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.
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.
Oxford graduates in these subjects regularly go into highly competitive areas such as the 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.
A typical week
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.
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.
To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.
European languages: two language papers and one literature paper
AssessmentFirst University examinations: Five written papers; plus oral/aural examination (Arabic only)
For the Middle Eastern Language, students attend an approved course of language instruction in the Middle East.
For the European Language, students are encouraged to spend as much of their vacation time as possible in a relevant country.
|Qualifying examination at the end of the 2nd year course (Middle Eastern language only)|
|3rd and 4th years|
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.
- 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)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Annual Course fees
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
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.
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.
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 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
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 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.
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 Wednesday 31 October 2018. 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 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.
For the European language, candidates must submit the same written work as for Modern Languages by Saturday 10 November 2018. 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.
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.
'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.'
First job after graduating
After graduation, I started working for an Arabic-language film company in London, initially as a translator.
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 Arabic||RT7Q|
|French and Arabic||RT16|
|German and Arabic||RT26|
|Italian and Arabic||RT36|
|Modern Greek and Arabic||QT76|
|Portuguese and Arabic||RT56|
|Russian and Arabic||RT76|
|Spanish and Arabic||RT46|
|Courses with Hebrew||UCAS codes|
|Czech and Hebrew||RQ7K|
|French and Hebrew||RQ14|
|German and Hebrew||RQ24|
|Italian and Hebrew||RQ34|
|Modern Greek and Hebrew||QQ74|
|Portuguese and Hebrew||RQ54|
|Russian and Hebrew||RQ74|
|Spanish and Hebrew||RQK4|
|Courses with Persian||UCAS codes|
|Czech and Persian||RTT6|
|French and Persian||RTC6|
|German and Persian||RT2P|
|Italian and Persian||RTH6|
|Modern Greek and Persian||QT7P|
|Portuguese and Persian||RTM6|
|Russian and Persian||RT7P|
|Spanish and Persian||RT4P|
|Courses with Turkish||UCAS codes|
|Czech and Turkish||RTRP|
|French and Turkish||RT1P|
|German and Turkish||RT2Q|
|Italian and Turkish||RT3P|
|Modern Greek and Turkish||QT7Q|
|Portuguese and Turkish||RT5P|
|Russian and Turkish||RTR6|
|Spanish and Turkish||RTK6|
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.