Human Social and Political Sciences

Drawing from three departments, HSPS provides a broad foundation from which to approach and understand real-world issues.

Course details

Number of students per year
Typical offer
A*AA at A-level; 40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level for the IB.
Essential subjects
No specific subjects
Useful subjects
An essay-based subject

At Homerton

Homerton has one of the larger groups of HSPS students, typically with around a dozen students in each year of the course. The College has a Director of Studies in each of the three core disciplines — Dr Christopher Brooke in Politics; Dr Marta Magalhães Wallace in Social Anthropology; and Dr Peggy Watson in Sociology — so can supply in-house teaching for most of the first-year courses, as well as providing you with expert advice as you continue through your degree. There’s no expectation that you will have studied any of the HSPS subjects before coming to Cambridge. Some of our applicants are taking Politics or Sociology A-levels, for example, but most are not; and our students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, both in the UK and overseas.


Hear from our students

“The real joy of studying HSPS so far has been the range of topics and subjects that I've got to explore. Drawing from three departments (Politics and IR, Sociology and Social Anthropology) gives a huge range of choices when it comes to approaching real-world issues and an incredible group of topics to choose from."


"Realistically, you will spend a whole lot of time reading for essays and its relatively common to write on topics that aren't necessarily your favourite thing to learn about, but across the year you'll find things that fascinate you and that you can then focus on more in second and third years."


"Starting with a whole range of subjects and finding out what fascinates you is really where HSPS shines. I went into first year having never studied anthropology and am now really excited to be taking it on to second year!” - Dan Kittmer


“HSPS has been an eye-opening, challenging and rewarding course, that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have be pushed intellectually to consider a broad range of theories, concepts and arguments that I could not have imagined before starting at Homerton.” - Stella Rousham

At Cambridge

Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is a multidisciplinary programme arising out of collaboration between the University’s Departments of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Social Anthropology, and Sociology.

Politics and International Relations explores politics within and between countries, covering issues from human rights and democracy to financial crises and international conflict.

Social anthropologists address what it is to be human by studying social and cultural diversity – how people live, think and relate to each other around the world.

Sociology studies what lies behind events and debates in our changing world and is transformative. It analyses multiple forms of power, social division and belonging, and the meanings, relations and institutions that help keep them in place.

In the first year, you take four introductory courses before specialising in the second and third years, either taking a single-subject track or combining two different subjects on a joint track, and there’s always an opportunity to write a dissertation in your third year.

What We Look For

We are looking for students who have the academic ability and potential to succeed on the course, as well as the necessary interest in and motivation for the subject.

In order to explore HSPS in more detail we would recommend the introductory reading for prospective applicants and offer holders available under the 'Downloads' section of this page.

How To Apply

There is no admission assessment requirement for Homerton applicants to HSPS.

Written Work: Submit two pieces of written work. These will usually be pieces of work that you have done at school or college as part of your current studies, marked by your teachers. Suitable essays would be on topics in the social sciences, or in subjects like History or English that involved critical, argumentative essays. If you are not sure what to send, please get in touch with the College; if need be, we can set you a suitable assignment.


HSPS prepares students well for any number of different careers, as well as for further academic study. We have graduates who have gone on to work for international organisations, in finance, journalism, the Civil Service, education, and as lawyers and social workers.


Other Teaching Staff

Dr Marta Magalhães Wallace is Director of Studies in Social Anthropology and works primarily in Latin America and Europe.