Facts & figures
- 25th in the world
- 2018 QS World University Rankings
Facts & figures
Studying history helps us understand the origins of the modern world and to uncover forgotten people and their paths. History encompasses every aspect of human life in the past. We work with diverse kinds of evidence and each valuable skills in interpretation and analysis.
We are the largest history department in Australia, with units of study on particular cities, nations and regions, especially Europe, Australia, China and North America, as well as thematic and comparative units on topics ranging from scandal to epidemics. Each year we offer a rich array of study options and we continually review and renew our curriculum.
Many of our staff have won awards for their teaching and research. We are committed to giving our students a highly regarded education and a gateway to life beyond university.
The study of history equips you to understand change, to look at things from different perspectives, and to assess diverse kinds of information. It offers a variety of topics, from war to politics, culture and sexuality, the history of ideas and the history of food; and it spans the Middle Ages to the present, from Australia to China, the United States and Europe.
International and Global Studies gives you a rigorous understanding of the paradoxes and complex interconnections of globalisation. This degree will equip you with the ability to work in global society.
Historians in the department work on a wide variety of times and places, with particular strengths in the history of the United States, Australia and the Pacific, China and Europe. Many of us work in the areas of international and transnational history that have energised and transformed the study of the past. One unifying thread is a curiosity about ideas in action – that is, how ideas and ideals were developed, challenged and lived with in particular situations. How were concepts of freedom tested in practice by African Americans in US cities in the 19th century? By diplomats and international lawyers or by Indigenous people navigating the judicial system?
Our research covers the following areas:
Like all the Departments and Programs in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, the Department of History has a lively research program.
Thursday 26 September 2019
What does empire have to do with emotion? This lecture explores the place of empathy in relationships between Britain, her Australasian colonies and Indigenous people. It argues that emotions are not universal, but historical: experienced and expressed in diverse ways in different cultures and times. Emotional narratives of the British empire in the early nineteenth century told readers who to care about, whose lives were ‘grievable’ and whose were not. Exploring the sentimental narratives and visual representations that defined imperial identities, the lecture reveals the politicised nature of emotions and reminds us of their high stakes and moral intensity at a troubling period in our colonial past.
Run at lunchtime most Wednesdays during Semester, this series features talks by members of the department and visitors from overseas and other universities in Australia. All students, colleagues from throughout the University and members of the public are all welcome.
The Biennial Wood Lecture in Australian History is convened by the Bicentennial Professor of Australian History, Professor Penny Russell, with generous support from the G A Wood Memorial Fund and the Joan Allsop fund.
The George Arnold Wood Memorial Lecture commemorates the first Challis Professor of History in the University of Sydney, who occupied the Chair from 1891 to 1928. The Wood Memorial Fund was established in 1929 and since 1949 has intermittently supported a series of public lectures embodying research in Australian history. The tradition was revived in 2015 with the Bicentennial Lecture in Australian History, which from 2019 will be merged with the Wood Lecture.
Past Wood Memorial Lectures:
The J M Ward Lecture honours the late John Manning Ward AO. Professor Ward was a distinguished historian, serving as Challis Professor of History from 1948 to 1979. Professor Ward was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1981 to 1990.
Our most recent Ward Lecture (September 2018)
Professor Bill Schwarz
'Brexit, ethnic populism and the end of the British Empire as we know it'
Held in conjunction with Sydney Ideas
Click here to listen to the podcast.
For more information on the J M Ward Lectures please contact Elia Mamprin.
We conduct an outreach program to increase the number of students from low socio-economic and diverse backgrounds studying history at the University of Sydney.
The program initiates and strengthens connections between partner schools and the University. We work with high school students from Mount Druitt, Parramatta, Granville, Campbelltown, Auburn, Liverpool, Coonabarabran and Broken Hill to familiarise them with university life and foster the aspirations within these communities to pursue and excel in tertiary studies.
Some of our activities include:
If you are a history teacher or school principal interested in a partnership with our department, please email Professor Mike McDonnell, or phone 9351 6733.