Clare College Cambridge

History and Politics

University Subject Page

History and Politics is a new degree offered at Cambridge for the first time for 2017. The degree gives you the chance to study History and Politics in ways that explore the history of political contest and ideas and the politics of historical change. In history you have the opportunity to study world history and in politics to study international relations. In each of the three years you take a paper that engages with questions situated in the space between history and politics, including in the history of political thought. In this sense the degree is much more than than a conventional joint degree in which courses from different subjects are put together.

In History you will be able to take papers in world history, European history, American political and foreign relations history, British political, economic and social history as well as a range of specialised and document-based papers that will vary from year to year. In Politics you will be able to take papers in international politics, the politics of different parts of the world, and political theory. You will have the opportunity to take a course in statistics and to pursue a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

Studying History and Politics at Clare

Clare has a strong reputation in both History and Politics. Clare has six History Fellows and two Fellows in Politics. The college is also ideally suited near to both teaching and library sites of the History Faculty and the Department of Politics and International Studies.

The eight weeks of each term revolve very much around supervisions and essay writing. A typical workload over a two-week period in the first and second year will be 16 hours of lectures and three essays for supervisions. In the third year this work pattern will vary more between individuals depending on the papers you choose and whether you do a dissertation. Students at Clare are expected to work hard, but the college also works hard to support them as they do so. We appreciate that our students may come to university with diverse expectations and experience, and their needs as individuals may vary considerably and try hard to provide an environment in which students of all kinds will be able to make the most of their potential.

Admission Requirements

Offers are based on A-level (or equivalent) examination results, a typical offer to read History and Politics will be A*AA at A-level or 7,7,6 (40+ overall) in the IB or the equivalent in other educational systems. Candidates are not expected to have a particular combination of subjects at A-level (or equivalent). An A-level in History or Politics is not a requirement.

Written Assessment

From 2016, all applicants are required to take the university-wide pre-interview written assessment for History and Politics. Further information about this is available here.


Applicants are usually interviewed in the second or third week of December, and will usually have two interviews. One of these will be a History subject interview and the second a Politics subject interview.

To give you a further way of showing your potential, we also invite you to submit school work. You are asked to send in one piece of work in advance of your interviews. This essay should be a history essay of between roughly 1500 and 2500 words written as part of your current syllabus. It must NOT have been completed under examination or timed conditions and should NOT be a short answer based on document or ‘gobbet’ exercises or longer coursework essays or dissertations. If your syllabus requirement does not include regular essays, you should ask your teacher to set you an essay to write in your own time. Your teacher should confirm that this essay is your own work, but it is not necessary for teachers to mark the essays or give them a grade. If you are not studying History at A-level, you should submit an essay on any other subject.

Fellows in History

Dr John Guy Teaching Fellow. He works in the field of early modern British History
Dr Hubertus Jahn Reader in the History of Russia and the Caucasus
Dr Elizabeth Foyster College Teaching Officer and Director of Studies (Part I). She specialises in British Social History from the 17th century to the mid-19th century
Dr Ruth Watson University Lecturer in African History
Professor Andrew Preston Professor of American History. He teaches 20th century American History, especially the histories of diplomacy, politics, and religion
Professor John Robertson Professor of the History of Political Thought. His interests are in the intellectual history of 17th and 18th century Europe; he teaches the history of political thought before 1900.

Fellows in Politics

Dr Helen Thompson Politics and International Relations
Dr Josip Glaurdic Politics and International Relations