History

The History course allows candidates to cover a wide range of options from ancient to contemporary history, with a slight concentration on the history of the British Isles but with the possibility of studying most parts of the world.

The History Faculty is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and is consistently ranked as the best in research and teaching assessments. It has internationally recognised experts in all relevant fields of study. For more information about the History course at Cambridge, see the University website.

History at Peterhouse

Peterhouse historians such as Herbert Butterfield, Maurice Cowling, David Knowles, Hugh Trevor-Roper and Tony Wrigley have played a prominent role in the intellectual development of the modern historical profession. The College currently has five Fellows in History, who cover, between them, ancient, medieval, early modern, modern and contemporary history and who teach across British, European and extra-European history and the history of political thought. As a result, most supervisions in your first and second year, and many in your final year, may take place in College.The Peterhouse History Society meets regularly and is organized by our undergraduates. It invites distinguished speakers from outside Cambridge to talk about their work in an informal setting. The Ward Library – named after one of the editors of The Cambridge Modern History – houses one of the most complete collections of modern historical literature in the University, tailored to the needs of undergraduate historians.

For a student's perspective on life as a Historian at Peterhouse, have a look at the JCR's alternative prospectus.

Course requirements

Applicants for History will normally have studied some period of history to A level or equivalent; however A level History is not a requirement. One or more essay-based subjects are desirable, particularly if they have looked at topics from a historical perspective.

The History Faculty website has an excellent FAQs section, as well as a Virtual Classroom offering advice on how to structure your extra-curricular study.

The application process

All applicants for History across the University will be asked to sit a pre-interview written assessment at their school, college or local testing centre on 2nd November. These will form part of our holistic assessment of candidates' achievements, abilities and potential and are no more, and no less important than any of the other pieces of information considered during the admissions process. Registration for this assessment closes on 15th October. Further information can be found on the University website.

Candidates should expect two interviews. One interview will be based largely on discussion of written work – for this, we ask candidates to submit two examples of recent written work. For this, essays are preferable to a source-criticism exercise or similar. A second interview will consider the candidate’s comprehension and analysis of a short written text, which will have been made available to the candidate shortly before the interview. No preparation or specialist knowledge is required – we wish to assess how you read and cope with unfamiliar material of the kind that you will regularly encounter in your historical work as an undergraduate.

Typical conditional offers

Our typical conditional offer for History is A*AA at A level. IB offers are usually for a minimum of 40-42 points, to include 776 or 777 at Higher level in relevant subjects. Offers are designed to be realistic, taking into account individual circumstances, and to reflect potential and likely levels of achievement. Most of those who receive offers will attain the grades required.