Skip to main content

Human, Social, and Political Sciences

If you want to study Politics, Sociology or Anthropology at Cambridge, this is the course for you. It offers several popular subject combinations.

The flexibility of Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge allows you to explore a variety of subjects, many of which may be new to you (such as International Relations), before pursuing advanced study in one or two specific subjects in your second and third years. Alternatively, if you already know the subject(s) in which you want to specialise, you can tailor the course to suit your interests right from the start while retaining the option to take individual papers in other subjects as well. You'll graduate from Cambridge having specialised in one or two subjects but will also have the advantage of a broad background across the human, social, and political sciences.

The analytical and critical skills, intellectual versatility, multicultural sensitivity and international outlook you develop through this course are widely sought after by employers. Recent graduates have pursued careers in research (both academic and policy research), the Civil Service (including the Foreign Office), journalism, management consultancy, conservation, national and international NGOs and development agencies, the Law, teaching, publishing, health management, and public relations.

In the first year, you choose any four subjects from: Politics, International Relations, Sociology and Social Anthropology. It is also possible to "borrow" courses from the Archaeology Tripos or the PBS (Psychology and behavioural Sciences) Tripos, such as Biological Anthropology or Psychology.

For your second and third years, you can either choose one of five single-subject tracks, each of which enables you to take optional papers from other subjects; or you can choose one of seven two-subject tracks. The single-subject tracks are: Politics and International Relations, Sociology or Social Anthropology.

The two-subject tracks are: Politics and Sociology, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Social Anthropology and Politics.

The HSPS course is a new and exciting way of studying the world and its inhabitants. Much more information about the various exciting branches of the course is available here.

If you are interested in studying Archaeology at Cambridge, please note the subject has now been moved out of HSPS and has its own Tripos, starting in October 2017. You can find out more about this exciting new course here.

 

Teaching at Caius

Caius aims to admit 6 - 8 students per year in HSPS, with no particular preference for which subjects they wish to study within the degree. The College has a long history of supporting the various subjects brought together in HSPS, and this new degree allows students and Fellows both a fabulous opportunity to explore and develop their academic interests together.

The Directors of Studies are Dr Ruth Scurr (political history and political thought), Dr Liana Chua (anthropology) and Dr Kun-Chin Lin (international relations). They will guide students through their studies and, whatever options they choose, ensure that the very best teaching is provided from across the relevant departments. A number of other Fellows in the College have teaching and research interests which may overlap with those of HSPS students, depending on the options they select. These include Dr Naor Ben-Yehoyada (social anthropology), Dr Alessandro Launaro (classical archaeology) and Dr Annabel Brett (political thought and philosophy).

Admissions

We expect candidates to have a strong examination record in academic subjects at sixth-form. We do not require candidates to have studied any particular combination of subjects at school, but it is important that you develop understanding and knowledge that are appropriate to your ambitions at university. Wider reading and academic exploration beyond your school curriculum are really important parts of your preparation for university application.

We ask all candidates to submit two pieces of written work, and shortlisted candidates are interviewed twice by Fellows of the College in relevant subjects. Interviews are academic in focus, and candidates may be asked to undertake a small amount of preparatory reading for discussion at interview.

If you have any queries about Admissions in HSPS, please contact the Admissions Tutor at admissions@cai.cam.ac.uk. We're always happy to hear from prospective applicants.