University of Cambridge Courses

The Cambridge System

Cambridge has a very unique system of education. Each degree program, or “Tripos” is divided into parts. Visiting students enroll in one part of the Tripos and take the same supervisions and exams as full-degree students. For example, an Economics major may enroll in Part II of the Economics Tripos, which would be what a second-year Cambridge undergraduate student would take.

In order to choose which aspects of a Tripos you will take, you will choose from amongst the different Papers (similar to American courses) offered from each degree program.

At Cambridge, classroom teaching is structured into in papers (or course titles) supervisions, lectures, and exams. Supervisions are the hallmark of the Cambridge educational system. A supervision consists of one professor and one to four students focusing on a specialized aspect of your subject of study. Supervisions are highly participatory and you will be responsible for reading and preparing for each supervision you attend.

Lectures are larger, often university-wide presentations on a particular subject. You will be expected to attend lectures but not necessarily to participate in them.

Exams are held at the end of the semester, and most or all of your grade will likely be determined by the exams you take. Exams at Cambridge typically take the form of several essay examinations, lasting three hours each.

Credit System

Visiting students at the University of Cambridge will receive credit based on the number of supervisions undertaken, with Spring students receiving approximately 24 credits. The total may vary depending on the department in which you enroll.

Selecting Departments

At Cambridge, you will choose one department in which you will take all of your papers and supervisions. You will work out the individual topics you will study within the broader subject upon your arrival at Cambridge.

You should have substantial academic experience in your area of study (it is strongly recommended that you have taken at least three college-level courses in your area of study).

In order to take supervisions or papers within a department, you need to have been accepted into that department.

It is not possible to take basic-level or general education courses while at Cambridge.

You may only enroll in one department at Cambridge; no cross-registration is permitted.

These are the departments you can choose:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic
  • Archaeology/Anthropology
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Classics
  • Economics
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Linguistics
  • Modern and Medieval Languages
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Social and Political Sciences (includes politics, psychology, sociology, and international studies)
  • Theology and Religious Studies

Paper Selection

When Selecting Papers:

Please choose the Papers you would like from the list below.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If there are topics you need to study that are not listed below, contact your program manager.

Topics can vary considerably from year to year according to student interest and college/tutor availability and expertise. Flexibility is important, and neither Arcadia nor Cambridge can guarantee the availability of any specific Paper. Ask your program manager if you have questions.

When filling out the online course form:

