There are three ways to study History at Cambridge: as a single Honours subject, or jointly with either Politics or Modern Languages.
Part I lasts two years (six terms) and comprises six papers, the first five of which are broad survey papers designed to give you an overview of a period in history. You study one each term for the first five terms and sit a written examination in each at the end of Year 2.
For the compulsory sixth paper – Themes and Sources, an introduction to the handling of primary sources – you submit a 3,000-5,000 word essay. There’s a wide choice of topics, typically investigating a major comparative theme in history (such as the environment, money and society, or the history of the body). The essay is written over a period of some months and involves individual research.
For your remaining papers, you can either choose two Specified Subjects from a selection of topics or comparable themes in history, or choose one Specified Subject paper and write a dissertation of 10,000-15,000 words on a topic you have devised.
BA History and Modern Languages
Year 1 (Part IA)
You receive intensive language training (including translation and conversation) and take an introductory paper on the literature, history, film and philosophy of the country where your language is spoken. You also choose two broad papers in European or world history or the history of political thought.
Year 2 (Part IB)
You continue with classes to improve your language skills, and also choose three advanced papers – at least one from each subject – from a range in your chosen language (eg literature, history, film, art, thought) and history (European, global or intellectual).
Years 3 and 4 (Part II)
You spend the third year abroad – studying, teaching or on a work placement while gaining near-native proficiency in your language. You also complete a project, normally on a topic related to the history of the country you’re staying in.
In the fourth year, you continue with advanced language work, and take three specialised papers from a range of topics related to your language (eg literature, history, film, thought) and history (covering a variety of periods and parts of the world). You must take at least one from each subject. For further information about studying History and Modern Languages at the University of Cambridge see the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages website.
BA History and Politics
Year 1 (Part IA)
The first year provides a core grounding in historical knowledge, intellectual history, political science and international relations.
In Year 1, all students take three compulsory papers: Evidence and Argument; The Modern State and its Alternatives; and International Conflict, Order and Justice.
Your fourth paper is chosen from the following:
British Political History 1688-1886
British Political History Since 1880
European History 1715-1890
European History Since 1890
Year 2 (Part IB)
The second year offers more specialised papers in the history of political thought, international relations, comparative politics, and European and extra-European history.
You choose one of two History of Political Thought papers, either covering the period from the ancient Greeks to c1700, or c1700-c1890. For the second paper you take either International Organisation or Comparative Politics; and you select your third from four further history papers, covering periods of world history, American history or British social and economic history.
Your final paper is chosen from:
Statistics and Methods
Conceptual Issues in Politics and International Relations – exploring an aspect of politics and/or international relations (assessed by two 5,000 word essays)
a history project (leading to two 5,000 word essays)
Year 3 (Part II)
All students take an interdisciplinary paper that considers general and thematic issues in history and politics and the relationship between them.
You then choose three papers from a range from the Politics and International Relations and History courses which allow you to specialise further. The papers available each year may vary – see the website for those currently offered.
Alternatively, you can replace one of these three papers with a dissertation of 10,000-15,000 words on a topic of your choice within the scope of the course.
There is further information about the course on the University and Faculty webpages.