Blocks spelling out the names of languages including French and German
Commonly taught foreign languages.

Modern Languages and Linguistics

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: Not applicable
Helpful subjects: English Language, Maths, a science or any other language.

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: MLAT
Written Work: One to three pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 93%
Successful: 40%
Intake: 35
Successful for a different course: 3%
Applicant intake for a different course: 3

*3-year average 2021-23

Modern Languages contact

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

Linguistics contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 280400
Email: [email protected]

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

About the course

This course allows students to study one modern language in depth together with linguistics, the study of language itself.

Part of your course will consist of developing your practical language skills to a high level, and you will also explore the literature and culture of the relevant language.

In your study of linguistics, you will be introduced to the analysis of the nature and structure of human language. This will include topics such as how words and sentences are formed, how we make and hear sounds, how languages change and vary and how language is organised in the brain, and you will apply these ideas to the study of your chosen language.

The Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics has particular expertise in:

  • general linguistics
  • phonetics
  • phonology
  • syntax and semantics
  • psycholinguistics
  • the history and structure of many individual European languages and language families.

All these combine to offer a mutually reinforcing package. On the one hand, the theoretical study of what human language is and how it works. On the other, the detailed study of issues of language structure and change applied to the specific language you are studying.

You will find a wide range of options available, allowing you to concentrate on those areas you find most exciting.

Undergraduate students have access to the Taylor Institution Library, the biggest research library in Britain devoted to modern languages, as well as to the University’s central library, the Bodleian, and many online resources. The University’s well-equipped Language Centre has study materials specifically tailored to the needs of Modern Language students.

International opportunities

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;
  • 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

'Studying at Oxford made me realise that I could, if I so chose to, do pretty much anything I wanted to in the world. That I studied at such a prestigious university was important consideration given by the employers (and can often be the difference in getting a job or losing out to someone from a non-Russell Group university).

Being from a state school background, it was eye opening to see how much work was involved in an Oxford degree, and I struggled at times. However, the tutors recognised hard work and I was able to share my passion for my chosen subjects with academics who were thought-leaders in the field.'


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 typical week will include a tutorial on linguistics or literature, a linguistics class, language classes on different skills relating to the language or languages you study, and five or six lectures. 

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 classes 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. 

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

Course structure

Year 1



  • Modern Language
    • Practical language work (two papers)
    • Study of important works and/or topics in the literature of the language (two papers)
  • Linguistics
    • General linguistics
    • Phonetics and phonology
    • Morphology
    • Syntax
    • Semantics and pragmatics

First University examinations: six or seven written papers, including translation and literature

Years 2 and 4 (Year 3 spent abroad)



  • Modern Language
    • Practical language work
    • A period of literature
    • Optional further subject chosen from a wide range
  • Linguistics
    • General linguistics
    • History of the language you will be studying
    • Structure and use of that language in its modern form
    • One or two specialist options, for example: Syntax; Semantics and pragmatics; Phonetics and phonology; Sociolinguistics; Psycholinguistics; Linguistic project
The options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Modern Languages website.

Final University examinations: eight or nine papers and an oral examination

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 Linguistics and French, German*, Modern Greek*, Italian*, Portuguese*, Russian and Spanish candidates would usually be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another academic equivalent.


English Language, Mathematics, a science or any other language may be useful for some elements of the course, although they are not required for admission.

*There is the option to study German, Modern Greek, Italian and Portuguese from scratch, meaning you would not be expected to have the language to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or equivalent. 

No experience of studying Linguistics is required, though knowledge of the relevant modern language may be expected, as detailed below. 

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.

UCAS codes

Linguistics and a language course: 

Language optionUCAS code
Modern GreekQQ71
Portuguese                        RQ51


Linguistics and beginners' language courses:

Language optionUCAS code
Beginners' Modern Greek 
Beginners' ItalianQR13
Beginners' PortugueseRQ5D
Beginners' GermanQR12

Admissions test



Test date:

To be confirmed

Registration date:                   

To be confirmed                                                                                              

All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) as part of their application. There is no separate admissions test for Linguistics. 

Visit the MLAT page for 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


For the language part of this course, candidates must submit the same written work as required for Modern Languages

Additionally, if you are studying an A-level or other qualification involving linguistic analysis (e.g. English Language), please also send in a piece of written work from that.

Submission deadline:  

10 November 2024

Read our further guidance on the submission of written work for more information, and to download a cover sheet.

What are tutors looking for?

Language tutors look for a good command of any language you have already studied and want to continue studying at Oxford, and a strong interest in literature and culture.

Linguistics is a subject that most students start from scratch at University. Therefore, admission tutors look for potential, in the form of an interest in exploring the nature of human language, together with an aptitude for describing and analysing it.

Furthermore, tutors look for a willingness to learn the formal tools required for rigorous and detailed investigation and leading to a deep understanding of the use, history and structure of the language you are studying. 

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


The training in rigorous analysis provided by Linguistics, coupled with highly developed practical competence in a language, gives graduates an excellent basis for a wide range of careers in language-related employment and other areas.

Recent Modern Languages and Linguistics graduates include a management consultant, a brand marketing manager, a market researcher for a company in the chemical industry, and a psychology lecturer.

Joe, who went on to become a Head of Languages, said:

‘I really enjoyed studying the earliest Russian texts, written on birch bark, and looking at how the language had evolved and its impacts on the contemporary language. Investigating languages demands diligence, focus and determination; the course also developed many critical skills that are essential for interesting careers – analytical reading, discussion, listening skills, presentation skills, and a keen writing style. Thank you 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 Modern Languages and Linguistics

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

French and Linguistics


Beginners' German and Linguistics


German and Linguistics


Modern Greek and Linguistics


Beginners' Italian and Linguistics


Italian and Linguistics


Beginners' Portuguese and Linguistics


Portuguese and Linguistics


Russian and Linguistics


Spanish and Linguistics


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