly edited two volumes of medieval wills and also a volume of late eighteenth-century recipes.
Elizabeth Gemmill is a University Lecturer in Local History at OUDCE and a Fellow of Kellogg College. Her main research interests are in medieval history. Her most recent publication is The Nobility and Ecclesiastical Patronage in Thirteenth-Century England (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2013). She is currently working on prices in the medieval north east, and is investigating valuations of medieval ecclesiastical property.
Deborah Hayter has taught several courses on local and landscape history for OUDCE and for the University of Leicester in Northamptonshire. She has a particular interest in landscape history and is currently working on an edition of the Hearth Taxes for Northamptonshire.
Graham Keevill, Freelance Archaeologist and Heritage Consultant, specializes in monastic and cathedral archaeology (Graham is consultant archaeologist for Rochester, Blackburn and Salisbury Cathedrals, as well as for Oxford’s own Christ Church). Amongst other excavations, he has directed several major projects on Anglo-Saxon and medieval abbeys, as well as a series of important excavations at the Tower of London.
Dr Cathy Oakes is University Lecturer and Director of Studies in Art History, OUDCE. She worked previously in the Education Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and in the History of Art Department of the University of Bristol. Her particular interests are in Marian iconography and English and French Romanesque.
Thomas Pickles is a Lecturer in Medieval History in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester. His main research interests are in medieval history: he takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining textual sources with excavated sites, stone sculpture, and place-names. He has published widely on the history of the Anglo-Saxon Church, including specialist studies of monastic topography, stone sculpture, and place-names. He is currently completing a book called Kingship, Society and the Church in Anglo-Saxon Yorkshire.
Katherine Weikert holds a BA in History from the University of Evansville, an MA in Medieval Archaeology from the University of York, and a PhD in archaeology and history from the University of Winchester. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on gender, space and authority in the central middle ages in England and Normandy.
Much of the academic support will come from the Course Director, who may be contacted at any time during office hours by students wishing to discuss matters relating to the course. In addition, the Department runs a programme of Study Skills workshops designed to enable you to develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. These workshops are free to students enrolled on the Foundation course. For full details of the programme please contact 01865 280892.
Course Director: Dr Jonathan Healey 01865 280161. If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application please contact Dr Healey firstname.lastname@example.org
Award Programme Office 01865 280154 / 270369
For queries on applications and admissions email@example.com
Student Advice 01865 280355
For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision, residential category and sources of funding: firstname.lastname@example.org
Study Skills 01865 280892
For information about Study Skills courses: email@example.com
Day & Weekend School Office 01865 270368 / 270380
For information on day schools and weekend courses: firstname.lastname@example.org
OUDCE Reception 01865 270360
For general enquiries about OUDCE or to leave messages if other staff are not available.
How to apply
Together with the application form, you must submit (i) a reference and (ii) additional material: a written statement of about 150 words stating why you wish to undertake the course.
If possible, your referee should be a person who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not possible, you should name a referee who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.
Please read carefully the instructions on the reference form. When you have received your reference, return the sealed envelope with your application form and your statement to:
Award Programme Administrator
1 Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JA
There are three application deadlines for this course: 11 March, 13 May and 30 June 2016. Applicants who submit a complete application by 11 March 2016 will be guaranteed an interview. Later applications will be considered if places remain. This is a popular course so we recommend you apply by the earlier deadline. Please check our website for details of availability.
We will be in touch with you about your application as soon as possible after the closing date. You may be invited for an informal interview, and we will let you know as soon as we can whether your application has been successful. Please note that an offer of a place may be made conditional upon successful completion of the preparatory course 'What is Local History?'.
Applications for the preparatory course should be made on the Department's standard enrolment form for weekly classes (available on request from the Weekly Class Administrator, tel 01865 280893), enclosing the fee.
This course is not suitable for non-EU students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For more information, refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk
Fees and additional expenses
The fee for the 2016-2017 module is £2,240 (EU students) or £4,210 (non-EU students), payable in instalments with a non-refundable deposit of £200 being required on acceptance of a place. The fee includes tuition, lunches, coffee and tea on both days, (and dinner on Saturday) during the 2015 residential weekend school at Rewley House, and morning coffee and afternoon tea during the five Saturday schools. Accommodation may be available at Rewley House during the residential weekend at an additional charge.
Funding and financial assistance
For information on student funding, please visit our website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk and follow links to 'students' and 'sources of funding'. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding.
For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355 or email@example.com
Terms and conditions
For applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on bursaries, scholarships and loans