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You will find it helpful to have a reading-knowledge of a major foreign language, especially if your key historical interests lie outside the English-speaking world. To be able to read articles and books in foreign languages gives you a wider choice of reading-matter in Part I, and for some Part II Special and Specified Subjects or for certain dissertation projects, a foreign language is highly desirable. The Faculty does not have a formal programme for the teaching of languages. However, first year students who already have A/S or A2 (or equivalent) level in French or German may choose a Themes and Sources option involving the study of primary and secondary sources in either language. A language training element is built into the teaching of these courses.

Time invested in improving language skills can now pay dividends later on in your studies. Some colleges provide supervision and, if this is of interest, you should consult your Director of Studies. The University Language Centre has a wide range of resources, all of which are free and well-worth investigating. 


The Seeley Library collects a copy of most books on undergraduate reading lists, when these are available in print or second-hand, and will be able to provide most of the reading material for your essays. It is also possible to recommend other titles for acquisition by using forms in the Library, via the web or email, giving the reason for your request and as many publication details as possible. You will also have access to the University Library; which is a ‘Legal Deposit’ institution, i.e. it receives a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom. There are several other Faculty Libraries with wide-ranging and potentially useful collections; the Modern and Medieval Languages, Classics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Economics faculty libraries are all within a couple of minutes' walk on the Sidgwick Site and they are well worth exploring (though not all will permit you to borrow).

There is, of course, also your college library. Though this cannot be as comprehensive a collection as the University Library or the Seeley, it does receive copies of reading lists and lists of the most heavily used Seeley titles to guide its History acquisitions and you can also make suggestions to your Director of Studies or Librarian. College libraries often provide a range of very useful sources for weekly essays.

The Seeley Library contains a stock of videos and DVDs also recommended for particular papers and these may be borrowed or viewed in the Library’s audio-visual room. Copies of Themes and Sources study packs, with primary and secondary sources, are also available for reference in open-access library filing cabinets. You will find more detailed guidance about the Seeley Library and how to use the online catalogue in the Seeley’s web pages, in a library guide issued at registration (further copies can be obtained at the desk) and the staff will also advise on how to make the best use of the collections. Many thousands of online databases, journals and e-books are now networked within the University (and off-campus using passwords) and you can find further information on these on the University Library or Seeley web pages, and in leaflets available in the Seeley.

Computer and IT facilities

Information about IT facilities in the History Faculty can be found here.