The History and Economics course integrates these two subjects to form a coherent and intellectually stimulating programme. The combination allows insights that neither subject can realise alone. However, it is possible to specialise primarily in either History or Economics while still preserving the benefits of an integrated approach. The combination of economics, economic history and history (political as well as social) means that you will be equipped to view issues in the real world from a variety of contrasting perspectives. You will learn both the historian’s careful approaches to evidence and argumentation and the economist’s analytical and quantitative methods. This will provide an excellent foundation for a range of professional, financial and academic careers.


The degree is divided into two parts: ‘Prelims’ and Finals. The first year (Prelims) consist of four subjects. Your first-year exams do not count towards your final degree but they will help you decide which areas you might want to specialise in for Finals.

Finals consists of seven courses plus a compulsory undergraduate thesis. All students take the compulsory course Development of the World Economy since 1800. In addition to this you must take at least three other Economics courses of which at least one must be either Microeconomics or Quantitative Economics. In History you choose a History outline course. There is a very large range of additional optional courses in History and/or Economics. 




Four courses are taken:

  • Introductory economics
  • European and World history: four options available
  • Quantification in History (available options: Approaches to history; Historiography: Tacitus to Weber; Foreign texts)
  • Optional subject (involving the use of primary sources): 21 options available

Core courses in Economics and Economic History

Second Year Economics papers:

  • Development of the World Economy Since 1800

At least one of:

  • Microeconomics
  • Quantitative economics

In addition to the two courses above, students offer between two and four further courses in Economics. These may be any of the courses listed in Year Two and Year Three in the table below.

History Core papers:

  • A period of British history or European/World history
  • Compulsory Thesis

Optional papers:

  • Select from a wide range of papers offered by the History Faculty and the Department of Economics.





  • A-levels: AAA
  • Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
  • IB: 38 (including core points) with 666 at HL,  or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications)
  • It is highly recommended for candidates to have both History and Mathematics to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.
  • All candidates must also take the History Aptitude (HAT) and the Thinking Skills Assessment: Section 1 (TSA: S1) as part of their application.


Details of fees and funding for the academic year in question can be found on the University of Oxford Admissions website:



You can find plenty of coverage of Economic questions in good quality newspapers, magazines, blogs and articles online, and television and radio programmes. For example, try the Financial TimesThe Economist, and Prospect, which frequently include articles on economic matters; and the blogs and commentaries of economists and economic journalists.

For online resources the Economics Network website, Why Study Economics? has useful information for students considering a university course in economics, and a selection of interesting Economics blogs include:

There are several good “popular” introductions to economics, and other relevant books written for a general audience, that are accessible and interesting:

  • Tim Harford The Undercover Economist (Little, Brown, 2005)
  • David Smith Free Lunch: Easily Digestible Economics (Profile Books, 2003)
  • Paul Krugman The Accidental Theorist (Norton, 1998)
  • A. BinmoreA Very Short Introduction to Game Theory(OUP, 2007)
  • P. DasguptaEconomics: A Very Short Introduction(OUP, 2007)
  • Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot The Tiger that Isn’t: Seeing through a World of Numbers (Profile Books, 2007)
  • Roger E. Backhouse, The Penguin History of Economics (Penguin, 2002)
  • Andrew Mell and Oliver Walker, The Rough Guide to Economics (Penguin, 2014)

The best way to prepare for the History component of the degree is to read the history books which interest you, either related to your school work or ranging beyond it – and be prepared to discuss your views of those books and their arguments.  To find such material, you might want to follow up on references made in your school or college text books, or your History teacher may also be able to recommend particular works for you to read on topics that you find most interesting.

One good way of broadening your historical horizons is to read one of the popular History magazines: History Today or BBC History, which has weekly podcasts. You may like to look at the books which are being reviewed in the press. You may also like to explore the websites of public institutions which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or BBC Radio 4 archives. Lastly, delving into some historical sources can be a great way to develop your ideas and understanding. You could try exploring literature, art, music or even films produced by different societies, and consider what these can tell us about the people of that time.

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Q: Can I study for a degree in Economics as a single subject at Oxford?

A:  No. Oxford does not offer a single honours undergraduate degree in Economics.


Q: How much Maths is there in the Economics part of the degree?

A: To a large extent, mathematics is the language in which much of university-level Economics is written and expressed. Introductory Economics in the first year uses elementary real analysis and differential calculus. Some subsequent options courses use more advanced mathematics and statistics while others use very little. 


Q: Do I need Maths A-Level or equivalent?

A: No, though you will find it helpful. If you are admitted without A-Level maths, or the equivalent, the Economics Department runs a top-up course called Elementary Mathematical Methods which will bring you up to the level you will need.


Q: If I study a joint degree like this will I be qualified and able to persue a higher degree in Economics afterwards?

A: Yes. Provided you select some of the more technical options papers in the third year (for example Econometrics, Game Theory. Microeconomic Analysis) you will have no problem at all accessing the very best Masters programs.