Human, Social and Political Sciences

  • UCAS Code: L000 BA/HSPS
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 6-8

The Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) Tripos at Cambridge offers students the flexibility to explore papers taught primarily through the Departments of Politics and International Studies, Sociology, and Social Anthropology before pursuing advanced study in one or two specific subjects in the second and third years. The HSPS Tripos also offers a unique and exciting range of subjects to study from across the University, such as Archaeology and the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. Students graduating with an HSPS Tripos from Cambridge have the advantage of specialising in one or two main subjects, but are also exposed to a broad background across the human, social, and political sciences, reflecting the inter-disciplinary world in which we live.

Human, Social & Political Sciences

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Course Overview

You’ll study three core disciplines, taught by globally respected departments:

  • Politics and International Relations, where you explore politics within and between countries, covering issues from human rights and democracy to financial crises and international conflict
  • Social anthropology, where you investigate ‘what it is to be human’ by studying social and cultural diversity – how people live, think and relate to each other around the world
  • Sociology, where you analyse multiple forms of power and inequality, and how they impact on the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of people’s lives

How You Learn

Teaching is provided through lectures, seminars and small-group supervisions.

You will usually have 8 hours of lectures, and one or two supervisions each week during the first year.

Assessment is mostly through examinations. Some papers are assessed by coursework.

In the third year you can replace one paper with a 10,000 word dissertation.

Entry Requirements

Minimum Offer Level

A-Level: A*AA

IB Diploma: 41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Other: See the University’s Entry Requirements page

Subject Requirements

While we don’t ask for any specific subjects to apply to Human, Social, and Political Sciences, we’d recommend any of these subjects for a strong application:

  • English (language or literature)
  • History
  • Languages (ancient or modern)

Colleges normally require A*/7 in an essay-based subject.

Admissions Process

Written Work

Two school essays, at least one of which should preferably be related in some way to politics, international relations, sociology or anthropology. You do not have to send this work before applying, we will write to you after you have applied and let you know exactly what you need to send and when.

Admissions Assessment

We do not require a written assessment for this subject.


Two interviews of around 25 minutes each.

Last updated: May 2024 for 2025 entry