How to Get Into HSPS at Cambridge

5 min read
Correcting grammar mistakes on a paper for success in HSPS at Cambridge.
Perfecting every detail on the journey to HSPS excellence at Cambridge.

So, you’ve set your sights on HSPS at Cambridge. Smart move. It’s not just any degree—it’s a gateway to understanding society, politics, and the human mind. In 2022, the University of Cambridge saw an acceptance rate of 21.6% for undergraduates. 

In this guide, we’ll pave the way for you to ace the challenge of securing your spot in HSPS. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and make it happen.

What is HSPS at Cambridge?

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge University encompasses Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, and Sociology. Each discipline brings distinct theories and perspectives to understanding societies, cultures, and political systems.

Politics and International Relations delve into global issues, from democracy to international conflicts. Social Anthropology studies human behavior and cultures worldwide. Sociology examines modern societies, focusing on power dynamics and social structures.

Cambridge’s HSPS program offers a flexible and interdisciplinary approach, encouraging students to explore diverse topics and develop critical thinking skills. Graduates can pursue various career paths, including academia, public policy, and research.

The course demands analytical thinking, research skills, and a deep understanding of human behavior and societal structures. It equips students with the tools to tackle complex societal challenges and contribute to positive social change.

HSPS students engage with cutting-edge research, collaborate with renowned academics, and participate in vibrant academic communities. The program fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages students to question assumptions, challenge norms, and explore new perspectives.

Overall, HSPS at Cambridge provides a rich and dynamic learning environment, preparing students for careers in diverse fields and empowering them to make meaningful contributions to society.

Entry Requirements for HSPS at Cambridge

A student studying for HSPS at Cambridge with books and a laptop.
A young student engrossed in her studies, surrounded by books and technology. 

A-level Requirements

To be considered for Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge, applicants must meet stringent academic standards. For A-level students, the following grades serve as the benchmark:


While meeting these requirements is essential, exceeding them significantly enhances the likelihood of admission.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Requirements

For students pursuing the International Baccalaureate (IB), the entry criteria are as follows:

QualificationPointsHigher Level Grades
IB40-42 points776

Similar to A-level applicants, IB candidates are encouraged to surpass these standards to bolster their applications.

Subject Recommendations

While Cambridge does not specify mandatory subjects, certain disciplines are deemed advantageous for HSPS applicants. These include:

  • English (Language, Language & Literature, or Literature)
  • History
  • Languages

Historical data reveals that 84% of successful applicants from A-level backgrounds typically took at least one of these recommended subjects.

Exceeding Entry Requirements

Historical trends demonstrate that successful candidates often exceed the minimum entry requirements. For instance, historically, the majority of admitted A-level applicants achieved at least one grade higher than the specified criteria. Similarly, most IB entrants attained scores above 44 points overall and/or grades of 777 at Higher Level.

For applicants concerned about meeting the rigorous criteria, expert assistance is available. Specialized tutors can provide tailored support to help students excel in their coursework and final exams, maximizing their chances of meeting and exceeding the entry standards.

While the entry requirements for HSPS at Cambridge are demanding, they are achievable with dedication and strategic preparation. By surpassing the minimum standards, demonstrating academic potential, and aligning with the university’s expectations, aspiring students can significantly enhance their prospects of securing admission to this prestigious program.

Oxbridge Interview Tips Questions Tutoring
Oxbridge Interview Tutoring
1-1 Oxbridge Tutoring, Personalised to your Subject

3 Tips for Cambridge HSPS Admissions Test

A student writing in a notebook, preparing diligently for the Cambridge HSPS.
Taking notes and gearing up for success for the Cambridge HSPS Admissions Test.

Securing a place in Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge involves navigating the admissions test successfully. Here are three straightforward tips to help you ace this critical aspect of the application process.

1. Understand the Test Format

Familiarity is your ally. The HSPS admissions assessment (HSPSAA) varies by college, so take the time to understand the format specific to your chosen institution. Typically, applicants are asked to choose and respond to one essay question from a range of titles. Knowing what to expect reduces anxiety and allows you to focus on showcasing your skills.

The test is designed to assess the skills crucial for success in the HSPS program. While it doesn’t require specific subject knowledge, practice essay writing to sharpen your analytical and argumentative abilities. Cambridge provides past papers and guidance, offering valuable insights into the test’s structure and expectations.

2. Strategic Preparation with Tutors

Engaging with experienced tutors specializing in HSPS admissions can make a significant difference. Seek assistance from professionals who understand the intricacies of the test. They can provide personalized guidance, helping you refine your essay-writing skills and offering insights into the specific requirements of the Cambridge admissions process.

Practice sessions with tutors not only enhance your writing proficiency but also familiarise you with the type of questions likely to be posed. Their expertise can be instrumental in honing your approach and ensuring you present your ideas effectively within the given time constraints.

3. Embrace Critical Thinking

The HSPS admissions test is not just about regurgitating information. Cambridge is keen on assessing your ability to think critically, engage with ideas, and present a coherent argument. As you prepare, cultivate a habit of questioning assumptions, examining different perspectives, and articulating your thoughts clearly.

During the test, take a moment to brainstorm your ideas before diving into writing. Emphasize logical reasoning and a structured approach. Remember, it’s not about having all the answers but demonstrating your capacity to analyze complex issues thoughtfully.

In the pursuit of Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge, excellence is not an option – it’s the expectation. Beyond the grades and tests, it’s about cultivating a passion for critical thinking and societal understanding

As you embark on this transformative journey, remember that each step shapes your narrative. Seek guidance, embrace challenges, and let your curiosity lead. Your HSPS adventure awaits – unfold the chapters with purpose.

Ready to elevate your HSPS journey? Connect with Oxbridge Mind’s expert tutors for personalised guidance.


Can I apply for HSPS without studying recommended subjects at A-level?

While there are no specific subject prerequisites, Cambridge recommends essay-based subjects like English, History, or languages. If you haven’t studied these at A-level, consider pursuing them independently, like entering an essay competition or joining a relevant society. Showcase your dedication in your application.

How crucial is exceeding entry requirements for HSPS applicants?

Exceeding entry requirements significantly boosts your chances. Successful candidates often achieve grades higher than the baseline. Aim for excellence in all subjects, showcasing a well-rounded academic profile beyond the minimum standards.

Are admissions tests the same for all HSPS applicants at Cambridge?

No, the HSPS admissions test format varies by college. Research the specific requirements for your chosen institution. Practice essay writing to enhance your analytical skills and refer to past papers for insights into the test structure.

Can international students apply for HSPS at Cambridge?

Absolutely. International students are welcome to apply for HSPS. Ensure your grades meet or exceed the specified requirements. Additionally, be aware of English language proficiency standards, as demonstrated by your performance in standardized tests.

How can I stand out in the HSPS admissions test essay?

Prioritise understanding the question, formulating a clear thesis, and structuring your response logically. Engage with expert tutors for tailored guidance. Demonstrate critical thinking, presenting a thoughtful argument rather than memorized information.

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