Modern Languages and Linguistics

New College is one of the strongest and liveliest colleges for Modern Languages in the University. There are Tutors in French, German and Russian, while those taking Spanish and Italian are looked after by college Lecturers who are Fellows of other colleges. Native speaker tuition is offered in both French and German in the College, which has a lecteur/lectricein French and a Lektor/Lektorin in German. The Professor of Russian, Andrei Zorin, holds a Fellowship in the College, as does Dr Ros Temple, University Lecturer in French Linguistics.

We admit some thirteen undergraduates a year, from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, to read the full range of modern languages offered. We accept applications for Joint Schools with English, History, Philosophy, Linguistics, Classics, and Middle Eastern and Modern Languages. Applications for Czech, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern Languages should be in combination with one of the following languages: French, German, or Russian. This is in order that undergraduates have access to a tutor at New College who can look after their academic affairs. As at other colleges, applications for Russian ab initio are possible only within the Modern Languages degree, and with another language studied to advanced level before entry to Oxford.

The course is evenly divided between linguistic and literary studies; these are not so much separate as mutually-reinforcing disciplines. In considering applications we look for people with a love of reading, and a real interest in how language and literature work. This need not mean having already studied either linguistics or literary texts before coming to Oxford: many students have not, and the first year course will introduce you to the study of both. The Modern Languages Tutors have a wide range of interests, and Honours options taught in College extend from Renaissance writing to cinema studies and linguistics; they include the study of individual authors, periods and movements from the Renaissance and Enlightenment to Romanticism and Modernism, and special studies on women’s writing, literary theory and European film, as well as the history and structure of some languages and general linguistics and sociolinguistics (se Faculty prospectuses for more course details).

The College supports students in finding places to study or obtain teaching places as language assistants in schools abroad during their third year, or to gain other forms of foreign work experience. It also makes additional study grants available for travel in vacations. All returning final year Linguists are offered accommodation in College. Those studying Russian ab initio spend their second year abroad on a specially-organised course in Yaroslavl.

On leaving New College, Modern Language students have in recent years moved on to work in (amongst other areas) Law, commerce, Foreign Office, post-graduate research at Oxford or elsewhere, theatre, film, journalism, teaching, publishing, politics, and the arts.

For further information on how to apply, entrance requirements and selection criteria, please see the University website and the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages’ website.

Places Available: 
13 in total for Modern Languages and Joint Schools.