Year 11

Spotlight on HSPS: Biological and Social Anthropology

Exhibit at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. Image credit: B

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Biological Anthropology is a field which explores human biology and evolution. With an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture, it sits firmly between the social and biological sciences. Biological anthropologists study human origins and diversity in present and past populations in the context of their culture, behaviour, life-style, morphological and molecular variation. What aspects of our biology and behaviour are uniquely human and what do we share with other species? Why is there so little genetic variation among humans across the world? Are we still evolving and why has natural selection not eradicated disease? Can a statistical test save lives?

Social Anthropology addresses the really big question – what does it mean to be human? – by taking as its subject matter the full range of human social and cultural diversity: the amazingly varied ways that people live, think and relate to each other in every part of the world. What does this diversity tell us about the fundamental bases and possibilities of human social and political life? Can it help us to comprehend the sheer unpredictability of how contemporary global changes manifest themselves in people's lives across the world?

Find out more:

Date posted: 

Wednesday 22 April 2015


Spotlight on HSPS: Sociology

Image credit: Mehran Heidarzadeh

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Sociology is the study of modern societies and how they are changing today. Ever wonder why nationalism is such a powerful force in the modern world? Why there are protests, riots, and uprisings? Why Europe is in crisis? Why politicians are not trusted? Why Africa is so poor? Why racism persists? Why same-sex marriage causes such controversy? How globalization is changing our lives? Whether societies could ever be more just? Then Sociology is the subject for you.

Date posted: 

Thursday 16 April 2015


Exhibitions at the Kirkleatham Museum, East Cleveland

Kirkleatham Museum

Entrance to the Kirkleatham Museum. Credit: David (cropped)

If you are interested in old Anglo-Saxon history, you might enjoy visiting the Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar & Cleveland, which is home to some important exhibitions:

  • The Saxon Princess
    This popular exhibition is based on a six-year archeological project in East Cleveland, in which archaeologist Dr Steve Sherlock and local volunteers made some spectacular finds - a royal burial site and precious metal jewellery from an un-named Anglo-Saxon princess, dating back to the seventh century.  See this short film of Steve Sherlock speaking about the area.
  • Street House before the Saxons
    Linked to the Saxon Princess material, this second exhibition is based on Dr Steve Sherlock's other excavations between 1979 and 2004. Through photographs, films and archaeological objects, you can find out more about a Neolithic cairn from around 3,000 BC, Bronze Age burial sites and the remains of a timber house and timber circles that date from around 2,000 BC, as well as a Roman villa (AD 370) and Anglo-Saxon village.

More infomation about visiting the museum is available on the Redcar & Cleveland website.

If you enjoy this material, it would be worth having a look at the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) course at Cambridge (there's a film about it on the course films page).

Date posted: 

Monday 16 February 2015


Economics essay competition


Credit: (cropped)

The Royal Economic Society runs an annual competition for students studying Economics at school, with questions based on key elements of your syllabus. 

You may find the questions set for this year's competition interesting to think about:

  • "Countries like Greece caused the Eurozone crisis by running up too much debt, so it is only fair that they should bear most of the burden of fixing it." Discuss.
  • Should the Government support manufacturing?  If so, how?
  • Should raising GDP be the primary objective of economic policy?
  • "The rising gap between rich and poor is not just bad for society, it is bad for growth." Discuss.
  • Should "fracking" be allowed? If so, who should benefit?
  • "It is immoral for the drug companies to charge large sums for drugs that are cheap to manufacture." Discuss.
  • "High saving promotes faster growth. So having  more savers in the global economy should be good for our long term prosperity."
  • "Does the economic case favour a new airport runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or elsewhere?"

You may also find it useful to look at the essay titles and winning entries from previous years (bottom of the page).

If you are studying Economics and are interested in entering an essay for this competition, do ensure that you read the full details and entry criteria on the Royal Economic Society website before you start work. The deadline for entry is Monday 30 June 2015.

Date posted: 

Thursday 12 February 2015


Antarctic glaciers

Antarctic peninsula

The Northern Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is a very useful and interesting website on the the science of Antarctic glaciology written by Dr Bethan Davies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Here is the introduction:

Antarctic glaciers are beautiful and awe-inspiring. They affect us through their connections with the ocean and sea level, and environmental change is having rapid consequences in Antarctica. Antarctica is the world’s largest ice sheet, covering ~14,000,000 km2. Much of the ice sheet surface lies above 3000 m above sea level. This massive thickness of ice drowns whole mountain ranges, and numerous volcanoes exist underneath the icey exterior. It’s the world’s fifth largest continent, and it is, on average, the highest and coldest continent. Antarctica also provides a unique record of the Earth’s past climate, through the geomorphological record of glacier moraines, through ice cores, through deep sea sediment cores, and through past records of sea level rise.

If you would like to find out more about this fascinating topic, do explore the website, which includes information about different types of glacier, ice shelves, and ice streams as well as the section on glaciers and climate. There is a lot of material that you'll enjoy browsing, and if you are taking A level Geography, this section helps you to find the relevant material for different parts of your course. You can also ask questions here.

Date posted: 

Thursday 12 February 2015


Chemistry and Materials Sciences at Cambridge Science Festival

Medicine at Cambridge Science Festival

Maths and Physics at Cambridge Science Festival

Education at Cambridge

Education Faculty, University of Cambridge. Image credit: Steve Day

Cambridge is one of only a few universities to offer a degree in Education as an academic discipline. In the course of three years you explore Education as a broad social science, tackling its history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. You combine your studies in Education with another subject, choosing from Biological or Physical Sciences, English, English and Drama, Modern and Medieval Languages, Classics, Geography, History, Music, or Religious Studies. Whilst the Education degree may be a route into teaching, educational psychology, research, policy, or publishing, it also opens up a wide range of career paths outside of Education. King's doesn't offer the Education degree, but you can apply to study it at most Cambridge colleges.

Date posted: 

Thursday 5 February 2015


Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts in local cinemas

Did you know that the Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts performances to local cinemas around the UK and beyond?

If you are studying any works by Shakespeare, do visit the RSC onscreen website to find out about broadcasts in cinemas.

If you go to the cinemas and tickets page, you can look up what you could see near to where you live. For example, venues in Northumberland include The Maltings in Berwick upon Tweed, The Forum in Hexham, The Alnwick Playhouse and Vue cinemas in Cramlington.

Further information about the Royal Shakespeare Company is available on their website.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 4 February 2015



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