Skip to content

Good Books To Read For Philosophy Personal Statement

We hope our collection of UCAS Philosophy personal statements provides inspiration for writing your own. Please do not plagiarise them in any way, or UCAS will penalise your application. Our Personal Statement Editing & Review Services are available if you feel you need a little extra help.

If you are applying to university in the USA, please visit Studential.com/us.

I believe that there are two ways to look at how the world develops: the first is through the progress of history and human civilisation, and the second is through the progress of knowledge and human understanding...

Economics/PPE Personal Statement

My aspiration to study Economics at both Advanced and degree level has stemmed from my lasting interest in current affairs and world development. These issues require an application of Economics in real-life situations and can be related to many diverse subjects such as politics, philosophy and psychology...

All assumptions, methods, implication considered in scientific fields with an aim of establishing the truth in natural phenomenon are part of philosophy of science. Logic plays a crucial role in establishing a smooth flow while deducing premises for the assumptions...

Politics, Philosophy & Economics Personal Statement

In a recent address to the Canadian Parliament, David Cameron made the comment that "This is not a traditional, cyclical recession. It's a debt crisis,". Although I am yet to align myself to a political party I find politics, economics and philosophy very interesting individually...

One area of philosophy I find particularly exciting is the philosophy of mind, which I was first introduced to while reading Descartes' 'Meditations'. I was fascinated by the problem regarding how interaction can take place between the mind and body without some sort of supernatural "spirit", which opens up great questions...

Philosophy Personal Statement

As anyone, I have the desire to reach my highest potential. For me, that is to engage in higher philosophical questions and ideas. It is one of the most valuable and important activities done by people...

Philosophy has shaped the foundations of all human life and thought. The importance of philosophic enquiry can be traced from the beginning of civilization to the heart of modern society, and I believe that the ability to ask and attempt to answer philosophical questions is one of the key attributes we associate with being human...

Upon the opening of any quality newspaper, one would find that economic and political news dominate the headlines, but upon deeper reading it can be seen that the foundations of all human thought and actions have been shaped by philosophical theories...

Philosophy, Politics & Economics Personal Statement

I have wanted to take PPE at university ever since discovering that the course existed, having loved Mathematical and Essay subjects in equal measure throughout my time in school. Philosophy and Politics are subjects I have always wanted to study further, and upon studying Economics for the first time at the Eton College Universities Summer School I was extremely taken by the subject, as it seemed to give me an entirely new outlook on the world...

I have never understood politicians. Are they supposed to be economists or philosophers? Or should they be environmentalists instead? My questions have made me a dreamer who fights reality. While philosophy centers around the question What would be the best way to live ?, economics dictates how to live...

I have always wanted to understand more about the world - not about its physical form or its surface, but about the people in it and the reasons why we have come to live the way we do - the reasons for conflict, government decisions and economic developments...

PPE Personal Statement

Society is a concept that has always fascinated me, as it is the fundamental manifestation of human existence. Its nature is defined by the prevalent political and economic conditions, which have global impact...

What makes me the person I am? What is personhood, or identity? As Plato said "Philosophy begins in wonder." I feel that the study of philosophy will enable me become the person who is able to wonder such questions in a clearer and more logical manner...

Philosophy and Politics Personal Statement

After reading several books with political and philosophical themes (such as 'Animal Farm'/'1984' by George Orwell and 'Guns Germs and Steel' by Jared Diamond) I came to realise the power and implications of ideology and belief, and found myself with a desire to learn more...

Why do humans act the way they do? It seems a simple question, but you're as likely to know the answer as you are to learn of the meaning of life. But that doesn't mean we don't try. When I applied for college, I took Psychology simply because I was curious, but now, it enthrals me; studying the different theories put forward as to why we do certain things, or why we don't; delving into the minds of the depressed, the murderous or the deranged and generally trying to explain the things we do unconsciously, like conform...

Philosophy Personal Statement

The body: An entity existing in a space-time universe constructed of atoms and energy. The soul: Indefinable, non-physical, indeterminable; the conscience, the mind, a meta-physical property. One of these uses scientific measuring equipment as a means to measure and define, the other, the mind; discussion, reasoning and observation the means of intellectual exploration...

