Oriental Studies, or Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, enables students to study histories, cultures and civilisations that are different from the Western ones that form the basis of the curriculum in most British schools and colleges.
Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Oriental Studies, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.BOOK COURSE
Cambridge offers a degree course in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies that lasts four years and includes a year abroad.
Students choose to study at least one language, with options including Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic and Persian.
The application process is competitive with 3 applications per place. To be offered a place, you generally need to get A*AA at A Level (or equivalent). There are no A-level subject requirements as all languages are taught from scratch.
Oxford's Oriental Studies course is split into Arabic, Chinese, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Hebrew Studies, Japanese, Jewish Studies, Persian, Sanskrit and Turkish. The degree lasts three or four years depending on which pathway is chosen.
The application process is competitive with 26% of applications successful. To be offered a place, you generally need to get AAA at A Level (or equivalent). There are no A-level subject requirements, although studying a foreign language is recommended.
To prepare for your Oriental Studies application, you must demonstrate your motivation for the subject and specific interests. You can do this by reading beyond your school curriculum. Our interviewers recommend:
- 'Orientalism' by Edward Said
- 'East Asia: A Cultural, Social and Political History' by Anne Walthall and Patricia Buckley Ebrey
- 'A History of the Modern Middle East' by William Cleveland
Practice interviews for Oriental Studies applications are critical. You wouldn’t sit an exam without doing a mock, so don’t place yourself in an interview without having experienced a practice interview first.
Rachael (Oriental Studies, Oxford)
Rachael recently completed her PhD at the University of Oxford. Her research focused on the socio-political climate of Tibet, Mongolia, and China in the 18th Century.
She is also a current tutor in Tibetan History at the Oriental Institute at Oxford University.
Rachael’s advice to students on their interviews is: “Think carefully about the questions you have been asked. Your interviewers will not mind if you pause to think!”
Applicants to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge are not required to sit a written admissions assessment, unless they also plan to study a European language, in which case they are required to take part of the MML Admissions Assessment at interview.
All applicants to Oriental Studies at Oxford are required to take the Oriental Languages Admissions Test (OLAT).