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Overview of Part I

Information about the structure of Part I and mode of assessment. Exam links (timetables, criteria, reports and past papers) for Prelims and Part I can be found here.

The Historical Tripos offers students a huge amount of choice. In Part I, 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. 

Certain requirements must be fulfilled, however, and it is important that you choose your papers with guidance from your Director of Studies.  

First year students take the Prelim to Part I examination at the very beginning of the Easter term. 

This is not classed, and does not count towards Part I. It is intended to provide you with informal guidance about your progress to date. To appear on the list of successful candidates, students must pass an examination in three papers: the first two of the Part I outline papers that they have studied, together with Historical Argument and Practice (HAP).

  • Prelim to Part I papers 2–18 correspond exactly with Papers 2-18 in Part I of the Tripos.
  • Prelim to Part I Paper 19 is specifically designed to examine any first year students who choose to study one of the World History papers (Part I Papers 21 or 23).
  • Part I papers 19 and 20 (Political Thought) and 22 and 24 (American history) are not available in the Prelim to Part I examination.  

Second year students take the Part I examination in late May and early June.

The Part I examination consists of five 3-hour written examinations (one for each of your outline papers) and one long essay, for Themes and Sources, which is submitted in the January of your second year. Each examination paper has equal weighting in the assessment.

Useful links:

 Further guidance is available here