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Philosophy and Modern Languages

There are many ways in which the study of Philosophy and the study of a language combine particularly well. Philosophical interest in language, already present in Plato, is almost as old as Philosophy itself. In the 20th Century language became a main focus of philosophical thought and the Philosophy of Language became a distinct subdiscipline. There is thus a rich heritage of philosophical reflection on language. Philosophy can also involve reflection on art and aesthetics, and philosophical study of these issues can add to one’s appreciation of the value of works of literature. Conversely, many literary texts raise philosophical questions. Studying Philosophy and Modern Languages requires and develops analytical rigour and critical skills, in addition to providing an in-depth knowledge of a European language. These are qualities that are highly useful in a wide range of careers.

On both sides of the course, students will be able to select options from a range of topics and time-periods. For further information, see the separate entries for Modern Languages and Philosophy.

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).

Number of places

1 or 2, taken from the Modern Languages quota of 9


Faculty of Philosophy

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Dr Luca Castagnoli

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Clarendon Fellow in Ancient Greek Philosophy | Tutor in Philosophy & Classics

Organising Tutor
Dr Oliver Pooley

Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy

Organising Tutor
Professor Annette Volfing

Knight Fellow & Tutor in Modern Languages

Organising Tutor
Professor Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra

Colin Prestige Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy | Senior Tutor

Dr Víctor Acedo-Matellán

Fellow & Tutor in Linguistics & Spanish

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

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

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst

College Lecturer in Philosophy


Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. There are additionally 1 place for Classics and English and 1 (usually) for Classics and Modern Languages. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

Computer Science and Philosophy

Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Mathematics and Philosophy

Number of places 1 or 2 Admission Criteria A-levels or equivalent: A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken).

Philosophy (Joint Honours)

Admission Criteria The admissions criteria for each course involving philosophy can be found on the dedicated course page. For all courses, applicants invited to interview will be given a philosophy interview, or an interview with a philosophy component. At interview, we will not test whether you are already familiar with philosophical texts or arguments. Instead we are interested in your aptitude and potential for precise analytical thought, and in whether you enjoy abstract reasoning.

Philosophy and Theology

Number of places 3 or 4 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work for Theology (no work is required for Philosophy). Applicants should also complete the Philosophy admissions test, which is usually taken in November each year.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Number of places 9 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: normally AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Applicants are not required to submit written work. All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in early November, normally at their own schools or colleges. Separate registration for this test is required and prospective applicants should refer to the test website for further information.

Physics and Philosophy

Number of places 2 Admission Criteria Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths. Applying for Physics and Philosophy, rather than for Physics, will not reduce your chance of admission. Applicants for both degrees are considered as a gathered field and applicants to Oriel for Physics and Philosophy are automatically considered for a place to read straight Physics. All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November.  

What next?

Applying to Oriel

Fees and funding

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