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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Dear Returning Students,

This is just a short message to say that we look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge in October and to address some of the queries you may be having in the meantime. You will be hearing from your College (or may already have heard) about arrangements to do with your arrival, accommodation, etc. We wanted, however, to say a little about what you can expect in the Faculty itself.

In short, there will be a mix of in-person and virtual teaching. We will provide a lot more detail about all this before you arrive.

Due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and government guidance, we have had to make some changes to the programme in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give you the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation. The changes for 2020-21 are:

  • Lectures with large numbers of students will generally be delivered online.
  • Language classes and seminars will be delivered in-person and online. We aim to offer some in-person teaching for all students, either in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies or another University teaching space.
  • The online teaching component of the course will be delivered in the form of:
    • synchronous online lectures/language classes/seminars using Zoom or MS Teams, and,
    • asynchronous pre-recorded or prepared materials loaded on the Moodle site for each course in advance of the class time.
  • Class duration has been reduced to 45 minutes with 30 minute breaks in between to allow students safe entry to and exit from the Faculty Building, and necessary cleaning. Synchronous online classes will operate to the same schedule to minimise timetable clashes.
  • Students going on the Year Abroad in 2020-21 will do so only when government regulations both in the UK and in the target country allow for safe travel and residence. The eight-month abroad residency requirement will be waived for 2020-21, and should a shortened period abroad be necessary, the Faculty will make adjustments accordingly in teaching and assessment in Part 2. For students unable to travel abroad during Michaelmas Term, a Year Abroad Preparatory Programme with continued language studies, mentoring, and guidance has been planned. Should travel prove difficult or impossible for students also in LT, this programme will continue until travel is safe. Please note that conditions may differ between different countries and regions, and so students should contact the Year Abroad Coordinator for up to date information.

You may also be concerned about library access. We are delighted to say that the University Library, which has spent the last few months hugely increasing its holdings of digital materials, has now re-opened for borrowing physical books. We hope more facilities will be available by the time you arrive in Cambridge and you can find up to date details here: The FAMES Library will also be re-opening in the next two months with set times when users can pre-book access.

If you have any particular queries you might also like to consult the University of Cambridge's FAQs for students at:

With best wishes,

Prof Mickey Adolphson (Head of East Asian Studies)
Dr Yaron Peleg (Head of Middle Eastern Studies)