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The establishment of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) in January 2009 provided a new institutional focus at Cambridge for teaching and research on politics in all its dimensions; international and comparative, theoretical and empirical, abstract and practical. POLIS is one of three departments in the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science, together with the Departments of Sociology, and Archaeology and Anthropology, and is one of nine departments which constitute the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Department of Politics and International Studies is currently home to 560 Undergraduate students, 190 MPhil students and 201 PhD students, spread across two Triposes, seven MPhil courses and four PhD courses. 

To the left you will find details of the courses offered by the Department of Polis; below you will find details and links to the courses offered by the Centres of African Studies, Development Studies, Latin American Studies, South Asian Studies and the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. 

Centre of African Studies





MPhil in African Studies

The MPhil in African Studies is a postgraduate degree with a substantial research component, which runs for nine months over the three terms (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter) of the Cambridge academic year. The degree provides an excellent foundation for those wanting to expand their knowledge of Africa, and is designed for students who wish to enhance their historical and contemporary understanding of Africa’s societies, politics, economies, and cultures, as well as for those who wish to apply for advanced research degrees. 






MPhil in Development Studies

The MPhil in Development Studies is a multi-disciplinary nine-month taught course which offers five core papers and a range of option papers. The course provides an inter-disciplinary training whose content and style have kept abreast with the changing reality of the developing world, and the changing requirements of men and women seeking to make a career in the development field.

PhD in Development Studies

The full-time PhD course lasts for a minimum of nine terms (three years), and up to a maximum of twelve terms (four years). The essence of the Cambridge experience is the work with your PhD supervisor.  He or she will help develop the thesis project through discussion and the review. 






MPhil in Latin American Studies

The hallmark of the Cambridge MPhil course is the personal attention paid to students' needs: teaching is generally done in small groups and can often accommodate students' own interests. During the preparation of the thesis you will work closely with a supervisor whose own research expertise lies within your chosen field of study. Students taking the MPhil in Latin American Studies at Cambridge typically use the course as preparation either for further academic research or for a career in business, government, journalism or the NGO sector.

PhD in Latin American Studies

There are approximately 20 PhD students based at the Centre of Latin American Studies at any one time, working across a wide range of disciplines. The Centre is able to provide desk space for most of its PhD students, and they form a lively academic and social community, playing a full part in the Centre's activities, meeting regularly to present their latest research to each other and organizing seminars and conferences with the Centre's support. 






MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies

The M.Phil. in Modern South Asian Studies is a postgraduate course with a substantial research component, which runs for nine months covering the three terms (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter) and part of the summer research period of the Cambridge Academical Year. It is designed both for students who want to enhance their understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic history and present condition of South Asia and for those who want to go on to further primary research.






MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies

The MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies provides rigorous advanced training in the multi-disciplinary study of gender. The course is designed for those students who wish to prepare for PhD or further research and also, for those who want to enhance their understanding of 'gender' by undertaking a one-year MPhil only.

PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies

The PhD programme in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies (PhD-MGS) introduces students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds to the traditions, methods and front-line research that shape gender analyses at an advanced level through a series of seminars and lectures as well as close personal supervision.