Politics, International Relations & Sociology

Why choose Girton?

Girton is a great place to study the social and political sciences. The college has traditionally had a good number of students who make up a close knit and dynamic group.

The experience of studying social and political sciences at Girton is perhaps best captured by some of our previous graduates:

Girton is a great place to study – there’s a real sense of camaraderie and being out of town means that college life feels very relaxed. There were seven social and political science students in our year. It was lovely to have a little community to share ideas with and compare notes. The variety of the course made it really interesting. -H.W. Graduated 2008

Studying social and political sciences at Girton was a great experience. The various course options you could take meant we ended up with a really vibrant study community with lots of opportunities to learn from one another. The college is out of the town centre so you have a real sense of space and peace to live in. Girton’s close knit community means that the college feels like home in no time. -N.M. Graduated 2008

Undergraduate information

The HSPS degree is all about creating ’rounded’ social scientists. The first year offers the choice of the disciplines of Politics, Sociology, Social and Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and Psychology which all examine the nature of humans and human systems and structures in slightly different yet complimentary ways. Beyond the first year it is possible to either specialise in one of the core subjects or to combine areas to suit interests that have developed along the way.

Politics & International Relations:

There is a long and distinctive tradition of studying politics and international relations at Cambridge. The Politics papers place emphasis on two key areas; political thought and comparative politics. Beyond this there is also a prominence of attention paid to historical, legal, economic and philosophical approaches to the study of national and international politics. The International Relations element fits perfectly with this program by offering an emphasis on international history and international law and international relations


Cambridge is one of the world’s leading centres for teaching and research in the field of sociology. Cambridge ranks first among all sociology departments in the UK in both the Guardian’s 2008 University Guide and the current Times Good University Guide. Many leading figures in British sociology were based at Cambridge and the presence of people such as Anthony Giddens, Michael Mann, John Goldthorpe and Michael Young helped to forge the exciting and eclectic department that exists today. The course combines the study of great thinkers (from Marx, Durkheim and Weber to Habermas and Foucault) with the study of factors that shape the world that we live in today such as the media, nationalism and globalisation.

Graduate information

The University department has a large community of PhD and Masters/MPhil students. Full details of courses and how to apply can be found on the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences website.

Research and post graduate students are admitted to the University by the Board of Graduate Studies. You must therefore apply centrally and not to the College, however you must be admitted to a College to be able to study at the University. To ensure that this is Girton you need to indicate this on your application form.

Girton’s graduate community is large (200+ students from all subjects); it is also energetic, friendly and cosmopolitan. There is a good mix of MPhil and PhD candidates on taught courses and studying for degrees by research.

All College facilities are available for graduate use; most accommodation is located at Swirles Court.

Undergraduate admissions at a glance

Politics, International Relations and Sociology can be studied as part of the new Human, Social & Political Sciences (HSPS) tripos.


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