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History and Politics

history DSC 0210 4253097275 oWhat is History and Politics?   

History and Politics at Cambridge is an exciting joint Honours degree which offers subjects from our highly regarded History and Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) courses, together with bespoke papers which allow students to explore the space between the two disciplines

What is special about History and Politics at Cambridge?

Cambridge is uniquely placed to teach History and Politics together. Staff in the Faculty of History and the Department of Politics and International Studies have a wide range of shared interests in political history, international relations, and the history of political ideas, and draw on a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Our joint degree balances a strong grounding in the two component subjects with the chance to explore the ways in which historical and political understanding together illuminate the modern world.

Student meeting2 5835505989 oOne of the strengths of the History and Politics degree at Cambridge is the quality of the teaching: you will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most eminent academics in the field. The degree is taught through a mixture of departmental lectures, seminars and classes, and college ‘supervisions’, in which students discuss their essays with a senior academic individually or in very small groups. Supervisions provide a wonderful opportunity for students to receive individual feedback on their work and to discuss the problems and ideas thrown up by the lectures and further reading

The structure of the course

**Applicants seeking 2021 entry should note that there will be some changes to the Tripos from October 2021.  More information can be found here.**

You will take four papers (courses) in each year, and normally write between six and eight supervision essays for each paper. In the first year, you can typically expect between eight and ten hours of lectures and classes a week, along with one or two supervisions.

Wife mother voterFirst year (Part IA)

The first year provides a core grounding in historical knowledge, intellectual history, politics and international relations. First-year students take four papers, as follows: 

  • Evidence and Argument - a paper unique to this course which explores key concepts, methods and approaches from across the two disciplines

Second year (Part IB)             selmatomontgomerymarch

The second year offers more specialised papers in the history of political thought, international relations, comparative politics, and European and global history. Students choose one paper in each of the following categories:  

Third year (Part II)

All third-year students take a core paper called Theory and Practice in History and Politics, which engages with key issues such as democracy, inequality, and war in the light of work throughout the degree course. 

Three other papers are chosen from a wide variety of specialised options, including:

If you wish, you can replace one of these papers with a dissertation of 10,000-15,000 words on a topic of your choice within the scope of the course. Many students find the experience of writing a dissertation immensely rewarding, but it is not compulsory.

The list of papers offered and the combinations available may vary from year to year, and numbers may be restricted on some papers. Nevertheless, there will always be a wide range of Part II options to choose from.

    After Cambridge 

    Students who take this degree will have acquired a range of skills that are attractive to employers. They learn to work independently; to evaluate and discriminate between different types of evidence; to cope with large amounts of information; to work independently and with others; and to present arguments clearly and persuasively. 

    Recent graduates from the single honours History degree and from the Politics and International Relations track of the HSPS degree have gone on to careers in the media, politics, law, international organisations, public policy and administration, social research,  finance, teaching, and the charity sector

    Key facts 

    • You do not need to have studied Politics or International Relations before, though some colleges require A Level/IB Higher Level History or at least one essay-based subject.
    • A typical offer is A*AA at A Level or 40-42 IB points, with 776 in Higher Level subjects.
    • At least 40 places are available for 2019 entry, and we hope to admit as many qualified applicants as possible.
    • Candidates who are not accepted for History and Politics may be considered for places in History or HSPS.  

    Further information

    Discover more about studying History at Cambridge by following the links to other pages of this website. If you would like further information about studying Politics and International Relations, visit the website of the Department of Politics and International Studies

    Information on how to apply for this course can be found on the University's Undergraduate Study pages.

    See the course entry in the prospectus