The History course at Cambridge covers every period of history from the most ancient to the most modern and ranges geographically from Britain, Ireland and the continent of Europe to America, Africa and Asia. Cambridge has long enjoyed a distinguished reputation in the field of political history and it has also played a leading role in the development of social and economic history. More recently it has become a major center for the study of intellectual history. The undergraduate course is divided into two parts and is designed to make the most of to enable students to develop their own special interests as they move through each of the three years.

The basic difference between Parts I and II is that Part I concentrates on breadth of historical understanding and Part II on depth. Throughout the course there is ample scope to pursue your personal interests and to engage with different historical approaches. Specialist papers allow you to work with a variety of source materials: in the past few years, these have included music, art, cartoons, other visual images, and coins.

Part I lasts two years and introduces students to the study of periods of British political and social economic history and European history through broad overview courses.  Many students will also takes courses in the history of the wider world or political thought too.  All students have to produce a coursework essay, based around themes arising from a series of faculty-based classes.

The Part I course will be changing in 2022 so students applying for deferred entry should check for information about the new course structure  on the Faculty website.

Students who have taken Part I then take a one-year Part II. (The two-year Part II is for those who have taken a one-year Part I in another subject.) This consists of five papers, one of which is examined through a long essay.

  • A general paper, Historical Argument and Practice
  • Four other papers chosen from nearly 40 options in all, ranging across the centuries and continents.

You can substitute a dissertation on a topic of your choice for one paper.

History at Queens’ 

You will be required to take an at interview assessment. You will also be requested to provide two marked essays following your application. Candidates have two interviews. One of them will be a discussion of some historical sources which you will be given to look at and think about prior to the interview.

The Erasmus Society (the College History Society) meets several times a term to listen to talks by historians and discuss issues of mutual interest. Historians typically have one supervision per week based around an essay.  In the first year the College organises classes to help with the transition from school to university and to introduce students to major themes in the study of History.

Queens’ History Fellows 

Dr Andrew Thompson, Director of Studies 

  • Modern British History 
  • Modern European History 

Professor Richard Rex 

  • Early modern British and European 
  • History  

Professor Craig Muldrew 

  • Early modern History 
  • Economic, Social and Cultural 
  • History 1500 - 1700 

Dr Gareth Atkins, Bye-Fellow

  • Religion, politics and culture in the British world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

“What makes studying History at Cambridge so special are the seemingly endless opportunities you get to learn from world-class academics in an incredibly diverse range of topics. The close-knit comminity of historians at Queens' will give you the support and confidence to make the best of those opportunities”

– Will, 3rd year History 

"The quality of the History Faculty at Cambridge makes learning about any period of history really engaging and the unique supervision structure allows you to explore the full breadth of your interests while offering you support with your academic work at Queens'"

- Sam, 3rd year, History