Professor Thompson graduated from St. Andrews University in 1974 and pursued a Masters degree in Economic and Political Thought at the Queen’s University Belfast, 1975, before undertaking research leading to the award of a doctorate by the University of Cambridge, 1981. He spent a short time in the Economic Intelligence Department of the Bank of England, 1978-79 before being appointed as a Lecturer in Economic History at Swansea, 1979. He was awarded a personal chair in 1999, was Head of the Department of History from 2000 to 2005, and served as Head of the School of Humanities from its inception to 2008. He is currently a Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Thompson serves on the editorial board of Labor History.