About

Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to the School of Humanities

I am delighted to welcome you to the School of Humanities, a world-leading centre for teaching and learning and research in the humanities located in the beautiful and historic port city of Bristol. I hope this is the start of your life-long engagement with your chosen field of study.

The School of Humanities is located in the Arts Complex, a series of handsome Victorian villas along Woodland Road which have just been refurbished. Through their doors you will discover our five departments: Classics and Ancient History, English, History, History of Art, and Religion and Theology. We think these subjects lie at the heart of the human experience as they explore the myriad ways we communicate, critique and celebrate our connections with the past and the wider world. 

The School is home to almost 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Most of our students study single honours but others study a range of combined honours or our innovative Liberal Arts programmes. Our degrees provide opportunities to study abroad with leading international universities as well as with outstanding teachers and researchers here in Bristol. 

The School of Humanities was established in 2006 but its origins go back to the original meeting, held in Bristol’s Victoria Rooms in June 1874, ‘to promote a School of Science and Literature for the West of England’. Many distinguished humanists have studied or been associated with the University over the years, including three Nobel Laureates: Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), who was serving as Chancellor of the University in 1953 when he awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; Harold Pinter, who was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters in 1998 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005; and Jean-Marie Gustave le Clézio, who studied English at Bristol in 1958-9, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2008.  

These days we are proud that research and teaching in the humanities continues to make its mark in external rankings and league tables. In REF2014, over 97 percent of our research was recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.  According to the Complete University Guide, Bristol is one of the very best places in the UK to study Classics (6th), English (5th), History (10th), History of Art (14th) and Religion and Theology (9th). 

Our School has been growing over the last few years and your lecturers include many young and exciting scholars from all over the world. Three of them were recently awarded prestigious Leverhulme Fellowships to pursue research on medieval Chinese Buddhism, the artist in seventeenth-century Italy, and Classics in the work of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The School is also leading the way in the ‘new humanities’ including digital humanities, environmental humanities and medical humanities and four new lecturers have just been appointed to positions in these exciting fields. 

So do come on in. We hope you will enjoy learning with us.

Hilary Carey

Professor of Imperial and Religious History
Head School of Humanities


Professor Hilary Carey