Politics and International Relations engages with the nature of the political world within countries and between them. It asks how and why national and international politics have developed as they have, and how people have imagined that they might be changed. Provided you have strong fundamentals, passion and a willingness to learn it is a subject which very few do not enjoy.
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 PPE at Oxford is L0V0 and L000 BA/HSPS for Human, social and political sciences at Cambridge. Applicants may only apply for Oxford or Cambridge, but not both. 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. 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 Cambridge Politics department is one of the finest in the UK. Politics is studied as part of the Human, Social, and Political Sciences curriculum, but 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
Oxford Undergraduate Course requirements:
You may apply for PPE having done any combination of subjects at school; it is not necessary to have studied politics, philosophy or economics. History and Mathematics are useful backgrounds, but are not essential. Although Mathematics is not formally required for admission, PPE applicants should have sufficient interest in, and aptitude for, mathematics to cope with the mathematical elements of the course. Mathematics is a particular advantage for the Economics component of the course, as well as for the first year logic course in philosophy, and for understanding theories and data in politics.
For specific requirement for the history course as part of the history & Philosophy course, please see Oxbridge History website.
• Advanced Highers: AA
• IB: 39 (including core points) with 7, 6, 6 at HL
• or any other equivalent (see details of international qualifications)
All candidates must also take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) as part of their application. This is a test of problem-solving skills, including numerical and spatial reasoning. Critical thinking skills, including understanding argument and reasoning using everyday language. There is a part 1 comprising 50 questions which lasts 90 minutes and a 30 minute written task testing your ability to organise ideas in a clear and concise manner.