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Suggested Reading and Resources

We always recommend that students read widely around their subject, deepening their knowledge and understanding, to help prepare for their application.  Tutors will be looking for evidence of students' academic potential, as well as their commitment and motivation for their course, so will be looking for evidence that a student has really engaged with their subject, and has a passion for studying it.

Many sources of information can be useful but we suggest the following reading lists and other resources as possible starting points.


Archaeology and Anthropology

Suggested reading for Archaeology and Anthropology (55 kb) [pdf]

You may also like to take a look at the website Discover Anthropology.

Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular

Suggested reading for prospective Biochemistry applicants can be found on the Department of Biochemistry website.

Biological Sciences

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Biological Sciences but we encourage you to read New Scientist, National Geographic or any other Biology materials which you find interesting.

Biomedical Sciences

Introductory Reading for Biomedical Sciences1.pdf (71 kb) [pdf]

Chemistry

Introductory reading for Chemistry (7 kb) [pdf]

You may also like to read Chemistry World magazine, and see other resources on Chemnet.

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

There is no reading list for students applying for Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, as we encourage students to engage with whatever they find interesting about the ancient world. If you are interested in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, this will include the historical and archaeological evidence through which we learn about that world. As well as visiting your local museum, or other museums, you may wish to explore some websites which have excellent links to historical and archaeological materials, such as the British Museum or Oxford’s own Ashmolean Musem, or the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time’, covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

 

There are also many social media sites which you can join such as Classics Confidential, Classics Outreach and Classics International.

 

Classics

There is no reading list for students applying for Classics, as we encourage students to read as widely as possible about any Classics materials they find interesting (in literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, and/or philolology), and to think critically about their reading. You may also wish to explore some websites which have excellent links to materials about the ancient world, such as the British Museum or the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time’, covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

 

There are also many social media sites which you can join such as Classics Confidential, Classics Outreach and Classics International.

Classics and English

Please see the information for Classics and for English. 

Classics and Modern Languages

Please see the information for Classics and for Modern Languages.

Classics and Oriental Studies
Please see the information for Classics and for Oriental Studies.
Computer Science

Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Computer Science can be found on the departmental website.

You may also like to look at our GeomLab website which will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming in an interactive, visual way through a guided activity.

Computer Science and Philosophy

Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Computer Science can be found on the departmental website.

You may also like to look at our GeomLab website which will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming in an interactive, visual way through a guided activity.

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

 

 

Earth Sciences

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Earth Sciences but we encourage you to read New Scientist, National Geographic or any other relevant materials which you find interesting.

Economics and Management

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis, both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

Economics & Management reading list pdf. (515 kb) [pdf]

Engineering Science

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Engineering Science but we encourage you to read any relevant  materials which you find interesting.

English Language and Literature

We recommend that you read as widely as possible, and think critically about all the texts – literary or not – that you read.  Read more about this in our examples of interview questions.

You can find literary resources on our Great Writers Inspire site. You may also like to look at literary websites and listen to radio programs such as BBC Radio 4's 'In Our Time'.

English and Modern Languages

Please see the information for English and for Modern Languages.

European and Middle Eastern Languages

Please see the guidence on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How best to prepare for the entrance procedure'. This advice can be applied to both the European and the Middle Eastern elements of the course.

Experimental Psychology

Please follow the pdf link below for suggested reading for Experimental Psychology. This document also includes reading suggestions for those interested in the Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics course.

EP PPL Suggested Reading List_June 2013.pdf (268 kb) [pdf]

Fine Art

You can prepare by having a look at the reading list for the first year Art History course which all students on the BA Fine Art study.

BFA First Year Art History (31 kb) [pdf] 

You may also like to spend time preparing to submit your portfolio.  For further details please see the Ruskin School website.

Geography

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Geography but we encourage you to read National Geographic magazine or any other Geography materials which you find interesting.

History

There is no specific reading list for History, as we encourage students to read whatever they find interesting, on any period of History. For example, you might want to follow up on references made in your school or college text books. Your History teacher may also be able to recommend particular works for you to read on topics that you find most interesting.

One good way of broadening your historical horizons is to read one of the History magazines: History Today or BBC History,which has weekly podcasts. You may like to look at the books which are being reviewed in the quality press.

You may also like to explore the websites of public institutions which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or BBC Radio 4 archives.

Also, please see our History Off the Shelf website and iTunes U site for podcasts and other useful resources.

History (Ancient and Modern)

There is no reading list for students applying for Ancient and Modern History, as we encourage students to read as widely as possible about any period of history, ancient and/or modern, that they find interesting. (See 'History' above). For the ancient world, you may also wish to explore websites which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or Oxford’s own Ashmolean Musem, the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time', covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

History and Economics

Currently the reading list for prospective History applicants is under review. In the meantime you may find it useful to explore the BBC Radio 4 archives as they include lots of programs exploring all ages of History. 

Also, please see our History Off The Shelf website for podcasts and other useful resources.

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis, both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

History and English

Please see the information for History and for English. 

History and Modern Languages

Please see the information for History and for Modern Languages. 

History and Politics

Politics is a very wide-ranging subject. In addition to newspapers and weeklies, Jonathan Wolff’s 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy' is recommended; and also, for interesting and up-to-date insights into recent political developments in a number of countries, the series of texts produced by Macmillan publishers at regular intervals called ‘Developments in British (French, German, East European etc.) Politics’.

