Our heritage

125 years of teaching and research

History has been taught and researched at Leeds since 1877. We became a distinct School in 1898, and have grown from a staff of two to over 30 full-time members of staff.

100 years of research-led teaching

The integration of research and teaching is at the heart of our student experience. The special subject, a module closely related to the tutors research interests and involving close study of primary sources, was well established by 1911. Now the School has nearly 30 of these modules, still taught in small weekly seminars. 

The School was a pioneer in the introduction of the dissertation - an extended piece of written work based on orginal research - in 1909. As Professor Grant stated at the time:

"The primary object of the dissertation is to bring them in touch with first-hand authorities, and to show them the basis upon which our knowledge of history rests."

The dissertation has formed the cornerstone of our undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes ever since.

A tradition of opportunity

From its very inception, the School has given the opportunity for studying history at an advanced level to all of society. From its earliest beginings the School has always been open to women, unlike many other institutions. The second academic appointment the School made was Miss A. M. Cooke, one of the very earliest female academic appointments in the country. The first history graduate at Leeds was a woman, and in 1920 12 of the 15 graduates were women.

Now over half our graduates are women and we continue to recruit locally through the Access to Leeds scheme.