History and Politics


Number of students per year: 2 - 4 


Typical offer: A*AA at A-level or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) in the IB. For other qualifications, please click here.


Essential subjects: None.

Useful subjects: A-level/IB Higher Level History, as well as other essay-based subjects.

Submitted work: Please send in two history essays. We will not accept short answers based on document exercises or non-history essays; nor will we accept exam answers. The essay should be on a topic which has engaged your interest, and on which you feel you have something to say. Above all it should contain an argument.

History and Politics at Clare 

Clare has a strong reputation in both History and Politics. Clare has six History Fellows and two Fellows in Politics. The college is ideally suited near to both teaching and library sites of the History Faculty and the Department of Politics and International Studies.

The eight weeks of each term revolve very much around supervisions and essay writing. A typical workload over a two-week period in the first and second year will be 16 hours of lectures and three essays for supervisions.


In the third year this work pattern will vary more between individuals depending on the papers you choose and whether you do a dissertation.


Students at Clare are expected to work hard, but the college also works hard to support them as they do so.


We appreciate that our students may come to university with diverse expectations and experience, and their needs as individuals may vary considerably and try hard to provide an environment in which students of all kinds will be able to make the most of their potential.

Key People


Dr Elizabeth Foyster

College Lecturer & Director of Studies (Part I)

Dr Foyster's field of research is the social history of Britain from the seventeenth to the mid nineteenth century. She specialises in family and gender history. 

She has published on topics such as children and marriage breakdown, remarriage, and parenting.  Her most recent research has been investigating the impact on eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English families of caring for people with learning difficulties and mental illness.

Her most recent book examines the life of the 3rd earl of Portsmouth, who was the subject of a sensational Commission of Lunacy in 1823.

Fellows in Politics


Professor Helen Thompson

Politics and International Relations

Professor Thompson is Professor of Political Economy. She has been at Cambridge since 1994 and is at present Deputy Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a regular panelist on Talking Politics. 

Her present work is focused on the historical origins of the post-2008 economic and political world and the crises it is generating for western countries. More particularly her recent work covers the political economy of oil, Brexit and the euro zone crisis.