All undergraduate degrees in Oriental Studies involve the teaching of difficult languages from scratch and only in exceptional cases will students have studied the languages before coming to Oxford. Our experience has been that an A level in an Oriental language does not give significant advantage to a student, since the Oxford courses involve such a broad range of cultural elements in addition to language study. The progress of language learning from the start of the B.A. course is so intensive that the majority of students beginning from scratch find that they quickly catch up with those who may have some knowledge of the languages from school or family background.
It is helpful to have studied a language before, but not essential.
The normal requirements for admission are grades AAA at A Level or equivalent.
Your school or college should be able to advise you on what to submit.
For further information see:
Once we have received your application and accompanying written work, and if we have assessed it favourably, you will be called to Oxford for interview in early December. The Faculty acts in liaison with the colleges to organise interviews with subject specialists of the Faculty, in the Oriental Institute or the Institute for Chinese Studies. You will almost certainly be interviewed by one or more of the colleges too. Most candidates have no background in the subject they wish to study. Therefore one of the important functions of the interview is to ensure that you have a full understanding of what the course involves, the skills you will be required to develop, and the way in which the course is taught - we need to make sure that this is the right course for you. As well as your general ability and motivation, we will also be interested in gauging your potential for learning one or more difficult Oriental languages. The interview is thus one part of an extensive process which enables the various subject representatives to make informed assessments of students from a wide range of backgrounds.
OLAT: Oriental Languages Aptitude Test
The Admissions Testing Service is working in partnership with the University of Oxford to administer the OLAT from the November 2013 test sitting. The OLAT is a thirty minute admissions test taken by applicants wishing to read a Middle Eastern language as their main subject, either: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish. The test will take place either at a centre or your own school or college on 6 November 2013. Candidates must ensure that they are available to take the test at this time. Separate registration for this test is required and the final deadline for registration is 15 October 2013.
OLAT is in a pilot phase and the results currently have no material influence on admissions decisions. This will remain the case until the validation of the test has been completed.
Please visit www.olatoxford.org.uk
We judge whether you should be offered a place to study an Oriental subject at Oxford according to the evidence presented to us in your admissions documents: your UCAS form and the written work which you submit, plus our assessment of your potential during your interview. (Some subjects may also set an informal test during the interview.) We would expect successful candidates to demonstrate the following: high academic achievement, great potential for the intended course of study, good work habits, international outlook and strong motivation. Oriental Studies courses require a) a capacity for hard and well-organised work; b) the motivation to tackle languages which in most cases will be radically different from languages learnt previously and c) skills of analysis, argument and description for essay writing on an unfamiliar culture
We welcome applications from students from overseas. International students sometimes have previous knowledge of the language they wish to study, either in the home environment or through residence in a relevant region. The University Admissions Office maintains an up-to-date register of school qualifications in many countries and advice is always available when applications from abroad are assessed. If you are invited for interview and you are living outside Europe at the time of the interview, it may be possible to make alternative arrangements; in a few such cases a decision may be made without an interview.
There are occasions when the entrance grades may be modified: increasingly we receive applications from students with a wide variety of educational backgrounds; this includes mature students and students who have taken Access courses. Harris Manchester is the only college that caters for mature students alone, but mature candidates are welcome to apply to any college.
Mature Students: Written Work
As a mature applicant, you will need to make a judgement on what written work you feel best represents your academic ability. The work needs to demonstrate your ability to write on different topics, it is therefore desirable to submit work which will show a range of ability rather than two highly similar pieces. Written work can be extracts from longer pieces of work. There are many things we are looking for in your written work which are not specific to the subject area, such as ability to construct and defend an argument and presentation of material in the appropriate scholarly form.
Applications for deferred entry are welcomed by Oriental Studies. However, candidates for deferred entry should consult the admissions information on the website(s) of the college(s) to which they are also applying.
Second Undergraduate Degrees
For more information on second undergraduate degree applications, please see www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/grad/
The following links and downloads will help you with your application.