Applying for an undergraduate course
The application process for the undergraduate degrees in Oriental Studies is as follows:
1. Choose a course and check its entry requirements
2. Register for the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT) by 15th October if applying to study Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish as part of your course
3. Choose a College
4. Apply for your course through UCAS by 15th October
The Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT)
You need to take the OLAT if you are applying to study a Middle Eastern language - Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish - as part of one of these undergraduate courses at the University of Oxford:
- Oriental Studies
- European and Middle Eastern Languages
- Oriental Studies with Classics
- Theology and Oriental Studies
For further information about OLAT, please refer to this page.
The interview process
Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place in December. Interviews are not intended to be confrontational although they will undoubtedly be intellectually challenging. The tutors are interested in finding out what your intellectual potential is; they do not wish to catch you out. But remember to think carefully about the questions you have been asked; your interviewers will not mind if you pause to think. Try not to go in with some pre-packaged prepared piece you are determined to deliver at all costs.
The following criteria are to be applied in the assessment of candidates for Oriental Studies. In the case of candidates for the Joint Schools with Oriental Studies, these criteria are to be applied in assessment for the Oriental Studies side of each school.
- Intellectual curiosity
- Conceptual clarity
- Flexibility - the capacity to engage with alternative perspectives and/or new information
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Critical engagement
- Capacity for hard work
- Enthusiasm for their chosen subject
At various points of the admissions process candidates will be assessed against these criteria on the basis of information derived from a variety of sources:
- UCAS forms, including, in particular, personal statements, school reports, qualifications achieved and qualifications predicted
- Performance at GCSE
- Performance in the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT) for those applying to study Arabic, Persian, Turkish or Hebrew as part of their course
- Performance in interviews
- Comparison, in all these areas, with other candidates
Confirmation of places
Applicants will receive confirmation of their places in mid-August, following the receipt of their exam results, providing they have achieved or exceeded the minimum offer they will have received if they were successful at interview.
We welcome applicants from outside the United Kingdom. There are students from all over the world studying Oriental Studies at Oxford. We encourage students from abroad to study the entire course if at all possible, but those doing a second BA may sometimes be allowed to do a shorter version of an undergraduate course. Information about applying from outside the UK is available on the main University of Oxford website. We are used to dealing with applications from a wide range of educational systems and make offers which are appropriate in each case. For further advice on these and other qualifications, please consult the Schools Liaison Officer or the Undergraduate Admissions Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD.
Further information on applying to Oxford for undergraduate study can be found here. Video guides to undergraduate study at Oxford are also available here.
Students have written about their experiences studying some of the languages offered in Oriental Studies for The Oxford Blue here: https://www.theoxfordblue.co.uk/2020/02/12/unconventional-languages-degr....