Across centuries and continents
Cambridge has one of the largest and best history faculties in the world, and our course reflects the quality and breadth of interest of our teaching staff. The History degree 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 Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classics, and Politics and International Relations and specialist papers allow you to work with a variety of source materials as varied as Hollywood movies and Renaissance art.
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.
Cambridge was considered the world’s best university for History in the QS World University Rankings 2016, and both the Times and Guardian consistently rank our course the best in the UK. 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. All undergraduate historians (not just those taking History and Modern Languages) are also encouraged to take up or improve foreign languages, and 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 3-4 students each year take a two-year Part II in History, usually after a one-year Part I in a subject such as Economics.
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements
Additional course costs
There are no compulsory additional course costs for History. Full course details are available on the Faculty of History website and if you have any queries about resources/materials, please contact the Faculty.
Careers and research
Cambridge historians acquire a range of skills that are attractive to employers: the ability to work independently, to evaluate evidence, and to present arguments clearly and persuasively.
In the past, our graduates have had no difficulty in securing rewarding jobs in a wide variety of sectors, ranging from journalism and broadcasting to teaching and research, finance, consultancy, law and public administration.