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.
First examinations taken in Modern Languages after 3 terms
- Course I = 4 years (3rd year abroad)
- Course II = 5 years (1st year learning Latin or Greek, 4th year abroad)
First examinations in Classics after 5 terms
Course I is for students who have prior knowledge of the Classical language to A2 level; Course II is for those without such knowledge. Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, with unparalleled teaching, library and museum resources and a range of extracurricular activities, including performances of Greek plays and various societies.
For details on the course structure, click here.
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, 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, 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 Aneurin Ellis-Evans, Lecturer in Ancient History (based at Oriel), is author of The Kingdom of Priam: Lesbos and the Troad between Anatolia and the Aegean (2019), and is researching the history of literary production in the Greek city-states of the Hellenistic period.
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.
Ms Hannah Scheithauer is a lecturer at Jesus College teaching German Literature since 1730. Her research interests are Modern and contemporary literature in French and German, memory studies, post-Holocaust and postcolonial literature, transnational and comparative literature, Ingeborg Bachmann, Assia Djebar.
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, 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.
Dr Nick Mayhew is a lecturer in Russian at Jesus College. His research focuses on gender, sexuality and religion in Russian literature and culture, with a particular focus on religious discourses of sexual deviance.
Additional teaching staff
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).
Jason Webber teaches Attic Greek at Jesus through the spoken or ‘Active’ method, using a course that has been developed and refined through teaching on behalf of Oxford Latinitas and the OALS. Jason studied for the BA in Literae Humaniores and MSt in Classical Languages and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford. They are currently in the third year of a doctoral degree (based at Magdalen College) researching the nature of local tradition in early Greek hexameter poetry.
The deadline to submit your application for undergraduate study via UCAS is 15 October each year. 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.
A-levels AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken) or equivalent qualifications. Please see here for details of the subject requirements for Modern Languages.
Applicants studying both classical languages to A-level, or only one, are equally welcome, as are those who may have only studied to GCSE level (who follow the Course II option).
For further information, including other UK qualifications and international qualifications, please click here.
Candidates are selected on the basis of academic record (e.g. GCSEs) and potential, as shown by their UCAS reference, submitted written work, performance in written tests and in interviews if shortlisted.
All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for the tests is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered by the deadline of 30 September 2022. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including how to register and guidance on how to prepare, can be found can be found here.
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.
The deadline to submit all written work is 10 November 2022. Further information on the written work requirements can be viewed here.
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.
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.
Please use the links below for further information: