The following course combinations allow you to begin studying a Modern Language from scratch, although those with experience in Celtic are also very welcome to apply.
Beginners’ Czech VR1R
Beginners’ Modern Greek VR1X
Beginners’ Italian RV31
Beginners’ Portuguese VR1N
What is History and Modern Languages?
This course allows you to study subjects in History and a European language which relate to each other significantly. An interest in 19th century French literature, for example, might be reinforced by the study of French and European historical options in the same period, or an interest in medieval Italian history can be enriched by a study of Dante. Not only can the literature be related to its historical context, but the agenda of the historians can also be reassessed by engagement with literary methods.
History and Modern Languages at Oxford
The richness and variety of the cultural and intellectual topics pursued in the two faculties make possible exciting and intellectually innovative combinations. Students undertaking this kind of joint degree therefore regularly make genuinely original contributions.
You study History and Modern Languages as a four-year course with a compulsory year abroad in your third year. Please see Modern Languages (p 88) for further information. We encourage you to spend as much as possible of your vacations in the countries whose language you are studying. Financial support, including travel scholarships, may be available from your college.
A typical weekly timetable
Your week’s work will include tutorials in history and in the literature and culture of the language you study, language classes involving different skills, and about three or four lectures for each subject. You will prepare essays for your weekly tutorials.
What are tutors looking for?
For information about the selection criteria please see: www.ox.ac.uk/criteria.
During the interview, your submitted work is likely to be a starting point for discussion. Some colleges may also ask you to read and discuss a short text. Tutors wish to test your capacity for independent thought, your flexibility, your skills in conceptualising and relating ideas, the precision of your thinking and your linguistic accuracy.
Students interested in this course might also like to consider Archaeology and Anthropology, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, other History courses, other Modern Languages courses or History of Art.
Employers value language skills combined with the many transferable skills of a History and Modern Languages degree. The Languages Work website has further information about careers using languages: www.languageswork.org.uk.
Recent graduates from this course now work in the media, publishing, and other commercial fields, and include a solicitor and a management consultant. Virginia, who graduated in 1976, is now an editor in educational languages publishing. She says: ‘My fascination with languages was developed at Oxford; and I believe that my self-motivation, determination and self-confidence were honed by the tutorial system.’
For more information about careers after Oxford, please see p 122 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].
Please see ox.ac.uk/erasmus for details of Erasmus opportunities for this course.
A bridge essay on the relationship between history and literature
A period of general history
Either a special subject in History (two papers, see History p 56), with one additional history or literature option; or three papers selected from history (British history, further subject, thesis) or literature (special subjects, prescribed authors, extended essay)
An optional additional thesis in History
Final University examinations: Nine written papers (including at least one extended essay); Oral examination in the modern language
It’s a great course - there’s lots of opportunity to take it where you want to take it and study what you want to study. Alex