Among subjects in the humanities, Oriental studies is unique in introducing students to cultures and civilisations that do not usually form part of the mainstream curriculum in British schools.
The courses offered by the faculty present both the major traditions of the regions studied and, in most cases, their modern developments. All courses include language, literature, history and culture, and there are a wide range of options in such fields as art and archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, religion and modern social studies. The following are the principal areas of study:
- Islamic World
- Hebrew and Jewish studies
- Eastern Christianity
- Egyptology and Ancient Near East
- South and Inner Asia
- East Asian studies.
Oriental studies has a long history in Oxford. The Bodleian and other libraries have acquired magnificent collections. The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford China Centre, Bodleian Japanese and Indian Institute libraries offer loan collections in their respective fields. Adjacent to the Oriental Institute is the Ashmolean Museum, which houses superb collections. The Sackler Library includes the principal library for Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern studies.