History and Politics

History and Politics at St John’s

WollstonecraftSt John’s is the ideal environment to study History and Politics. We offer a supportive atmosphere to our students and we encourage them to develop self-motivated and independent minds from the outset. The atmosphere and ethos of St John’s is that of a mutually enriching and collaborative conversation between equals, fostering firm friendship and intellectual camaraderie through supervisions, talks and social events.

The College’s longstanding strength in research is reflected in our current Fellowship, and this breadth of expertise leaves us exceptionally well placed to offer our students in-college teaching and the individual attention they deserve throughout all years of the Tripos.

Students have access to the exceptionally well-stocked St John’s library which offers 24 hour borrowing facilities and a pleasant working environment in one of the best stocked libraries in Cambridge. It has many of the books, journals and electronic resources that you will need to prepare for your weekly supervisions, and students can also benefit from an introduction to archival material with the Archivist.


Course information

History and Politics at Cambridge is an exciting new Honours degree which will run for the first time in October 2017. It 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 and politics across histories, institutions, and societies around the world. Students will also be able to build strengths in understanding the nature of evidence, methodology, and approaches in both History and Politics. They will be able to choose from a wide range of topics in British, European, American and World history and politics.

Cambridge is uniquely placed to teach History and Politics and International Relations together. Both Faculties are widely regarded as world-leading.  The History Faculty is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and is consistently ranked as the best in research and teaching assessments. It has internationally recognised experts in all relevant fields of study. 

The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) is a medium-sized department with about 30 academics with a huge range of specialisms. It has particular research strengths in international politics, international history and international law, comparative politics and political thought.

Staff in the Faculty of History and the Department of Politics and International Studies have a wide range of shared interests in political and international history, the origins of contemporary politics and international relations, and the history of political ideas. This new 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.

Further information regarding the Tripos structure can be found at the Faculty website here.

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Entry Details

Typical Minimum Entry Requirements

A Level: A*AA (including A* in History)

International Baccalaureate: 42 points, with 776 at Higher Level (including 7 in Higher Level History)

Essential Subjects: A Level/IB Higher Level History

Desirable Subjects: None

Submitted Work: Two school essays (may include timed work)

Admissions Assessment: None


Admissions Interviews

Those invited for interview will typically have one interview of approximately 35-40 minutes with Teaching Fellows in History. Admissions interviews are a discussion and an exchange of ideas, not interrogations. They are conducted in a friendly and informal manner and you should not feel daunted by the prospect. We are looking for evidence of strong potential to structure an argument, to use and discuss evidence effectively, to write fluently and precisely, and to think in original and coherent ways about the past and current affairs.

The interviewers may use your submitted written work as a means to facilitate discussion with the candidates on their interests, and they will also be looking for signs of actual and potential ability to structure argument, to use evidence effectively, to write fluently and precisely and to think originally.

An example of the type of questions that you might be asked is 'how would you approach writing an essay on the history of the United Nations?'. 

No single aspect of the application process takes precedence and we will take into consideration all evidence of your academic potential in reaching our final decision.