Modern Languages

Modern Languages

Modern Languages

Modern Languages gives students the chance to study the major European languages and the literature, culture and thought of the nations in which they are spoken. The course is for those keen to acquire advanced foreign language skills, both spoken and written, and to open their minds to new cultural and intellectual horizons.

Alongside the practical language teaching, topics of study range from medieval poetry to contemporary novels and films, taking in the classics of European literature along the way. You can learn, too, about the history of European languages and their structure down to the present. Across a wide range of choices, our students become familiar with new ideas, with the history of European culture, and with language as a changing, living phenomenon. During their third year abroad, students build on and develop their language skills and immerse themselves in the life of other countries.

After four years of study, our students are well on their way to becoming citizens of the world: fluent in one or two foreign languages, informed about other cultures, and able to take part in life on an international level. After university, many of our students go on to careers involving work abroad or in international organizations. 

For further details about the structure and the range of choices in the Moderen Languages course, see www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.

St Peter’s admits students in all the European languages taught in Oxford. You can study one or two languages over a four-year period, choosing from French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Modern Greek, and Czech, or one of these languages and Linguistics, or one of them in a Joint School together with English, History, or Philosophy. Polish is also offered as a minor subject from the second year onwards. St Peter’s prides itself on its commitment to the Joint Schools, and encourages applications in them. For more detail, please see English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages or Philosophy and Modern Languages.

St Peter’s normally admits ten students to read Modern Languages (of whom up to four may be reading for Joint Schools). This is a larger intake in the subject than in most other colleges. Applications for beginners’ courses are welcome (see here for the languages in which these are offered).

The College is situated close to the Taylorian Institution, where lectures are held and and where you will also find the University’s dedicated Modern Languages Library. The College’s own library is well stocked in the subject. Its Fellows and College Lecturers are experts in their fields and dedicated to their teaching in St Peter’s. A vitally important part of the degree are the language classes with native speakers, which are held both within the College and in the Faculty.

For admission, you must take language tests or aptitude tests as appropriate for the course you have applied for (see below). At interview in College, the emphasis is on demonstrating your intellectual interest in the subject and your readiness to develop your ideas in discussion with a tutor. To this end, the interview will generally involve discussion of a short text you have been given beforehand. Your spoken language will also be tested. Each candidate has two interviews, with two pairs of interviewers. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and try to make the admissions process as transparent as possible.