Before you apply – HSPS


When applying to Oxbridge, you will have to complete a UCAS form before the October 15th deadline. Candidates are only allowed to apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge, and they can choose to apply to a particular college, or make an open application. As part of the UCAS form, you will have to write a 4000 character personal statement, and a teacher will have to provide a reference. The institution code for Cambridge is CAM C05 and for Oxford is O33.

The UCAS code for undergraduate study is BA/HSPS for Human, social and political sciences at Cambridge. It is usual to stipulate a choice of college in the UCAS application, although both universities allow you to make an ‘open’ application via that university’s central admissions office which will then allocate you to a particular college.  Those wishing to make and open application should enter a ‘9’ in the campus choice box on their UCAS form

Cambridge Undergraduate Course requirements:

Cambridge is one of the top few universities in the world and the  interdepartmental collaboration in structuring the HSPS degree is a strong example of Cambridge’s broad yet deep approach to preparing its undergraduated. As part of the Human, Social, and Political Sciences curriculum students can specialise after their first year and focus on one or two areas that they are particularly passionate about.

No particular subjects at A Level (or equivalent) are required. HSPS is a broad course, therefore a range of subjects provide a good background: from Mathematics to social sciences (eg Psychology, Politics and Geography) to arts (eg English, History and modern languages).

Admissions Tests: The admissions procedure varies greatly according to the college. Some colleges require a school essay which is pre-submitted, others may give you preparatory material at interview which will then be discussed, while others require the Thinking skills assessment (TSA). Clare College and St John’s both require the Thinking Skills.

The TSA is a pen-and-paper test. It is a 90-minute, multiple-choice test consisting of 50 questions. The standard TSA contains:

  • 25 problem-solving questions
  • 25 critical thinking questions.

A Level: A*AA
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level