Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Course details

Number of students per year
Typical offer
A*AA at A-level; 40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level for the IB.
Essential subjects
An A Level/IB Higher Level in the European language (if you want to combine with a European language).
Useful subjects
Modern or ancient languages

At Homerton

Thanks to the Faculty’s relatively small size, AMES students at Homerton all know each other, even across the various language areas they represent. Dr Aaron Hornkohl, University Language Teacher in Hebrew and Bye-Fellow at Homerton, serves as the AMES Director of Studies. He strives to provide accessible support to the cohort of Homerton AMES students and works with the student representative to organise rewarding social events. Because of the variety of subject matters represented by Homerton AMES students, nearly all teaching and supervision is organised within the faculty, which is also where it takes place.

At Cambridge

The study of Asia and the Middle East at Cambridge dates back centuries. For example, the Regius Professorship in Hebrew was established by King Henry VIII in 1540. Today, the faculty members include world-class experts in the languages and cultures of the principal areas of undergraduate focus in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, as well as specialists in Korean, Indian, and other languages.

The AMES course is a four-year programme of study in which students, most of whom have no previous knowledge of their chosen Asian or Middle Eastern language, reach near-native fluency and gain exposure to the history, culture, literature and politics of the region in question. Your first year of study is very language-intensive, while subsequent years offer more freedom to continue a language-oriented focus or to branch out into other areas. A crucial element of the course is the year abroad in year three, in which you will make significant progress in language fluency and conduct research for your senior dissertation.

In the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, we pride ourselves on diversity in unity as well as the intimacy and close attention possible in a small faculty. It is rare for a course to have more than twenty participants, so you will benefit from direct contact with your teachers and supervisors.

What We Look For

We are looking for students who have the academic ability and potential to succeed on the course, as well as the necessary interest in and motivation for the subject.

In order to explore AMES in more detail we would recommend the introductory reading for prospective applicants and offer holders for different subject streams available here: Chinese-preparatory reading/ Japanese - preparatory reading/ Arabic - preparatory reading/ Persian- preparatory reading/ Hebrew - preparatory reading

How To Apply

For AMES you do not need to have previous formal education in foreign languages, but that said, previous language study may give a good indication of your motivation and commitment. What is certain is that most applicants will not have studied the material for this course before and they are not required to have done so.

Admission Assessment: There is no Admissions Assessment for AMES, unless you want to study a modern European language. Those wishing to combine an AMES language with a modern European language are required to take a written assessment for Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). The test will last one-hour and is not a test that you can pass or fail; it is simply a way of supplementing the information in your application and to provide a gauge of your abilities, in particular to assess skills such as comprehension and thinking skills. Further information about the format and content for the MML assessment is available here.

Written WorkSubmit two, preferably marked, essays (in any subjects).


The range of career options open to graduates is vast and many use their subject directly in subsequent employment. Career choices include the media, business and commerce, the Civil Service (especially the Foreign Office), tourism, teaching overseas, or NGOs. Our graduates have also gone into banking, marketing and law. Even if you choose not to stay in a related field, employers are often impressed by your choice to study a difficult language.


Teaching Fellows