Classics and Modern Languages
|UCAS code||See course combinations||Duration||4 or 5 years with year abroad (BA)|
|Entrance requirements||AAA (in Latin and Greek if taken)||Subject requirements||Latin and/or Greek (for Course I only), and a modern language (depending on course choice)|
|Written work||Two/four pieces|
+44 (0) 1865 288391
Subject requirements: Essential Recommended Helpful – may be useful on course
Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.
About the course
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.
The Greeks and Romans were active in all the countries covered by the available languages. Not only does studying this course help to give students greater access to the ancient cultures, it is also a chance to examine how classical literature and culture have shaped their modern counterparts.
Some options provide an opportunity to directly compare texts from both sides of the course, focusing on classical influence on modern European literature.
Oxford has the largest Classics Faculty in the world. The Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty is one of the largest in the country, with a major research library, the Taylor Institution, and a well-equipped Language Centre.
Undergraduates have access to the Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and a dedicated Classics Centre. Students develop oral proficiency in the modern language by regular contact with native speakers.
Classics and Modern Languages students spend a compulsory year abroad.
Opportunities abroad include working as a paid language assistant in a school, undertaking an internship and/or studying at a University, all of which provide valuable experiences for improving language competence.
The University is working with European partners to maintain the opportunities available to its students post-Brexit. University exchanges, language assistantships and work placements will continue to be available as opportunities for your year abroad.
In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to a course’s requirements for international study. Students who consider that they may be affected are asked to contact their department for advice.
Funding during the year abroad
Some year abroad activities provide a salary, and other year-abroad funding is available from a variety of sources.
Actual costs (such as course fees) and living costs will vary depending on the destination and the activity undertaken. Some of the costs relating to year abroad activity may be subject to variation as arrangements relating to the UK’s departure from the EU are progressed. Visit the dedicated Oxford and the EU page for the latest information.
You will need to pay for living costs during the year abroad, including accommodation and travel expenses, and there may be costs relating to visa or Covid-testing requirements for travel.
UK students from lower-income households with means-tested assessments will remain eligible for Oxford’s generous bursary provision. Travel grants may be available through your college and/or the Faculty.
For students who experience particular difficulties related to their year abroad, some hardship funds are also available from the Faculty. For UK students with a shortfall in their finances, the University’s Student Support Fund can provide additional assistance.
'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.'
A typical week
Your time is divided between lectures, tutorials and private study. The working week is typically structured around two tutorials in different subjects.
Most of your independent work will be in preparation of essays for your tutorials, although systematic language-learning and reading of texts will also require considerable time and effort.
Much of the teaching will take place in your college, but lectures are given in the Classics Faculty, the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and the Examination Schools. For particular subjects you may also work with tutors from other colleges.
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 doctoral level.
Two routes through the course, called ‘options’, are available to Classics and Modern Languages (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 equivalent) or Course II (if you have not).
You will be asked which route you wish to take only after you have applied to Oxford. This will usually take place via a form circulated by the admissions office at the college to which you have applied.
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.
Please consider the two following routes carefully before you make your decision.
Option A divides its time evenly between Classics (mostly language and literature) and Modern Languages.
This option lasts three years for Course I students, and four years for Course II students. Option A is 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.
With the year abroad, this option is total of four or five years.
Summary of key features of Option A route
- ‘Prelims Route’
- Preliminary Examination at the end of first year
- four or five years in total (depending on whether or not you are starting your classical language as a beginner).
Option B begins with a focus on Classics. For the first five terms, students take all the same options available to students of Classics:
- Greek and/or Latin language,
- ancient history,
- and ancient or modern philosophy
This option lasts four years for students on both Course I and Course II. Option B is also known as the ‘Mods route’, because you will take Honour Moderations (first exams) in Classics, which are identical to those taken by Classics students.
With the year abroad Option B is a total of five years.
Summary of key features of Option B route
- ‘Mods Route’
- Honour Moderation Examinations at the end of second year
- more focus on Classics in the first five terms
- five years in total.
To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.
Option A Year 1 (Course I) or Years 1 and 2 (Course II)
Course II students spend a preliminary year studying Latin or Greek, then follow Course I.
|First University examinations: three papers in the ancient language; four papers in the modern language|
Option B Years 1 and 2 (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)
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 options listed on this page are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Classics and Modern Languages websites
The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.
|AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)|
|AA/AAB (with A in Latin, if taken)|
International Baccalaureate (IB):
|39 (including core points) with 666 at HL|
Any other equivalent qualification:
|View information on other UK qualifications, and international qualifications.|
Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.