Modern Languages & Art History Personal Statement

I have always been interested in the world's culture: its history and art. Philosophy and languages proved themselves a perfect tool to describe and explain various conceptions of human mind, so that one could understand the specific meaning and value of each of them...

Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE) Personal Statement

My pre-existing interest in politics became a fascination during a holiday to Mexico in the aftermath of the 2006 Presidential elections. I saw mass demonstrations in Mexico City, the barricades of a teachers strike involving shootouts between police and teachers and the way in which Commandante Marcos' zapatistas were in de facto control of the countryside in resistance to central government...

Philosophy Personal Statement

Philosophy has captured the minds of many great thinkers for millennia, and will continue to do so indefinitely. In the past three years, I have become deeply fascinated by the questions and thoughts of philosophers...

Mathematics and Philosophy Personal Statement

Bertrand Russell once said: “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know.” I have always been fascinated by the things that stretch our understanding and knowledge of the world to the limits; the vastness of the universe, the extent of the number line, the existence of a superior being and the workings of the human brain, to name a few...

The word philosophy originates from the ancient Greek word philosophia meaning love of knowledge. A year on from my first lesson and I find myself in love with knowledge. What is good? What is identity?, determinism or indeterminism?, dualism or materialism?...

The more extensively one studies any subject, the more common ground one will find it shares with all the others. This can be taken to its furthest extent when applied to literature - because there is nothing that is not, or cannot be, explored in literature...

My belief is that understanding the universe and everything in it is the primary goal of mankind. Our ability to imagine new ideas, new technologies and build up detailed pictures and opinions of the world mark us as distinctly different from our homosapien ancestors...

One could ask who created the universe? Why do we exist? What is man's purpose in this world? The question I thought of most, who created me? These are just some of the questions I used to wonder and ask myself, in the words of Plato, 'Philosophy begins in wonder'...

English and Philosophy Personal Statement

English has always been at the forefront of my mind, whether it be writing storybooks as a child, play-writing as a teen, or analysing literature at A Level. I enjoy the thrill of writing creatively but equally enjoy composing non-literary pieces where I can put across my views, inform or debate...

Philosophy & Psychology Personal Statement

In today's world, everyone is a philosopher. How can one not be, with an intake of information greater than any previous generation? We are bombarded with words and ideas, pictures and concepts. This data has rarely been publicly questioned in centuries past yet today the media compels everyone to ask the question: why? And I am no different...

Philosophy and Theology Personal Statement

"When I was a childI reasoned like a child" (1 Corinthians 13:11), yet it was only as I grew older and I began to build a personal relationship with faith on an intellectual level that my religious identity began to form in earnest...

A trip to Mexico at age twelve sparked my interest in the social sciences. The level of poverty and governmental corruption jarred me whilst there, and thus my determination to understand why social injustice occurs and how to combat it formed...

Philosophy and Economics Personal Statement

If anything, I am a curious person. Most people spend their lives aspiring to knowledge; and yet they cannot acquire it all. What really matters is the thirst for knowledge. I consider myself as one of those thirsty people and I believe that curiosity is the key to everything...

Philosophy Personal Statement

Philosophy has had an irrevocable impact on my life in the past couple of years. It has enabled me to think critically about myself, my actions, my responsibility as a human being and my conception of the world in general...

Philosophy and Sociology Personal Statement

For me the examination of the human condition and the conditions in which humans exist has sparked the most fascinating cultivation and exchange of critical thought ever recorded. Further I would gamble my degree course on the notion that these fundamental questions regarding our actions as individuals and as a civilization will remain ongoing, simply because it is our duty as a species to search for our most basic truths...

Maths and Philosophy Personal Statement

In order to use logic successfully, one must discover truths, otherwise the solutions are generally useless. The natural sciences are committed to discovering truths so that we may better understand and improve the world...

Lester Brown recently stated: Socialism failed because it couldn't tell the economic truth; capitalism may fail because it couldn't tell the ecological truth. My 6th form study of Economics has led me to question the ecological and social price of free market capitalism with its underlying aim for continual economic growth...

