History & Politics

  • UCAS Code: VL12 BA/HP
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 2-3

History and Politics at Cambridge is an exciting Honours degree which offers subjects from our highly-regarded History and Politics and International Relations courses, together with bespoke papers which will allow students to explore the space between the two disciplines. Students will develop skills in analysing the operation of power across institutions and societies around the world, and explore how different forms of evidence can be used to understand the past and the present. They will be able to choose from a wide range of topics in British, European, US and World history, the history of political thought, international relations, and comparative politics.

Course Overview

Staff in the Faculty of History and the Department of Politics and International Studies have a wide range of shared interests in political history, the origins of contemporary politics and international relations, and the history of political ideas. This degree balances a strong grounding in the two component subjects with the opportunity to explore the ways in which historical and political understanding together illuminate the modern world.

Cambridge is uniquely placed to teach History and Politics and International Relations together. Both Faculties are widely regarded as world-leading and are consistently top-ranked in research and teaching assessments. The History Faculty is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and has internationally recognised experts in all relevant fields of study. The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) is a rapidly growing department with particular research strengths in political thought, comparative politics, and international relations, and close links with the other social sciences.

How You Learn

One of the strengths of the History and Politics degree at Cambridge is the quality of the teaching: you will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most eminent academics in the field. The degree is taught through a mixture of departmental lectures, seminars and classes, and college ‘supervisions’, in which students discuss their essays with a supervisor individually or in very small groups. Supervisions provide a wonderful opportunity for students to receive individual feedback on their work and to discuss the problems and ideas raised by the lectures and further reading.

Students take four papers in each year, and normally write seven to eight supervision essays for each paper. In the first year, you can typically expect between eight and ten hours of lectures and classes a week, along with one or two supervisions. You’re assessed at the end of every year – mostly by three-hour written exams, though some papers are assessed by coursework and in the final year you can replace one paper with a dissertation.

Going beyond what you learn at school and engaging with super-curricular resources is a great way to develop your knowledge of your subject and demonstrate your passion at interview.

Watch this video of Dr Nicholas Guyatt discussing the Obama presidency in 2015 to learn more about History & Politics.

Typical Offer Conditions




41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level


See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

Subject Requirements 


A-Level/IB Higher Level History



Written Work

Two school essays, at least one of which should be from your History course. For further information on submitting written work, please read our How to Apply page.

Admissions Assessment

Applicants for History are required to take a written assessment if shortlisted for interview. The College will register you automatically for this assessment.

Career Paths

Students who take this degree will have acquired a range of skills that are attractive to employers. They learn to work independently; to evaluate and discriminate between different types of evidence; to cope with large amounts of information; to work independently and with others; and to present arguments clearly and persuasively.

Recent graduates from the single honours History degree and from the Politics and International Relations track of the HSPS degree have gone on to careers in the media, politics, law, international organisations, public policy and administration, social research,  finance, teaching, and the charity sector.