- Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies (map)
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RQ
- +44 (0)1223 334520
- See also:
- Institution admissions pages, Graduate Studies Prospectus Entry.
The Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies consists of three Departments (Sociology, Politics and International Studies (which has its own entry in this alternative prospectus), and Social and Developmental Psychology) and the Centre for Family Research. The aim is to both strengthen particular disciplines and retain the inter-disciplinary nature of SPS. This is crucial, as the diversity of cultural and academic backgrounds of the 90 or so MPhil and PhD graduates is one of the great assets of SPS. It makes graduate study at the Faculty an experience that (given own motivation) allows for questioning standard approaches within each discipline and incorporating related findings form other disciplines into one’s own work. The intellectual space to do so is provided by a number of reading groups and research groups that offer seminars and invite students across disciplines. Seminar series held by the different departments and the CFR also offer graduates the opportunity to present one’s own work.
As research topics in the Social Sciences are often not conducted in research groups the choice of one’s supervisor might be even more important than in other subjects. Collecting information about the possible choices and getting in touch with prospective supervisors at an early stage is a good idea and might avoid severe disappointment.
The Faculty is located right in the centre of Cambridge housed in atmospheric old buildings on New Museum’s Site. Pleasant as this may be, it seems to go at the expense of available office space. This allows for only a relatively small number of students to have their own desk in the “graduate attic”. Although there are sufficient and very well maintained shared computing facilities, many graduates decide to work most of their hours at home. This can make graduate study – especially at PhD level – a rather isolated experience. Research is supported by very friendly and competent administrative and library staff. SPS students can normally be found in the Eagle pub which is a stone’s throw away from the Faculty. Grad parties are held once or twice a term; on the whole, however, SPS graduates do not seem to regularly socialise with one another outside of office hours.
In summary: SPS is a very good choice for those who value thinking beyond disciplinary boundaries and are not easily put off by some practical inconveniences.