Please see also the information for History.

History of Art

A reading list for prospective applicants to History of Art can be found on the History of Art departmental website.

You may also find it interesting to explore the following resources:

Human Sciences

Introductory reading lists can be found on the Institute of Human Sciences website.

Law

We recommend that you start by reading the court reports in broad sheet newspapers.

As the reading lists for the degree course change each year it isn't always advisable to buy text books in advance, but you may find one or more of the books from this list useful when preparing your application Introductory reading for Law (7 kb) [pdf]. It can be useful to look at the list of law academics on the departmental website and follow the links to their latest publications.  All lecturers have their own lists, which change from year to year and include books and journal articles.

You may also like to read the BBC's website Law in Action, and download their podcasts. Other recommendation are the Guardian's law pagesand the Counsel magazine.

 


 

 

Materials Science

There is no set text and students should read widely around the subject. Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Materials Science can be found on the departmental website

Students may also wish to read the New Scientist magazine which may be available in your school or local library.

Running an internet search on Nanoscience or Nanotechnology will give useful background information in the sciences.

Materials, Economics and Management (MEM)

For reading lists for prospective MEM applicants please see the information for Materials Science and for Economics and Management.

Mathematics

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics applicants can be found on page 11 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Mathematics and Computer Science

For information for prospective applicants to the Mathematics and Computer Science degree please see the information for Mathematics and for Computer Science.

Mathematics and Philosophy

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics and Philosophy applicants can be found on page 17 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Mathematics and Statistics

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics and Statistics applicants can be found on page 11 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Medicine

Prospective students for Medicine may like to start by looking at the introductory reading list below. You may also be interested in the Oxford Medical School Gazette, for more information about the Gazette and subscription offers for Sixth Form students please see their website.

 

Introductory Reading for Medicine (2)1.pdf (70 kb) [pdf]
Modern Languages

Please see the guidence on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How best to prepare for the entrance procedure'. 

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Please see the guidance on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How best to prepare for the entrance procedure'. 

Introductory reading for Linguistics.pdf (233 kb) [pdf]

 

Music

At present we do not produce a Music reading list for people who are considering making a Music application. However, you may find this BBC Radio 4 program about Mathematics and Music of interest. 

Oriental Studies

Suggested reading for Oriental Studies can be found on the Oriental Studies website by following the relevent links below:

BA Oriental Studies - Arabic

BA Oriental Studies - Chinese

BA Oriental Studies - Japanese

BA Oriental Studies - Sanskrit

BA Oriental Studies - Persian

BA Oriental Studies - Turkish

Suggested reading lists for BA Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies, BA Hebrew Studies and BA Jewish Studies are currently in development and will hopefully be available in the near future.

Philosophy and Modern Languages

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

For suggested reading for the Modern Languages element of this course, please see the entry for Modern Languages. 

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

We always recommend that students read widely around their subject, deepening their knowledge and understanding, to help prepare for their application.  Tutors will be looking for evidence of students' academic potential, as well as their commitment and motivation for their course, so will certainly be looking for evidence that a student has really engaged with their subject, and has a passion for studying it.  This is particularly important for courses like PPE, as many students will not have studied any of these three subjects at their school or college.

The very best preparation is a reasonable grasp of the workings of the social and political world in which we live. For PPEists, reading newspapers, watching TV and listening to radio news and current affairs programmes are not optional activities – they are crucial to success at the subject. Students should read a good quality daily newspaper, and ‘The Economist’ weekly is also highly recommended – this offers unparalleled quantity and quality analysis of current events.

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

Politics is a very wide-ranging subject. In addition to newspapers and weeklies, Jonathan Wolff’s 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy' is recommended; and also, for interesting and up-to-date insights into recent political developments in a number of countries, the series of texts produced by Macmillan publishers at regular intervals called ‘Developments in British (French, German, East European etc.) Politics’.

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis in use both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

Philosophy and Theology

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

At present we do not produce a specific Theology reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them.

Physics

There are many suitable sources for reading. Popular science books are normally readily available at your local library, as are copies of the New Scientist or other scientific periodicals. Anything that takes your interest will be valuable; we have no set reading list. 

However, for general preparation prospective candidates can see the suggestions under ‘Preparation’ on the Physics department website. We also recommend maths preparation.
 
There is also lots of information on the internet, on sites such as www.physics.org. or through some of the excellent science blogs. The University of Oxford publishes a science blog and our department also runs a project called Galaxy Zoo which is part of the Zooniverse community of projects , which allows members of the public to contribute to astrophysics research. Large scientific organisations such as CERN and NASA publish a lot of good material online, for example the Astronomy Picture of the Day website.

iTunesU can also be a very useful resource, as it has a range of physics content, from public talks to undergraduate lectures, from a variety of reputable sources.

Physics and Philosophy

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

Please see the entry for Physics for further suggestions.

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL)

Please follow the pdf link below for the suggested reading list for Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics. This document also includes suggested reading for Experimental Psychology. 

EP PPL Suggested Reading List.pdf (136 kb) [pdf]

 

Theology and Religion

At present we do not produce a specific Theology reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them. 

You may also find it interesting to explore the BBC Radio 4 archives of the 'In Our Time' program, especially the Religion and Philosophy archives.

Theology and Oriental Studies

At present we do not produce a specific Theology and Oriental Studies reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them.