If you want to study Politics or Social Anthropology or International Relations or Sociology, or a combination of these, then this is the course for you. HSPS allows you to study a subject you may never have studied before. HSPS offers specialist or joint degrees and, in your first year, you can also choose to take a paper in another subject from outside HSPS if you wish (from example, from Psychology, Biological Anthropology, or Archaeology).
Essential: No specific subjects.
No particular subjects at A Level (or equivalent) are required. HSPS is a broad course so a range of subjects can provide a good background: from Mathematics and the Sciences to Social Science (e.g. Sociology, Psychology, Politics and Geography) to the Arts (e.g. English, History and Modern Languages). Candidates are typically asked for A*AA at A Level and 40-41 points at IB, with 776 at Higher Level.
Applicants are asked to submit one school essay (with teachers’ original comments on). We do not mind what subject your work comes from but it should be from an essay-based subject, written in English. If you have not written essays in English, please contact the Admissions Office for guidance about what to submit.
All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Human Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college). The assessment will consist of Comprehension (60 minutes) and an Essay/text response element (60 minutes). For further information on the assessment format, please view the entry requirements tab on: http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/human-social-and-political-sciences.
Applicants may have one or two interviews with College Fellows. The interviews inevitably have a certain formality but we are all relaxed and friendly people, are not trying to trick you, and are keen for you to do your best. During one of these interviews, applicants will be asked to discuss an unfamiliar text - handed out before the interview - to assess reading and comprehension.
We may also ask the applicant to discuss the school work that they have sent to us in advance of the interview.
And the applicant may be asked to think about issues which raise questions that may relate to the subject areas covered in Part I in which they are most interested.
The aim is simply to see how you read, argue, deal with difficulty, listen and discuss – and to give you a chance to find out more about the course and the College.
College Fellows in Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS):
Dr Maryon McDonald (Social Anthropology) supervises the Part 1 optional paper in Social Anthropology and other papers in Social Anthropology thereafter. She teaches across the board but specialises in Medical Anthropology, Social Theory and the Anthropology of Europe. She has also carried out research projects jointly with specialists from other subject areas of HSPS.
Dr Stuart Hogarth (Sociology) specialises in Medical Sociology, Social Policy and Political Economy, and holds a lectureship in the Sociology of Science.
Dr Julie Smith (British and European Politics) is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies. Her research focuses on a wide range of European issues, including elections to the European Parliament, the UK's relations within the EU and Parliaments, Parties and EU.
Dr Deborah Thom (Sociology; Gender) supervises the first year Sociology paper and contributes to faculty teaching on family and gender in Part 2. Her own work is in 20th-century British Social and Cultural History specialising in the Family, Feminism and Childhood as well as the History of Psychology.
More information on studying Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) can be found at:
Updated September 2016