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Modern Languages & Joint Schools

Oxford has one of the largest groupings of academics and students working on Modern Languages and Literature in the world. It has the largest grouping of French specialists outside Paris.

Keble specialises in French, Italian and Spanish – the Romance languages – and we also admit for the joint schools with Linguistics, History, English and Philosophy.

The Oxford Modern Languages course offers opportunities to develop skills that you have started to acquire at school and to add new ones. It sets the challenges of:

It offers you the opportunity to sample the culture of your foreign language(s) in different historical periods and, after the first University examination, allows you to concentrate on those aspects of literary or linguistic study that most appeal to you. Those reading French as a sole language will also study cinema and philosophical writing. Oxford is rich in resources for the study of foreign languages and cultures. Candidates for French and Spanish, must be studying those languages to school-leaving level. Candidates for Italian may be studying the language to that level; but it is also possible to apply to read Italian at beginners’ level. Intensive language teaching is provided, and students with commitment soon reach a high standard. There are excellent libraries, very good IT, and TV resources in the University’s Language Centre, and Oxford is a cosmopolitan community.

For further information about Modern Languages at Oxford, see the Faculty of Modern Languages website and the Modern LanguagesModern Languages and LinguisticsEnglish and Modern LanguagesHistory and Modern Languages and  Philosophy and Modern Languages pages on the Oxford University website.

Yearly Intake

At Keble: 9 including Joint Schools
At Oxford: ~250 including Joint Schools

Offered at Keble

Modern Languages (French, Italian, Spanish)
Modern Languages and Linguistics
English and Modern Languages (also see English)
History and Modern Languages (also see History)
Philosophy and Modern Languages

Past Admissions Feedback

Every year tutors prepare detailed feedback about the admissions process.
Links to the text from the last three years can be found below.

Feedback 2023 (College) (pdf)
Feedback 2023 (University) (pdf)
Feedback 2022 (College) (pdf)
Feedback 2022 (University) (pdf)
Feedback 2021 (pdf)

The Course at Keble

The College specializes in French, Italian, Spanish and Linguistics. We admit students to read for the main School of Modern Languages: students can read French, Italian, or Spanish sole, or in combination with each other (candidates wanting to read Italian sole need to take Italian with another language or subject in the first year of the course). We are also keen to admit for the joint schools with Linguistics, English, History and Philosophy.

A great deal of the teaching is provided by Fellows and Lecturers of the College, but for specialist teaching we make arrangements with tutors in other colleges. Our tutors monitor the progress of each student very closely. The College awards an annual prize for the best performance in the first-year examination in Modern Languages and the Roquette-Palmer Prize for the best performance in French language to any first- or second-year undergraduate in College, regardless of subject. The Deirdre Tucker Memorial Prize for French Declamation (£500) is also awarded annually to the best declamation by an undergraduate reading French.

The Taylor Institution

Keble is ideally situated, barely minutes away from the University’s Language Centre, the Maison Française, and the Modern Languages Faculty lecture rooms and libraries (known as the Taylor Institution). We have excellent Library provision and you will find that there are multiple copies of the books you need to prepare for the Preliminary Examination.

Every year there are a number of graduate students working in Modern Languages. Some are training to teach Modern Languages in Schools. Others are doing Masters courses in European Literature or Women’s Studies. And yet others are working on doctoral theses the subjects of which in recent years have ranged from the Renaissance Book and Early English Translations of Seventeenth-Century French Drama to Modern Italian Poetry and Proust.