Philosophy and Modern Languages

Busts of Greek philosophers

Both Philosophy and Modern Languages are large and successful subjects in Oriel and every year there are well over 60 students studying Philosophy or 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.

Admissions 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).

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

For more information contact the admissions office:

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 276522