Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Study of Asia and the Middle East in 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, as well as gain exposure to the history, culture, literature and politics of the region in question. The 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 emphases. A crucial element of the course is the year abroad in year three, in which the students make significant progress in language fluency and conduct research for the senior dissertation.

AMES prides itself on diversity in unity as well as on the intimacy and close attention possible in a small faculty. It is rare for a course to have more than twenty participants, so that students benefit from direct contact with their teachers and supervisors.

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.

Applicants from any educational background are welcome. We accept applications from students studying in the UK, within the European Union and outside the European Union.

The typical offers require:

  • A Level: A*AA
  • IB: 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

You can choose to study whatever suits you best in these qualifying examinations. 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. The application process remains the same, however, as for all Cambridge course and full details are available elsewhere on this website.

For 2021 entry, candidates for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies are not required to take a pre-interview written assessment. Those wishing to combine an AMES language with a modern European language are required to take the at-interview written assessment for MML which lasts one hour, if interviewed. You do not need to register in advance for this, and will be sent full details about the assessment if called for interview. This is not a pass/fail test; it is simply something to supplement the information in your application and provide a gauge of your abilities, in particular to assess skills such as comprehension and thinking skills.  Rest reassured that your performance in any required written assessment will not be considered in isolation, but taken into account alongside the other elements of your application. Further information about the format and content for the MML assessment is available here.

We invite everyone who has a realistic chance of being offered a place to attend an interview. Each applicant will have two interview sessions, each lasting approximately 25-30 minutes. One of the interviews will be conducted by the College admissions tutor and another Fellow of the College, both of whom are most likely non-AMES specialists (though may be a linguist from MML if the applicant wishes to combine an AMES language with MML language). This interview’s aim is to assess the applicant’s general academic and intellectual aptitudes. The other interview is usually conducted by two members of AMES, one of whom will usually be the Director of Studies for AMES subjects for the College. This interview’s aim is to assess the applicant’s specific suitability for the course.