History is a means of understanding the relationship between the past and the present - a historical perspective offers important insights into contemporary society and debates.

History at the University of Melbourne?

J. E. Friedberg. 'Erstes Buch für Kinder (First Book for Children)' c. 1830
J. E. Fiedlberg
Erstes Buch fur Kinder
(First Book for Children)
c. 1830 Copperplate engraving

Since 1854, the University of Melbourne's History program has been at the forefront of the study of history in Australia. In terms of the scale and standing of its staff and research fellows, the size of its graduate research school, the number of postdoctoral fellows, and the level of competitively-awarded research grants, the History program is now one of the largest and most significant in Australia. It draws on the specialist knowledge and practical experience of leading historians, both established and emerging, and its research engagement is extensive.

Our staff include specialists in American, Asian, Australian, European and Middle Eastern history who work on a range of topical themes and Methodologies. The History program at Melbourne is currently in a period of expansion. The 2015 Hansen Gift has funded new appointments with expertise in early modern Europe; Indigenous and colonial histories; modern Japan; and modern Russia.

The purpose of history

Enrich your life and stretch your mind

At the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities, the discipline of History explores the great diversity of human behaviour. It provides a wide range of intellectual and emotional experiences.

Deepen your understanding of the present and the past, and of self and others

History can be studied to understand the present. Historians also delve into worlds long past and fundamentally alien to us. History may confirm and strengthen our beliefs and values; but it can also profoundly disrupt our sense of normality and make us question our perceptions and way of life.

Gain crucial and highly valued skills

Historical writing encourages clear thinking, precise expression of thought, and a willingness to understand others, and these are valuable skills for a whole range of professions. Training in historical methods—the in-depth study of evidence fuelled by analysis and imagination - will allow you to uncover both the variety and the patterns of past human experience.

Become an informed and responsible citizen and human being

History has great contemporary relevance in our ancient land as well as in the interconnected globe we belong to. Studying history will help you develop the skills to navigate our world of accelerating change. It will enable you to become an informed citizen and play an active role in society.

New undergraduate History curriculum

From 2020, students undertaking a History major in the Bachelor of Arts are able to follow one of three new optional pathways: Politics and International History, Social and Cultural History, or Gender History.

The pathways give students the opportunity to focus on a particular aspect or era of History, meet students who share similar interests, and effectively plan their History major.

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The Hansen Trust

The Hansen Trust has been established, in perpetuity, to transform the teaching of History at the University of Melbourne. It aims to develop and instil a passion for History within students and the broader community, to deepen student engagement with their learning, to emphasise the importance of this field of study, and to support a range of initiatives in the Faculty of Arts to build excellence and innovation in teaching and learning programs.

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Graduate Certificates and Diplomas

Graduate coursework

Graduate research