Books in the library at Somerville College
Books in the library at Somerville College.
(Image credit: Rob Judges Photography / Oxford University Images)

English and Modern Languages

Course overview

UCAS code: See combinations
Entrance requirements: AAA
Course duration: 4 years with year abroad (BA)

Subject requirements

Required subjects:  A modern language (depending on course choice) and English Literature or English Language and Literature.
Recommended subjects: Not applicable
Helpful subjects: Not applicable

Other course requirements

Admissions test: MLAT
Written Work: One/three pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 83%
Successful: 31%
Intake: 32
Successful for a different course: 10%
Applicant intake for a different course: 13

*3-year average 2021-23

English contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 271055
Email: [email protected]

Modern Languages contact

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

Unistats information for each course combination can be found at the bottom of the page

About the course

The English side of the course offers you a choice of options covering a comprehensive span of literature written in the English language from its origins in Anglo-Saxon through to works produced in English-speaking countries across the world in the present day.

The Modern Language study will give you practical linguistic training, encourage you to think coherently about language as a subject of study and introduce you to the extensive and fascinating literatures and thought written in European Languages.

The English Faculty is the largest in the UK, and the Modern Languages Faculty is one of the largest, with teaching staff including major scholars in all areas of the respective subjects.

Library provision at Oxford is excellent. All students have access to:

The course is extremely flexible. In the first year, you will do practical work in your chosen language and study a selection of important texts from its literature. On the English side, you will be introduced to the conceptual and technical tools used in the study of language and literature, and to a range of different critical assumptions and approaches. You will also do tutorial work on either early medieval, Victorian or modern literature originally written in English.

In the second year, a variety of options will be available. Work in your modern language will continue alongside the study of literature from a wide range of periods in English and in your language.

The third year of this four-year course is spent abroad. On your return, you will choose from a range of special option papers in both English and Modern Languages, and in comparative literature. The final-year dissertation provides an opportunity to write an extended research piece either on a chosen topic in English language or literature, or a comparative topic bringing together studies in both English and your chosen language.

Fieldwork/work placements/international opportunities

English and Modern Languages students spend a compulsory year abroad, usually in the third year. Opportunities for the year abroad include (but are not 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 socializing

'I chose my degree since I was interested in the way people spoke and communicated. I don’t really see English and German as two separate subjects: they are both the study of language, just two different aspects of it. To understand a country’s literature is to understand their mindset; it filters down into the idiom of the day (just think how much people today quote Shakespeare!) For English I’m not taking the Victorian paper, which is pretty rare. Instead I’m studying Old English. My German really helps me with this as the languages are very similar. If you blended modern English with modern German, Old English is pretty much what you would get; the grammar and morphology are very familiar to someone with my background.'


Unistats information

Discover Uni course data provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford for a particular undergraduate course.

Please select 'see course data' to view the full Unistats data for each option. 

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small. 

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

Most students will have one or two tutorials a week, as well as compulsory language classes. Typically, you will also attend three to four lecture courses per subject. These tutorials may cover different approaches to literary analysis, introductions to some of the texts or other content you are studying, or general cultural and historical content related to your degree.

Tutorials are usually 1-4 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. 

Visit our Academic Year page to find out more about how our teaching year is structured.

Course structure

Year 1



Six papers are taken:
  • Introduction to English language and literature
  • One period paper from single honours English Language and Literature
  • Two practical language papers
  • Two literature papers in the modern language

Six written papers form the Year 1 examinations including a submitted portfolio of two essays for
Introduction to English language and literature. All exams must be passed, but marks do not count towards the final degree.

Years 2 and 4 (Year 3 spent abroad)



  • Three papers from single honours English Language and Literature
  • Dissertation
  • Modern Language (four papers) including: practical language work (two written papers plus oral examination), a period of literature and options (prescribed authors and texts from the 12th to 21st centuries, a special subject or a linguistics paper)
The options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Faculty of English website and Modern Languages website.

Papers will be examined by extended essays over the course of the second and fourth years, and by practical and written examinations at the end of your fourth year.

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

Academic requirements 





Advanced Highers: 


International Baccalaureate (IB):

38 (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.

Subject requirements 

For English and French / German / Russian / Spanish


Candidates are expected to have English Literature, or English Language and Literature, to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. 

Candidates would usually be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.  

For English and: Beginners' German; Czech/Beginners' Czech; Italian/Beginners' Italian; Modern Greek/Beginners' Modern Greek; and, Portuguese/Beginners' Portuguese


Candidates are expected to have English Literature, or English Language and Literature, to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. 

Candidates applying for a non-beginners' language course would be expected to have an A-level, or academic equivalent, in that language.

Beginners’ courses allow students to start studying one of these languages from scratch.

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 tests



Test date:

To be confirmed

Registration date:                             

To be confirmed                                                                                         

All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT) as part of their application. 

Guidance on how to prepare for the test can be found on the MLAT page

We will be 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 English Language and Literature 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 English 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 written work page for general guidance and to download the cover sheet.

What are tutors looking for?

Successful candidates will have an aptitude for their modern language, or for linguistic study if they are picking up a new language from scratch, will read widely and will enjoy writing and talking about literature and language.

Candidates who are shortlisted may be asked to talk about a piece of prose or verse supplied before or in their interview. 

Visit the English website and Modern Languages website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


Graduates in English and Modern Languages go on to careers in a wide range of different fields including:

  • broadcasting
  • publishing
  • teaching
  • journalism
  • the theatre
  • administration
  • management
  • advertising
  • translation
  • librarianship
  • the law.

Knowledge of a modern language opens up opportunities for internationally-focused careers and working with international companies or organisations.

Evie, who studied English and Modern Languages and now works for a social enterprise company, says that her degree gave her ‘an awareness of other places, other cultures, other ways of thinking; in studying a language you are confronted by a different way of constructing a sentence, and even more so, a different way of constructing the world… The skills we have learnt during our degrees are the epitome of transferable skills.’ 

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 English 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.

Course data

Click on each of the following course options to view further subject specific information and the Unistats data provided by Discover Uni for each subject option.

Course linksUCAS codes
English and Beginners' CzechQR3S
English and CzechQR37
English and FrenchQR31
English and Beginners' GermanQR23
English and German QR32
English and Beginners' Modern GreekQR39
English and Modern GreekQQ37
English and Beginners' Italian RQ33
English and ItalianQR33
English and Beginners' PortugueseQR3M
English and PortugueseQR35
English and RussianQRH7
English and SpanishQR34

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