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Tripos requirements

Choosing Part I and Part II Papers: a guide to Tripos Regulations

One of the great strengths of the Historical Tripos is that it offers students a huge amount of choice. In the first two years, it is possible to study any period of European history from the Greeks to the present, any period of British history from the end of the Roman occupation, global and imperial history from 1500 to the present day, North American history since 1500, and the history of political thought from Plato to Marx. In the third year, you can choose from over thirty specialised options from within these same time-spans, and to write a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.

Certain requirements must be fulfilled, however, and it is important that you choose your papers for Parts I and II with guidance from your Director of Studies, within the constraints of Tripos regulations.  These regulations are set out in the University Statutes and Ordinances, and summarised below:

PART I: Candidates must offer Paper 1 and five other papers, as follows:

  • at least one paper from Section B,
  • at least one paper from Section C,
  • at least one paper from Sections D-G


PART II: Candidates who take the examination in the year following Part I, must offer:

  • Paper 1 (HAP)
  • Papers 2 and 3 (Special Subject),
  • either two papers from Sections C-D
    or one paper from Sections C-D and a dissertation.

NB: Guidance for students transferring into History Part II from another Tripos can be found here.

All candidates must offer in either Part I or Part II:

  • a pre-1750 paper,
  • a European paper.

    Papers currently meeting the PRE-1750 requirement are:

    Part I:

    1.   Themes and Sources options (NB: These papers are variable and may not be offered each year):

    (i)      Money and society from late antiquity to the financial revolution
    (ii)     Royal & princely courts: ancient, medieval and modern
    (vii)   Nature and the city in medieval thought
    (viii)   Sacred histories

     

    2.   British political history, 380 - 1100
    3.   British political history, 1050 - 1509
    4.   British political history, 1485 - 1714 
    7.   British economic and social history, 380 - 1100
    8.   British economic and social history, 1050 - c.1500
    9.   British economic and social history, c.1500 - 1750
    12. European history, 776 B.C. - A.D. 69
    13. European history, 31 B.C. - A.D. 900
    14. European history, 900 - c.1215
    15. European history, 1200 - 1520
    16. European history, 1450 - 1760
    19. History of political thought to c. 1700

    Part II   (NB: These papers are variable and may not be offered each year):

    Special Subject Papers 2 and 3:

    (A)  Roman religion: Identity and empire
    (B)  The 'Angevin Empire', 1150s - 1230s
    (C)  Writing history in early modern England
    (D)  Uses of the visual in early modern Germany, c. 1450-1550
    (E)  The Black Death (Tripos 2018) / The well-protected domains: a spatial history of the Ottoman empire, 1300-1800 (Tripos 2019)
    (F)  Heresy, inquisition and society: southern France c.1150-1320 
    (G)  The culture of the miraculous in Renaissance Italy
    (H)  Food and drink in Britain and the wider world, c. 1550-1800 

    Specified Papers:

    7.   Transformation of the Roman world
    8.   The Near East in the age of Justinian and Muhammad, AD527-700
    9.   Writing history in the classical world
    10.  Living in Athens
    11.  Early medicine
    12.  The middle ages on film: medieval violence and modern identities
    13.  Man, Nature and the Supernatural, c. 1000- c. 1600
    14.  Material culture in the early modern world
    15.  Print and society in early modern England
    16.  Overseas expansion and British identities, 1585-1714 (Tripos 2018)/ Persecution and toleration in Britain, 1400-1700 (Tripos 2019)
    17.  The politics of knowledge from the late Renaissance to the early Enlightenment 
    21.   Borderlands: Life on the Habsburg-Ottoman frontier, 1521-1881

    or A dissertation, provided that its subject falls mainly in the period before 1750.

    The following chronologically broad papers do not fulfil the pre-1750 requirement:

    Part I:
    21. Empires and world history from the fifteenth century to the First World War
    22. North American history from c. 1500 to 1865

    Part II:
    6.   States between states: the history of international political thought from the Roman empire to the early nineteenth century
    19. The problem of Sustainability, 1500-1987
    27. The history of Latin America from 1500 to the present day

     

    Papers currently meeting the EUROPEAN requirement are:

    Part I:
    12. European history, 776 B.C. - A.D. 69
    13. European history, 31 B.C. - A.D. 900
    14. European history, 900 - c.1215
    15. European history, 1200 - 1520
    16. European history, 1450 - 1760
    17. European history, 1715 - 1890
    18. European history, since 1890

    Part II (NB: These papers are variable and may not be offered each year):
    7.   Transformation of the Roman world
    8.   The Near East in the age of Justinian and Muhammad, AD527-700
    14. Material culture in the early modern world
    21. Borderlands: Life on the Habsburg-Ottoman frontier, 1521-1881
    22. Stalinism and Soviet life
    23. The long road to modernisation: Spain since 1808 

     

    The regulations also state that:

    • no candidate can offer a paper that he or she has previously offered for the Historical Tripos or for any other Honours examination ;
    • no candidate who has previously obtained honours in either part of the Classical Tripos can offer Part I Papers 12 and 13;
    • no candidate who has previously obtained honours in Part II of the Classical Tripos can offer Part II Paper 7;
    • no candidate can offer for Part II Papers 2 and 3 (Special Subject) a subject which he or she has already offered in Group C of Part II of the Classical Tripos.

      A note about overlap:

      Students worry about the extent to which they may repeat material within or between papers. The only rules are (1) that some exam papers specifically forbid candidates from answering starred questions if they are also candidates for certain other papers (usually those covering overlapping periods); and (2) that in choosing a Part II dissertation topic, there may not be overlap with the choice of other Part II papers, nor significant overlap with the Themes and Sources Long Essay. Beyond this, the overlap issue is a matter of common sense. It is unwise to repeat material within a paper, because it will give a marker a sense that a candidate’s knowledge is narrow; or between papers, because if the candidate is discussed at the Exam Board it will again give an impression of limitation. However, this need not rule out judicious use of an occasional example in different argumentative contexts. This is especially so in the case of the Part II HAP paper, where you are encouraged to use material from other Part II papers to illustrate a broad theme; though the point of a general paper is to go beyond the scope of one particular field of history.

      (Revised September 2017)