Top 10 Tips On Cambridge HSPS Personal Statement

3 min read

Who are you, who would you like to become, and how are you different from other Cambridge applicants? Your HSPS Cambridge Personal Statement is a crucial component in your university application as it gives you a chance to articulate why you’re particularly interested in HSPS and to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Additionally, it offers the HSPS interviewer at Cambridge a focal point to base discussions about your personality, interests and deduce your commitment to the subject you’re applying for. To help guide you through the process, our Cambridge application experts have compiled a list of top 10 tips for everything you should do and not do for your Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) Personal Statement for the Cambridge 2023/24 application cycle. 


Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) is a course that comprises three fundamental disciplines: 

  • Politics and International Relations which explores politics between and within varying countries; 
  • Social anthropologists which studies social and cultural diversity; 
  • Sociology, which centres on the nature and processes that create modern societies. 

Your HSPS Personal Statement must clearly demonstrate the link between all three domains. Moreover, when planning out your HSPS personal statement, make sure you research Cambridge’s achievements in the field of HSPS and include it into your writing to illustrate your interest in HSPS. 

Additionally, when creating your HSPS personal statement, understandably you’ll be applying to four other University courses which may result in your statement being more vague. The University of Cambridge is aware of this and will require you to fill out an ‘Online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)’ shortly after submitting the UCAS application, so make sure you’ve created another condensed version of your personal statement that can be directly submitted to Cambridge. 

Some Cambridge colleges may require applicants for this course to take a written assessment if shortlisted for an HSPS interview. These colleges include Hughes Hall College, King’s College, Murray Edwards College, Newnham College, Peterhouse College, St Edmund’s College, and Wolfson College. You will not need to register in advance for this assessment and the Cambridge college you have applied to will provide details directly to you. Find out more about this here.

Cambridge HSPS personal statement

Top 5 Tips for a Cambridge HSPS Personal Statement

Tell your story

Your journey to deciding to study HSPS at Cambridge will be what makes you stand out from other applicants. Consider why you became interested, any relevant reading that has helped your decision, and your choice in selecting Cambridge University. The Cambridge admissions tutors will be looking out for relevant skills and experience during the HSPS interview so make sure to mention this.

What makes you suitable

What distinguishes you from all other Cambridge applicants applying for HSPS? What work experience, or extra-curricular work have you done that you can talk about that might set you apart from everyone else? Examples include readings related to the three disciplines listed above, or any other work you have undertaken in sociology, politics or anthropology. 

Read around the subject you’re applying for

Because the competition with Cambridge is so great, demonstrating you have undertaken extra-curricular work will impress the Cambridge admissions tutors. Examples include reading around the subject in whichever topics interest you, be it politics or sociology. You can also listen to relevant podcasts online, such as ‘The Target Oxbridge Podcast’ to listen to current Cambridge students’ experiences and take their specific advice for when they applied.

Proofread & read aloud your work

Once you’re happy with the content of your draft, check it, check it and check it again! Useful people to ask to proofread your work include a teacher in the field, a current Cambridge student, and a student who is studying HSPS. By allowing people to take a look at your statement, they would be able to pick up mistakes or name improvements that you may have missed.

Why HSPS?  

What interested you in HSPS to begin with? With reference to the three disciplines taught by Cambridge above, think about what inspired you to pursue HSPS at Cambridge. Consider the career choices you’ll have – examples include public policy, development work, or charity work. Additionally, mention why you chose to pursue education at Cambridge over other universities.

Cambridge HSPS personal statement

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Cambridge HSPS Personal Statement

Writing a list of achievements

Avoid listing things for the sake of it. Make sure each point is relevant and backed up by evidence. This will show the Cambridge admissions tutors that you have an understanding of a HSPS degree and understand some of what it entails.

Don’t write anything that isn’t true

Don’t exaggerate. You may be asked to provide evidence of your stated achievements, or if you are interviewed you may be asked detailed questions about things you’ve mentioned. It will reflect poorly on you if you are unable to answer questions about your Personal Statement.

Copying someone else’s personal statements

Don’t plagiarise. Do not copy someone else’s UCAS personal statement or use something you have found on the internet. UCAS uses software to check every personal statement for plagiarism.

Not reflecting on or justifying your point

Write succinctly and explain points without repeating yourself. Expand on how you’ve acquired certain skills and why they’re important. Examples in HSPS include critical reflection and analytical skills. Remember, quality is always better than quantity- it’s better to expand on a few points than to list every point you can without going into detail.

Don’t sound unprofessional

Steer clear of slang, clichés and quotes. It will sound repetitive to Cambridge admissions tutors to hear about how students are “passionate” about their subject or that they have a “thirst for knowledge”. Write about your personal experience with your HSPS journey, and allow the Cambridge admissions tutors to do the rest.


How can I make my personal statement stand out for the HSPS course at Cambridge?

Your personal statement should reflect a deep interest in and engagement with social sciences. Highlight your understanding of the subjects within HSPS like politics, sociology, anthropology, or international relations. Discuss books, articles, or current events that have inspired you and link them to the course structure at Cambridge. It’s also effective to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills by presenting your unique perspective or insights on these topics.

Should I focus on one specific area within HSPS or cover multiple disciplines in my statement?

The HSPS course at Cambridge is interdisciplinary, so it’s beneficial to show a broad interest across the various social sciences. However, if you have a particular passion for one area, it’s good to delve into it, explaining why it fascinates you and how it relates to other disciplines. Balance is key: express your enthusiasm for specific topics while illustrating your openness and curiosity about the breadth of human, social, and political sciences.

How important is it to include extracurricular activities in my personal statement for HSPS?

Extracurricular activities can be valuable in showcasing your interests and skills related to HSPS. Include activities like debating, Model United Nations, volunteering, or other social science-related clubs or projects. Explain what you learned from these experiences and how they’ve shaped your understanding or interest in social sciences. However, quality is more important than quantity – focus on a few activities that genuinely contributed to your passion and understanding of HSPS.

Still got a question? Leave a comment
Post as “Anonymous”
Just Start Typing...