Read further information on how we use contextual data.
Course I or II
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.
For Classics and French, German, Russian and Spanish
|Essential:||Candidates would usually be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.|
For Classics and Czech/Beginners' Czech, Italian/Beginners' Italian, Modern Greek/Beginners' Modern Greek and Portuguese/Beginners' 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.
If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.
If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.
All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on our Applying to Oxford pages.
The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.
|CAT and MLAT|
CAT: 19 October 2023
MLAT: 20 October 2023
|29 September 2023|
All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), as part of their application.
Separate registration for each test is required and 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.
Please check the written work requirements for both Classics and for Modern Languages.
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.
|10 November 2023|
Visit our further guidance on the submission of written work.
What are tutors looking for?
Successful candidates will be expected to display competence in Latin or Greek (or general language aptitude if applying for Course II).
Tutors in both Classics and Modern Languages are also looking for potential and an enquiring mind, as well as real commitment to this wide-ranging subject.
Careers for CML graduates include the media, teaching, acting, management, the law, publishing, advertising and librarianship, as well as working with international companies or organisations.
Liliana says: ‘I chose to do a Joint Schools degree in Classics and French as I was interested in Europe, its languages, and its classical heritage. Moreover, the breadth of the degree was very attractive, especially for interdisciplinary research ... I often found myself drawing on my previous knowledge and skills, especially with regard to untranslated texts and reworkings of classical material. Plus, the range of subjects I’d studied earlier meant I was ever ready to explore new fields and languages.
I now work in China as a television presenter for programmes on Chinese society, politics and culture. 'The meticulous linguistic training from my degrees was first-rate preparation for tackling the puzzle of Chinese characters, while studying the classical and medieval worlds left me ready to take on the rich unfamiliarity of Chinese traditions. My earlier studies have led to all sorts of new intellectual adventures — whether reporting in Tiananmen Square on the history of the Silk Road, doing a live broadcast in Chinese while paragliding in Guizhou, interviewing world leaders at the Asian Davos, or presenting on endangered minority communities in Sichuan. Studying the European past gave me, paradoxically, the right tools for understanding the Chinese present.'
We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circumstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.
Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2023. Course fee information for courses starting in 2024 will be updated in September.
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
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.
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 2023 are estimated to be between £1,290 and £1,840 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, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.
In 2023 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £27,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.
*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.
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 Classics and Modern Languages
During the year abroad, students currently pay significantly reduced fees to the University. Fees for later years have not yet been confirmed but as an example, the course fees for a new-cohort undergraduate student on a Humanities course going on a year abroad in 2023 would equate to:
- Home students: £1,385 for the year.
- Overseas students: £11,925 for the year (please note this is an illustrative example for 23/24)
We recommend that students begin to research the costs associated with the various year abroad options as early as possible in the second year of the course. There is plenty of support, information and advice to help you.
Work placement costs, study costs and living costs (such as accommodation) and travel expenses will vary depending on the destination and the activity undertaken. Some of the costs relating to year abroad activity, such as visa costs, may be subject to variation following the UK’s departure from the EU.
Certain year abroad activities may provide a salary, depending on placement type and terms. Some funding towards year abroad placements is currently available through the Turing scheme, which provides living costs grants and enhanced support for disadvantaged students. The University plans to bid for Turing scheme funding to support year abroad activity in future academic years. In the event that the University is not successful in securing Turing scheme funding, it will provide grants towards living costs at a similar level to Turing grants to support undergraduates undertaking study exchanges or work placements required for their course. UK students can continue to access government funding for living costs, and those from lower-income households who are means-tested will remain eligible for generous bursaries from Oxford. Travel grants and financial assistance for those with insufficient funds may also be available through your college, the faculty and the University.
At present, students taking part in approved study exchanges supported by the Turing scheme do not pay tuition fees to other institutions. However, for some destinations, additional charges, which apply to all students at that institution, may be payable.
If you study outside the Turing scheme framework, you will be liable to pay course fees and any other applicable charges to the relevant institution.
You can find the latest information about the Turing scheme at Oxford, on our dedicated webpage.
Please note, some costs related to year abroad activity may be subject to some variation as arrangements relating to the UK’s departure from the EU are progressed.
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The Oxford tutorial
College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.
During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your tutorials will be doing the same course as you. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.
Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education
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