Clare College Cambridge




Further links to:

History Tripos   /   History and Politics Tripos   /   History and Modern Languages Tripos


The main attraction of History at Cambridge is the way it allows students to put together their own 'package' of topics and papers tailored to their particular interests. The teaching is also structured to encourage this, with individual or small-group supervisions arranged flexibly to accommodate the very different choices of topics which students may want to make.


In the first two years of the course, students choose from a range of broadly-based papers. Some British history is compulsory at this stage, but there is a wide variety of other papers in European, American, Asian and African history, as well as the history of political ideas and thought. The third and final year of the course offers a very large choice of more specialised and document-centred papers, and an opportunity to do an individual dissertation on a subject of the student's choice. It is also possible to combine History with other courses, such as Law or Economics. This is done by taking the first part of one course, and the second of another. History can be taken either as a Part I or a Part II subject in this way. Thus (for example) a student might read Part I History and Part IB and Part 2 Law, or Part I Economics and Part II History.

Further details about History at Cambridge are available on the Cambridge History Faculty website on

Why study History at Clare?

- Clare has a strong teaching side in History, which covers a wide range of specialisms. This encourages lively seminars on historical method that we also run. In common with other Cambridge colleges, though, we do not expect to be able to cover all interests, and so where appropriate arrange for students to be supervised by fellows in other colleges.

- Clare is ideally situated for historians: it is just five minutes' walk from the History Faculty building, where most lectures are held, and which has a library for history students. Memorial Court, where most Clare first yesr students live, is home to the Forbes Mellon Library, and is also right next door to the main University Library.

- We are proud of the academic successes of Clare history students and we have a track record of students obtaining the top grades.  But while we expect our students to find their work challenging, and so to study hard, we also don’t want them to spend all their time in the library.  Recent and current history students at Clare have achieved a ‘blue’ by competing in University sports, have tried rowing for the first time, sung in the world-famous Clare Choir, acted and worked back-stage, and taken a variety of roles in the Union of Clare Students.  A succession of Presidents of the UCS have been history students.  Clare historians enjoy regular social events, including an annual dinner and a garden party.

- Above all in Clare, we try to provide our historians with a milieu that is both intellectually stimulating, and friendly and supportive. We appreciate that our students may come to university with diverse expectations and experience, and their needs as individuals may vary considerably. We take account of this, and provide an environment in which students of all kinds will be able to make the most of their abilities.

Admissions Requirements

Offers are based on A-level (or equivalent) examination results. A typical offer to read History would 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 is not a requirement.

Written Assessment

All applicants are required to take the university-wide pre-interview written assessment for History. Further information about this is available here.

Interviews and Written Work

Applicants who are selected for interview will be called for interview in the second or third week of December. They will usually have two interviews each. Both of these will be subject-based but one interview will also have a more general component. 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 history school/college work in advance of your interviews. This should be an essay of between roughly 1500 and 2500 words written as part of your current syllabus, but must NOT have been completed under examination or timed conditions. We will use this essay to assess your writing skills and also as the initial basis for discussion in one of the two interviews. Please note that we do NOT accept non-history essays, short answers 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 the essay is your own work, but it is not necessary for teachers to mark the essay or give it a grade. We will write to you to ask for this work to be sent to us by a deadline in mid-November preceding the December interviews. We do not guarantee to read essays sent in after this deadline. We like to see school work because it should not involve candidates in any extra preparation, and it gives us a chance to see how you work under everyday, as well as examination, conditions.

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.

Clare History is also supported by the contribution of Clare Research Associates, who have a range of research specialisms from medieval history to modern European and American history.


Student Profiles:

Ed Cooke


Ella Sbaraini


Lottie Williams


Wulfstan Scouller

Moriyo Aiyeola