European and Middle Eastern Languages | University of Oxford
European and Middle Eastern Languages
The ceiling of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
(Image credit: Shutterstock).

European and Middle Eastern Languages

This course in European and Middle Eastern Languages (EMEL) enables students to combine papers in one of the languages taught in the Faculty of Modern Languages with papers in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish, providing opportunities to take advantage of the cultural links which exist between a number of European and Middle Eastern languages. For example, appropriate combinations might well be French and Arabic, German and Turkish, or Hebrew and Russian, but even some of the less obvious pairings would provide similar cultural and historical linkage. So, Spanish and Turkish would be an interesting combination for the history of Sephardi Judaism, while Persian and Portuguese are important for the study of early imperialism.

Through its long-standing traditions and more recent gifts, Oxford has outstanding resources for the study of Middle Eastern and modern European languages. The Bodleian Library and Taylor Institution Library (for languages) have a magnificent collection of books and manuscripts. The Taylor Institution Library is one of the biggest research and lending libraries devoted to modern European languages in the world. Associated with the University is the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, which houses the Leopold Muller Library with more than 35,000 volumes in Hebrew and more than 7,000 volumes in Western languages.

EMEL Careers

Oxford graduates in these subjects regularly go into highly competitive areas such as law, finance, commerce, management consultancy, accountancy, the media, advertising, the Foreign Office and the arts.

Recent European and Middle Eastern Languages graduates include a foreign office diplomat, a translator at the UN and a journalist at a foreign news channel.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other Modern Languages courses or Oriental Studies courses.

International opportunities

You will normally spend your second year on an approved course of study in the Middle East. There are arrangements in place with partner universities to help you make the most of your time abroad. You are strongly advised to spend the adjacent summers in a country where the European language of your choice is spoken.

A typical weekly timetable

Your work is divided between language classes, lectures and tutorials (one or two a week). In the first year, the emphasis is on intensive learning of the Middle Eastern language. Throughout your course, you will prepare essays for your weekly tutorials and classes.

1st year

Courses

European languages: two language papers and one literature paper
Middle Eastern language: intensive language learning

Assessment

First University examinations: Five written papers; plus oral/aural examination (Arabic only)
2nd year

Year abroad

For the Middle Eastern Language, students attend an approved course of language instruction.

For the European Language, students are encouraged to spend as much of their vacation time as possible in a relevant country.

Refer to sections on Oriental Studies and Modern Languages.

Qualifying examination at the end of the 2nd year course (Middle Eastern language only)
3rd and 4th years

Courses

  • Practical language work in the European language
  • Period of literature and further paper chosen from a wide range of options in the European language
  • Practical language work in the Middle Eastern language
  • Three papers including literature and a range of options in the Middle Eastern language
  • Extended essay on a topic bridging the European and the Middle Eastern language
The options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Oriental Studies website.

Assessment

Final University examinations: Nine written papers are taken including a bridging extended essay; Oral exam (both languages, but not Hebrew on the Middle Eastern side)

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

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

You would usually be expected to have the European language to A-level, or another academic equivalent. We would not normally expect you to have any knowledge of the Middle Eastern language
before starting the course. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.

All candidates must also take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT) and the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT) 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.)

Fees

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.

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU£9,250£0£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands
& Isle of Man)
£9,250£0£9,250
Overseas£16,230£7,570£23,800

For more information please refer to our tuition 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 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.

Financial support

Home/EU

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
(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 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

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for European and Middle Eastern 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.

Written tests

All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT) and the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT), 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.

Further information about all our written tests can be found on our tests page. Information relating specifically to tests for this course can be found at www.mlatoxford.org.uk and www.olatoxford.org.uk.

Written work

For the European language, candidates must submit the same written work as for Modern Languages by Friday 10 November 2017.  Please see the Modern Languages pages for further details and the general page on written work to download the cover sheet. No written work is required for the Middle Eastern language.

What are tutors looking for?

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, in addition to an interest in literature and culture.

Selection criteria

Candidates may wish to refer to the selection criteria for Modern Languages and for Oriental Studies.

Suggested reading

Please see the guidance on the FAQs section of the Modern Languages faculty website under the heading 'How can I prepare myself for the entrance procedure?' There is further specific advice for the different languages by following links from the languages section of the website. This advice can be applied to both the European and the Middle Eastern elements of the course. There is some further advice on the Oriental Studies website.

Apply

Shaahin

'One day you might be studying literature, the next day you might be studying philosophy. You can also look at history - languages are a vehicle for the exploration of many different fields.'

Jack

First job after graduating

After graduation, I started working for an Arabic-language film company in London, initially as a translator.

Current job

I am now working on a PhD at SOAS, focussing on North Indian literature. My trajectory here has been a varied one: some of the work I did in my first job got me interested in North Indian Islam, which led me to undertake an MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at Oxford. I learnt Hindi and Urdu through this, and are now using these skills in the PhD.

How did Oxford prepare you for this type of work?

The key transferable skill that I gained from my time at Oxford was the ability to analyse and synthesise material quickly and thoroughly. Being able to determine what is relevant and what is not within a source or document is a useful skill in almost every career path, and my experiences at Oxford really pushed me to develop this ability. More specifically for me, the language learning I have undertaken at Oxford has underpinned every stage of my professional development so far.

What was the most important thing your time at Oxford taught you?

The most important thing that studying at Oxford did for me was to provide me with the confidence to assert my opinions and the ability to substantiate my arguments. Having to defend your essays to someone a lot more knowledgeable within the tutorial system is a sure-fire way to build your self-assurance!

Courses with Arabic
UCAS codes
Czech and ArabicRT7Q
French and ArabicRT16
German and ArabicRT26
Italian and ArabicRT36
Modern Greek and ArabicQT76
Portuguese and ArabicRT56
Russian and ArabicRT76
Spanish and ArabicRT46
Courses with HebrewUCAS codes
Czech and HebrewRQ7K
French and HebrewRQ14
German and HebrewRQ24
Italian and HebrewRQ34
Modern Greek and HebrewQQ74
Portuguese and HebrewRQ54
Russian and HebrewRQ74
Spanish and HebrewRQK4
Courses with Persian
UCAS codes
Czech and PersianRTT6
French and PersianRTC6
German and PersianRT2P
Italian and PersianRTH6
Modern Greek and PersianQT7P
Portuguese and PersianRTM6
Russian and PersianRT7P
Spanish and PersianRT4P
Courses with Turkish
UCAS codes
Czech and TurkishRTRP
French and TurkishRT1P
German and TurkishRT2Q
Italian and TurkishRT3P
Modern Greek and TurkishQT7Q
Portuguese and TurkishRT5P
Russian and TurkishRTR6
Spanish and TurkishRTK6

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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