Welcome to the Faculty of Oriental Studies

Oriental InstituteWelcome to the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of OxfordAmong subjects in the Humanities, Oriental Studies is unique in introducing students to cultures and civilisations that do not usually form part of the mainstream curriculum in British schools. The courses present both the major traditions of the regions studied and, in most cases, their modern developments. All courses include language, literature, history and culture, and there are a wide range of options in such fields as art and archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, religion and modern social studies.The following are the principal areas of study:

Islamic World, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Eastern Christianity, Egyptology and Ancient Near East, South and Inner Asia and East Asian Studies.

In addition to the above subject areas, a major benefaction from the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai has fully endowed a new Chair of Buddhist Studies at Oxford. For more information please see the Buddhist Studies section of this website.

Oriental Studies has a long history in Oxford. The Bodleian and other libraries have acquired magnificent collections. The Oriental Institute, Bodleian JapaneseIndian Institute, Bodleian K B Chen China Centre Libraries, and the Leopold Muller Memorial Library for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, offer loan collections in their respective fields. Adjacent to the Oriental Institute is the Ashmolean Museum, which houses superb collections. The Sackler Library includes the principal library for Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.

Bodleian LibraryMost courses offer the opportunity to spend time in the region being studied. The Arabic course includes a year in the Middle East, the Persian and Turkish courses a year in Iran or Turkey respectively, the Hebrew course an optional year in Israel. Both the Chinese and Japanese courses include a year abroad for all undergraduates in their second year, where they attend a course at a university which has been especially designed for Oxford’s undergraduates.

Further information about individual subjects can be found on this website within the relevant subject areas, accessed via the navigation bar above the banner picture at the top of each page.


Edward Ullendorff Medal for Semitic Languages and Ethiopian Studies

The Faculty of Oriental Studies would like to congratuate Dr Sebastian Brock FBA on being awarded the Edward Ullendorff Medal for Semitic Languages and Ethiopian Studies for his extensive contribution to the study of Syriac language and literature.

The Edward Ullendorff Medal is awarded annually for scholarly distinction and achievements in the field of Semitic Languages and Ethiopian Studies. This award commemorates Professor Edward Ullendorff FBA (1920-2011). His widow, Mrs Dina Ullendorff, has generously supported the establishment of a Medal in memory of her husband in view of his long association with the Academy, which he valued greatly. 

 Dr Frances Reynolds (Shillito Fellow in Assyriology) appeared on 'In Our Time' on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday 3 November as part of a panel discussing Gilgamesh, with Melvyn Bragg. To hear this via BBC iPlayer, please go BBCiPlayer Radio and follow the link here

 Forthcoming Conference:

Modern Hadith Studies between Arabophone and Western Scholarship 

Convened by Belal Alabbas, Prof Christopher Melchert and Dr Nicolai Sinai

Venue: Pembroke College, Oxford. OX1 1DW

Date: 09-10 January 2017: Please see here for more details:

Lectures & Seminars:

 Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Michaelmas Term 2016
Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies
Convenors: Professor Abigail Green and Professor Simon Levis Sullam
The seminars will be held on Monday at 11.15am in the Clarendon Institute,
Walton Street, unless otherwise stated

(Please call in advance for confirmation of the venue in case of change: 01865 610422).  See here for more information.

 Seminar in Modern Israel Studies

Michaelmas Term 2016
Tuesdays, 5pm - 6:30pm

Please see here for more information