Among subjects in the Humanities, Oriental Studies is unique in offering advanced study of cultures and civilisations in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
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 architecture, archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, religion and modern social studies. The following are the principal areas of study:
- The 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 Laudian Chair of Arabic, for instance, was established in 1636. The Bodleian and other libraries have acquired magnificent collections. The Oriental Institute, 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 Islamic Art, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern studies.