  • Make sure to indicate the department to which you would like to apply.
  • List at least six Paper selections.
  • It is not necessary to indicate the term in which you would like to take each individual Paper.
  • Note that there are no pre-set course codes for Cambridge tutorials. Simply type “Cambridge” where a course code is required.
  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic
    • Year 2 (Part IB)
    • England before the Norman Conquest
    • Scandinavian History in the Viking Age
    • The Brittonic-speaking peoples from the fourth century to the twelfth
    • The Gaelic-speaking peoples from the fourth century to the twelfth
    • Old English language and literature
    • Old Norse language and literature
    • Medieval Welsh language and literature
    • Medieval Irish language and literature
    • Insular Latin language and literature
    • Palaeography and codicology
    • Year 3 (Part II)
    • The Anglo-Saxon Chancery
    • The coming of Christianity
    • Sea Kings and the Celtic Speaking World c. 1014-1164
    • Law and Lawlessness
    • Beowulf
    • Advanced medieval Scandinavian language and literature
    • Advanced medieval Irish language and literature
    • Writing Women
    • Textual criticism
    • Germanic philology
    • Celtic philology
  • Archaeology/Anthropology
    • The development of human society
    • Humans in Biological Perspective
    • Human societies: the comparative perspective
    • Being human: an interdisciplinary approach
    • Modern societies
    • Akkadian Language 1
    • Ancient Egyptian Language 1
    • Introduction to Egyptian and Mesopotamian Cultures
    • Foundations in biological anthropology: the human animal
    • Foundations in biological anthropology: the human journey
    • Theory and practice in anthropology
    • Evolution of technology
    • Humans in an evolutionary paradigm
    • Evolution and function of the human brain
    • Evolutionary ecology of extinct hominis
    • Ancient molecules and human evolution
    • Evolution of human morphological and behavioral phenotypes and their genetic basis
    • Human evolution and health
    • Primate molecular ecology
    • Apes as models for human evolution
    • Foundations of social anthropology: kinship and economics
    • Foundations of social anthropology: politics and religion
    • Theory, Methods, and Enquiry in Social Anthropology
    • The Anthropology of Colonialism and Empire
    • Gender, Kinship, and Care
    • Anthropology and Development
    • (A number of Archaeology papers are available;
    • if you are interested, contact your
    • Program Manager for an up-to-date listing.)
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
    • Year 2 (Part 1B)
    • Modern Chinese Translation and Writing
    • Modern Chinese Texts
    • Literary Chinese
    • Introduction to East Asian History
    • Cinema East
    • Modern Japanese
    • Japanese Grammar and Translation
    • Modern Japanese Texts
    • Japanese History
    • Literary Japanese
    • Japanese Politics
    • Japanese Society
    • Elementary Korean
    • Arabic Language
    • Persian Language
    • Hebrew Language
    • Introduction to the History and Culture of the Middle East
    • Introduction to the contemporary Middle East
    • Akkadian
    • Egyptian Language
    • Literary Arabic
    • Literary Persian
    • Hebrew Literature
    • The formation of Islam
    • Topics in Hebrew Studies
    • The formation of the modern Middle East
    • Contemporary Middle Eastern politics and society
    • Life, Thought, and Worship of Modern Judaism
    • Introduction to Islam
    • Year 3 (Part II)
    • History of Dynastic China
    • Globalisation in China, 1850 to the Present
    • Aspects of Traditional Chinese Culture
    • Themes in Arabic Literature
    • Themes in Persian Literature
    • Themes in Hebrew Literature
    • History of the pre-modern Middle East
    • History of the modern Middle East
    • Comparative Semitic Linguistics
    • Middle Eastern and Islamic History 4: to 1258
    • Middle Eastern and Islamic History 5: the Mongol period
    • Middle Eastern and Islamic History 6: Political Islam
    • Post-Biblical Jewish Texts
    • Classical Studies: reading the Edo period
    • Topics in Modern Japanese History: the history of Sino-Japan Relations
    • Topics on Japanese Society
  • Classics
    • (Note; prior knowledge of Greek and/or Latin is highly advisable)
    • Year 2 (Part 1B)
    • Greek Translation
    • Latin Translation
    • Greek and Latin Texts
    • Classical Questions
    • Greek Prose and Verse Composition
    • Latin Prose and Verse Composition