Psychology & Philosophy Personal Statement

Who am I? This is possibly the most ambiguous question, whereby a hidden depth of meaning is drowned by a trivialized sense of simplicity. I could merely reveal my name, but would that really portray who I was? “We become ourselves through others” claims Vygotsky, but are we all just conformists? Are our personalities just embedded in our genes? Do we act the way we do because we want to? Is it free will which makes us who we are? Debates such as nature v...

When in life can you truly say you enjoy what you do? Far too many times you hear people talking of ‘enduring’ their work, or ‘getting by’ in life, far too seldom do we actually hear of people savouring it, being enthused by it, enjoying it! This is what divides a good student from a passing student, actually enjoying what they do, and this is my aim not just for my studies but for my working life as well, to find fulfilment in and actual relish my work – this may seem like a common aspiration, but so few ever achieve it! Both of my parents work and have always worked in the care industry, they posses very select and specialised characteristics that allow them to be the best at their jobs that they can be, so from an early age I have been seeped in an environment of complex psychology about mental ability, counselling and stigma...

Philosophy & Politics Personal Statement

Philosophy is arguably the oldest intellectual discipline, stemming as it does from the basic human need for understanding and it is easy to assume, being as we are constantly bombarded with information and ephemeral distractions, that the search for understanding and meaning in life is either complete or rendered irrelevant by the current culture of attaining meaning through consumption...

Politics, Philosophy & Economics Personal Statement

I believe in the world of contemplative thought as a source of pleasure and fulfilment. I first loved mathematics and physics for their consistent and absolute nature. Their laws awed me, and made me believe in a universal world I can fathom and understand...

Philosophy (Review) Personal Statement

Being human is being inquisitive, everyday we strive to learn today what we did not know yesterday it is the reason scientific research just keeps going. Like the scientist the Philosopher is constantly building on his knowledge striving for the next step in his hypothesis...

Philosophy/English Literature Personal Statement

My desire to study philosophy could probably be best described as fledgling, given that my first true exposure to the subject was only a few months ago. However, to say I am enamoured with the discipline today would be an understatement...

In a world where religious, political and ethical antagonism is what makes headlines, one wonders what might justify these seemingly irreconcilable views. After all, there seem to be many more than there could possibly be truths...

Religious Studies Personal Statement

The earth once spoke with a single voice and now the voices of billions become the echoes of choice. Living in a society abundant in people from diverse backgrounds and faiths I have grown to love and appreciate the immeasurable amount of knowledge available to me...

PPE/Politics and Economics Personal Statement

I have a strong interest in the close relationship between political events and economic developments, highlighted by a study of Russia in the lead up to the 1917 revolution. I was grabbed by the film adaptation of Ten Days That Shook the World, with its emphasis on its power of the masses...

Philosophy & Politics Personal Statement

My interest in Politics and Philosophy came to me when I was watching a documentary about the French Revolution and witnessed how philosophy played an influential part in the downfall of Louis XVI and the rise of the first French Republic which wanted a society based on liberty and virtue...

The emotional state of human existence is propelled by economic, and political revolutions that arise throughout history. It is only through practices of observance and purposeful inquisitions that humanity is able to truly understand the delicate emotional state of society...

Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE) Personal Statement

In this day and age virtually every aspect of our lives may be considered political. My passion to study Politics stems from this tenet and a belief that a comprehension of Politics is integral to understanding the current state of humanity...

Philosophy Personal Statement (Mature Student)

Since leaving education in 2006 I have always wanted to return; a great love of learning, desire for knowledge and natural curiosity throughout my life resulted in an ambition to teach. It was with this ambition in my heart that I took the plunge and returned to education, beginning my Access course last year with the intention of applying to study for a primary education degree...

Philosophy Personal Statement

What does it mean to be a person? How do we know what is right from wrong? These are questions that Philosophy seeks to answer and I want to be at the forefront of exploring these questions. I am fascinated by how Philosophy has moulded the principles of society and has provided the key foundations for all of human thought...

PPE/Economics Personal Statement

Humanity today stands at the intersection of the most significant questions facing the world today: if democracy leads to political infighting, should it be sacrificed in the interest of economic well-being? Does religious fundamentalism provide a way for countries in the developing world to assert their identity in the face of Western hegemony? Does the entry of Western consumer goods threaten a country’s economic self-sufficiency? The answers of these questions will determine what the nature of our world is in the twenty-first century...

