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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


We are a multidisciplinary department—this is reflected in the diversity of our members and their wide-ranging research.


Our research leads the historical and contemporary study of political thought, international relations, British and European politics, the study of the global South, political economy, public policy and gender.


Our work reaches throughout the University and well beyond Cambridge. We appoint outstanding researchers and attract the best students. 


Established in January 2009POLIS provides a focus on teaching and research of politics at the University of Cambridge. We are one of four departments in the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science.


Undergraduate teaching is organised through the HSPS Tripos (Human, Social and Political Science). Students intending to specialise in Politics and International Relations take the Politics paper and the International Relations paper in Part I with two other papers, and then in Part II take a range of papers in Comparative and International Politics, International Relations and Political Thought.


The aim of the course is to explore the different meanings of the ‘political’ and the ‘international’, to understand the different contexts of national and international politics, and the importance of ideas, institutions and processes in shaping political developments and choices. At the graduate level the Department offers an MPhil in International Relations and Politics, an MPhil in Public Policy, and a part-time MSt in International Relations (in collaboration with the Institute for Continuing Education). It also has a thriving PhD programme, which admits twelve students a year, and is linked to the ESRC doctoral training centre.


More than 200 students from over 30 countries are currently enrolled on graduate programmes—creating a vibrant research community. 


We have close links between POLIS and many other Departments and Faculties at Cambridge, including History, Sociology, Psychology, Law, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Social Anthropology.


Get in touch>>



How to find us


Our address: Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT.


We can be reached in ten minutes on foot from the centre of town (King's Parade). Nearby landmarks are the University library and the 'Backs', which are the gardens and parks running along the Cam at the back of the colleges.


 Sidgwick Site


By Bus

The Universal bus runs between Addenbrooke's Hospital and the West Cambridge site, stopping right outside our building. The service runs every 15 minutes from Mondays - Fridays, and every 20 minutes on Saturdays. The bus doesn't go as far as Addenbrookes at the weekends.

Bus route and timetable>> 


By Bike

For those wishing to cycle, there is a large covered bike shed alongside the Alison Richard Building, in addition to the numerous bike racks elsewhere on the Sidgwick Site.  

  • Did you know about the wonderful interactive online cycle map from CycleStreets?

Find a safer, quieter or quicker route for you to cycle today>>


By Train

Trains run regularly to Cambridge from both London King’s Cross and London Liverpool Street. If you are coming from the North, it is advisable to change at Peterborough. West Road is a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride from the railway station.


By Car

  • From Junction 12 of the M11
  • Drive for approx 1.5 miles into Cambridge (Barton Road)
  • Turn left into Grange Road
  • Turn 3rd right opposite the Rugby Club (West Road)
  • The Alison Richard Building is located towards the end of West Road, on the right-hand side



We do not have dedicated parking for patrons. 

  • Pay & display parking is available on West Road
  • Two bays for blue badge holders are available on the Sidgwick Site.
  • The nearest unregulated streets are Herschel, Adams and Cranmer Roads.
  • If you are a speaker at a seminar or are visiting by invitation, a parking permit is available on request.