    • Greek Language Consolidation
    • Greek Reading Classes
    • Greek Texts: The Iliad
    • Greek Texts: Dramatic Women
    • Greek Texts: Mythical Narratives
    • Latin Texts: Roman Humour
    • Latin Texts: Trajanic Rome (Tacitus)
    • Latin Texts: The Neronian Period (Lucan)
    • Greek Accents
    • Greek and Latin Metre
    • Year 3 (Part II)
    • Homer: Odyssey
    • Virgil: Aeneid
    • Sophocles and Myth
    • Horace: Epodes and Odes I-III
    • Greek and Latin Textual Criticism and Transmission of Texts
    • Greek Textual Criticism and Palaeography: Sophocles
    • Latin Textual Criticism and Palaeography: Catullus
    • Plato
    • Aristotle on Nature and Change
    • God and Anti-God
    • Ancient Greek Democracy and its Legacies
    • Greek and Roman Epigraphy
    • Knowledge, Wealth, and Power in the Roman Empire
    • Athens after Alexander
    • The Transformation of the Roman World: AD 284-476
    • Italy and the Coinage of the Later Empire
    • Aegean Prehistory
    • The Art and Archaeology of Roman Britain
    • The Poetics of Classical Art
    • Roman Cities
    • Coinage in Action
    • Topics in the History of the Greek and Latin Languages
    • Greek from Mycenae to Homer
    • Latin and the Greek Language
    • Idols? Imagining gods and heroes in the Greek and Roman worlds
    • Prostitutes and Saints
  • Economics
    • Year 1 (Part I)
    • Paper 1 Microeconomics
    • Paper 2 Macroeconomics
    • Paper 3 Quantitative Methods in Economics
    • Paper 4 Political and Sociological Aspects of Economics
    • Paper 5 British Economic History
    • Year 2 (Part IIA)
    • Paper 1 Microeconomics
    • Paper 2 Macroeconomics
    • Paper 3 Econometrics
    • Paper 4 Economic Development
    • Paper 5 Modern Societies
    • Paper 6 Mathematics for Economists and Statisticians
    • Paper 7 Labour
    • Year 3 (Part IIB)
    • Paper 1 Microeconomic Principles and Problems
    • Paper 2 Macroeconomic Principles and Problems
    • Paper 4 Economic Theory and Analysis
    • Paper 6 Banking, Money and Finance
    • Paper 7 Public Economics
    • Paper 8 The Economics of Underdeveloped Countries
    • Paper 9 Industry
    • Paper 10 Theory and Practice of Econometrics II
    • Paper 11 Time Series and Financial Econometrics
    • Paper 14 World Depression in the Inter-War Period
    • Paper 16 Modern Britain
    • Paper 17(a) Gender, Kindship and Care
    • Paper 17(b) The History and Politics of South Asia
    • Paper 17(c) Society, Politics and Culture in Latin America
    • Paper 17(d) The Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Paper 17(e) The Family
  • English Language and Literature
    • Year 2 (Part 1B)
    • English Literature 1300-1550
    • English Literature 1550-1700
    • English Literature 1688-1847
    • English Literature 1830- Present
    • Shakespeare
    • Practical Criticism and Critical Practice
    • Early Medieval British Literature
    • Middle English
    • English Language: Syntax, Vocabulary, Literature: 1300 - Present
    • Year 3 (Part II)
    • Tragedy
    • Practical Criticism
    • Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Writing in the Age of Henry VIII
    • Short Story
    • Lyric Poetry
    • American Literature
    • Postcolonial Literature
    • Literature and the Visual Arts
    • Contemporary Poetry
    • Author studies (Please inquire if there is a particular author you wish to study)
  • History
    • Year 2 (Part 1B)
    • 1.Themes and Sources
    • 2.British political and constitutional history, 380-1100
    • 3.British political and constitutional history, 1050-1509
    • 4.British political and constitutional history, 1485-1750
    • 5.British political and constitutional history, 1700-1914
    • 6.British political and constitutional history, since 1867
    • 7.British economic and social history, 380-1100
    • 8.British economic and social history, 1050-c.1500
    • 9.British economic and social history, c.1500-1750
    • 10.British economic and social history, 1700-1914
    • 11.British economic and social history, since c.1870
    • 12.European history, 776BC-AD69
    • 13.European history, 31BC-AD900
    • 14.European history, 900-c.1215
    • 15.European history, 1200-1520
    • 16.European history, 1450-1760
    • 17.European history, 1715-1890
    • 18.European history, since 1890
    • 19.History of political thought to c.1700
    • 20.History of political thought from c.1700 to c.1890
    • 21.Empires and world history from the fifteenth century to the First World War
    • 22.North American history from 1607 to 1865
    • 23.World history since 1914
