Clare College Cambridge

Studying HSPS at Clare


Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is a three-year degree that gives you the chance to study any of Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology or Sociology. The flexibility of the degree allows you to explore each subject before pursuing advanced study in the one or two specific subjects that interest you most. Some students come to HSPS and already have a clear idea about what subject they want to study in the second and third years. Others are attracted by the chance to experiment. The Directors of Studies at the college help you work out the best path through the degree for you as an individual and support you in seeking to develop your intellectual potential through your choices.

In the first year (Part I) students choose at least three courses from Social Anthropology, Politics, International Relations, and Sociology. Students can choose, if they wish, to take their fourth course in one of Archaeology, Biological Anthropology or Psychology. Students will be supervised for most of the first year by the Clare teaching fellows.

In the second and third years (Part II) students choose a study scheme based on one or two subjects. 

The single-subject schemes are:
Politics and International Relations
Social Anthropology

The joint-subject schemes are:

Politics and Social Anthropology

Politics and Sociology

Social Anthropology and Sociology

Sociology and Criminology

Students take four courses in each of the second and third years. It is possible for all students to take a dissertation in the third year and in the single-subject schemes to take a course from another subject for one of the four courses.

Further details of these schemes of study are available on the website of the Faculty of Human and Social Political Science


Studying HSPS at Clare


Clare has a strong reputation in the constituent subjects of HSPS, especially Politics and International Relations and Social Anthropology where we have teaching fellows. Our students in the HSPS subjects have traditionally done very well. Social Anthropology students have achieved consistently excellent results. In Politics and International Relations, they have achieved some of the best exam results across the University over the past ten years and several of them were nominated for, or won, an inter-Faculty dissertation prize. 

Clare is very well positioned between the two main sites where HSPS teaching takes place. It is also extremely well situated for the University Library.

The eight weeks of each term revolve very much around supervisions and essay writing. A typical workload over a two-week period for a HSPS student is 16 hours of lectures and three essays for supervisions. Students are expected to work hard, but the college also works hard to support them as they do so.

Clare has a very active Politics Society to which many politicians and political journalists have come to speak. The Queens and Clare Overseas Education Fund organises debates and discussion events about development as well as voluntary educational projects overseas.



Reading Lists


Click here for a list of recommended books.