The Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy.
Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy.
(Image credit: Shutterstock).

History and Modern Languages

Course overview

UCAS code: See course 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: History
Helpful subjects: Not applicable

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: 
Written Work: One/three pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 84%
Successful: 26%
Intake: 20
Successful for a different course: 11%
Applicant intake for a different course: 10

*3-year average 2021-23

History contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 615000
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

A degree course in History and Modern Languages with us is an exciting way to explore language, culture and history from across the globe, and to develop skills that will open a wide range of career opportunities.

The course is an excellent way to combine the study of a single European language with a broader humanities education. In studying History and Modern Languages, you can call on the forensic literary skills of a linguist in interrogating historical documents. You can also draw on your understanding of political, social and economic developments to enrich your engagement with literature, film and other culture.

Our course is celebrated for its wide scope and the enormous amount of choice offered. In History you can study options on any part of British and European history from the declining years of the Roman Empire to the present day. You can also take options on North American, Latin American, Asian and African history.

In modern languages, as well as developing a high level of fluency and confidence in your language, you can study its thought and literature from medieval times right up to the present day, as well as twentieth- and twenty-first-century cinema.

Your studies can take you wherever your language is spoken, including post-colonial nations from Algeria to Argentina, perhaps inspiring you to explore some of them in person during the course’s year abroad.

Throughout the course you are encouraged to follow your interests, drawing connections between the history and modern languages sides of the course wherever and whenever is most fascinating to you. That includes the final-year dissertation project, which brings history and modern languages together in a combined study of a topic of your choice.

Oxford has a rich environment for the study of history and modern languages with teaching often led by world-leading experts, vast library resources, language training and overseas contacts. Undergraduate students have access to the Taylor Institution Library, the biggest research library in Britain devoted to modern languages. Our undergraduate students also have access to the History Faculty Library housed in the Radcliffe Camera.

The University’s well-equipped Language Centre has resources specifically tailored to the needs of History and Modern Languages students. Our students use the skills they have developed with us to build successful careers in such diverse fields as business, journalism, international relations and the creative industries.

International opportunities

History and Modern Languages students spend a compulsory year abroad, usually in the third year. 

Opportunities 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 may also provide additional assistance.

 students at a lecture

'I loved both History and German at A-level, and couldn’t imagine not studying either, so when I discovered that Oxford offered a course that would enable me to study both in greater detail, I decided to apply.

‘Greater detail’ turned out to be an understatement! One of the great things about History and Modern Languages is that I can choose how much the subjects work together. You can study the literature and the history of a period at the same time, or (like me) you can keep the two separate – my papers this year cover everything from 19th-century Britain to medieval German literature, modern linguistics and the Cold War.'


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 will be divided between the Faculties of History and Medieval and Modern Languages, and your college.

A week’s work will include tutorials in history and in the literature and culture of the language you study and around 3 or 4 lectures/classes for each subject and language classes involving different skills, e.g. translation, oral and grammar. The rest of your time will be allocated to independent study preparing essays for your weekly tutorials.

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.

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure

Year 1



Six courses are taken:

  • History
    • European/World history (four options: 370–900; 1000–1300; 1400–1650; 1815–1914)
    • Either a British Isles history period, or a historical methods paper, or a foreign text or an optional subject
  • Modern Language
    • Practical language work (two papers)
    • Two literature papers

First University examinations: six written papers

Years 2 and 4 (Year 3 spent abroad)



  • A period or theme paper European/World history
  • Either a special subject in History (two papers), with one additional history or literature option; or three papers selected from history (British history, further subject, thesis) or Modern Languages (special subjects, prescribed authors, extended essay)
  • An optional additional thesis in History
  • Practical language work (two papers)
  • A period of literature
  • A paper on one of a wide range of options
  • A bridge essay

Final University examinations: between six and nine written papers; between one and four submitted essays, including the compulsory bridge essay; oral examination in the modern language

Visit the History website and the Modern Languages website for the latest information on all course details and options.

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 History with Czech*, French, German*, Italian*, Modern Greek*, Portuguese*, Russian or Spanish, candidates would usually be required to have that language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.

*The beginners’ courses allow students to start studying one of these languages from scratch. 


It is highly recommended for candidates to have History to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB, or another equivalent.

In Czech, Italian, Modern Greek, and Portuguese, beginners will receive additional language support, but study together with those who already have A-level (or equivalent) and take the same first year exam.  

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:

To be confirmed

Registration deadline:                   

To be confirmed                                                                                         

All candidates must take the History Admissions Test (HAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) as part of their application. 

Visit the MLAT page and the HAT page guidance on how to prepare.

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


Candidates must submit written work for each of the subjects forming this joint course. Please check the written work requirements for both History and for Modern Languages.


10 November 2024

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 the same piece that you submit for History, please send us two copies of this piece of work.

Visit our written work page for general guidance and to download the cover sheet. 

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for intellectual curiosity, your capacity for independent thought and ability to relate and conceptualise ideas, as well as a flexible approach to engaging with unfamiliar concepts or arguments and your oral competence in the language.

If you are shortlisted, you may be asked to discuss your submitted written work and personal statement during interview. Candidates may also be asked to read and talk about a short text in English and/or the modern language as part of the interview.

View the selection criteria for History and the selection criteria for Modern Languages for more details.


Employers value language skills combined with the many transferable skills of a History and Modern Languages degree including:

  • communication
  • critical thinking
  • empathy
  • interpretation
  • analysis
  • persuasive argument.

These skills combine to make our graduates among the most employable, and they are in high demand in many different areas of employment. Many of our graduates take advantage of their language skills to forge an international career, working abroad or interacting with clients in languages other than English.

Recent graduates from this course are employed in international institutions such as the UN, by charities and NGOs as well as by national governments. They work in the media, publishing, the law, banking, consultancy, teaching, research, commercial industry and many other sectors.

Matthew, now an investment manager, says:

‘I enjoyed the sheer variety and choice of a History and Modern Languages degree. I benefit hugely in my professional life from the skills I learned from historical argument and literary criticism, not to mention the ability to speak French. Every time I tell my clients how politics and financial markets might affect their investments, I draw on the analytical and presentational skills I acquired at Oxford.’

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 History 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 links

UCAS codes

History and Beginners' Czech


History and Czech


History and French


History and Beginners' German


History and German


History and Beginners' Modern Greek


History and Modern Greek


History and Beginners' Italian 


History and Italian


History and Beginners' Portuguese


History and Portuguese


History and Russian


History and Spanish


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