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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.

The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) is consistently one of the top ranked university politics departments in the UK and throughout the world. POLIS is currently ranked top in the UK for politics by both The Guardian and the Complete University Guide.  The University is also ranked in the top 5 for international relations and public policy. POLIS upholds the highest standards both academically and for innovation in research. POLIS provides a focus for politics at the University of Cambridge as one of four departments in the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science. We have close links with many other Departments and Faculties at Cambridge including History; Sociology; Psychology; Law; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; and Social Anthropology allowing our students access to a diverse range of subjects and to explore individual interests.

In addition to the world class teaching and research within politics and international studies, the Department includes ten Centres which lead the historical and contemporary study of public policy, gender, political thought, the global south, geopolitics, development studies, governance and human rights.

Being ranked among the best in the world allows us to attract the most outstanding students and staff and to create an atmosphere of excellence in learning and research. Nearly 600 undergraduates and more than 350 graduate students from over 30 countries are currently enrolled in programmes at POLIS, creating a vibrant community in an exceptional environment in which to learn and examine all aspects of the political discipline. 

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

For a more detailed view of the Sidgwick site see this online map.

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.