Preliminary Examination in History and Economics

Differences from 2015/16 to 2022/23


  • 1. The Preliminary Examination in History and Economics shall be under the joint supervision of the Divisional Board of Social StudiesSciences, and the Board of the Faculty of History and shall consist of such subjects as they shall jointly by regulation prescribe.

  • 2. The lists of specific papers available will be published by the two Boards at the dates defined in the regulations for the Preliminary Examinations in History and in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.


Every candidate shall offer four papers, as follows:

  • 1. Introductory Economics, as specified for the Preliminary Examination in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

  • 2. GeneralEuropean & World History: any one of the periods specified for the Preliminary Examination in History.

  • 3. Optional Subject: any one of an approved list of subjects, as specified for the Preliminary Examination in History.

    • or

    •  Industrialization in Britain and France 1750-1870, which is available only for candidates for this examination.

  • 4. EitherOne (a)of Approachesthe tofollowing History or (b) Historiography: Tacitus to Weber or (c) Foreign Textssubjects, as specified for the Preliminary Examination in History:

    • (a) Approaches to History;

      (b) Historiography: Tacitus to Weber;

      (c) Foreign Texts.

    The individual specifications and prescribed texts for papers 3 and 4 above will be published in the Handbook for the Preliminary Examination in History by Monday of noughth week of Michaelmas Term each year for the academic year ahead. Depending on the availability of teaching resources, with the exception of Optional Subject 1, not all the Optional Subjects listed in the Handbook will be available to candidates in any given year. Candidates may obtain details of the choice of options for that year by consulting the Definitive List of Optional Subjects posted at the beginning of the first week of Michaelmas Full Term in the History Faculty and circulated to tutors.

  • Schedule

    Note. The letter c against a text indicates that it is available as a photocopy from the History Faculty Library. The letter t against a text indicates that it is to be read in specially prepared translation.

    Industrialization in Britain and France 1750-1870

    This is a paper in comparative economic history and is concerned with the main relationships involved in the industrialization of these two countries.

    The texts have been selected to exemplify British commentaries on economic developments in France and French perceptions of Britain's economic progress from 1750 to 1870.

    A. Texts by British Authors:

    A. Young, Travels in France During the Years 1787, 1788 and 1789, ed. Constantia Maxwell (Cambridge, 1950), pp. 279-300, 312-13. (Available in the History Faculty Library.)

    c M. Birkbeck, Notes on a Journey Through France in 1814, 3rd edn. (London, 1815), pp. 99-115. (Bodleian reference 8θ R 88 BS.)

    E. Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain (London, 1835), pp. 512-26. (Bodleian reference 35. 734.)

    c H. Colman, The Agricultural and Rural Economy of France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland (London, 1848), pp. 20-40. (Bodleian reference 48. 105.)

    c Great Exhibition, The Industry of Nations as Exemplified in the Great Exhibition of 1851 (London, 1852), pp. 223-7. (Bodleian reference 177e. 15.)

    c A. B. Reach, Claret and Olives (London, 1852), pp. 256-63. (Bodleian reference 203. b. 301.)

    c F. Marshall, Population and Trade in France in 1861-2 (London, 1862), pp. 156-207. (Bodleian reference 232. b. 61.)

    T. E. Cliffe Leslie, ‘The Land System in France’, in Systems of Land Tenure in Various Countries (London, 1881), ed. J. W. Probyn, pp. 291-312. (Bodleian reference 24754. e. 174.)

    B. Texts by French Authors (translated into English):

    Leon Faucher, Manchester in 1844: Its Present Condition and Future Prospects (London, 1844), pp. 1-20 and 85-152. (Bodleian reference Gough Adds. Lancs., 8θ17.)

    c A. P. A. Ledru-Rollin, The Decline of England (London, 1850), pp. 19-27, 27-32, 189-225, 249-62, 282-91, 328-47. (Bodleian reference 24712 f.43 [R].)

    c H. A. Taine, Notes on England (London, 1872), pp. 153-75 and 272-99. (Bodleian reference 226. j. 172.)

    c La Rochefoucauld, F. de, A Frenchman in England (Cambridge, 1933), pp. 157-242.

    c Nickolls, Sir J., pseud. (i.e. R. B. Plumard de Danguel), Remarks on the advantages and disadvantages of France and of Great Britain (London, 1754), pp. 1-48.

    c t F. Chaumont, Mémoire sur la France et l'Angleterre (1769).

    D'Eichthal, G., A French sociologist looks at Britain, tr. and ed. B. M. Ratcliffe and W. H. Chaloner (Manchester, 1977), pp. 13-108.

Candidates who fail one or more of papers 1, 2, 3, or 4 above may resit that subjectpaper or subjectspapers at a subsequent examination.