Modern Languages: French and Spanish

French is among the most widely-spoken modern languages in the world, with over 300 million speakers worldwide. It is an official language in such diverse places as Louisiana, Martinique and Belgium as well as France itself, and the many different kinds of French that exist ensure that the language remains central to a thriving variety of cultures. The literature, art and cinema of France are among the richest and most influential in the world.

Spanish and Spanish American Studies have grown enormously in British universities in recent decades. This growth is largely as a result of a general appreciation of the importance of Spanish as a world language and of the diversity of the cultures of Hispanic origin, including in the USA. The undergraduate course at Oxford reflects the diversity and richness of the languages and the cultures of Spain as well as of the South and Central American countries. The sub-faculty of Spanish at Oxford is also dedicated to promoting Spain's minority languages and you may study Catalan or Galician as an option within the study of your main language or languages.

Modern European Languages at Oxford

The study of European languages at Oxford provides both practical training in written and spoken language and an extensive introduction to the literature and thought of the language(s) you have chosen. You will learn to write and speak the language(s) fluently, and will be able to choose from a broad range of options including linguistics, film studies and advanced translation. You can study the literature of a language chronologically or focus on particular periods - the medieval, the early modern or the modern era.

Studying French and Spanish

A degree in French and Spanish is normally four years in length. You will spend around half your time studying French language and literature, and around half studying Spanish language and literature. You will spend the third year of your course abroad. This may be as a paid language assistant in a foreign school, or you may work abroad, or study at a foreign university.

Other options for studying French or Spanish

Either French or Spanish can be studied on its own OR in combination with one of the following languages/subjects:

  • Another modern European language: German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Modern Greek, or Czech (with Slovak). It is also possible to combine French or Spanish with Polish. We generally expect all students wishing to study Polish to be beginners, though those with experience are also very welcome to apply.
  • A Middle Eastern Language offered by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish. These languages are all available to beginners with no prior knowledge of the language.
  • English
  • Classics
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy