The English side of the course offers you a choice from a list of papers covering all literature written in the English language from its origins in Anglo-Saxon through to works produced in English-speaking countries across the world in the present day. The Modern Language side of the course will give you practical linguistic training, encourage you to think coherently about language as a subject of study and introduce you to an extensive and fascinating field of Western literature and thought.
The English Faculty is the largest in the UK, and the Modern Languages Faculty is one of the largest, with both faculties including major scholars in all areas of the respective subjects. Students thus have access to a range of expert tutors. Library provision at Oxford is excellent: all students have access to the English Faculty Library, the Taylor Institution Library (for languages), the Bodleian Library and their own college libraries.
The course is extremely flexible. In the first year you will do practical work in your chosen language and study a selection of important texts from its literature. On the English side, you will be introduced to the conceptual and technical tools used in the study of language and literature, and to a wide range of different critical assumptions and approaches. You will also do tutorial work on either early medieval, Victorian or modern literature. In the second year, a wide range of options opens up for you. Language work in your modern language will continue and you will study literature from a wide range of periods in English and in your language. The third year of this four-year course is spent abroad – see below. On your return, you will choose from a range of special option papers in both English and Modern Languages, and in comparative literature.
Graduates in English and Modern Languages go on to careers in fields including broadcasting, publishing, teaching, journalism, the theatre, administration, management, advertising, translation, librarianship and law. Knowledge of a modern language opens up opportunities for internationally focused careers and working with international companies or organisations.
Students spend a year abroad before their final year. Please see the Modern Languages course page for more information.
A typical weekly timetable
Most students will have one or two tutorials a week as well as compulsory language classes. Typically, students also attend three to four lecture courses per subject.
CoursesSix papers are taken:
Six written papers form the First University Examination including a submitted portfolio of two essays for
All exams must be passed, but marks do not count towards the final degree.
|2nd and 4th years (3rd year is spent abroad)|
Papers will be examined by extended essays over the course of the second and fourth years, or by practical and written examinations at the end of your fourth year.
The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.
- A-levels: AAA
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
- IB: 38 (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.)
Candidates are expected to have English Literature, or English Language and Literature, to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. The language requirements are detailed below:
For French, German, Russian and Spanish
Candidates would usually be expected to have the language or languages to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.
For Czech, Italian, Modern Greek and Portuguese
Please note the different course codes for Czech, Beginners’ Czech, Italian, Beginners’ Italian, Modern Greek, Beginners’ Modern Greek, Portuguese and Beginners’ Portuguese.
Candidates applying for a non-beginners' language course would be expected to have an A-level, or academic equivalent, in that language. Beginners’ courses allow students to start studying one of these languages from scratch. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.
In Czech, Italian, Modern Greek, and Portuguese, beginners will receive additional language support, but study together with those who already have A-level (or equivalent) and take the same first year exam.
All candidates must also take the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) as part of their application. Please see how to apply for further details.
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 2018. Please note that for both Home and EU undergraduate students, tuition fees are currently subject to a governmental fee cap, which has not yet been confirmed by the government for 2018. As a guide the 2017 tuition fee for Home, EU and Islands full-time undergraduates has been included below and will be updated as soon as further details are confirmed.
Total annual fees
& Isle of Man)
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 for the academic year starting in 2018 are estimated to be between £1,014 and £1,556 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.
A full loan is available from the UK government to cover tuition fees for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your tuition fees up front.
In 2018 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.
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:
Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford support 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
Additional Fees and Charges Information for English and Modern Languages
During the year abroad, students pay significantly reduced fees. For students who started an undergraduate course from 2016, who are going on their year abroad in 2017, the tuition fees are:
- Home/EU/Islands students: £1,385 for the year.
- International students: £7,880 for the year.
Information regarding tuition fees for undergraduates who are going on their year abroad in 2018 will be published in the autumn.
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. Students taking part in Erasmus study exchanges will not need to pay tuition fees to other institutions. However, if you decide to study outside Erasmus you will be liable to pay tuition 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.
All candidates must take both the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT) in their own school or college or other approved test centre on Thursday 2 November 2017. Candidates must make sure they are available to take the tests at this time. Separate registration for each test is required and the final deadline for entries is Sunday 15 October 2017. 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.
Candidates must submit written work by Friday 10 November 2017 for each of the subjects forming this joint course.
You will see that candidates are required to submit:
- a piece of written work in English for the English part of the course
- 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 have a piece of written work in English that you think would be suitable for both subjects, please send us two copies of this piece of work; you do not need to submit two different pieces of work in English. Please check the written work requirements for both English Language and Literature and for Modern Languages before choosing what to send.
For general guidance and to download the cover sheet, please see our written work page.
What are tutors looking for?
Successful candidates will have an aptitude for their modern language, will read widely and will enjoy writing and talking about literature and language. Candidates who are shortlisted may be asked to talk about a piece of prose or verse supplied before or in their interview.
Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.
'I chose my degree since I was interested in the way people spoke and communicated. I don’t really see English and German as two separate subjects: they are both the study of language, just two different aspects of it. To understand a country’s literature is to understand their mindset; it filters down into the idiom of the day (just think how much people today quote Shakespeare!)
For English I’m not taking the Victorian paper, which is pretty rare. Instead I’m studying Old English. My German really helps me with this as the languages are very similar. If you blended modern English with modern German, Old English is pretty much what you would get; the grammar and morphology are very familiar to someone with my background.
I’m particularly looking forward to the paper on linguistics, which will allow me to look at the sociolinguistic power relationships between different speakers and similar things. I think that these concepts will enhance my study of literature for all of the modules I go on to study.
In Oxford, I’ve become involved in the Poetry Society. I’m hoping to also get involved with Cuppers (a drama competition for first-years).
Part of my family comes from Oxford, and I came to three different open days before I applied, so I came to Freshers’ Week knowing my way around the city quite well. However, it was still a change for me to begin with; but people soon find niches, and I was able to find like-minded people very quickly.'
The most unexpected thing about my course:
'How much leeway there is to follow your own interests.'
I wish they'd told me when I was applying to university...
'Clubbing is not compulsory!'
The best thing that Oxford did for me:
'Gave me the confidence to be my own person.'
My favourite Oxford memory is...
'Punting in Christ Church meadow in the evening sun.'
Click on the UCAS code list below to see KIS data for each subject option.
|KIS data links||UCAS codes|
|English and Beginners' Czech||QR3S|
|English and Czech||QR37|
|English and French||QR31|
|English and German||QR32|
|English and Beginners' Modern Greek||QR39|
|English and Modern Greek||QQ37|
|English and Beginners' Italian||RQ33|
|English and Italian||QR33|
|English and Beginners' Portuguese||QR3M|
|English and Portuguese||QR35|
|English and Russian||QRH7|
|English and Spanish||QR34|
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.
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.