Social Sciences

Mary Renault essay competition (Years 12 & 13)

Credit: Giovanni

St Hugh's College, Oxford is running an essay competition in memory of author Mary Renault (best known for her novels set in ancient Greece) for sixth form students who are not studying Greek or Latin to A level or equivalent.

Essays can be from any subject area and should be on a topic relating to the reception of classical antiquity. This includes Greek and Roman literature, history, political thought, philosophy, and material remains in any period from the Middle Ages to the present.

For full information, please see the Mary Renault prize flyer. The deadline for submissions is 16 January 2016.

Date posted: 

Friday 16 October 2015


Social Science Bites

magnetic words on a board

In this series of illuminating podcasts, you can hear leading social scientists present their perspectives on how our social world is created, and how social science can help us understand people and how they behave. Each podcast includes a downloadable written transcript of the conversation.

Here are just a few suggestions by subject:

There are also Philosophy bites arranged by theme, on everything from Plato’s Cave to Free Will and Morality without God.

Date posted: 

Friday 2 October 2015


Essay Writing - Where To Begin?

tapping a pencil on a black writing pad

Credit:Rennett Stowe

Getting those first words on the page when you’ve got an essay to write can seem daunting. There are a few useful tools and guides online that can help you get started and even develop your essay writing skills.

Essay Map is a very straightforward tool for mapping out your key ideas before you begin writing and helps you to create a structured plan from introduction to conclusion.

And if you find graphic plans useful when it comes to mapping out essays, there are lots of different designs online that you can use to organise your ideas.

For something more advanced, Harvard College Writing Centre provides various guides to essay writing. Their guides to writing in different academic disciplines are especially useful if you’re starting to study a subject in greater depth than you ever have before (History? Philosophy? English Literature?).

Date posted: 

Friday 25 September 2015


Durham Book Festival: Writing from Conflict

If you live in or near Durham, there are some interesting talks coming up for the Durham Book Festival.

Here's an example: Writing from Conflict with Michelle Green and David Constantine

How have these writers responded to their experiences of conflict?

  • Date and time:  Saturday 10 October, 3pm-4pm
  • Location: Palace Green Library (Wolfson Gallery), Durham
  • Information and booking

Michelle Green worked in a humanitarian aid centre in Darfur, at the height of the Sudanese civil war. She has written a collection of stories, Jebel Marra, which tells the story of the war from the perspective of 15 different characters.

David Constantine is an award-winning writer who will read Asylum, a story that he has written in response to the issue of human rights and the plight of refugees.

Date posted: 

Thursday 17 September 2015


Social Sciences at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas

Date posted: 

Tuesday 15 September 2015


Undergraduate dissertations

For quite a few of the essay courses at Cambridge, there are opportunities to work on a dissertation. This would normally be in the later years, and sometimes you can choose to write a dissertation to replace one of your exam papers (see the structure of your chosen course). As Fiona, one of our History students says, 'it’s a good way to spend time studying something that you’re particularly interested in, and to research material which has hardly been studied before'. Many students enjoy researching and writing their dissertation so much that they decide to go on to further research after their degree, and they apply for Masters and PhD courses.

Christ's College has produced a very interesting resource with accounts of what some current undergraduates are studying for their dissertations. Do visit their website to find out more:

Date posted: 

Thursday 27 August 2015


King's students write about a typical day

Student with an inflatable boat

Do you want to know what it's like to be a student at King's? King's College Student Union (KCSU) is keen to help you out - they are collecting short accounts written by current students of what it is like to study here. Do look at A Day In The Life Of.... and click on the subject you're most interested in, or start with Scott's general description of life as a fresher.

Did you find this useful? Then do also look a our King's Student Perspectives section for more student writing.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 25 August 2015


Inside the Ethics Committee

Rod of Asclepius, symbol of Medicine, emblazoned 'first do no harm'First do no harm? Daniel K. Sokol, a barrister and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at King's College London, unpicks this aphorism in the BMJ. Image credit: Eden, Janine, and Jim

To study Medicine at Cambridge, you not only need to be a keen scientist, with a sound scientific understanding, but also have the potential to become a good doctor. The Clinical School believes that one of the key qualities of a Medical student is 'a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues.'  BBC Radio 4's Inside the Ethics Committee gives you an insight into some of these issues.  In each programme, the presenter Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case. In recent weeks, they've asked:

  • should a surgeon agree to a young woman's request to amputate her leg? (Thursday 16 July)
  • how far should a medical team go to prevent a young woman from ending her life? (Thursday 23 July)
  • is it ever ethical to withhold food and water in a child who is not dying? (Thursday 30 July)
  • should a medical team accept a teenager's choice to refuse chemo? (Thursday 6 August)

How would you wrestle with these dilemmas?

Date posted: 

Thursday 6 August 2015


Do you live too far away to visit Cambridge?

The Vaults (King' s College Gym)

Different people need different facilities. This is one of the treadmills in the King's Vaults gym.

It is not unusual to make a successful application without ever having set foot in Cambridge. Don't worry if it is not practical for you to visit as there is no requirement to do so.

Since we welcome applicants who live a long way from Cambridge, we do our best to ensure that all the infomation that you need to make a strong application is on our website (see the relevant subject page and how to apply in particular), as well as virtual tours and the life and facilities sections so that you can get a sense of King's as a place:

We also have a dedicated page for if you don't feel very well supported for your application, and the student perspectives are particularly useful (if you read five or six of these, you'll have a very good sense of what studying at King's is like).

The University has made some films which you may also find useful:

Date posted: 

Tuesday 14 July 2015


Would you like to visit Cambridge during the summer?


Prospective students are always welcome to visit

Remember that you are welcome to visit any time, even if there's not an official open day on.

  • If you would like to look around a college, it is best to introduce yourself at the porters' lodge (the reception). Porters are normally happy for prospective students to walk around the public areas and will give you any maps / information available. There's also a map of Cambridge, which shows where the colleges are. You'll see that the middle of Cambridge is quite small, so you will be able to walk between most colleges easily.
  • If you would like to visit King's, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge when you arrive. The college will be open to prospective students and we have a self-guided tour that you can use.
  • You may find the Following in the Footsteps audio tour useful for visiting other parts of the University. Cambridge University is made up of colleges, faculties (where you go for lectures), libraries (over 100 of them!) and offices dotted around the city, and following this tour will give you a good sense of how it all works.
  • There are also some great museums and teaching collections which you might like to explore, most of which are free to visit. Or you might like to check the 'what's on' list for the day you are visiting - there are often talks and exhibitions on, as well as the Shakespeare Festival.

Date posted: 

Friday 10 July 2015



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