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Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford

About the Course

The course Philosophy and Modern Languages brings together some of the most essential approaches to understanding literature, language and ideas. The study of philosophy reinforces analytical skills, the ability to criticize and reason logically. The subject allows students to apply these skills to questions ranging from how we acquire language and take moral judgments to the nature of art, literature and language.

Most works of literature are shaped by the major philosophical ideas of their period. The study of philosophy may light up the intellectual background. The study of modern European language enhances critical and analytical abilities and high level of linguistics skills. The study of literature, which is written in that language, contributes to thorough understanding of some of the aspects of European culture. It builds up attention to terminological and stylistic detail and rhetorical strategies and sensitively to historical and cultural context that are of great value for the study of philosophy.

Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford

Studying these two combined disciplines has various advantages and affords. The course provides students greater insights into both the subjects. The Philosophy Faculty at Oxford is one of the largest philosophy departments in the UK as well in the world. The faculty includes more than seventy full-time members, admitting over five hundred undergraduates yearly to read the various degrees involving philosophy. Some of the faculty members have a worldwide reputation. The university equips students with various facilities. The philosophy department has a well-stocked library including an ample array of books, journals, magazines and periodicals.

Modern Languages Faculty at Oxford is one of the largest in the country with a total intake of over 250 students a year comprising those reading joint degrees. The university has Taylor Institution, which is the biggest modern languages research library in the UK. The language faculty also has an undergraduate lending a modern and well-equipped language centre and library.

Career Opportunities

Students after completing Philosophy and Modern Languages get into various careers including teaching, banking and financial services, academic teaching and research, commerce, journalism and communications. The Oxford degree in modern language provides various opportunities for internationally-focused careers with international organizations and companies.

Students may get further information about careers using languages on the Language Work website. Recent Philosophy and Modern Languages graduates comprise a management consultant, an economics consultant and a bilingual editor for a publishing company.

Entrance Requirements

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

Candidates do not need to have any experience of studying Philosophy; however, some background reading is recommended. The language requirements are given below.

For German, French, Russian or Spanish

Generally, candidates are expected to have this 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 this language; they can study it from scratch.

For Italian

Candidates can apply without any formal qualifications in Italian; however, successful candidates are expected to work on their Italian before commencing the course at Oxford. Beginners are not expected to reach A-level standard by the time they start the course but must aim to acquire sufficient vocabulary and grammar to read modern literary Italian texts.

For Portuguese

Some of the candidates apply as complete beginners. Non-beginners can apply without any formal qualifications in Portuguese. The successful candidates are expected to work on their Portuguese before starting the course at Oxford to acquire basic knowledge of Portuguese vocabulary and grammar.


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