Students in HSPS learn skills for the analysis of collective aspects of human life, by exploring broad theories of social, political, and cultural process, and critically examining how these theories illuminate the actual lives of people in different societies.

Important Note Concerning Interviews for 2024

Please note, all undergraduate admissions interviews at Sidney Sussex for the 2024-25 admissions round will be held online. Further details regarding interview platform will follow.

Sidney’s teachers in HSPS are passionate about supporting students’ development of critical skills and their pursuit of their own academic interests. Sidney has Fellows from all three HSPS disciplines, who also work as staff members in the University of Cambridge’s Sociology, Politics, or Social Anthropology Departments and carry out their own innovative research activities.

These teachers are closely involved with the curriculum and research programs of the three HSPS departments, and carefully guide Sidney’s students in both one-on-one and small-group mentoring.

Sidney’s HSPS students come together from very different backgrounds, and at different academic stages of their academic journeys, and this diversity of perspectives is one of the strengths by which Sidney’s HSPS student community members support each other constructively in their studies and research.

Undergraduate Study

Because the HSPS students in Sidney Sussex are guided by Directors of Studies who represent all three disciplines in HSPS, Sidney is able to guarantee careful, personalized support for student development across all areas and phases of the course. The medium size of our HSPS cohorts, and the constructive atmosphere of undergraduate studies at Sidney, mean that our HSPS students know each other well and support each other’s learning process. At all stages, students are encouraged to develop and follow their individual interests, as part of how they come to an in-depth understanding of the social sciences.The flexibility of the HSPS course allows students to explore a variety of subjects in the first year, before pursuing specialized study in one or two particular fields in your second and third years.

Written work

All Colleges will require TWO writing samples from HSPS applicants. We will send out more specific information about what is required after the UCAS deadline, but you will not need to write anything new specially for this.

Admissions assessments

There will be no admissions assessment for this subject at Sidney Sussex College.

  • All undergraduate admissions interviews at Sidney Sussex for the 2024-25 admissions round will be held online. Further details regarding interview platform will follow.
  • Two interviews, which may cover the breadth of the course, as well as specific topics or fields within HSPS in which you might already have a specific interest. There will be a passage to study before one interview.

Subject requirements
Beyond the syllabus

Are you excited to learn more about the subject by delving beyond the school syllabus? Explore our Beyond the syllabus resource hub to discover interesting websites, podcasts, videos, and books related to the subject you love!

Typical intake

4 - 5

Typical A-level offer


Typical IB offer

41-42 points overall, with 776 at Higher Level

Postgraduate Study

Postgraduate study in HSPS at Sidney Sussex provides a supportive social network in the form of the MCR, the College’s postgraduate community, which organises many academic and social events throughout the year.

Sidney has a programme of lively and engaging conversations about research through the ‘Postgraduate Supper’ program, featuring postgraduate students’ own research presentations, and the ‘Sidney Greats’ talks by Fellows and guest speakers.

Most importantly, Sidney’s residential and supervising environment facilitates daily informal opportunities for sharing research ideas.

Sidney also provides excellent pastoral support, and access to funds to support research-related travel.

Sidney’s Fellows in Politics, Social Anthropology, and Sociology are active, recognised researchers in their fields who have a strong presence in College life. These Fellows are available to mentor advanced students in their overall development as intellectuals and professionals, whether in the context of working on a PhD in a discipline the student has already studied, or in the context of Master’s-level training in a new field.

At the University of Cambridge applications for postgraduate study are processed centrally by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. The application form and supporting documents are submitted electronically via their website and the online self-service system, though academic decisions on applications are made by the Faculty or Department.


There are many funding opportunities at Cambridge from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, Departments, Research Councils and central University funds. You can use the Postgraduate Admissions' Cambridge Funding Search to find out which type of funding you might be eligible for, and how and when to apply. They also operate a Postgraduate Funding Competition to co-ordinate some of these funding opportunities and make the process easier for you as an applicant.

To find information about the funds available for postgraduate students at Sidney, visit our Studentships and funding page.

Useful links

Course directory | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Funding | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

How do I apply? | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

International students | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge


Opportunities to work, travel, and study

The College is able to offer financial support for a number of student pursuits including:

  • Professional and research internships
  • Study awards
  • Vacation travel
  • Arts and music
  • Sport

While it will not be possible to provide support in all cases, current students are strongly encouraged to apply if they have a project which would benefit from financial support.

Discover more on our Opportunities to work, travel, and study page.