Philosophy/Psychology

Rational people are motivated primarily by incentives for self-fulfillment, not only to satisfy their own self-development, but also to feel useful and helpful to others. With these prerequisites in mind, it follows that university study is a valid and effective option to satisfying these means...

Philosophy Personal Statement.

The way philosophy can challenge our assumptions will never cease to astound me. I particularly remember my first lesson on Descartes, where I was asked to prove that I knew the room around me was real...

Philosophy Personal Statement

While many of humanity's societal constructs can be identified in some of the other species that have wandered our planet in the last 5 billion years, we are perhaps the only ones ever to question our own reality at all, never mind to this vast extent...

Philosophy/Philosophy & Physics Personal Statement

Three years ago, when I began the study of philosophy I was immediately fascinated by it, and quickly my ego was transformed and reshaped. I opened my eyes, previously closed by the obvious and customary of everyday life...

English Literature and Philosophy Personal Statement

As an English student I revel in the aesthetic beauty of literature while enjoying how the big ideas underpinning a work adds meaning. As a Philosophy student my inquisitive mind constantly pushes me to ask questions and engage in debate...

HSPS and PPE Personal Statment Personal Statement

As a liberal, the ambivalent nature of modern democracy is something I find intellectually stimulating. Having for the first ten years of my life witnessed the politics of corruption, intolerance, and neglect in Nigeria; and then that of the apathy, partisanship and majoritarianism embodied by the UK's political system - I am forced to question the legitimacy of the West's claims towards polyarchy...

History of Art & Philosophy Personal Statement

Looking at the face of the figure central to Waterhouse's "The Soul of the Rose" alongside the Tennyson poem it was inspired by, I found myself hooked, not just by the detail of the painting, but by the emotion it conveyed...

Philosophy, Politics & Economics Personal Statement

I am interested in the way that society works, the principles on which it is based and the interactions between these principles. Economics is indispensable for understanding society as, for one thing, it examines the use of power: an increasingly dynamic force since the emergence of democratic, market-based societies...

Philosophy/Politics/Economics Personal Statement

"The first lesson of economics is scarcity, the first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics" Sowell's words intrigue me as did the thoughts of social theorists such as Nozick and his anarcho-capitalism, Spencer's and Smiles' Social Darwinism, and the legacy of Thatcher...

Philosphy, Politics and Economics Personal Statement

It is my wish to understand the events around the world as fully as possible. In particular, I'm interested in the way economic models affect society and how they relate to political decisions: for instance, what can be done to maximize the growth of a country, and how? I strive to discern the causes behind the success of particular nations and the distribution of wealth in today's world...

Philosophy/Philosophy and Physics Personal Statement

Someone once said "God does not play dice". And someone else answered "Einstein, stop telling God what to do with his dice!". The concept of free will has always intrigued me. How can we decide something voluntarily if all our decisions are merely determined by electrochemical reactions between neurons in our brain, subjected to the universal laws of physics? Given the Big Bang, from that moment onwards everything happens necessarily, as a logical and causal consequence...

Philosophy, Politics and Economics Personal Statement

There are numerous prevalent issues surrounding society at present, such as political upheavals, economic crises and worldwide pollution. What interests me the most is the issue of income equality in countries...

PPE Personal Statement

To fully understand the wider implications of economics on a global scale, one must also understand the political and individual motivations behind people's actions. This a feat that can only truly be achieved with the study of both politics and philosophy alongside...

Philosophy Personal Statement

Human beings naturally possess desire; the desire to be inquisitive, the desire to ask and answer questions. Philosophy allows us to do this. Philosophy focuses on areas of real life that are often overlooked...

Philosophy and Religion Personal Statement

When I was about ten years old, my mother made the decision of taking me to churches of different religions. My parents, very open minded people, wanted me to form my own belief system, without external influence...

Philosophy Personal Statement

When I think of Philosophy, I see a little child looking around and wondering, asking difficult questions from their parents. Who are we? Why are we here? Does God exist? Ever since I was a little kid, I've been a divergent...

