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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Third Year Students

In your third year in Politics and International Relations, you may choose to offer four papers, or three papers and a dissertation. HSPS students who are taking Part II over two years take POL 9, while History and Politics students take Theory and Practice. There are separate guidelines for those taking HSPS Part II in one year. The choices available in both Triposes enable you to extend your knowledge of political thought, certain themes of modern world politics such as gender or conflict, and to study the politics of a particular region such as Middle East or Africa. 

Paper Guides for 2020-21

POL9Conceptual Issues and Texts in Politics and International Relations

POL10: The History of Political Thought from c.1700 to c.1890

POL11: Political Philosophy and the History of Political Thought since c.1890

POL12: Politics and Religion

POL13: British and European Politics

POL14: US Foreign Policy

POL15: The Politics of Africa

POL16: Conflict and Peacebuilding

POL17: Politics of the international economy

POL18: Politics and Gender

POL19: Themes and Issues in Politics and International Relations

POL20: The Politics of the Future, 1880-2080

POL21: China in the International Order



Update (April 2020): The deadline for submitting the dissertation is Thursday 6 May 2021, at 12.00 noon.

  • Each year the Department publishes a guide to dissertations which sets out the expectations of content, layout, and submission. It is important that you read this guide whilst working on your dissertation and before submitting.
  • Penalties for late submission:

    • 1 point per hour or part thereof - up to 3 points (1 point per the first hour, another point for the second hour, and a third point for any further delay up to 12 noon the next day)
    • Next ten days or part thereof - 3 points per day
    • Any work submitted after 10 days is marked 0
    • Electronic submission is mandatory
    • Both the electronic and the hard copy need to be submitted by the deadline and have to be identical. If submissions falls on weekend or holidays, the submission of electronic copy is taken as relevant for application of the penalties. Hard copy then needs to be submitted at the first possible opportunity
    • Handing times are standardised as 12pm on the due date, with daily penalties applied every 24 hours from the due time
  • Dissertation Application Form 
  • Undergraduate Ethical Approval Form 
  • For reference when writing your own dissertation please see below for a couple of examples of first class dissertations written by POLIS students in previous years of the HSPS tripos.
    • Example #1:The US Constitution and debates on the expansion of federal power, 1932-2013
    • Example #2: Global Justice and indeterminacy - the boundaries of the cosmopolitan premise


Student Guides

  • Guide to supervisions. This document gives you a sense of what to expect from supervisions, and guidance on essay writing in Politics & International Relations.
  • Guide to exams. This document sets out how examining works, explains the marking system, and gives guidance on how to write essays under exam conditions. This is the document from 2019-20. The document for the current year is being updated.




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