Classics and Modern Languages | University of Oxford
engraving
The Academy of Arts and Sciences, by B. Smith. c.18th Century, after original of 1698. Engraving by S. le Clerc.
(Credit: History of Science Museum, Oxford)

Classics and Modern Languages

mortar boardUCAS codeSee course combinationscalendarDuration4 or 5 years with year abroad (BA)
pencilEntrance requirementsAAA (in Latin and Greek if taken)HeadSubject requirements  Latin and/or Greek (for Course I only), and a modern language (depending on course choice) 
tickAdmissions test(s)ox.ac.uk/cat
ox.ac.uk/mlat
tickWritten workTwo/four pieces
bar chartAdmissions statistics*

Interviewed: 83%
Successful: 27%
Intake: 6
*3-year average 2016-18

phoneContact

+44 (0) 1865 288372
Email Classics
+44 (0) 1865 270750
Email Modern Languages

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

Unistats information for each course combination can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

Classics and Modern Languages enables you to combine study of Latin and/or Ancient Greek with a modern language. The course involves extensive study of major literary texts, alongside training in linguistic skills. The Greeks and Romans were active in all the countries covered by the available languages. Not only does studying this course help to give students greater access to the ancient cultures, it is also a chance to examine how classical literature and culture have shaped their modern counterparts. Some options provide an opportunity to directly compare texts from both sides of the course, focusing on classical influence on modern European literature.


Oxford has the largest Classics Faculty in the world, and the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty is one of the largest in the country, with a major research library, the Taylor Institution, and a well-equipped Language Centre. Undergraduates have access to the Sackler and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and a dedicated Classics Centre. Students develop oral proficiency in the modern language by regular contact with native speakers.

International opportunities

Classics and Modern Languages students spend a compulsory year abroad. They may work as paid language assistants in a foreign school or do internships abroad, both of which provide valuable opportunities to develop career experience while improving language competence. The year may also be spent studying at a foreign university. Students are encouraged to spend as much as possible of their vacations in the countries whose languages they are studying. In addition to the possibility of Erasmus funding, extra financial support, including travel scholarships, may be available from your college and/or the faculty.

In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to a course’s requirements for international study. Students who consider that they may be affected are asked to contact their department for advice.

 students at a lecture

“There’s a strong emphasis on literature in both halves of this degree, but the authors you choose to study can be virtually any from classical to medieval to modern. There’s a chance to look at other disciplines, too, like history, archaeology, philosophy or linguistics. Classical influences can be found in all sorts of places, which means you often pick things up quicker in modern languages too.

One of the great opportunities the degree offers is the year abroad. I spent nine months working for a charity in Argentina teaching English. I know some have used the time to visit more than one place, or combine volunteering and work.”
IMOGEN

Classics I

Classics II

A typical week

Your time is divided between lectures, tutorials and private study. The working week is typically structured around two tutorials in different subjects. Most of your independent work will be in preparation of essays for your tutorials, although systematic language-learning and reading of texts will also require considerable time and effort. Much of the teaching will take place in your college, but lectures are given in the Classics Faculty, the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and the Examination Schools. For particular subjects you may also work with tutors from other colleges.

Tutorials are usually up to four students and a tutor. Seminar and language class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose or the language you are studying, but there would usually be no more than around 20 students and would often be much smaller. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are usually studying at doctorate level.

Course structure

Two routes through the course, called ‘options’, are available to CML students. This is separate from whether you will study Course I (if you have studied Latin and/or Greek to A-level standard or equivalent) or Course II (if you have not). You will be asked which route you wish to take only after you have applied to Oxford. The two routes are identical in their last two years, and lead to the same final exams; they differ only in their first one or two years.

Option A divides its time evenly between Classics (mostly language and literature) and Modern Languages. This option (also known as the ‘Prelims route’, because you will take a Preliminary Examination similar to that taken by Classics and English or Modern Languages students) lasts three years for Course I students, and four years for Course II students. (With the year abroad, this makes a total of four or five years.)

Option B begins with a focus on Classics. For the first five terms, students take all the same options in Greek and/or Latin language, literature, ancient history, archaeology, philology and ancient or modern philosophy as are available to students of Classics. This option (also known as the ‘Mods route’, because you will take Honour Moderations (first exams) in Classics identical to those taken by Classics students) lasts four years for students on both Course I and Course II. (With the year abroad, this makes a total of five years.)

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

OPTION A YEAR 1 (COURSE I) or YEARS 2 AND 3 (COURSE II)

Course II students spend a preliminary year studying Latin or Greek, then follow Course I

COURSES

  • Translation from the ancient language(s) into English (one paper)
  • Literature in the ancient language or languages (two papers)
  • Practical language work for the modern language (two papers)
  • Literature in your modern language (two papers)

ASSESSMENT

First University examinations: three papers in the ancient language; four papers in the modern language
OPTION B YEARS 1 AND 2 (TERMS 1–5)

COURSES

As for Classics for the first five terms. Course II students follow Classics Course II. In addition, undergraduates normally maintain their modern language through language classes.

