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Student feedback

Asia Lambert

Asia Lambert

Politics and International Relations Part IIA 2014/15

The HSPS course has expanded my understanding and interest within politics in a way in which I had never imagined. Prior to coming to Cambridge my perception of politics had been solely focused on the modern world, yet now, I look at politics from a far more historical and intellectual point of view.

Having the History of Political Thought as a compulsory component was daunting at first, but reading the original texts has provided a framework through which I can consider the events of today, and has been surprisingly enjoyable! It would be wrong to say that there have not been moments where I have found the course challenging, but what you learn is that you have the ability to overcome these challenges no matter how insurmountable they may seem at first.

Supervisions are most definitely my favourite part of studying at Cambridge; after all they are what is unique to the experience. It is really satisfying to go over a topic in depth with a supervisor one-to-one and explore the areas which you have not been able to fully understand through your own reading.

I am looking forward to having the opportunity to expand my knowledge in Part IIB. There are so many areas to choose from that it can make it rather difficult, but at the same time that's the beauty of the course. No matter what you are interested in, there will be an avenue down which you can pursue it.

Xavier Bisits

Xavier Bisits

Politics and International Relations Part IIA 2014/15

Politics at Cambridge is not like politics at most other universities.  It's not about knowing stuff.  Anyone can learn facts about - for example - the American political system.  And at Cambridge, facts will come up as you sift through the evidence.  Fundamentally, though, it's about dealing with a problem - and then discussing it with or defending it to a world-class academic.  I love my supervisions.  It teaches you to think clearly.  From the very beginning, your supervisor will challenge your assumptions.  This process teaches you critical thinking, an ability that is highly valued in the workplace and why Cambridge gives you such great employment prospects.  I have an internship in consulting, for example; other friends are interested in NGO work, policy, diplomacy and law. This whole experience is challenging but you are supported by your College and well-structured lectures from academics who feature prominently in the literature of the same topic you're studying.  I cannot speak highly enough of the faculty. 

Emily EvansEmily Evans

Politics and International Relations Part IIA 2014/15

I changed to studying Politics and International Relations after two years of studying Economics, and I’m so glad I did. The course is open to interpretation so I’ve been able to carry through everything I loved about economics, but apply it in refreshing and eye-opening ways. Whatever your specific interest, it will be catered for in the large number of modules and options available throughout the three years.

Having been unsure about what I wanted to do in my future, now that I have switched to politics I am thinking about continuing on in academia and studying for a bit longer, either through a Masters or PhD course. I don’t know if I will feel the same next year when I graduate, because it is hard work and constantly challenging, but right now I am excited by everything I’m learning, from country based analysis of Russia and Poland, to the political thinkers of the French Revolution, and I want to go on and study more. 

Careers and afterwards

Students taking Politics and International Relations have gone on to careers in the media, law, the civil service including the Foreign Office, teaching, consultancy and finance, advocacy with non-governmental organisations, and energy management. Many have also gone on to take postgraduate degrees.

What our former students say


Ginny Horten Middleton

Ginny Horten-Middleton

Politics, Psychology and Sociology 2008-2012

Studying politics at Cambridge enables you to grapple confidently with important and pressing questions ranging from the nature of democracy to the causes of the Eurozone crisis. While at Cambridge I found that the POLIS department was friendly, helpful and supportive. Its commitment to undergraduate teaching meant I was lectured and supervised directly by faculty members with international standing.

My time at Cambridge provided the grounding for my further study and professional ambitions. The supervision system at Cambridge with its emphasis on honing research skills as well as verbally defending your point of view was invaluable preparation for postgraduate study. After graduating in 2012, I completed the one-year Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago, then studied for the Graduate Diploma in Law. I intend to qualify as a barrister and have been offered pupillage at a leading Chancery chambers.

Tom Lindsell

Tom Lindsell

Politics, Psychology and Sociology 2009-2012

It’s an old cliché, but I’d been interested in politics and current affairs from a young age. That meant when the time came to think about the next step of my academic career, the question was never what I wanted to study, but where. Cambridge’s appeal for me came from the diversity of the course on offer. I was attracted to the course for the ability to combine the theoretical with the practical study of politics and pursue individual research interests within the scope of three years. In addition, throughout my time at Cambridge, the faculty’s teaching and support was phenomenal, only adding to the quality of the course.
The broad knowledge and skills I gained during the course has served me well post-graduation. On leaving Cambridge, I was successful in gaining a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream. The skills I developed at Cambridge in thinking flexibly around an issue, considering a variety of different approaches and working to tight deadlines were a hugely valuable resource on which I was able to draw. In all, the grounding I gained during my course ensured that I was able to transition into a professional environment effectively.