Best UK Universities For History

Dr Mohammad Shafiq

Top 10 Best UK Universities For History in 2024

Top 10 Best UK Universities For History in 2024

Whether you want to study the Ancient Times, the Middle Ages, the early modern era, or the modern era, the United Kingdom is a perfect destination for international students. A history degree from the UK can help you build a promising career in different professions. Various companies and employers, such as heritage organizations, museums, and libraries, prefer history graduates. Let's learn about the best UK universities for history.

Overview of UK Universities' Ranking Systems

When various magazines, newspapers, websites, governments, or academics consider different attributes and metrics of a university to assess the quality and performance of universities, it is called ranking systems.

Organizations or individuals consider various methodologies and factors for university rankings. The following are the most important points to take into account when choosing UK Universities' ranking systems.

Academic Reputation

Academic reputation is the most important factor in choosing the best universities for history. It implies academic excellence, education quality, and its impact on education.

Research Output

The second crucial point is the research output. You must consider the quantity and quality of historical research produced by faculty and scholars.

Facilities and Resources

A university must be equipped with libraries, archives, and resources for historical research and study.

Teaching Quality

Effective teaching is a must for academic satisfaction and achievement scores. The faculty must have the knowledge, skills, and ability to provide history students with meaningful pedagogic experiences.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

When shortlisting the best universities for history in UK, consider a lower student-to-faculty ratio. It ensures a better educational process and learning environment.

Citations and Impact

The research quality of a university is determined by its citation figures and how much impact it has made on society.

Graduate Employability

A good number of history students graduate from each university every year. Their employment rate will contribute to a positive image for their university. 

Top 10 UK Universities for History

Top 10 Best UK Universities for History

1. University of Cambridge

If you want to learn history from small group supervision as well as Faculty lectures and classes, the University of Cambridge is one of the best universities for history UK. You can explore various aspects and periods of history in-depth, encompassing a timeline of three thousand years and covering the entire expanse of the Earth.

It has the Seeley Library, a good collection of rare historical books, manuscripts, journals, pamphlets, audio-visual material, and MPhil theses. Students can enrol in a wide range of history courses from this educational institution, such as:

  • Full history of British
  • Political, Economical, & Social History
  • World History from Republican Rome to contemporary India
  • American History Plato and Aristotle to Obama and Cameron
  • The History and Modern Languages

2. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is another top UK university for history. This unique and historic institution is well-known for providing distinctive historical education. For instance, their teaching styles include smaller social groups, shorter periods, and specific themes. Their faculty and teaching instructors are good at intellectual and cultural history options.

The oldest education institution has the History Faculty Library and Bodleian Libraries, as well as many departmental and museum libraries. It has more than 85,000 volumes of predominantly British and European history. The University of Oxford offers a wide range of historical courses, such as:

  • British and European history
  • Global and Transnational History
  • Asian and African history
  • North American history
  • Latin American history
  • Ancient and Modern History

3. University College London (UCL)

UCL is an excellent choice if you want to learn history from different subjects, such as Europe, India, China, and the Americas from different aspects like politics, material culture, warfare, magic, etc. This highly-ranked public university offers undergraduate and graduate-level courses in different modules, such as core modules, advanced seminar modules, survey modules, and Thematic modules, and is among the top UK universities for history.

There are 19 libraries in UCL. It has a good classic collection of ancient histories, Greece & Rome, Byzantium, and the early Christian Church. The following are some popular history courses offered by University College London.

  • Medieval History in London Collections
  • 'Aristocracy' in Ancient Greece
  • Studies in European History
  • The History of Western Political Thought
  • Understanding the Early Mesopotamian World
  • Empire in Eurasia

King's College London

4. King's College London

International students who want to learn medieval, early modern, and modern history can consider King's College London. Its history department is highly inclusive and has many leading researchers in their fields. Expert historians will teach students in seminar groups in a friendly and supportive environment. You will have access to world-class museums, collections, and libraries to learn various histories.

Its Maughan Library has a huge FCDO Historical Collection comprising some 80,000 volumes to get valuable insights into historical events, diplomatic relations, and global affairs. This public research university offers various undergraduate and graduate-level courses, such as:

  • History & Modern Languages
  • History & Political Economy
  • Liberal Arts
  • History and International Relations
  • War Studies

5. The University of Edinburgh

This global university is one of the best Russell Group universities for history to learn different country-based history, such as Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, Ireland, Britain, Europe, etc. It has excellent resources for the study of history. Edinburgh's Main Library has a good collection of rare books, manuscripts, and historic archives to learn the history between the early Middle Ages and the late twentieth century.

Their history courses are intellectually stimulating to enhance critical thinking, broaden perspectives, and foster a deep understanding of historical events. The following are the main subject areas of the University of Edinburgh:

  • Social History
  • Global History
  • Cultural History
  • Political History
  • Environmental History
  • Intellectual History
  • Gender History
  • Economic History

6. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

If you want to develop a broad international perspective on the past, this educational institution can help you learn a wide range of historical topics. You will acquire skills in dissecting intricate evidence from diverse sources, honing analytical abilities, and effectively presenting your discoveries.

