About us

History at Exeter has a global reputation for excellence in teaching and research and we are proud to be one of the leading research centres for History in the UK. We are one of the largest departments within the UK with almost 50 staff across two campuses in Exeter and Penryn.

High quality research

Our varied research culture is one of the things which makes History at Exeter unique. We have expertise in political, economic, social, cultural, religious, medical, environmental, maritime, naval, military and diplomatic history. We range in time from the early medieval period to the late 20th century. Our particular strengths are in the history of Britain and continental Europe, but also we focus on the history of the United States, Africa, and India.

Research partners

We work in partnership with international and national institutions. Research from the department has involved relationships with institutions including the World Health Organisation, the University of British Columbia, Monash University, Université de Québec and KITLV Leiden. We also have strong connections with the heritage sector and we have partnerships with the National Trust and the RAMM. Learn more about our current partnerships on our research webpages. 

We have strong success in raising research income from bodies such as the AHRC, ESRC and Wellcome Trust. Over the last 4 years this has generated £7.6 million. 

We have an interdisciplinary perspective and work closely with related disciplines including Classics and Ancient History, Archaeology, English, Modern Languages, Philosophy and Politics.

Excellent teaching

Teaching the next generation of historians is at the heart of everything we do and our teaching is inspired by the research interests of our staff. We have a strong record of teaching excellence in the department and we are ranked in the top 10 in all major UK university league tables for History. 

Our staff are regularly nominated for teaching awards and we had colleagues nominated for Best Research Inspired Teaching and Best Postgraduate Taught Supervisor in the 2015 Teaching Awards. In the National Student Survey, 96% of our students were satisfied with teaching quality.

We supervise postgraduate research in a wide range of areas and currently we have 97 postgraduate research students completing their studies with us. 

Teaching excellence - case study

‘Uses of the Past’ is a module that connects our discipline, History, with the wider world within which we live. It’s the point in the degree programme where we really try to encourage students to think about the relevance of History in all sorts of contexts: education, politics, business, culture, and more. We want to emphasise the importance of connecting History with society through the assessment tasks we ask students to complete, so rather than just writing a traditional essay, students work in groups to produce a multi-media wiki site that explores one particular use of the past. The groups also produce a poster that conveys an aspect of this project to a general audience in a very immediate, visual way. Both these activities give students the chance to develop a range of transferrable skills, and to communicate in new ways with new audiences. Several of our students’ posters have recently achieved success in a university-wide competition that feeds into a national event run by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research – a result that testifies to the high quality of work produced over the course of the module.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 based on the percentage of research categorised as 4*.