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Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Sidney

AMES at Cambridge

The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (FAMES) at Cambridge is divided into two Departments - the Department of East Asian Studies (DEAS), which covers Chinese and Japanese, and the Department of Middle Eastern Studies (DMES), which covers Arabic, Persian and Hebrew. Both classical and modern versions of the languages are taught. Subjects in the DMES may be taken as either whole or half subjects; the latter can be combined with a language such as French or Spanish from the Modern & Medieval Languages Tripos. Subjects in DEAS cannot be combined with any other subject. For further details of courses please refer to the Faculty website.

These subjects are taught ab initio in Cambridge, which means that no prior language abilities is assumed. However, some prior knowledge will, of course, be very useful as preparation for the course. While there is a strong emphasis on acquiring a detailed knowledge of the language(s) chosen, increasing attention is being paid to the historical, social, and literary aspects of the various cultures. The Asian and Middle Eastern Studies degree normally takes four years (Part IA in the first year, IB in the second year, Part II in the fourth year, with the third year spent abroad).



AMES at Sidney Sussex

The College encourages applications from students who are interested in any languages of the AMES Tripos. Candidates will need a clear head for grammar, the recognition of linguistic patterns and the learning of vocabulary. Although an experience of language learning is extremely useful, several students have excelled in this Tripos from school backgrounds in Mathematics, Sciences or Music, as well as History. Note that apart from language learning all these subjects involve essay writing on a wide range of topics. An independent approach for learning together with evidence of wide reading will be expected. Enthusiasm is also essential, as is the ability to work in small groups.

The AMES students at Sidney have an external director of studies and share many college activities with the MML students.


Academics

Dr Christine van Ruymbeke (external DoS) is the Ali Reza and Mohamed Soudavar Senior Lecturer in Persian Studies in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.


Typical Intake

1 - 2

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level or 40-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level (please see University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications). Please note that offers are set on an individual basis by the Colleges using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

There are no specific subjects required. At Sidney, we consider modern or ancient languages, humanities and social sciences subjects to be useful.While experience of language learning is extremely useful, several students have excelled in this Tripos from school backgrounds in Mathematics, Sciences or Music, as well as History. Note that apart from language learning all these subjects involve essay writing on a wide range of topics. An independent approach for learning together with evidence of wide reading will be expected. Enthusiasm is also essential, as is the ability to work in small groups.

Admissions Process

Written work

Two essays (where possible on a related subject; if combining with a modern European language, one must be in the target language). We will send out more specific information about what is required after the UCAS deadline.

Admissions Assessments

Pre-interview assessment: Comprehension (60 minutes), Essay/text response element (60 minutes). Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.

Interviews

Two interviews. For those combining AMES with a modern European language, one interview will focus on your chosen European language, and there will be a short passage to read for 15 minutes before the interview (you will be expected to speak in the language for part, but not all, of the interview). For those not selecting a modern European language, one interview will normally be a general one, focusing on your general interest and wider exploration of your chosen subject. This is intended to inform us of your motivation and your overall intelligence and potential. There will then be a subject interview by a specialist in your chosen language.

Find out more

Faculty of AMES

University website AMES course page