Date:February 06, 2014

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 Human, Social and Political Sciences Admissions Assessment is a new admissions exam created by the University of Cambridge’s admissions testing service in place since 2016. Each candidate applying for HSPS will be required to sit this exam in early November. The aim of this exam is to assist the admissions tutors in selecting the most capable applicants, where so many candidates have the required A-level scores. It helps to differentiate candidates particularly in the domains of critical thinking, reasoning and writing skills.

The exam consists of two parts: section 1 is an assessment of candidates’ reading skills, including their ability to read critically, understand main ideas in texts, analyse detail and grasp implicit meaning. Section 1 is in multiple-choice format.

Section 2: Section 2 requires candidates to write an essay on a topic of general interest, broadly related to the social sciences. This section is designed to assess candidates’ ability to present a logical and persuasive argument, supported by relevant evidence. Scores will be used together with the other elements of a candidate’s application to invite candidates to interview, as well after interview in some cases, to ensure places are awarded to candidates who will excel in this challenging course.

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