An illuminated page of the 'Kennicott Bible'.
An illuminated page of the 'Kennicott Bible'. The Hebrew Bible owes its name to the English Hebraist, Benjamin Kennicott (1718-1783), who acquired it for the Radcliffe Library.
(Credit: Bodleian Library)

European and Middle Eastern 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) 
Recommended subjects: Not applicable
Helpful subjects: Not applicable

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: MLAT
Written Work: Two pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 91%
Successful: 37%
Intake: 13
Successful for a different course: 5%
Applicant intake for a different course: 2

*3-year average 2021-23

Modern Languages contact

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

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 278312
[email protected]

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

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

About the course

The European and Middle Eastern Languages (EMEL) course 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. This provides 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. However, even some of the less obvious pairings would provide similar cultural and historical linkage. For example, 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 colonial expansion.

Through its long-standing traditions and connections, Oxford has outstanding resources for the study of Middle Eastern and modern European languages. The Bodleian Libraries, including the Taylor Institution Library, have an extensive collection of books and manuscripts. The Taylor Institution 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.

Middle East: year abroad arrangements 

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. In addition to undertaking a study placement, students may also choose to undertake further language study or participate in internships.

Elisa (who studied French and Arabic) says: ‘I did my entire year abroad in Amman, Jordan. I studied Arabic at a French language and research institute called IFPO which I thoroughly enjoyed and was where my Arabic drastically improved. Amman is an exciting city with character and Jordan is a beautiful country with many places to visit and sights to see.’

Other year abroad activity and funding

You are strongly advised to spend the adjacent summers in a country where the European language of your choice is spoken. Past opportunities have typically included undertaking an internship or following a summer course for your chosen European language, which provides valuable experiences for improving language competence.

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.

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 may also provide additional assistance. 

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.

Library students socializing

'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!'



'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.'


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 of our language courses.

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

Your work will be divided between language classes, lectures and tutorials (one or two a week). In the first year, the emphasis will be on intensive learning of the Middle Eastern language. Throughout your course, you will prepare essays for your weekly tutorials and classes, some of which will take place in the Faculties of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Medieval and Modern Languages, while others will be held in your college.

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 these 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




  • European languages:
    • Two language papers
    • One literature paper 
  • Middle Eastern language: 
    • Intensive language learning


First University examinations: five written papers; plus oral/aural examination (Arabic only)

Year 2 

Year abroad


  • Middle Eastern Language
    • Students attend an approved course of language instruction in the Middle East
  • European Language
    • Students are encouraged to spend as much of their vacation time as possible in a relevant country
Refer to sections on the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Modern Languages pages.

Years 3 and 4




  • Practical language work in the European language
  • Period of literature and further paper chosen from a wide range of options in the European language
  • Practical language work in the Middle Eastern language
  • Three papers including literature and a range of options in the Middle Eastern language
  • Extended essay on a topic bridging the European and the Middle Eastern language


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 options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies website.

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 


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 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 page.

The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions tests



Test date:

22 October 2024

Registration window:

15 August to 4 October 2024 

All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT).

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


For the European language, candidates must submit the same written work as for Modern Languages. No written work is required for the Middle Eastern language.

Submission deadline:  

10 November 2024

Visit our page on written work to download the cover sheet. 

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. They will also look for an interest in its literature and culture.

At interview, tutors will want to find out as much as possible about your intellectual interests and academic potential. You may be asked about your reading, your interest in the cultures of the relevant countries or the work you have submitted. You may be asked questions about a short passage in English or the relevant foreign language.

You will be given the opportunity to speak in the relevant foreign language which you have studied to an advanced level. As far as possible, interviewers will try to let you show your strengths, interest in the subject(s) you intend to study, and reasons for applying to Oxford. 

Visit the Modern Languages website and the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


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.

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 European and Middle Eastern Languages

During the year abroad, students currently pay significantly reduced fees to the University. For example, for students going on their year abroad in 2020, who started an undergraduate course from 2019, the course fees were:

  • Home/EU/Islands students: £1,385 for the year
  • International students: £8,750 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. Actual costs (such as course fees) and living costs will vary depending on the destination and the activity undertaken.

Year abroad activity in the EU:

Some of the costs relating to year abroad activity in the EU may be subject to variation as arrangements relating to the UK’s departure from the EU are progressed. Visit our Oxford and the EU webpage for the latest information.

Course data

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

Courses with Arabic

UCAS code

Czech and ArabicRT7Q
French and ArabicRT16
German and ArabicRT26
Italian and ArabicRT36
Modern Greek and ArabicQT76
Portuguese and ArabicRT56
Russian and ArabicRT76
Spanish and ArabicRT46

Courses with Hebrew

UCAS code

Czech and HebrewRQ7K
French and HebrewRQ14
German and HebrewRQ24
Italian and HebrewRQ34
Modern Greek and HebrewQQ74
Portuguese and HebrewRQ54
Russian and HebrewRQ74
Spanish and HebrewRQK4

Courses with Persian

UCAS code

Czech and PersianRTT6
French and PersianRTC6
German and PersianRT2P
Italian and PersianRTH6
Modern Greek and PersianQT7P
Portuguese and PersianRTM6
Russian and PersianRT7P
Spanish and PersianRT4P

Courses with Turkish

UCAS code

Czech and TurkishRTRP
French and TurkishRT1P
German and TurkishRT2Q
Italian and TurkishRT3P
Modern Greek and TurkishQT7Q
Portuguese and TurkishRT5P
Russian and TurkishRTR6
Spanish and TurkishRTK6

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