This course allows students to study one modern language in depth together with Linguistics, the study of language itself. Part of your course will consist of developing your practical language skills to a high level, and you will engage with the literature and culture associated with the language (see Modern Languages).
In your study of Linguistics, you will be introduced to the analysis of the nature and structure of human language (including topics such as how words and sentences are formed, how we make and hear sounds, how languages change and vary and how language is organised in the brain) and you will apply these ideas to the study of your chosen language.
The University has particular expertise in general linguistics, phonetics, phonology, syntax and semantics, psycholinguistics and in the history and structure of many individual European languages and language families. All these combine to offer a mutually reinforcing package: on the one hand the theoretical study of what human language is and how it works; on the other, the detailed study of issues of language structure and change applied to the specific language you are studying. You will find a wide range of options available, allowing you to concentrate on those areas you find most exiting.
The training in rigorous analysis provided by Linguistics, coupled with highly developed practical competence in a language, gives graduates an excellent basis for a wide range of careers in language-related employment and other areas.
Recent Modern Languages and Linguistics graduates include a management consultant, a brand marketing manager, a market researcher for a company in the chemical industry, a psychology lecturer and a teacher.
Students spend a year abroad before their final year. Please see Modern Languages for more information.
A typical weekly timetable
Your week’s work will include a tutorial on linguistics or literature, in or arranged by your college, a linguistics class and language classes on different skills relating to the language or languages you study, and five or six lectures.
First University examinations:
|2nd and 4th years (3rd year spent abroad)|
Final University examinations:
You can either study Linguistics with a Modern Language you already speak, or with a Modern Language you’d like to learn from scratch.
For the following course combinations you would usually be expected to have the Modern Language to A-level (or another academic equivalent).
The following course combinations allow you to begin studying a Modern Language from scratch.
|Beginners' Modern Greek ||QQ72|
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)
No experience of studying Linguistics is required, though knowledge of the relevant modern language may be expected, as detailed below. English Language, Mathematics, a science or any other language may be useful for some elements of the course, although they are not required for admission. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.
For Linguistics and French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, 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.
All candidates must also take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (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.) Fees and living costs information for 2018 entrants will be published on this page from September 2017.
These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2017.
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 2017 are estimated to be between £1,002 and £1,471 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 2017 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of £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 Modern Languages and Linguistics
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.
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 the Modern Languages Admissions Test (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 test at this time. Separate registration for this 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 this test. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline.
For the language part of this course, candidates must submit the same written work as required for Modern Languages by Friday 10 November 2017. Please see Modern Languages for further details. Additionally, if you are studying an A-level or other qualification involving linguistic analysis (eg English Language), please also send in a piece of written work from that.
For more information, and to download a cover sheet, please see our further guidance on the submission of written work.
What are tutors looking for?
Language tutors look for a good command of any language you have already studied and want to continue studying at Oxford, and a strong interest in literature and culture.
Linguistics is a subject that most students start from scratch at University. Therefore admission tutors look for potential, in the form of an interest in exploring the nature of human language together with an aptitude for describing and analysing it. Furthermore, tutors look for a willingness to learn the formal tools required for rigorous and detailed investigation and leading to a deep understanding of the use, history and structure of the language you are studying.
Candidates may wish to refer to the selection criteria for Modern Languages.
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?'.
Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.
'I applied to Oxford on a whim: when I finally received my acceptance letter, I was convinced there’d been a mistake! Like most students, I began Linguistics as a completely new subject. I knew I loved languages, but had no idea what the study of them would entail. What makes this course so absorbing is that it offers such scope for specialisation: you can explore anything from controversial new theories on first-language acquisition to translation of nonsense verse like The Jabberwocky.'
He is an Associate Principal at ZS Associates, a management consultancy firm specialising in sales and marketing issues. He says:
‘The Oxford tutorial system really mirrors the kind of deadline-driven project work we do for our clients – we understand and synthesise a large amount of qualitative and quantitative data in a short space of time and then make recommendations by layering in insights on top of the analysis to help solve the client’s business problem...when you think about it, the process has a lot in common with writing a good essay!’
The most unexpected thing about my course:
'The fact that language and grammar are almost entirely self-taught and expected to flourish without regular testing.'
I wish they'd told me when I was applying to university...
'It's okay not to love it all the time, and to think Freshers' Week is a bit rubbish.'
The best thing that Oxford did for me:
'It provided me with amazing friends, amazing buildings to work in, amazing tutors (my teachers were world experts), incredible sporting opportunities (rowing!) and it prepared me for the world.'
My favourite Oxford memory is...
'1) Saturday of Summer Eights 2012
2) Picnics in Christ Church Meadows
3) Walking past the Rad Cam every day and still being impressed.
4) Sitting in Exeter Fellows' garden and taking in the view
5) Working on the balcony seats in the Taylorian (definitely the most breathtaking library in Oxford!)
6) Survivors photo at 6am at Magdalen ball after dancing to Labyrinth all night.'
Currently I work within the University of Oxford Development Office. I am also in the middle of translating a 17th century Portuguese book about native medicinal trees, plants and herbs, which was written in Kerala, India during the Renaissance Period (which is what I specialised in at University).
How did Oxford prepare you for this type of work?
As for the translation side of my work, it just so happened that not many others in the world have the combination of languages that were needed for the translation of this work: Malayalam (my native language), Portuguese (which I studied as a beginners' language) and English. My final year project as part of Linguistics was on the vocabulary and loan words in Portuguese and Linguistics, so I had already done a lot of legwork in finding words in Portuguese which were borrowed from Malayalam (often with their origin being other countries that traded with South Indians). As for my office role, my background in linguistics allowed me to analyse databases and gather information with ease.
What was the most important thing your time at Oxford taught you?
Studying at Oxford made me realise that I could, if I so chose to, do pretty much anything I wanted to in the world. That I studied at such a prestigious university was important consideration given by the employers (and can often be the difference in getting a job or losing out to someone from a non-Russell Group university).
Being from a state school background, it was eye opening to see how much work was involved in an Oxford degree, and I struggled at times. However, the tutors recognised hard work and I was able to share my passion for my chosen subjects with academics who were thought-leaders in the field.
Click on the UCAS code list below to see KIS data for each subject option.
|KIS data links||UCAS codes|
|French and Linguistics||RQ11|
|German and Linguistics||RQ21|
|Modern Greek and Linguistics||QQ71|
|Beginners' Italian and Linguistics||QR13|
|Italian and Linguistics||RQ31|
|Beginners' Portuguese and Linguistics||RQ5D|
|Portuguese and Linguistics||RQ51|
|Russian and Linguistics||RQ71|
|Spanish and Linguistics||RQ41|
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.