    • 24.The history of the United States from 1865
    • Special subjects: there is a wide list of papers on specialist topics taught which change from year to year. Contact your program manager for the current list.
  • History of Art
    • Approaches to the History of Art
    • Anglo-Saxon and Byzantine Art
    • French Gothic Architecture
    • The Work of Albrecht Dürer
    • Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting and Sculpture
    • Dutch Painting
    • British Neoclassical Architecture
    • Russian Painting
    • Surrealism
    • Post 1945 Modernism
    • (Other subjects may be available, please inquire)
  • Linguistics
    • Year 1 – Part I
    • Sounds and Words
    • Structures and Meanings
    • Language, Brain, and Society
    • History and Varieties of English
    • Year 2 – Part IIA
    • Phonetics
    • Phonology and Morphology
    • Syntax
    • Semantics and Pragmatics
    • Historical Linguistics
    • History of Ideas on Language
    • Linguistics of particular languages or language families; please inquire
    • Year 3 – Part IIB
    • Linguistic Theory
    • Special Topics – Please inquire about availabilty; this differs year to year
  • Modern and Medieval Languages
    • Students can focus on literature, linguistics, history, thought, culture, film, art, and language work in any of the following languages:
    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Portuguese
    • Russian
    • Spanish
    • Classical Latin
    • Classical Greek
    • Catalan
    • Dutch
    • Modern Greek
    • Medieval Occitan (requires prior knowledge of French)
    • Ukranian
    • Neo-Latin (requires prior knowledge of Latin)
  • Music
    • Year 2 – Part IB
    • Historical and Critical Studies
    • Techniques of Tonal Music
    • Music Analysis
    • Performance
    • Advanced Historical Topics
    • Advanced Analysis
    • Jazz and Popular Music
    • Ethnomusicology
    • Scientific Approaches to Music
    • Performance Studies
    • Composition
  • Philosophy
    • Year 2 - Part IB
    • Metaphysics and Epistemology
    • Logic
    • Ethics
    • Philosophy of Science
    • Political Philosophy
    • Greek and Roman Philosophy
    • Medieval and Modern Philosophy
    • Experimental Philosophy
    • Mathematical Logic
    • Philosophical Logic
    • European Philosophy from Kant
    • Aesthetics
    • Special Subjects – please inquire
  • Social and Political Sciences
    • (includes politics, psychology, and sociology. Note – a student enrolled in PPS can choose papers from any of the three subject areas)
    • Politics:
    • History of Political Thought
    • Comparative Politics
    • World Politics
    • Political Philosophy
    • Theory of International Relations
    • Regional Politics (e.g. Europe, China, Southeast Asia; please inquire)
    • International Political Economy
    • Politics of International Security and Development
    • Special topics – please inquire
    • Psychology:
    • Social Psychology
    • Experimental Psychology*
    • Biological Psychology*
    • Cognitive Psychology*
    • Research Methods and Statistics*
    • Develomental Psychology
    • Psychopathology
    • Social Psychology
    • Psychology and Social Issues
    • Social and Biological Bases of Gender
    • Special topics – please inquire
    • (*Papers with asterisks involve laboratory components)
    • Special Topics – Please inquire
    • Sociology:
    • Social Theory
    • Elementary Research Methods
    • Globalization
    • Media and Culture
    • Society in Modern Britain
    • Education
    • Politics and Religion
    • Health and Illness
    • Interdisciplinary Topics
    • Gender, Kinship and Care
    • The Family
    • Social and Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Criminology
    • Advanced Research Methods
    • Society, Politics, and Culture in Latin America
    • History and Politics of South Asia
    • Anthropology of Colonialism and Empire
    • Other topics may be available – please inquire
  • Theology and Religious Studies
    • Scriptural Language –Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Quranic Arabic or Sanskrit
    • Old Testament
    • New Testament
    • Christianity and the Transformation of Culture
    • Who is Jesus Christ
    • World Religions in Comparative Perspective
    • Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
    • Biblical Studies
    • Church History
    • Religious Themes in Literature
    • The Study of Religion
    • World Religions
    • Judaism and Hellenism
    • Topics in Christian Ethics
    • Self and Salvation in Indian and Western Thought
    • Sacrifice
    • Special Topics – Please inquire