University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

History and Modern Languages

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History and Modern Languages

History and either Celtic, Czech (with Slovak), French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish

A BA in 4 years with a year abroad

UCAS codes: see table below

Course statistics for 2013 entry

Interviewed: 71%

Successful: 20%

Intake: 16

Entrance requirements

A-levels: AAA

Advanced Highers: AA/AAB

IB: 38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

Or any other equivalent

It is highly recommended for candidates to have History to A-level, Advanced Higher, or Higher Level in the IB, or another equivalent.

How to apply (see page 118) [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

Tests: HAT and MLAT on 5 November 2014

Written Work: Three pieces

Tuition Fees for 2014

Home/EU: £9,000/year

No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount

Grants, bursaries and scholarships available

More on student finance: p 120 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

The year abroad has lower fees and extra funding - see

More Information


+44 (0) 1865 615020

Modern Languages:

+44 (0) 1865 270750

Oxford Open days

2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014

26 April 2014: Modern Languages and joint courses open day

Course combinations

You can either study History with a Modern Language you already speak, or with a Modern Language you’d like to learn from scratch.

For the following course combinations you would usually be expected to have the Modern Language to A-level, or another academic equivalent.

History and:

Czech VR17

French VR11

German VR12

Modern Greek VQ17

Italian VR13

Portuguese VR15

Russian VRC7

Spanish VR14

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.

History and:

Celtic VQ15

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.

Work placements/international opportunities

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:

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.

Related courses

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:

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 for details of Erasmus opportunities for this course.

1st year


Six courses are taken:

Modern Language

  • Two language papers (including translation)


  • General history (four options: 370–900; 1000–1300; 1400–1650; 1815–1914)

  • Either a British history period, or a historical methods paper, or a foreign text or an optional subject


First University examinations: Six written papers

2nd and 4th years (3rd year spent abroad)


  • A period of literature

  • Two language papers

  • 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

Student statement

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

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