History at Cambridge
Across centuries and continents
Cambridge has one of the largest and best history faculties in the world and the course we offer reflects this quality and breadth of interest. Our course gives you the opportunity to explore the past from many different angles – including political, economic, social and cultural history – and to explore the interaction between history and other disciplines, such as politics, anthropology and archaeology.
There’s ample scope throughout to pursue personal interests and experiment with different historical approaches. Some paper options are shared with other courses, such as Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; and Classics, and specialist papers allow you to work with a variety of source materials such as music, art, cartoons and coins.
Facilities and resources
Our major resource is our teaching staff, made up of more than 100 leading academics, who are experts in fields as varied as the history of medieval Britain and modern India and China, nineteenth-century Europe and twentieth-century South Africa.
The Faculty has achieved outstanding teaching and research ratings in surveys by the UK national press, and was ranked first for History in the QS World University Rankings 2014.
The Seeley Library, one of the largest history libraries in the world, and the nearby University Library mean that finding the right book is rarely a problem, and there is a wealth of rare materials and manuscripts within collections in Cambridge suitable for students’ research. Undergraduate historians are also encouraged to take up or improve foreign languages. They have access to both the University Language Centre and specialist language teaching. Many Colleges have travel grants for students who wish to study the history of another country.
The flexibility of the History course, and the fact that some final year (Part II) options are shared with faculties such as Modern and Medieval Languages and Classics, means that few students wish to transfer out after Part I (at the end of Year 2). Law and History of Art are favourites among those who do transfer.
About 10 students each year take a two-year Part II in History, usually after a one-year Part I in a subject such as Economics.
Careers and research
Cambridge historians acquire a range of skills that are attractive to employers: the ability to work independently; to evaluate and discriminate between evidence; and to present arguments clearly and persuasively (orally and in writing).
In the past, our graduates have had no difficulty in securing rewarding jobs in a wide variety of occupations – for example, one graduate is a television news reporter, and another pursued further study and is now a child psychologist. Other graduates pursue successful careers in business, finance and consultancy, in law and public administration, in journalism and broadcasting, and in teaching and research.