Image of 'The liberty of the subject' by James Gillray
Image: 'The liberty of the subject' by James Gillray NPG D12280, modified (by zoom) with permission from the National Portrait Gallery, London. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.


  • Number of students per year: approximately seven to eight
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: A-Level History

Jesus College has a distinguished tradition in the teaching and writing of history.

It's also a deeply historic location and community in which to pursue the study of the past. Our medieval cloister, chapel, and Old Library are surrounded by Tudor, 18th century, Victorian, and modern College buildings, recalling the periods which all students of History at Jesus will study.

Our traditions are important to us, but we are a forward looking, friendly, and open College that welcomes students from every school background and every part of the world. We're committed to widening access to Cambridge, and provide strong support and encouragement to our students to help them excel in their studies. Our first priority is to admit bright students with a genuine love of History.

The interests of the current Fellows in History range widely across different periods and places; all of the History Fellows regularly teach Jesus undergraduates. We place particular emphasis on getting to know our undergraduates and teaching them in College, as well as sending them to expert supervisors in other Colleges.

We have between 25 and 30 undergraduate historians at Jesus. There are also typically between 10 and 15 postgraduate students doing MPhil and PhD degrees in History and related subjects. Together, they form a lively and friendly community of historians.

Our student run History Society and other events give students a chance to socialise together outside of work. Recent Jesus history undergraduates have gone on to postgraduate study in History and other subjects, and to careers in areas including law, the civil service, the charity sector, management consultancy, journalism, social work, museum and gallery work, and theatre directing.

Find out more on the University webpage.
What we look for


Our typical conditional offer is for an A* and two A grades at A-Level or equivalent. 

An A-Level in History is the normal qualification for reading History at Jesus. However, it's not absolutely essential. History at university level is an interdisciplinary field that draws on a variety of skills which can be acquired in different ways.

We welcome applications from students with other qualifications comparable to A Level, such as the Scottish Advanced Highers, the International Baccalaureate, and other school leaving examinations.

Written assessment

All applicants who are shortlisted for interview for History are required to sit a written assessment.

Your performance in the assessment won't be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

No special knowledge or preparation is needed for this, it's designed to test your historical skills and thinking. For more information see the University undergraduate History pages.


In 2022-23, we’ll be interviewing shortlisted applicants virtually, with interviews taking place in December.

The interview process aims to assess your intellectual ability, potential, and commitment to the subject. Candidates are typically interviewed by at least three subject specialists, including the Director of Studies, and total contact time will be between 35-50 minutes in total. This could be in a single interview, or in two separate interviews. Further details will be made available to candidates closer to the time.

Find out more about the interview process on the University website.

Written work

You'll be asked to submit two pieces of written work. Writing skills are fundamental to success in the Cambridge History course. Please send us examples of what you consider to be your best work, preferably coursework essays or essays written as part of your course. Please choose something from your History A-Level, if you are taking it.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider post A-Level and deferred applications in History. We also welcome applications from mature students. You will normally have already achieved A*AA at A-Level, and your application must go through the normal competitive process with the other applicants. The College is also happy to consider second time applicants without prejudice.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.