Philosophy Personal Statement

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”. Taking this literally, it seems that wisdom is a consequence of knowing nothing. However, I believe that the extent of comprehension of the surrounding world is what makes one wise...

Philosophy Personal Statement

The ability to call into question our fundamental beliefs is surely the most powerful tool humans can possess. It is this challenging of prior knowledge that makes philosophy so irresistible to me; it seems to satisfy my long standing need for a subject which is deeper, less restricted...

Philosophy/Philosophy & Mathematics Personal Statement

I recently walked passed a homeless man who was asking for neither food nor money but for a book. He was seeking knowledge despite the adversities, he was the very embodiment of philosophy itself. For me, it is important to pursue disciplines like logic and philosophy because human beings act irrationally...

Philosophy Personal Statement

First and foremost, I am a thinker and, I believe, that already locates Philosophy at the top of my “agenda”. I take pleasure in argument and discussion, not necessarily finding the right answer since, with respect to most questions the right answer does not exist...

Philosophy Personal Statement

I view the world as a manifestation of one's beliefs, whatever way one perceives the world is how one can change it. I believe the best way to form this perception is through the rational understanding of knowledge, mind and reason...

Philosophy and History Personal Statement

I have always loved challenges and I expected the successful results, so over time. Whether it was rock climbing or playing chess, I realised that it is not enough for me only to practice, I also needed to delve it into the theory...

Archaeology and Anthropology

Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular

Suggested reading for prospective Biochemistry applicants can be found on the Department of Biochemistry website.

Biological Sciences

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Biological Sciences but we encourage you to read New Scientist, National Geographic or any other Biology materials which you find interesting.

Biomedical Sciences

Introductory Reading for Biomedical Sciences.

Chemistry

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

There is no reading list for students applying for Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, as we encourage students to engage with whatever they find interesting about the ancient world. If you are interested in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, this will include the historical and archaeological evidence through which we learn about that world. As well as visiting your local museum, or other museums, you may wish to explore some websites which have excellent links to historical and archaeological materials, such as the British Museum or Oxford’s own Ashmolean Museum, or the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time’, covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

There are also many social media sites which you can join such as Classics Confidential, Classics Outreach and Classics International.

Classics

There is no reading list for students applying for Classics, as we encourage students to read as widely as possible about any Classics materials they find interesting (in literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, and/or philology), and to think critically about their reading. You may also wish to explore some websites which have excellent links to materials about the ancient world, such as the British Museum or the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time’, covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

There are also many social media sites which you can join such as Classics Confidential, Classics Outreach and Classics International.

Classics and English

Please see the separate information on this page for Classics and for English.

Classics and Modern Languages

Please see the separate information on this page for Classics and for Modern Languages.

Classics and Oriental Studies

Please see the separate information on this page for Classics and for Oriental Studies.

Computer Science

Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Computer Science can be found on the departmental website.

You may also like to look at our GeomLab website which will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming in an interactive, visual way through a guided activity.

Computer Science and Philosophy

Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Computer Science can be found on the departmental website.

You may also like to look at our GeomLab website which will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming in an interactive, visual way through a guided activity.

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

Earth Sciences

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Earth Sciences but we encourage you to read New Scientist, National Geographic or any other relevant materials which you find interesting.

Economics and Management

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis, both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

Economics and Management reading list.

Engineering Science

At present we do not produce a reading list for students applying for Engineering Science but we encourage you to read any relevant materials which you find interesting.

English Language and Literature

We recommend that you read as widely as possible, and think critically about all the texts – literary or not – that you read. Read more about this in our examples of interview questions.

You can find literary resources on our Great Writers Inspire site. You may also like to look at literary websites and listen to radio programs such as BBC Radio 4's 'In Our Time'.

English and Modern Languages

Please see the separate information on this page for English and for Modern Languages.

European and Middle Eastern Languages

Please see the guidance on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How can I prepare myself for the entrance procedure?'. This advice can be applied to both the European and the Middle Eastern elements of the course.

Experimental Psychology

Please follow the pdf link below for suggested reading for Experimental Psychology. This document also includes reading suggestions for those interested in the Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics course.

