Study here/Undergraduate studies/Available Subjects/
Classics and Modern Languages

Classics and Modern Languages enables you to combine study of either one or both of Latin and Ancient Greek with one modern language (French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Czech).

NB. Beginners’ Russian is not available.

The Modern Languages Faculty is one of the largest in the UK, with a major research library (the Taylorian) and a modern, well-equipped Language Centre fitted with satellite and computer-assisted language learning facilities. Undergraduates will also have the opportunity to develop oral proficiency in the modern language by regular contact with native speakers.

Students take a year abroad in a foreign country before their final year. Most undergraduates spend their year abroad as a paid language assistant in a foreign school. Colleges assist in arranging these placements, and colleges or the Modern Languages Faculty may also provide financial support. College support may also be available to help undergraduates with academic-related travel to Italy or Greece.

Your time is divided between lectures, language classes, tutorials and private study. Most of your work will be in preparation of essays for your tutorials, although the systematic reading of literary texts, not necessarily aimed at any particular tutorial, also requires a considerable input of time and effort.

The course involves extensive study of major literary texts, alongside training in linguistic skills. There are several options available, which you must choose between at the time of application.

Option A:

Option A divides its time evenly between Classics (mostly language and literature) and Modern Languages.

This option lasts three years for students who have studied Latin and/or Greek to A-Level or equivalent, and four years for those who are taking the version with Beginners’ Latin or Greek. Option A is also known as the ‘Prelims route’, because you will take a Preliminary Examination similar to that taken by Classics and English or Modern Languages students.

With the year abroad, this option is total of four or five years.

Option B:

Option B begins with a focus on Classics. For the first five terms, students take all the same options available to students of Classics:

  • Greek and/or Latin language,
  • literature,
  • ancient history,
  • archaeology,
  • philology
  • and ancient or modern philosophy

This option lasts four years, whether or not you have any prior experience in Latin or Greek. Option B is also known as the ‘Mods route’, because you will take Honour Moderations (first exams) in Classics, which are identical to those taken by Classics students.

With the year abroad Option B is a total of five years.

For details on the course structure, click here.


Professor Armand D’Angour

Prof D’Angour is Fellow and Tutor in Classics, and author of The Greeks and the New: Novelty in ancient Greek imagination and experience (2011) and Socrates in Love: The Making of a Philosopher (2019). He has also co-edited (with Tom Phillips) Music, Text, and Culture in Ancient Greece (2018) and presented an online film ‘Rediscovering ancient Greek music’ (Youtube).

Dr Melinda Letts

Dr Melinda Letts, College Tutor in Latin and Greek Languages, undertakes the language teaching required for students; both reinforcing their A-level classical languages and those starting from scratch.

Professor Caroline Warman

Professor Caroline Warman, Fellow and Tutor in French. She teaches and researches eighteenth and nineteenth-century French literature and thought, and has translated novels and essays from French. She has just finished a book about Enlightenment philosopher Diderot and co-organised a congress on the Enlightenment for 1500 people from all over the world. She teaches French literature and thought and also translation to all years.

Professor Katrin Kohl

Professor Katrin Kohl is a Fellow and Tutor in German. She teaches German literature from 1750. Her research focuses on poetry and poetics, and on the theory and practice of metaphor. Currently she is on research leave, leading an interdisciplinary research project on Creative Multilingualism for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.


Dr Ole Hinz

Dr Ole Hinz, is a German Lektor at Jesus College. His research is situated at the intersection of literature, philosophy, and intellectual history, with an emphasis on 20th-century German literature and critical theory.

Dr Elena Lombardi

Dr Elena Lombardi, a Fellow of Balliol College, is a Lecturer in Italian for Jesus College. Her teaching interests focus on Dante, early Italian poetry, and Medieval Studies.

Dr Daniela Omlor

Dr Daniela Omlor, Fellow in Spanish at Lincoln College, also looks after Jesus students. Her research focuses on contemporary Spanish literature, with a particular emphasis on memory, trauma and exile. Her first book examined the role of memory and self-representation in the works of Jorge Semprún. Currently, she is exploring the interaction between memory and fiction in recent novels by Javier Cercas, Javier Marías and Antonio Muñoz Molina and others, in order to investigate how the recovery of historical memory in Spanish novels increasingly extends beyond the Spanish Civil War.

