University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

Modern Languages and Linguistics

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Modern Languages and Linguistics

Linguistics and 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: 93%

Successful: 42%

Intake: 27

Entrance requirements

A-levels: AAA

Advanced Highers: AA/AAB

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

Or any other equivalent

No experience of studying Linguistics is required, though knowledge of the relevant modern language may be expected, as detailed below. English Language, Mathematics, a science or any other language may be useful for some elements of the course, although they are not required for admission.

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

Tests: MLAT on 5 November 2014

Written Work: Two 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

Modern Languages:

+44 (0) 1865 270750


+44 (0) 1865 280400

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 Linguistics 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).

Linguistics and:

French RQ11

German RQ21

Modern Greek QQ71

Italian RQ31

Portuguese RQ51

Russian RQ71

Spanish RQ41

The following course combinations allow you to begin studying a Modern Language from scratch.

Linguistics and:

Beginners’ Modern Greek QQ72

Beginners’ Italian QR13

Beginners’ Portuguese RQ5D

What is Modern Languages and Linguistics?

This course allows students to study one modern language together with Linguistics, the study of language itself. One half of your course will be half of the Modern Languages course as described on pp 88-91 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note], giving you practical linguistic training and an extensive introduction to the literature and thought of the European language you have chosen.

The other half of the course focuses on Linguistics, where you will be introduced to the analysis of the nature and structure of human language. Topics include: how words are formed; how sentences are constructed; how we make and hear sounds, and how these sounds behave in particular languages; how age, sex and social status affect language use; how children learn to speak; how languages change and how the same language can vary according to where it is spoken; how words and sentences mean what they mean - and how they sometimes don’t mean what they seem to mean; how language is used in literature, the media and by various social groups; and how language is organised in the brain. In this part you will also apply these ideas to the study of the structure and history of your modern language.

Modern Languages and Linguistics at Oxford

Oxford offers facilities for the linguistic and philological study of European languages unmatched anywhere else in Britain. The University has particular expertise in general linguistics, phonetics, syntax and semantics, and in the history and structure of many individual European languages and families of related languages. These are seen to best advantage in this degree course, which combines the different elements to give a mutually reinforcing package of theoretical study of what human language is and how it works and more detailed study of specific issues of language structure and change applied to the language you are studying. You will find a wide range of options available, allowing you to concentrate on those areas you find most exciting.

Work placements/international opportunities

Refer to the Modern Languages entry (p 88) [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

A typical weekly timetable

Your week’s work will include a tutorial on linguistics or literature, in or arranged by your college, a linguistics class and language classes on different skills relating to the language or languages you study, and five or six lectures.

What are tutors looking for?

Language tutors will be looking for a good command of the grammar of any language you have already studied at school or college and want to continue studying at Oxford as well an interest in literature and culture.

Linguistics is a subject that virtually everybody starts from scratch at University, and our primary requirements are interest in exploring the nature of human language; aptitude for describing and analysing language; and willingness to acquire the formal tools for acquiring a detailed and rigorous understanding of the structure, use and history of the language you are studying.

For further information about the selection criteria please see:


Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other language courses, Oriental Studies courses, or Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics.


The combination of a modern language with the ability for rigorous analysis will be popular with a wide range of employers. The Languages Work website has further information about careers using languages

Recent Modern Languages and Linguistics graduates include a management consultant, a brand marketing manager, a market researcher for a company in the chemical industry, and a teacher.

Tamsin, who graduated in 2000, now works as a lecturer in psychology at the University of Abertay Dundee. As part of her undergraduate degree, she spent a year teaching English in La Réunion, visiting nearby Madagascar and Mauritius along the way, and developing a flexibility, independence and resolve that have supported her ever since. She also believes that the extensive linguistic training received at Oxford has shaped her approach to psychology.

Martin who graduated in 1997, is an Associate Principal at ZS Associates, a management consultancy firm specialising in sales and marketing issues. He says: The Oxford tutorial system really mirrors the kind of deadline-driven project work we do for our clients -we understand and synthesise a large amount of qualitative and quantitative data in a short space of time and then make recommendations by layering in insights on top of the analysis to help solve the client’s business problem... when you think about it, the process has a lot in common with writing a good essay!

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


Modern Language

Same as for Modern Languages


  • Phonetics and phonology

  • Grammatical analysis


First University examinations: Seven written papers, including translation and literature

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


Modern Language

Same as for Modern Languages


  • General linguistics

  • History of the language you will be studying

  • Structure and use of that language in its modern form

  • One or two specialist options, for example: Syntax; Semantics; Phonetics and phonology; Sociolinguistics; Psycholinguistics


Final University examinations: Eight or nine papers and an oral examination are taken

Student statement

Linguistics and a language gives you so many options. You’re treated like a colleague and your input is valued. Leah

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