History in UK Higher Education: A Statement from the Royal Historical Society

13 June 2023

The President and Council of the Royal Historical Society have today issued a statement on their concerns for History teaching and research in UK Higher Education.

Please see here to read the full statement: ‘History in UK Higher Education. A Statement from the Royal Historical Society’

The statement identifies an environment of ‘unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty’ in the sector, evident in several forms: closure of departments, programmes of voluntary and compulsory redundancy; cuts to courses; and the persistent threat of future actions of this kind. The statement also comments on the changing profile of ‘at risk’ departments. Many of those with whom the Society now works are in established universities with long-standing History departments noted for their achievement in recent REF exercises.

Explanations for the increase of at risk departments rest with political decisions — notably the lifting the student cap in 2015 — and the marketisation of UK Higher Education. The negative effects of these changes are now being felt particularly acutely by History and other humanities disciplines.

In the coming months, the Royal Historical Society is undertaking a project to assess the full extent of the losses, risks and concerns that now characterise History in UK Higher Education. We expect to published this report later this year.

History in UK Higher Education: A Statement from the Royal Historical Society >

If you wish to contact the Society on topics raised in today’s statement, in confidence, please email: president@royalhistsoc.org

The Society’s Toolkit for Historians provides further resources for those at risk of departmental cuts and closures.