EP PPL Suggested Reading List

Fine Art

The following list is suggested as a starting point and is not exhaustive and nor does it mean that you must read these. 

  • Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes (Vintage) 
  • The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent by Thomas Crow (Everyman )
  • Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introductions by Julian Stallabrass (Oxford University Press) 
  • Contemporary Art: World Currents by Terry Smith (Laurence King Publishing)

We strongly encourage all students to attend exhibitions and look at art works as much as possible. Public art galleries like Tate Modern, the Whitechapel, and the Serpentine in London, the Ikon in Birmingham, the Liverpool Tate, the Whitworth in Manchester, the Baltic in Gateshead, the Arnolfini in Bristol, and Tramway in Glasgow are all excellent places to see contemporary art and to find out more about it.

Other excellent resources include:

It is also a good idea to look at journals such as:

Geography

An indispensable introduction to contemporary issues in Geography is the Royal Geographical Society 'Geographical Magazine'. Reading 'The Economist' is also highly recommended.

History

The best way to prepare for a History degree is to read the history books which interest you, either related to your school work or ranging beyond it – and be prepared to discuss your views of those books and their arguments.  To find such material, you might want to follow up on references made in your school or college text books, or your History teacher may also be able to recommend particular works for you to read on topics that you find most interesting.

One good way of broadening your historical horizons is to read one of the popular History magazines: History Today or BBC History, which has weekly podcasts. You may like to look at the books which are being reviewed in the quality press.

You may also like to explore the websites of public institutions which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or BBC Radio 4 archives.

Lastly, delving into some historical sources can be a great way to develop your ideas and understanding. You could try exploring literature, art, music or even films produced by different societies, and consider what these can tell us about the people of that time.

History (Ancient and Modern)

There is no reading list for students applying for Ancient and Modern History, as we encourage students to read as widely as possible about any period of history, ancient and/or modern, that they find interesting. (See 'History' above). For the ancient world, you may also wish to explore websites which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or Oxford’s own Ashmolean Museum, the BBC Radio 4 archives, for example for the programme ‘In Our Time', covering material from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

History and Economics

The best way to prepare for a History degree is to read the history books which interest you, either related to your school work or ranging beyond it – and be prepared to discuss your views of those books and their arguments.  To find such material, you might want to follow up on references made in your school or college text books, or your History teacher may also be able to recommend particular works for you to read on topics that you find most interesting.

One good way of broadening your historical horizons is to read one of the popular History magazines: History Today or BBC History, which has weekly podcasts. You may like to look at the books which are being reviewed in the quality press.

You may also like to explore the websites of public institutions which have excellent links to historical materials, such as the British Museum or BBC Radio 4 archives.

Lastly, delving into some historical sources can be a great way to develop your ideas and understanding. You could try exploring literature, art, music or even films produced by different societies, and consider what these can tell us about the people of that time.

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis, both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

History and English

Please see the separate information on this page for History and for English.

History and Modern Languages

Please see the separate information on this page for History and for Modern Languages.

History and Politics

Politics is a very wide-ranging subject. In addition to newspapers and weeklies, Jonathan Wolff’s 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy' is recommended; and also, for interesting and up-to-date insights into recent political developments in a number of countries, the series of texts produced by Macmillan publishers at regular intervals called ‘Developments in British (French, German, East European etc.) Politics’.

Please see also the separate information on this page for History.

History of Art

Human Sciences

Introductory reading lists can be found on the Institute of Human Sciences website.

Law

We recommend that you start by reading the court reports in broad sheet newspapers.

As the reading lists for the degree course change each year it isn't always advisable to buy text books in advance, but you may find one or more of the books from this list useful when preparing your application Introductory reading for Law. It can be useful to look at the list of law academics on the departmental website and follow the links to their latest publications. All lecturers have their own lists, which change from year to year and include books and journal articles.

You may also like to read the BBC's website Law in Action, and download their podcasts. Other recommendation are the Guardian's law pages and the Counsel magazine.

Materials Science

There is no set text and students should read widely around the subject. Introductory reading for prospective applicants to Materials Science can be found on the departmental website.

