Human, Social and Political Sciences

  • Intake: No fixed quota 
  • Offers: A*AA 
  • Essential Subjects: None 
  • Desirable Subjects: Humanities/Social Sciences &/or Science/Maths 
  • Faculty website:

Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is a three-year degree that gives students the chance to study any of Politics, Sociology and Social Anthropology.  The flexibility of the degree allows students to explore different subjects before pursuing advanced study in the one or two specific subjects that interest them most in the second and third years. Some of these subjects in the first year may be new to students.  Some attract those who already have a clear idea about what they want to study.  Whichever is true for any student, he or she can tailor this degree to his or her particular interests right from the first year.  The Directors of Studies at the college help students work out the best path through the degree for them as individuals and support them in seeking to develop their intellectual potential through those choices.


In the first year (Part I), students chose at least three courses from Politics, International Relations, Sociology and Social Anthropology.  Students can chose, if they wish to take their fourth course in one of Archaeology, Biological Anthropology or Psychology.

For your second and third years (Part II), you can either choose one of three single-subject tracks, each of which enables you to take optional papers from other subjects; or you can choose one of three two-subject tracks.

The single-subject tracks are:

  • Politics and International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Social Anthropology

The two-subject tracks are: 

  • Politics & Sociology
  • Politics & Social Anthropology
  • Sociology & Social Anthropology

You take four papers in both Years 2 and 3, choosing from a number of options available in each subject in each year.  In the single-subject schemes it is possible to take a course from another subject within HSPS for one of the four courses.  In Year 3, you can offer a dissertation as your fourth paper.

HSPS at Queens’

  • Queens’ has a strong reputation in the constituent subjects of HSPS.  It has particular strengths in Sociology and Politics and International Relations, with Part II Students achieving some of the best exam results across the University, and going on to win both College and University prizes.
  • The college is well situated between the two principal sites of the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science. The eight weeks of each term revolve very much around supervisions and essay writing. A typical workload over a two-week period in the first year for a HSPS student is 16 hours of lectures and three essays for supervisions. Students are expected to work hard, but the college also works hard to support them as they do so.
  • HSPS has a pre-interview subject assessment.  The assessment is taken in schools in early November and consists of questions concerning the comprehension of reading passages and an essay from a choice of topics. More information can be found here
  • Applicants are usually interviewed in early December
  • Applicants will be asked to submit two pieces of school-work.

Director of Studies 

Dr Ella McPherson



“You can study a range of different subjects in the first year which gives you time to decide what you want to specialise in for the second and third years.”  - Rosa, Sociology graduate