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Human, Social, and Political Sciences

  • Number of students per year: four to six
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: none

Jesus College is recognised across the University as being exceptionally strong in Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS).

Few other Colleges can match our record of success in exam results in the last ten years in the different disciplines that now make up HSPS. Jesus students have achieved top results in their year groups, and won numerous College prizes and scholarships as well as Faculty prizes in recent years.

Several of our students have also won highly competitive studentships such as Fulbright awards and Kennedy Scholarships on graduation to pursue postgraduate studies at top UK, European, and American universities such as Harvard and MIT. A degree from Jesus College in HSPS opens up a wide range of possibilities for future employment and further study.

Upon graduation, a significant proportion of our students go on to pursue postgraduate studies in human, social, and political sciences or related disciplines such as law, history, or media studies.

The interdisciplinary nature of HSPS makes our graduates particularly attractive to potential employers in areas such as the media, business, management, consultancy, international organisations, human rights organisations and NGOs, politics, the civil service, the Foreign Office, local administrations, or teaching. The skills you will acquire during your HSPS studies also offer the flexibility to pursue numerous alternative careers as well.

Find out more on the University webpage.


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

Given the breadth of HSPS, it's not surprising that excellent students have come to Cambridge with a wide range of subject backgrounds. Some have specialised in the arts and others in the sciences at A-Level, International Baccalaureate, or equivalent.

We want to attract the most intelligent, able, and enthusiastic candidates with a genuine commitment to developing their intellectual capabilities. You don't need to have taken any previous courses in politics, sociology, or anthropology at A-Level or GCSE.

You don't have to decide before applying which of the HSPS subjects you're most interested in. One of the advantages of the HSPS degree is its flexibility: you can try out new subjects in your first year before deciding to either specialise in one or combine several in your second and third years.

In the first year (Part I) you can choose at least three courses from Social Anthropology, Politics, International Relations, and Sociology. You can choose your fourth paper from one of these, or you can choose a paper from the Archaeology Tripos or the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos.

In the second and third years (Part II) you'll choose a pathway based on the combination of one or two subjects:

  • The single subject schemes are: Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology and Sociology.
  • The joint subject schemes are: Politics and Social Anthropology, Politics and Sociology, Social Anthropology and Sociology.

Written assessment

There is currently no written admissions assessment for Human, Social and Political Sciences. See the University undergraduate HSPS pages for more information.


In light of Covid we are currently reviewing whether we shall be holding virtual or College-based interviews and will provide further details in the future. 

Interviews are an important part of the selection process, and aim to identify the candidates with the greatest potential, who can think for themselves, and who have the commitment needed to benefit from everything on offer in this degree.

In order to minimise COVID-related risks to our applicants, students and staff, all 2020 interviews were held online. A typical virtual interview for HSPS usually consists of two 20 minute online interviews with the Director of Studies for HSPS and subject Fellows. During one interview applicants may be asked to discuss a text they were provided with beforehand. The interviews aim to assess your intellectual ability, enthusiasm, and commitment to the subject. However, this format may change depending on government guidelines for 2021.

We'll expect you to be genuinely enthusiastic about at least one of the disciplines covered in the HSPS course, but you don't need to be equally passionate about all the different fields, or to know a lot about them.  

Like most undergraduate degrees at Cambridge you may decide to leave HSPS after Part I of the course, or to enter it after studying Part I in another course.

There is the possibility that interviews this year could take place in College or online once again. We will provide further details as soon as we are able.

Written work

You'll be asked to submit one short classwork essay of up to 2,000 words for illustrative purposes.  An extract of longer coursework can be submitted instead of an essay.  This can be from any subject, and won't necessarily be discussed during your interview.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider deferred applications and post A-Level applications from those who have already achieved A*AA at A-Level or equivalent. You'll need to go through the normal competitive process with the other applicants. We're also happy to consider second time applications without prejudice.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.


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