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English and Modern Languages at Oxford - Course Outline

First Year



  • One of the following papers:
  • Introduction to literary studies
  • Modern literature
  • Victorian literature
  • Middle English literature
  • Old English literature

Modern Languages:

  • Two literature papers
  • Two language papers


First University examinations
Six written papers

(All exams should be passed, but marks do not be counted towards the final degree)

Second Year



  • One period of literature
  • Shakespeare

Modern Languages:

One period of literature paper
Continuing language work


Two short extended essays for those students who are taking the English language paper (submitted by end of second their year but marked in final year as part of Final University exams)

Third Year

Year Abroad

Fourth Year



Two papers from a broad choice comprising special topics, special authors and period of literature papers

Modern Languages

  • One period of literature paper
  • Further language work
  • One or two papers from a wide choice comprising special authors, special subjects, period of literature papers and linguistics


Final University exams
Eight written papers (or seven for those students who have chosen the English language paper; one may be an extended essay), oral examination (in the modern language), thesis (optional).

Entrance Requirements

  • A-levels: AAA
  • Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
  • IB: 38-40 including core points
  • Or any equivalent

Candidates are expected to have English Language and Literature or English Literature to A-level, Higher Level or Advanced Higher in the IB or any equivalent. The language requirements are given below.

For German, French, Spanish and Russian

Generally, candidates would be expected to have the language to A-level, Higher Level or Advanced Higher in the IB or any academic equivalent.

For Czech, Celtic or Modern Greek

Candidates do not need to have any experience of studying these languages and some study any one of them from scratch.

For Italian

Candidates can apply without any formal qualifications in Italian; however, successful candidates are expected to work on their Italian before starting the course at the University of Oxford. However, beginners are not expected to reach A-level standard by the time they begin the course. Beginners are expected to have aim to acquire sufficient vocabulary and grammar to be able to read modern literary Italian texts.

For Portuguese

Some of the candidates apply as complete beginners. Non-beginners can apply to the course without any formal qualifications in Portuguese. Successful candidates are expected to work on their Portuguese before starting the course at Oxford to obtain basic knowledge of Portuguese vocabulary and grammar. Many students shall have one or two tutorials per week and also compulsory language classes. Some of the students attend three to four lecture courses.

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