Professor Margarita Vaysman

Professor Vaysman teaches most Russian undergraduate literature papers and specifically those focussing on the nineteenth century, gender and Russophone culture.

Dr Claire Williams

Dr Claire Williams lectures on Modern literature from the Portuguese-speaking world (from Machado de Assis to Conceição Evaristo) and teach other final year courses such as Brazilian Cinema and Contemporary Brazilian Literature. She also teaches on courses such as Lusophone African Literature, Women’s Writing in Lusophone literature and Latin American Cinema.


Additional teaching staff

Krasimir Ivanov

Krasimir Ivanov comes from Bulgaria, where he studied at the National Classical Lyceum and later graduated in classical philology from Sofia University. He became fluent in Latin when studying at the Vivarium Novum Academy in Rome. Since 2015 he has been a part of a research group cataloguing the collection of the Zographou Monastery in Mount Athos, Greece. For the last five years he has taught Latin for Oxford Latinitas, and he has been teaching Active Latin classes at Jesus since Michaelmas Term 2021.

His main research interests are the use of the Active Method in teaching ancient languages, particularly its development to meet the needs of 21st century students; and the history of the middle and late Roman Republic, where he is looking for the reasons why, in Sallust’s words, paulatim immutata ex pulcherruma atque optuma pessuma ac flagitiosissuma facta sit (it gradually changed from being the finest and best of states to become the worst and most shameful).

The deadline to submit your application for undergraduate study via UCAS is 15 October. Please refer to the University’s webpages for detailed information on how to apply.

Places available at Jesus College

The College admits around five candidates each year across Classics and Joint Schools among a total College entry of around 100 undergraduates.

Academic requirements

Academic requirements for this course can be found here.

Selection Criteria

The specific selection criteria are given on the Classics and Modern Languages websites.

Admissions tests

All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), as part of their application. The registration date and test date will be confirmed on the University’s website soon. Everything you need to know, including how to register and guidance on how to prepare, can be found here.

Written work

For Classics, candidates are required to submit two essays or commentaries.

For Modern Languages, candidates are required to submit one piece of work in the target language to be studied, and one piece in English.

If you have a piece of written work in English that you think would be suitable for both subjects, please send us two copies of this piece of work; you do not need to submit two different pieces of work in English.

The deadline to submit all written work is 10 November 2024. Further information on the written work requirements can be viewed here.

Deferred Entry

Please refer to the Departmental website for subject-specific advice.

The Tutors have no objection in principle to offering a place to a candidate who wishes to defer entry for a year, provided this intention is made known at the outset. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application to Oxford: you cannot change your mind after an offer has been made.

You should be aware that applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will generally be among the very strongest of the cohort for their subject, and the College limits its offers of deferred places in order not to disadvantage candidates applying in the following year. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead.

Joint Schools

Classics and Modern Languages can both be studied as a single discipline and are also available as a joint course as follows:

In Oxford there is a larger concentration of teachers of classical subjects, and of graduate students, than anywhere else in the world. The following degrees are offered at postgraduate level:

  • MSt (1 year) or MPhil (2 years) Greek and/or Latin Language and Literature
  • MSt or MPhil Greek and/or Roman History
  • DPhil Classics

Oxford has a large, varied, and active teaching and research community in Modern Languages. There are over ninety members of the Faculty, with research interests spread across the full chronological range of the languages and into most areas of linguistics and literary study. The College welcomes applicants for the following degrees in Medieval and Modern Languages:

  • MSt or MPhil Modern Languages
  • DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages
  • MSt Women’s Studies

Graduates in Classics and Modern Languages go on to a wide variety of careers, including the media, teaching, acting, management, advertising and librarianship, as well as working with international companies or organisations. Recent Classics and Modern Languages graduates include an investment manager and a trainee solicitor.

If you have any questions about entrance requirements, or about applying to study at Jesus College, please contact the Admissions Officer:

Tel: 01865 279721