Human, Social and Political Sciences

If you want to study politics and international relations, social anthropology or sociology at Cambridge, this is the course for you. It offers several popular subject combinations as well as the opportunity to specialise in one subject area,.

Fitzwilliam admits around six to eight students for Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) each year, meaning that there are as many as twenty-four HSPS undergraduate students in the College at any one time. Directors of Studies for the course is Dr Evaleila Pesaran, a political scientist focusing on the politics and international relations of the Middle East.  Dr Pesaran's role is to guide and assist Fitzwilliam students through their degree and teach them in their subjects, as well as organise supervisions with colleagues from other colleges and from across the Faculty.

Please note that Archaeology, previously part of the HSPS degree, is now taught separately.  More information can be found on our Archaeology course page, or on the University website.

Course Structure

HSPS is a flexible course that gives you the opportunity to pursue a range of social science subjects in the first year, and then specialise in those areas that interest you the most in your second and third years.

In your first year (Part I), you have the chance to explore a variety of subjects, many of which may be new to you (such as International Relations or Biological Anthropology), before pursuing advanced study in one or two specific subjects in your second and third years (Part II). 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.


HSPS is taught through lectures, supervisions and seminar classes. All subjects require students to read widely and to regularly write essays. Assessment is by written examination as well as some course work. In your third year, you get the option to write a dissertation. In recent years, Fitzwilliam students have carried out independent research on topics as diverse as the devolution of Scotland, comprehensive education in Britain, children's peer relationships, juvenile delinquency, Anglo-Saxon jewellery, great apes, and counter-culture festivals.


Typical offers for HSPS require A*AA at A level, or 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level in IB. However, no specific A level or IB High Level subjects are required in order to study Human, Social and Political Sciences. The multi-disciplinary nature of the course means that it attracts diverse students from a range of backgrounds. What is most important, and what is looked for at interview, is a keen curiosity about the world's social, political and cultural issues as experienced now or in the past, and an ability to think both critically and creatively.

Applicants are required to sit the HSPS admissions written assessment, prior to being invited to interview.  More information can be found on the University website.

More information

Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences »