Dr Thomas Peak

Student spotlight details

With no background in formal education, Thomas Peak enrolled on the Certificate in History which allowed him to complete his undergraduate education and then pursue graduate work.

'Two factors inspired my application to the Certificate in History: a general love of books and learning combined with an interest in the past, a desire to understand where the great forces shaping our world had come from and where they might be leading us. Despite this intellectual enthusiasm I was, at the time, decidedly unqualified. So with no background in formal education to speak of, I was deeply grateful when the Course Directors, Tom Buchanan and Christine Jackson ‘took a chance’ on me. 

'The Certificate equipped me with the intellectual and academic tools to go on to complete my undergraduate education in History at Queen Mary University and then to pursue graduate work, in History and in International Relations, first back at Oxford and then at the Central European University.

'Following my PhD in CEU, I was privileged to undertake a postdoc in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University, where I published my first book, Westphalia from Below: Humanitarian Intervention and the Myth of 1648. I am now a researcher in the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, a wonderful institution in which I continue to pursue and publish research at the intersection of history and international relations.   

'To anybody who is considering the Certificate in History, especially those who come from a non-traditional background and perhaps had difficulties at school – jump in with two feet! The water is warm, and Tom and Christine are the perfect ‘lifeguards’ to help you through the stormy moments (the tides being especially choppy around exam time). You will be part of a diverse and fascinating cohort, and the opportunities the course opens up are endless. The Department is a very special place. It is a place to think and to understand, to rest and grow. It is a portal to new worlds. I highly recommend the Certificate in History; and I wish you the best of luck.'

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