Modern Languages (and Linguistics)

Brandenburg Gate

The languages offered at Oriel are French, German, Spanish and Italian. Most modern linguists study two of these languages to the same level (although students may be admitted for Italian or Spanish even if they have only recently started the language). 

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.

Admissions 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).

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For more information contact the admissions office:

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 276522