Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

University of Cambridge
In Cambridge (England)

Price on request

Important information

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Cambridge (England)
  • When:

Overview Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge The area we study stretches from Japan in the East to Morocco in the West, and from classical times to the present day. To study one of these cultures through its language is not only to develop a set of practical skills and knowledge that can be used later in many different ways, but also to engage with different ways of understanding our shared world. We don’t require you to have studied specific subjects at school; the best preparation is for you to explore for yourself what interests you in the culture you choose to study (see the Faculty website for suggestions). Flexibility: our range of options Our course is flexible and numerous options and combinations are available. You should indicate which language(s) you’re interested in studying in your Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) – the choice isn’t absolute and some students change direction before they start or as they progress. You can study Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese or Persian. You can combine Arabic, Hebrew and Persian with each other, or with a modern European language (if you have an A Level/IB Higher Level or equivalent in the European language) from Year 1; or with Hindi or Sanskrit from Year 2. You can take Arabic or Hebrew on their own, but Persian must be combined with another language (no more than two languages can be studied at one time). Chinese and Japanese cannot be combined, with another language. However, those studying Japanese can take Korean as an option in Year 4. Chinese gives you China in its own words. You encounter a sophisticated civilization and the most vibrant economy in the world today. You delve into its 3,500 years of recorded history, poetry and philosophy to understand how they shaped the tumultuous changes of modern times, and to engage with contemporary society. In Japanese, you master the spoken and written forms of the modern Japanese language. You also get unique...

Important information

Requirements: Entry Requirements Typical offers require A Level: A*AAIB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level For other qualifications, see our main Entrance requirements pages. Course Requirements Required by all Colleges: no specific subjectsRequired by some Colleges: an A Level/IB Higher Level language (ancient or modern), A Level/IB Higher Level in the European language (if you want to combine with a...


Where and when

Starts Location
1 Trumpington Street, CB2 1QA, Cambridgeshire , England
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What you'll learn on the course


Course programme

Course Outline Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Course Outline

Teaching is through lectures, seminars/classes, and supervisions, and you can typically expect 12-14 hours of teaching each week. Assessment includes written and oral examinations, and coursework.

Depending on your language(s), you take four to six papers in Years 1, 2 and 4, and write a dissertation of 12,000 words in your final year. You spend Year 3 abroad. See the Faculty website for full course details.

If you combine a European language with a Middle Eastern language, you study both roughly equally in Year 1 but after that you can balance them as you wish. If you combine both to Part II, you spend Year 3 in the Middle East.

Chinese Years 1 and 2 (Part I)

You receive intensive training in spoken and written Mandarin, as well as a grounding in reading literary and classical Chinese, and Chinese and East Asian history from ancient times to the present day.

Year 4 (Part II)

In Year 4, you write a dissertation and choose from specialist papers on topics as varied as religion, state and institutions in dynastic China, Chinese linguistics, contemporary society or literature, and war in the making of modern China.

Japanese Years 1 and 2 (Part I)

In Year 1, you study East Asian history as well as Japanese. Year 2 primarily focuses on Japan. You can take a compulsory paper in modern Japanese history, and choose several papers from options on classical Japanese, literature, society and politics.

Year 4 (Part II)

Alongside your dissertation in Year 4, you choose from special papers which vary each year. Past topics include Japanese culture, history, advanced classical Japanese, and politics. There’s also a Korean language option.

Arabic and Persian Years 1 and 2 (Part I)

You study written and spoken Arabic, and/or modern Persian, and an introduction to the contemporary Middle East and/or its history. In Year 2, you can study classical and modern literature, history, anthropology and/or Islam.

Year 4 (Part II)

In Year 4, you write a dissertation and the second-year subjects are offered again, but in more depth and specialisation (eg modern Islamist thought, Islamic Spain, travel writing).

Hebrew Years 1 and 2 (Part I)

You’re introduced to the Hebrew language and its literature, as well as the contemporary culture of Israel and the history and culture of the Middle East. You can also take other subjects such as linguistics, Judaism, Akkadian or Egyptian.

Year 4 (Part II)

In Year 4, in addition to your dissertation, you have a range of options to choose from, such as Hebrew literature, Israeli cultural studies, Israeli cinema, comparative Semitics, Aramaic, Phoenician, Ugaritic and the pre-modern and modern Middle East.

For further information about studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge see the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies website.