ASSESSMENT

First University examinations in Classics: ten papers

OPTIONS A AND B (plus intercalated year abroad)
TERMS 4–9 (OPTION A, COURSE I), 6–12 (OPTION B), or 7–12 (OPTION A, OPTION II)

COURSES

  • Classics (three/four papers): a core paper in Latin or in Greek literature, two or three Classics options
  • Modern Language (four/five papers)
  • Possibility of a paper or a long essay exploring the links between ancient and modern literatures

ASSESSMENT

Final University examinations: nine papers in total (eight compulsory, one optional) plus oral exam in the modern language. A thesis may be offered in place of one of the compulsory papers in Classics.

The options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Classics and Modern Languages websites.

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements 

A-levels:AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)
Advanced Highers:    AA/AAB (with A in Latin, if taken)
IB: 39 (including core points) with 666 at HL    
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications)                                                           

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements

Course I or II
Candidates are not required to have studied Greek or Latin at the point of application. Course I is designed for candidates with Greek and/or Latin to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or equivalent. Course II is tailored for candidates without an A-level or other qualifications in either Greek or Latin. Classics II candidates would usually be expected to have studied the modern language before, or to speak it at home or school.
For Classics and French, German, Russian and Spanish
 Essential:  Candidates would usually be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.
For Classics and Czech/Beginners' Czech, Italian/Beginners' Italian, Modern Greek/Beginners' Modern Greek and Portuguese/Beginners' Portuguese
 Essential:  Candidates may apply with an A-level or equivalent in the relevant language or for a beginners’ course, which allows students to start studying one of these languages from scratch. Beginners’ courses are not available to Course II candidates, who will be taking a beginners’ course in Ancient Greek or Latin.

If, and only if, you have chosen to take any science A-levels, we expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test

Test: CAT and MLAT
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:                   6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), as part of their application. Separate registration for each test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for these tests. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the CAT page and the MLAT page.

Written work

Description: Please check the written work requirements for both Classics and for Modern Languages.You will see that candidates are required to submit a piece of written work in English for the Modern Languages part of the course (along with work in the chosen Modern Language). If you would like to use one of the same pieces that you submit for Classics, please send us two copies of this piece of work.
Submission deadline:  10 November 2019

For general guidance, see our further guidance on the submission of written work.

What are tutors looking for?

Successful candidates will be expected to display competence in Latin or Greek (or general language aptitude if applying for Course II). Tutors in both Classics and Modern Languages are also looking for potential and an enquiring mind, as well as real commitment to this wide-ranging subject.

Careers

Careers for CML graduates include the media, teaching, acting, management, the law, publishing, advertising and librarianship, as well as working with international companies or organisations. Liliana says: ‘I chose to do a Joint Schools degree in Classics and French as I was interested in Europe, its languages, and its classical heritage. Moreover, the breadth of the degree was very attractive, especially for interdisciplinary research ... I often found myself drawing on my previous knowledge and skills, especially with regard to untranslated texts and reworkings of classical material. Plus, the range of subjects I’d studied earlier meant I was ever ready to explore new fields and languages. 

I now work in China as a television presenter for programmes on Chinese society, politics and culture. The meticulous linguistic training from my degrees was first-rate preparation for tackling the puzzle of Chinese characters, while studying the classical and medieval worlds left me ready to take on the rich unfamiliarity of Chinese traditions. My earlier studies have led to all sorts of new intellectual adventures — whether reporting in Tiananmen Square on the history of the Silk Road, doing a live broadcast in Chinese while paragliding in Guizhou, interviewing world leaders at the Asian Davos, or presenting on endangered minority communities in Sichuan. Studying the European past gave me, paradoxically, the right tools for understanding the Chinese present.'

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Latest information for UK and EU undergraduates who will begin their course in 2020 can be found here. Further information for EU students starting in 2020 is available here.

The fees and funding information below relates to those who will start at Oxford in 2020.

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2020.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£27,285

For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2020 are estimated to be between £1,135 and £1,650 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2020 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to UK and EU students with a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £27,500 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Classics and Modern Languages

During the year abroad, students pay significantly reduced fees. For students who started an undergraduate course from 2019, who are going on their year abroad in 2020, the course fees are:

  • Home/EU/Islands students: £1,385 for the year.
  • International students: £8,750 for the year.

We recommend that students begin to research their year abroad options – including the financial implications – as early as possible in the second year of the course. There is plenty of support, information and advice to help you. You may choose to work or study during your year abroad, or you may do both. Students undertake a range of activities while on their year abroad, some activities may receive a salary and thus - depending on individual choices - it is possible for the year abroad to be cost neutral. Actual costs (such as course fees) and living costs will vary depending on the destination and the activity undertaken.

You will need to pay for living costs during the year abroad, including accommodation and travel expenses. Subject to the UK continuing to be eligible to participate in the Erasmus Programme or equivalent framework after leaving the EU, students taking part in Erasmus (or equivalent) study exchanges will not need to pay tuition fees to other institutions. However, if you decide to study outside this framework you will be liable to pay tuition fees to the relevant institution. For more information about the Erasmus+ programme at Oxford, please visit ox.ac.uk/erasmus

You may receive salary payments or grants to offset some or all of these costs. Also, if you receive government funding for the rest of your course, you will still be entitled to government support during your year abroad. Hardship funds are available from the Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages for students who can demonstrate particular difficulties related to their year abroad. These are awarded through a termly application process.

 

Contextual information

Course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose