Details of an engraving in the History of Science Museum showing The Academy of Arts and Sciences, by B. Smith
The Academy of Arts and Sciences, by B. Smith. c.18th Century, after original of 1698. Engraving by S. le Clerc.
(Credit: History of Science Museum, Oxford)

Classics and Modern Languages

Course overview

UCAS code: See course combinations
Entrance requirements: AAA (with As in Latin and Greek if taken).
Course duration: 4 or 5 years with year abroad (BA).

Subject requirements

Required subjects: A modern language (depending on course choice).
Recommended subjects: Not applicable
Helpful subjects: Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Civilisation or Ancient History.

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: 
Written Work: One/three pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 93%
Successful: 42%
Intake: 10 
Successful for a different course: 3%
Applicant intake for a different course: 1

*3-year average 2021-23

Classics contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288391
Email: [email protected]

Modern Languages contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 270750
Email: [email protected]

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 department in the world, with over sixty full-time academic staff-members. It has outstanding teaching, library and museum resources, including the Bodleian and Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and a designated Classics Centre.

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.

Students develop oral proficiency in the modern language by regular contact with native speakers.

International opportunities

Classics and Modern Languages students spend a compulsory year abroad. 

Options for the year abroad include (but aren’t restricted to):

  • working as a paid language assistant in a school;
  • undertaking an internship;
  • and/or studying at a University.

These all 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.

 students at a lecture

'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.'


Visit the Studying at Oxford section of this page for a more general insight into what studying here is likely to be like.

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. 

Course structure

Two routes through the course, called ‘options’, are available to Classics and Modern Languages (CML) students.

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

Option A divides its time evenly between Classics (mostly language and literature) and Modern Languages.

This option lasts three years for students who have studied Latin and/or Greek to A-Level or equivalent, and four years for those who are taking the version with Beginners' Latin or Greek. 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

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,
  • literature,
  • ancient history,
  • archaeology,
  • philology
  • and ancient or modern philosophy 

This option lasts four years, whether or not you have any prior experience in Latin or Greek. 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 Moderations Examinations in the second term 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 (Classics and Modern Languages) or Years 1 and 2 (Classics and Modern Languages with Beginners' Latin or Greek)



Students taking Classics and Modern Languages with Beginners’ Latin or Greek spend a preliminary year learning Latin or Greek, alongside some study of classical literature. Then they follow the same programme as other Option A students.

  • Translation from the ancient language(s) into English (one paper)
  • Literature in the ancient language or languages (two papers)
  • Practical language work for the modern language (two papers)
  • Literature in the modern language (two papers)
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. 

In addition, undergraduates normally maintain their modern language through language classes.

First University examinations in Classics: six/nine papers

Options A and B (plus intercalated year abroad) Terms 4-9 (Option A Classics and Modern Languages), 6-12 (Option B), or 7-12 (Option A, Classics and Modern Languages with Beginners' Latin or Greek)



  • Classics (three/four papers)
  • Modern Language (four/five papers)
  • Possibility of a paper or a long essay exploring the links between ancient and modern literatures

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 Classics papers.

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.

Academic requirements 




AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)

Advanced Highers:    

AA/AAB (with A in Latin, if taken)

International Baccalaureate (IB):

39 (including core points) with 666 at HL, including 6s at HL in Latin and Greek if taken

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.

Subject requirements


Either or both classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek), Classical Civilisation or Ancient History can be helpful to students in completing this course, although they are not required for admission.

Candidates who have not studied either Latin or Greek to A-level or equivalent 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


Candidates would usually be expected to have the modern 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,  Portuguese/Beginners' Portuguese, and Beginners' German


Candidates may apply with an A-level or equivalent in the relevant modern language or for a beginners’ course, which allows students to start studying one of these languages from scratch.

Beginners’ courses are not available to candidates who have not studied either Latin or Ancient Greek to A-level or equivalent, and will be taking a beginners' course in a classical language.

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.

Admissions test



Test date:

CAT: 22 October 2024

MLAT: 22 October 2024

Registration window:

15 August to 4 October 2024

All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), as part of their application.

Guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the CAT page and the MLAT page.

We are putting in place new arrangements for our admissions tests for 2024 onwards. We will provide more information on these arrangements at the earliest opportunity.

Written work


One/three pieces: please view the written work requirements for both Classics and for Modern Languages. Candidates are required to submit the following:

  • a piece of written work in your chosen Modern Language unless you are applying to study a language as a beginner
  • a piece of written work in English for the Classics part of the course
  • a piece of written work in English for the Modern Languages part of the course

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.

Submission deadline:  

10 November 2024

Visit our further guidance on the submission of written work.

What are tutors looking for?

Successful candidates will be expected to display general language aptitude, including competence in Latin or Greek if they are studying the classical language(s) to A-level or equivalent.

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.'

Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2024. Course fee information for courses starting in 2025 will be updated in September.

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.


Fee status

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

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 2024 are estimated to be between £1,345 and £1,955 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


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 2024 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £50,000 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £32,500 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.

 See further details.

(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


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

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

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 2024 would equate to:

  • Home students: £1,385 for the year.
  • Overseas students: £13,110 for the year (please note this is an illustrative example for 24/25)

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, visa costs and living costs (such as accommodation) and travel expenses will vary depending on the destination and the activity undertaken.

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. 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.


Contextual information

Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.

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

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first-year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

Read more about Oxford colleges and how you choose