Oriental Studies

We accept about eight students each year for Oriental Studies. Within the course our main emphasis is on Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Persian and Turkish, but we welcome candidates in other subjects within Oriental Studies as well as in Classics and Oriental Studies and European and Middle Eastern Languages.

  • Painting of Qi Jiguang , a Chinese general from the Tang dynasty. Image by Thomas Chen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Courses Offered:

• BA (Hons) Oriental Studies
• BA (Hons) Classics and Oriental Studies
• BA (Hons) European and Middle Eastern Languages

Undergraduate Prospectus

It is not necessary to have studied in advance the Oriental language for which you apply, but it is advisable to inform yourself of the nature of the language and culture that you will be committing yourself to study for three or four years. The number of Oriental Studies students in the University is small, compared with Modern European Languages, but Wadham was one of the first colleges to take such students and it has built up a strong tradition with a large contingent of Orientalists, especially in Chinese.

The Courses
The courses are organised centrally from the Oriental Institute or Institute for Chinese Studies (about ten minutes’ walk from Wadham) where classes and tutorials shared with undergraduates from other colleges are usually held.

The Tutors
The tutors here at Wadham will oversee your work and help you with organising your schedule, and you will also be taught by them depending on the subject you are studying. Your other teachers will be University Lecturers who are also Fellows at other colleges and Language instructors.

The College Library provides subjects such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Persian with specialist books. The Chinese section, having been built up over many years, caters especially well for undergraduates, offering a valuable alternative to the Faculty Library in the Institute for Chinese Studies. The College Persian Library, which is of national importance, would be of interest to graduates researching in this field, as well as to undergraduates reading Arabic, Persian, Islamic History, and Persian Literature and Art in particular.

You will find Oriental Studies opening new horizons. Education in the fullest sense is still what we aim for, rather than just job training, but most of our recent graduates have found their knowledge of languages and culture of great value in a variety of careers, such as commerce, finance, law, the civil and diplomatic service, journalism, as well as academia.

We have an exchange scheme with Hiroshima University, where each year one of our students in Japanese studies can choose to study. We also support students who go on periods abroad as part of the course with travel grants.

Further Information
For more information on the course or applying please see the Undergraduate Prospectus.

A student's perspective - Arabic

A student's perspective - Chinese

Current Fellows and Lecturers

Professor Dominic Brookshaw (Senior Research Fellow in Persian)

Dr Otared Haidar (Lecturer in Arabic)

Dr Margaret Hillenbrand (Tutorial Fellow in Chinese)

Ms Hiroe Kaji (Lecturer in Japanese)

Mr Shio-yun Kan (Lecturer in Chinese)