Students may also wish to read the New Scientist magazine which may be available in your school or local library.

Running an internet search on Nanoscience or Nanotechnology will give useful background information in the sciences.

Mathematics

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics applicants can be found on page 11 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Mathematics and Computer Science

For information for prospective applicants to the Mathematics and Computer Science degree please see the separate information on this page for Mathematics and for Computer Science.

Mathematics and Philosophy

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics and Philosophy applicants can be found on page 17 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Mathematics and Statistics

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics and Statistics applicants can be found on page 11 of the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Medicine

Prospective students for Medicine may like to start by looking at the introductory reading list below. You may also be interested in the Oxford Medical School Gazette, for more information about the Gazette and subscription offers for Sixth Form students please see their website.

Introductory Reading for Medicine

Modern Languages

Please see the guidance on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How best to prepare for the entrance procedure'.

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Music

Please refer to this recommended reading list.

Oriental Studies

Philosophy and Modern Languages

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

For suggested reading for the Modern Languages element of this course, please see the separate information on this page for Modern Languages.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

We always recommend that students read widely around their subject, deepening their knowledge and understanding, to help prepare for their application. Tutors will be looking for evidence of students' academic potential, as well as their commitment and motivation for their course, so will certainly be looking for evidence that a student has really engaged with their subject, and has a passion for studying it. This is particularly important for courses like PPE, as many students will not have studied any of these three subjects at their school or college.

The very best preparation is a reasonable grasp of the workings of the social and political world in which we live. For PPEists, reading newspapers, watching TV and listening to radio news and current affairs programmes are not optional activities – they are crucial to success at the subject. Students should read a good quality daily newspaper, and ‘The Economist’ weekly is also highly recommended – this offers unparalleled quantity and quality analysis of current events.

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

Politics is a very wide-ranging subject. In addition to newspapers and weeklies, Jonathan Wolff’s 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy' is recommended; and also, for interesting and up-to-date insights into recent political developments in a number of countries, the series of texts produced by Macmillan publishers at regular intervals called ‘Developments in British (French, German, East European etc.) Politics’.

An indispensable introduction to economic analysis in use both for those who have not studied it at school and for those who have is ‘The Economist’ or the Economics pages of newspapers. Paul Krugman’s writings are highly recommended. Begg, Fischer and Dornbusch’s ‘Economics’ is one of the introductory textbooks widely used at Oxford.

Philosophy and Theology

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

At present we do not produce a specific Theology reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them.

Physics

There are many suitable sources for reading. Popular science books are normally readily available at your local library, as are copies of the New Scientist or other scientific periodicals. Anything that takes your interest will be valuable; we have no set reading list.

However, for general preparation prospective candidates can see the suggestions on the Physics department website. We also recommend maths preparation.

There is also lots of information on the internet, on sites such as www.physics.org. or through some of the excellent science blogs. The University of Oxford publishes a science blog and our department also runs a project called Galaxy Zoo which is part of the Zooniverse community of projects , which allows members of the public to contribute to astrophysics research. Large scientific organisations such as CERN and NASA publish a lot of good material online, for example the Astronomy Picture of the Day website.

iTunesU can also be a very useful resource, as it has a range of physics content, from public talks to undergraduate lectures, from a variety of reputable sources.

Physics and Philosophy

There are many introductions to philosophy: Myles Burnyeat and Ted Honderich’s ‘Philosophy’ as it is a very useful collection. Martin Hollis ‘An Invitation to Philosophy’ and Simon Blackburn’s ‘Think’ are also recommended but feel free to pick up any introductory or beginners’ text.

Please see the separate information on this page for Physics for further suggestions.

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL)

Please follow the pdf link below for the suggested reading list for Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics. This document also includes suggested reading for Experimental Psychology.

EP PPL Suggested Reading List

Religion and Oriental Studies

At present we do not produce a specific Religion and Oriental Studies reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them.

Theology and Religion

At present we do not produce a specific Theology reading list for people who are considering making an application, though we always advise prospective candidates to read beyond what they are reading in school and to explore areas that interest them.

You may also find it interesting to explore the BBC Radio 4 archives of the 'In Our Time' program, especially the Religion and Philosophy archives.