Classics and Modern Languages | University of Oxford
Classics and Modern Languages
Latin inscriptions and Roman letters.
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Classics and Modern Languages

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. Some papers on offer provide an opportunity to compare texts from both sides of the course, and to study classical influence on modern European literature.

Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, and the Modern Languages Faculty is also one of the largest in the country, with a major research library and a well-equipped Language Centre. Undergraduates also develop oral proficiency in the modern language by regular contact with native speakers.

International opportunities

Students spend a year abroad before their final year. Please see Modern Languages for more information.


Careers for CML graduates include the media, teaching, acting, management, advertising and librarianship, as well as working with international companies or organisations. Recent Classics and Modern Languages graduates include an investment manager and a trainee solicitor.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other Classics courses or other language courses.

A typical week

Your time is divided between lectures, language classes, tutorials and private study. Most of your work will be in preparation of essays for your tutorials and classes, although independent language work and systematic reading, not necessarily aimed at any particular tutorial, also requires a considerable input of time and effort.

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 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
1st year (Course I) or 1st and 2nd year (Course II)

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


  • 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)


First University examinations: Three papers in the ancient language; four papers in the modern language
Option B
1st and 2nd year (terms 1–5)


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.


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 Course II)


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


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

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

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

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.

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.

For French, German, Russian and Spanish

Candidates would usually be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.

For Czech, Modern Greek, Italian and Portuguese

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.

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.)


These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2019.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)

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 2019 are estimated to be between £1,058 and £1,643 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


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 2019 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

(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


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 2018, who are going on their year abroad in 2019, the course fees are:

  • Home/EU/Islands students: £1,385 for the year.
  • International students: £8,415 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 after leaving the EU, students taking part in Erasmus study exchanges will not need to pay course fees to other institutions. However, if you decide to study outside Erasmus you will be liable to pay course fees to the relevant institution.

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.

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.

Written tests

All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), in their own school or college or other approved test centre on Wednesday 31 October 2018. Candidates must make sure they are available to take these tests at this time. Separate registration for each test is required and the final deadline for entries is Monday 15 October 2018. 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

Candidates must submit written work by Saturday 10 November 2018 for each of the subjects forming this joint course. 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.

For general guidance and to download the cover sheet, please see our written work page.

What are tutors looking for?

For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Classics and Modern Languages websites.

Suggested reading

Please see the information for Classics and for Modern Languages.


Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.


'I’d recommend CML to anyone passionate about languages and literature who likes to keep their area of study broad.'


'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.'

See KIS data for this course.

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provide a lot of numbers about the Oxford experience – but there is so much about what you get here that numbers can’t convey. It’s not just the quantity of the Oxford education that you need to consider, there is also the quality – let us tell you more.

Oxford’s tutorial system

Regular tutorials, which are the responsibility of the colleges, are the focal point of teaching and learning at Oxford. The tutorial system is one of the most distinctive features of an Oxford education: it ensures that students work closely with tutors throughout their undergraduate careers, and offers a learning experience which is second to none.

A typical tutorial is a one-hour meeting between a tutor and one, two, or three students to discuss reading and written work that the students have prepared in advance. It gives students the chance to interact directly with tutors, to engage with them in debate, to exchange ideas and argue, to ask questions, and of course to learn through the discussion of the prepared work. Many tutors are world-leaders in their fields of research, and Oxford undergraduates frequently learn of new discoveries before they are published.

Each student also receives teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. But the tutorial is the place where all the elements of the course come together and make sense. Meeting regularly with the same tutor – often weekly throughout the term – ensures a high level of individual attention and enables the process of learning and teaching to take place in the context of a student’s individual needs.

The tutorial system also offers the sustained commitment of one or more senior academics – as college tutors – to each student’s progress. It helps students to grow in confidence, to develop their skills in analysis and persuasive argument, and to flourish as independent learners and thinkers.

More information about tutorials

The benefits of the college system

  • Every Oxford student is a member of a college. The college system is at the heart of the Oxford experience, giving students the benefits of belonging to both a large and internationally renowned university and a much smaller, interdisciplinary, college community.
  • Each college brings together academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and college staff. The college gives its members the chance to be part of a close and friendly community made up of both leading academics and students from different subjects, year groups, cultures and countries. The relatively small size of each college means that it is easy to make friends and contribute to college life. There is a sense of belonging, which can be harder to achieve in a larger setting, and a supportive environment for study and all sorts of other activities.
  • Colleges organise tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and one or more college tutors will oversee and guide each student’s progress throughout his or her career at Oxford. The college system fosters a sense of community between tutors and students, and among students themselves, allowing for close and supportive personal attention to each student’s academic development.

It is the norm that undergraduates live in college accommodation in their first year, and in many cases they will continue to be accommodated by their college for the majority or the entire duration of their course. Colleges invest heavily in providing an extensive range of services for their students, and as well as accommodation colleges provide food, library and IT resources, sports facilities and clubs, drama and music, social spaces and societies, access to travel or project grants, and extensive welfare support. For students the college often becomes the hub of their social, sporting and cultural life.

More about Oxford’s unique college system and how to choose a college

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