Human, Social and Political Sciences
Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is broad-based programme introducing students to a rich set of disciplines that can be studied in relation to each other according to specific pathways amongst humanities, social sciences and related disciplines. Each of the subjects has a long history at Homerton and graduates have gone on in related fields and along more general paths.The flexibility of the new Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) course allows you to explore a variety of subjects, many of which may be new to you, before pursuing advanced study in one or two specific subjects in your second and third years.
Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge can be tailored from the start. This means it’s suited both to those with specific subject interests and to those looking for a multidisciplinary degree.
The course comprises three core disciplines, taught by globally respected departments:
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 focuses on the nature of modern societies and the processes that shape social life, by examining social institutions and topics such as power and inequality.Depending on the subject(s) you choose, there may be options to take individual papers in the other HSPS subjects or from other courses as well.
Dr Peggy Watson and Dr Christopher Brooke look after admitting and directing studies for our first years. In the first year all students choose 4 courses, and then decide to follow the pathway through the degree that suits them best.
Homerton takes quite a large number of students for the HSPS course. The College has considerable strength in the subject disciplines of HSPS.
Christopher Brooke is Director of Studies in Politics, and a Fellow at Homerton. He teaches in the Department of Politics and International Studies, where he is University Lecturer in Political Theory. His research covers a wide range of topics in modern European political thought, and his major project right now is a history of distributive political theory since 1699. At Homerton, he usually teaches the first year course on The Modern State and Its Alternatives as well as the specialist history of political thought papers to second- and third-year students.
Susanna Rostas is Director of Studies in Social Anthropology. She is a Bye-Fellow at Homerton and a Teaching Associate at the University’s Centre for Latin American Studies. She teaches the Introduction to Social Anthropology paper to the first years. She is particularly interested in Mexico, where her research examines questions of performance, ethnicity, identity, visual representation, and religion.
Peggy Watson is Director of Studies in Sociology. She is Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at Homerton, where she teaches the first-year Introduction to Sociology, on Modern Societies. She has published extensively on Poland—both in the Communist and Post-Communist periods and has particular interests in the sociology of health and gender.
Also associated wih HSPS at Homerton
- Robin Bunce is a Research Associate in Politics at Homerton, and the co-author of Darcus Howe: a political biography.
- Paolo Heywood is Junior Reseach Fellow in Social Anthropology at Homerton, with interests in self-cultivation, queer activism, the rejection of identity politics, bank regulation, Fascism, and free speech, often focusing on contemporary Italy.
- Maja Spanu is a Junior Research Fellow in International Relations at Homerton, where she is completing a book on the politics of self-determination in the twentieth century international system. She also co-convenes the International Relations and History network here in Cambridge.
Applicants for HSPS will take a pre-interview written assessment in October in the year they apply. For most applicants, this test will be administered at their school or college. There is information about the assessment here.
You will be expected to send to Homerton two pieces of written work as part of your application. These will usually be pieces of work that you have done at school or college as part of your current studies, that have been marked by your teachers. Essays on topics on the social sciences, or in subjects like History or English that involve writing critical, argumentative essays are always suitable. 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.
After reviewing application materials and receiving the results of the written test, the College may invite you to attend for interviews in December. Applicants have two interviews, each with two interviewers present. They aim at finding out how you think about things, not at finding out how much you know; and although they come at the end of the Admissions process, they are not the most important element of that process, and decisions about whom to admit are made on an all-things-considered basis, with regard to the application in its totality.
Those who are successful in the admissions competition normally receive the standard Cambridge conditional offer, requiring them to achieve A*AA in their A-Levels (or equivalent, depending on what other examinations they may be taking).