Hertford is home to a lively and well-established community of students and tutors in Oriental Studies. We have the largest number of undergraduates studying Japanese in the University of any college and, as a student here, you’ll be able to benefit from our dedicated expertise in Japanese and Korean. We’re one of only two colleges with a Tutorial Fellow in Japanese, Professor Frellesvig, and are the only undergraduate college in Oxford with a Fellow in Korean Studies, Dr Kiaer. We also have a College Lecturer in Japanese, Ms Junko Hagiwara, who is a Senior Instructor in Japanese language, helping to create the engaging academic environment which we are proud of.
Hertford is a short walk or cycle ride from both the Oriental Institute and the China Centre. There, you’ll be able to interact with fellow students and leading experts from across the University, taking an active role in an engaging environment of research and learning.
Teaching and learning
We don’t expect you to have any previous knowledge of Japanese or Chinese if you apply for Oriental Studies at Oxford, although you may have – your language teaching will be adjusted to your specific level and needs. Both courses are comprehensive and demanding but very rewarding.
You’ll combine intensive work on written and spoken language with both general and highly specialized study of Japanese or Chinese culture, civilization and society, much of it based on texts and literature in Japanese or Chinese. In your second year you will study abroad at Kobe University in Japan or Peking University in China, experiencing language, culture and history first-hand.
Your practical language teaching will mainly be in small classes and language laboratories organised by the Faculty of Oriental Studies, where you’ll be able to work alongside students from other colleges. Here you’ll have the opportunity to develop your language skills through teaching led by experienced native speakers.
The other parts of the course are taught in lectures and in small-group tutorials, led by experts from Hertford and other colleges. We’ll help you to broaden your learning experience and develop independent study and research skills.
Studying for a degree in Oriental Studies allows you to develop a whole range of employable skills. Our graduates go on to pursue careers in finance, law, media and the arts (as well as many other sectors) while some of our students continue on to further study. The analytical and interpretative skills you’ll learn during your Oriental Studies degree will help you both in employment and Master’s or doctoral studies.
Making an application
No previous language knowledge is expected if you apply for Japanese or Chinese at Hertford. What we want to see in your application is evidence of your linguistic and intellectual ability and your motivation for the course. You’ll need to send us two marked essays written as part of your school or college work – these don’t need to be about Oriental Studies, we just want to see how well you can construct arguments and express your ideas in writing.
We’ll use your UCAS form and essays to help us decide who to interview. We don’t use interviews to test your knowledge. Instead, we’re looking to find out how you construct and articulate arguments and ideas, and to see your enthusiasm for the course. Visit the Oriental Institute website to find the most up-to-date entry requirements.