Skip Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Modern Languages (and Linguistics)

The study of Modern Languages at Oxford entails an intensive analytical engagement with the chosen language(s), culture(s) and literature(s). All courses involving Modern Languages combine exciting intellectual challenges with the acquisition of practical skills. Students learn to speak, write and translate to a high standard, while exploring the literature or linguistics relating to their chosen languages. The emphasis on flexibility and versatility means that Modern Languages graduates are well-equipped for careers in a variety of fields, including the Foreign Office, general management, finance, law, publishing, teaching, and translation.

In the joint courses one foreign language is combined with English, History, Philosophy, Latin, Ancient Greek or Linguistics. Linguistics students receive both practical linguistic training and an introduction to the analysis of the nature and structure of human language in all its aspects. There is also a single-language option, involving the comprehensive study of language and literature from the Middle Ages to the present day.

At Oriel, most language teaching is done by native speakers, with considerable emphasis on the oral command of the language. Oriel offers travel grants and travelling scholarships to encourage students to spend time in the relevant countries. In addition, students normally spend their third year abroad, thus ensuring complete immersion in a foreign language and culture.

Spanish teaching at Oriel is supported by Santander Universities.

Admission Criteria

One piece of marked written work is required for each language you plan to study and in which you will have A2 (or equivalent) before university. In addition, all candidates must submit one piece of marked writing in English. If you are applying for a language which you have not taken at A2 (or equivalent) then you do not need to submit anything in that language. All candidates are required to sit a test or tests in November. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

Number of places

Usually 9


Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Dr Víctor Acedo-Matellán

Fellow & Tutor in Linguistics & Spanish

Organising Tutor
Professor Annette Volfing

Knight Fellow & Tutor in Modern Languages

Dr Alessandra Aloisi

Lecturer in French

Dr Cécile Bishop

Kelleher Fellow in French | Associate Professor of Post-Colonial Francophone Literatures & Cultures| Organising Tutor in French

Professor Emma Bond

College Lecturer in Italian

Mrs Stefanie Burkert-Burrows

College Lecturer in German

Dr Marie Kawthar Daouda

College Lecturer in French | Visiting Students Coordinator

Dr Ole Hinz

German Lektor

Professor Katrin Kohl

College Lecturer in German

Dr Katherine New

College Lecturer in Russian Literature & Language


Classics and Modern Languages

Number of places Usually 1 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT). Written work is also required. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information about admission requirements for the course can be found on the University website.

English and Modern Languages

Admission Criteria All candidates are required to sit a test or tests in November (find out more on the University website). Conditional offers are usually AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages). Candidates have two interviews in the college. As part of the process, candidates are given a short text to read and then discuss with interviewers; they are also expected to discuss their recent reading, both in and out of school.

History and Modern Languages

Number of places From the Modern Languages quota Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test, Language Test, and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, interviews, and AAA at A-level or equivalent. You should have studied your chosen language to A-level (except in the case of Italian, which can be studied from scratch). We consider applicants who do not have A-level History.

Philosophy and Modern Languages

Number of places 1 or 2, taken from the Modern Languages quota of 9 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), normally at their own school or college, in November, in addition to the written work specified on the university's website. Separate registration for this test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. Candidates will need to take two sections of the MLAT: one for their chosen language, and one for Philosophy. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

What next?

Applying to Oriel

Fees and funding

Open days