LSF offers modern international history courses to teach students the history from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first century. Their world-class faculty can help you learn the international history of Britain, Europe, and the world. They offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, such as:

  • BA History
  • BA History and International Relations
  • BA History and Politics
  • MSc History of International Relations
  • MSc Empires, Colonialism, and Globalization
  • MSc Theory and History of International Relations

7. University of Warwick

This leading university is well-known for its highest academic and research standards. Their expert historians will assist you in developing a foundational understanding of the past through motivations, context, and characters behind the events. This university's thriving culture of research, seminars, and conferences will help develop an independent view of the historical themes.

Warwick Library has a substantial book collection to learn and explore historical topics from around the globe in depth. The following are the popular courses they offer:

  • Being Human: Human Nature from the Renaissance to Freud
  • Africa and the Cold War
  • A Global History of Food
  • Science, Technology, and Global Politics, 1900 to Present
  • Whiteness: An American History
  • A History Of Modern Mexico

University of Durham

8. University of Durham

If you want to learn history from diverse themes and approaches, this highly regarded university is a perfect destination. It can help you acquire knowledge of medieval, late modern, political, and visual cultures, and gender history. The history department is located near the medieval World Heritage Site of Durham Castle and Cathedral. This gives you direct access to historical landmarks, artefacts, and resources.

 A good number of ongoing programs, public lectures, and research seminars are held each semester to expose students to diverse perspectives and enhance their understanding of historical topics. The university offers a diversified courses:

  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Medieval and Modern History
  • Modern European Languages and History
  • English Literature and History BA
  • Bachelor of Arts in History

9. University of St Andrews

This oldest Scottish university is well-known for preserving ancient traditions. Their cutting-edge teaching and research can help history students learn history topics in a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment. You can learn the histories of religion, politics, law, commerce, and science without chronological or geographical constraints.

History students will acquire the skills of writing about ancient historians, art, and archaeology. University of St Andrews Library has diverse history books covering various periods, regions, and themes. The following are the common courses they offer:

  • Scottish History
  • Medieval History
  • Medieval History & Archaeology.
  • Middle East Studies
  • Modern History

10. University of Manchester

This prestigious Russell Group university has one of the largest history departments in the UK. Whether you want to learn ancient, medieval, modern, economic, or social history, their historians are experts in their respective fields. Besides, you can acquire knowledge of the history of science, technology, and medicine.

Students have access to a wealth of archives, libraries, museums, and other research institutions inside and outside Manchester. These diverse resources, primary materials, and unique learning opportunities can be beneficial for comprehensive research. You can enrol in the following history courses:

  • Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites
  • The Story of Britain
  • Politics and Society in Classical Greece
  • The American Civil War
  • Slavery & the Old South
  • Gender and Sexuality in Modern Africa

Factors to Consider when Choosing a University for History

Factors to Consider when Choosing a University for History

Course Content and Specializations

When it comes to choosing the best history university in the world, you can't overlook course content and specialization. It must align with your academic interests to provide a comprehensive and tailored educational experience.

Faculty Expertise and Reputation

An educational institution with expert historians can provide students with high-quality teaching, mentorship, and access to knowledgeable and respected scholars in the field.

Resources Available for Research

Historical research plays a crucial role in our modern society. A history university must have adequate resources for research because it directly impacts the depth and breadth of students' access to primary materials and scholarly resources.

Alumni Success and Career Prospects

A university's alumni success and career prospects reflect the institution's impact on graduates' careers and the potential networking opportunities available for current students.

Location and Lifestyle

Last but not least, a university's location and lifestyle heavily influence the overall student experience, access to historical sites, and the cultural and social environment.

Other Notable UK Universities for History

University of St Andrews

This educational institution is the perfect destination if you want to study all historical eras with no geographical or chronological limit. Their rigorous and rewarding academic standard will help you embrace new perspectives and challenges.

Bournemouth University

Students who want to learn Modern History, Media History, and Public History should consider this university. It can help you develop practical and professional skills and choose a promising career easily.

University of Suffolk

Studying history at the University of Suffolk will help you enhance your analytical and critical-thinking skills. It is located in one of England's richest historical landscapes. You can develop a community with different heritage partners on a variety of projects.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best history program in the UK?

Ancient History, International History, and Modern History are some of the best history programs in the UK.

Where is the best place to study history?

University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Cambridge, etc., are some of the best places to study history.

Is a history degree worth it in the UK?

Studying history can help you build a wide range of broad skill sets, such as Analytical skills, critical thinking, etc. It opens doors to various careers and contributes to personal development.

How long is a history degree in the UK?

Most history degrees in the UK last for three years. But if you combine the degree with a language course, it will take four years.

What jobs can you do with a history degree in the UK?

Getting a history degree from the UK can help you choose a prospective career in different professions, such as archivist, journalist, archaeologist, heritage manager, researcher, librarian, historic building inspector, etc.


While shortlisting the best UK universities for history and choosing a particular history course or program, make sure it aligns with your interests and helps you lay the foundation for a fulfilling career. Studying in a history course not only opens up your career prospects but also helps you develop a broad skill set for understanding and solving current and future problems.

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