Robinson has around 20 undergraduate and 10 postgraduate historians at any time, with an active History Society.
The undergraduate course covers almost every period of History and nearly all continents. Every student does at least one paper in European history, two papers in British history (one political and one social & economic), and one paper in a period before 1750. Apart from that, you can take papers wherever your interests lie. The Cambridge History Faculty has 120 members, and Robinson has five teaching fellows, in medieval and early modern British, early modern American and 20th century British and Korean history. We have strengths in gender, labour, intellectual and economic history.
The History Tripos is divided into a two-year Part I, and a one-year Part II.
Part I consists of a compulsory paper on Themes and Sources, exploring a wide range of topics in depth; and five further papers on particular places and periods, involving lectures and one-to-one supervisions on one paper per term. The full list of options is on the History Faculty website. You will choose two papers on a period of British history, one on its political and the other its social and economic aspects. The remaining three will be taken from papers in European, American or World History, or in the history of Political Thought. The Themes and Sources paper is examined by a long essay written in your own time; the others are examined by conventional exams.
Part II contains five papers in total. Two papers are on a special subject, taught by those engaged in research on it, and based on a detailed study of the primary sources, partly examined by long essay. Two other papers are drawn from a wide range of options, from Spanish America through Britain and Europe to South East Asia, and from the sixth century to the most recent past. You may also offer a dissertation of c.15,000 words instead of one of these papers, and for some this can be the most rewarding part of the whole course. Then there is a general paper called Historical Argument and Practice, which gives you a chance to discuss all the history you have studied.
Each year students sit one set of exams. In the first year the prelim is done at the beginning of the summer (Easter) term; in second and third years parts 1 and II are sat at the end of that term.
Supervision once a week is the central feature of History but there are also classes in the faculty for the documentary sources studied for Themes and Sources in the first year and for the special subject in the third. There are about 8 hours of lectures and classes a week in the faculty, and a class once a fortnight in the college to discuss general questions about historical methodology.
History involves large amounts of reading. Robinson has a good library for History, and is also right next to the University Library, which is a copyright library containing all books published in the UK, and five minutes’ walk from the History Faculty building on the Sidgwick site, where the library contains books for all history courses, and where most lectures take place.
Essential: We would usually expect you to do History and must have at least one essay based subject.
Highly Desirable: English Literature, Languages, Politics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Classical studies. If particularly interested in Economic and Social history then Economics, Geography, Maths and Sociology may be useful but are not necessary.
One piece of recent marked school work, preferably from History and in essay format, which should not be rewritten or especially produced.
For 2022 entry, candidates will be required to sit an assessment if interviewed. Candidates will be given one hour to analyse and compare two short extracts on a linked historical theme. The 2022 assessment will be held on Thursday 24 November, and further information will be provided if you are invited to interview. You do not need to register for this assessment.
For further information, please view the entry requirements tab on: http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/history
An unseen passage/image from a primary source will be discussed at interview.
Directors of Studies
Dr David Woodman (Prelims & Part I)
Dr D Knorr (Part II)
Teaching Fellows - Dr Amy Erickson
History (Information from Cambridge Admissions website)
Updated September 2022