Human, Social and Political Sciences

Director of Studies: Dr Sara Silvestri (Politics and International Studies), Dr Marta Magalhães Wallace (Anthropology) &  Dr Parul Bhandari (Sociology)

Course Overview

Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is a three-year degree in which students may study Politics, Anthropology or Sociology.  The degree is structured so that students may explore different subjects in the first year before specialising in one or two specific subjects in the second and third years. It may be that some of these subjects in the first year are new to some students although others will know already what they wish to study. The degree is flexible enough to accommodate both groups and the Director of Studies will help the student to choose whichever option is best for them.

In the first year (Part I) students choose three subjects from a wide range of topics offered in Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, and Sociology. Your fourth paper can be from one of these areas or you can choose a paper from the Archaeology Tripos or the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos.

Students will be supervised for most of the first year by fellows from St Edmund’s and from other Colleges.

In the second and third years (Part II) students choose a study scheme based on one or two subjects.  The single-subject schemes include:

  • Politics and International Relations
  • Social Anthropology
  • Sociology

The joint-subject schemes include:

  • Politics and Sociology
  • Sociology and Social Anthropology
  • Sociology and Criminology
  • Social Anthropology and Politics
  • Social Anthropology and Religious Studies

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

HSPS at St Edmund’s

Undergraduate students at St Edmund’s have to be over 21 and most are in their 20s and early 30s; our students come from a wide range of countries, with about half from the UK/ EU and the rest from the US, Australasia, Asia and Africa. There is also a group of graduate students in the human and social sciences reading for higher degrees (MPhils and PhDs). Academic progress is supported by the College on a number of levels, with a close eye to the experience and the needs of mature students from a range of backgrounds and with widely diverging interests. In addition to the lectures and seminars available across Cambridge, students at St Edmund’s are able to attend the frequent college lectures and seminars in related fields arranged by the Von Hügel Institute.

The Directors of Studies for HSPS are Dr Marta Magalhães Wallace (Anthropology), Dr Sara Silvestri (Politics and International Relations) and  Dr Parul Bhandari (Sociology).

Sara Silvestri is a Bye Fellow of St Edmund’s College and an Affiliated Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies. She is also a Research Associate of the College’s von Hügel Institute, where she is in charge of the research stream on religion, governance, public policy and ethics, and a Senior Lecturer at City University London. Her research, publications, and teaching experience concern Muslims in Europe, Political Islam, migration, multiculturalism, EU politics, International Relations, Terrorism and counter-terrorism in Britain.

Marta Magalhães Wallace holds an MPhil and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include Political economy and social change; cities, space and the built environment; violence; mental health and healthcare; memory; gender; race; historical anthropology; and social theory (Latin America, especially Brazil; Europe).

There is further information about the course on the University and Faculty webpages.

Entry Requirements

Applications from mature students taking A levels or Access courses are welcome. There are no specific subject entry requirements for the course. Entry requirements can be found here. You will be asked to submit two pieces of written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessment

All applicants for the HSPS Tripos at St Edmund’s will be required to take an  admissions test a week or so before interview. This will be a one hour test consisting of an essay question relevant to the course. You will be registered for the assessment by us if you are invited to interview; candidates do not need to register themselves.
Please note that your performance in the assessment at interview will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

A suggested reading list for the course can be found here.