skip to primary navigationskip to content

Routes into History and Philosophy of Science

Part IB

Natural Sciences Tripos (NST): We welcome everyone who wants to take HPS Part IB. At the present time there is no upper limit; total numbers taking the course range from 65 to 100. NST students take both HPS Part IB papers – History of Science and Philosophy of Science – expect for students taking Part IB Physics who can chose a single paper.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos (PBS) and Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos (HSPS): Students are able to take one of the two HPS Part IB papers as part of their Part IIA course: History of Science (HPS1) or Philosophy of Science (HPS2).

More about HPS Part IB

Part II


NST and other triposes: There is a quota of 40, and admission can be competitive. A Part II allocations meeting takes place in late June every year. Most of the places are filled at this point and to ensure a place students need to make their choices known on CamSIS.

Our policy is to try to offer a Part II place to everyone who has taken HPS Part IB. A 2:1 is normally expected from other students. Tripos switchers who are underperforming are not admitted unless there is strong evidence that they will perform well in HPS. No place should be assumed without checking first.

More about HPS Part II

Single-paper options

Biological and Biomedical Sciences minor subjects: We welcome all students who wish to take one of our single-paper options: Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine, Early Medicine, or Modern Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

PBS and HSPS: PBS and HSPS Part IIB students can take one of the HPS Part II papers. PBS students can choose Philosophy of Science (Paper 5) or Modern Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. HSPS students can choose Philosophy of Science (Paper 5) or Ethics and Politics of Science, Technology and Medicine (Paper 6).

More about single-paper options

Part III

NST and other triposes: There is a quota of 12, and admission is competitive. Students must make an application to the Department by mid-March, and we make preliminary offers by the end of Easter Term. It is not necessary to have taken HPS Part II: we have had students from a variety of triposes, including English and History as well as NST.

More about HPS Part III

MPhil and PhD

All applicants must complete the online application form. The Director of Studies is expected to advise on potential areas of expertise, to support the student in identifying sources of financial support and, where opportunities arise, to liaise between the College and the Department to put together a viable funding package.

More about graduate study