History and Politics

Last updated: 11 months, 3 weeks ago

A joint honours course which offers students the chance to explore the connections between the two disciplines, and how they have collectively shaped the modern world.

Course Resources

Here are some general resources related to History and Politics.


Overview 🔗 This is the History and Politics section of the University undergraduate prospectus. The most important information about the course is here, including entry requirements, course structure, and prerequisites.

Faculty website 🔗 This is the official Faculty webpage for prospective undergraduates, which links to various resources. The most important of them is the course details 🔗 🌟, which gives a general overview of what studying History and Politics at Cambridge is like.

Unofficial Prospectus 🔗 This is an unofficial prospectus put together by the Cambridge University Student Union; it’s written based on students’ perspectives and gives a better sense of what the day-to-day experience as a History and Politics student is like, compared to official materials.

More things to explore

One element of the Cambridge History and Politics course is the ‘Evidence and Argument’ paper, which bridges the two disciplines. Students are given the chance to explore broad questions: for example, why do some Politics academics identify themselves as ‘political scientists’, seeking to create and explain rational models; while others focus on explaining the motives and intentions of specific political actors? And how do these disciplinary differences affect the evidence they use and the arguments they make?
You might find it beneficial to have a look at some general background reading, including:

  • ‘Writing History: Theory and Practice’ by Stefan Berger
  • ‘Theory and Methods in Political Science’ by David Marsh and Gerry Stoker
  • ‘What is History Now?’ by David Cannadine
  • ‘In Defence of Politics’ by Bernard Crick
Have a look in your local library for these books, or try to find second-hand copies online (these may even contain some interesting annotations!)

History Virtual Classroom 🔗 🌟 If you want to improve your skills of analysis, working through the exercises on the Cambridge University virtual classroom is also a good idea. It includes exercises aimed at improving your ability to engage with and respond to primary and secondary sources. Definitely worth a look, especially as sources can come up in interviews, and are the basis for the pre-interview assessment. The Virtual Classroom also includes suggested general reading from the Faculty, and links to other useful resources.

CambTweet HisPol 🔗 And for an idea of what life as a Cambridge History and Politics student can look like, check out the subject-specific CambTweet Twitter account.

Application Resources

Reading Lists:
History 🔗
Politics 🔗 (ignore the sociology and social anthropology sections; these only apply to Human, Social and Political Sciences students!)
These are the reading lists for the papers that first-years take. Don’t be intimidated by how long they are; they’re intended to be worked through over the course of a full academic year, and honestly no one reads everything anyway.

InsideUni History and Politics interview experiences 🔗 🌟 Current students talk about their interview experience, as well as sharing some tips. We’re biased, but we think they’re useful!