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University of Oxford

speciality: Modern Languages

4.0

What Is a Modern Languages Degree?

Nowadays, more and more students start to pursue a degree in modern languages. A modern languages degree is not only related to learning a new language but also understand the cultural context of the countries in which the language is spoken. 

Candidates studying a modern languages course will also be given knowledge and experience of the political and historical contexts of a particular region. On top of that, the use of literary texts and media will develop not only their skills but also their perception about learning a different language.

Benefits of a Modern Languages Degree

Due to the increased globalisation, there is a high demand for modern languages graduates. The ability to communicate in another language and understand its background is a major advantage.

Modern Language courses are designed to give students transferable skills, which can be applied in all areas of activity. Candidates will have high communication skills, accompanied by data collection and interpreting skills, which are appreciated by employers, regardless of your career choice.

Modern Languages Degree Structure

Modern Languages Degrees are four years commitments, out of which one semester or a year should be spent abroad – in a partnered institution. This gives students the opportunity to practice the language they are studying and understand a new culture. 

Modern Languages is a degree that can be studied either as a single honour degree or a joint honour degree. This gives students the ability to combine modern language with another course such as politics, literature, history and many others. 

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  • Modern Languages
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    Academics

    Academically peerless, outside of that, and even occasionally within that, it too often feels that the students are not the priority. Mental health services are overwhelmed. Colleges are trying to force overseas students to pay for (expensive) vacation residence for their quarantine periods. In my personal experience, teaching has been invariably of the highest quality in all areas.

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    Programme: Modern Languages
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Delivery Type: On Campus
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Oriental Languages
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    The great benefits of the tutorial system

    I loved the tutorial system characterising teaching at the University of Oxford. This highly personalised and individual form of teaching means you can quickly progress and develop in your learning, acquiring new skills and knowledge at a very high pace. Moreover, the highly intensive nature of a degree at course really prepares you for many high flying jobs in a vast array of sectors.

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    Programme: Oriental Languages
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Modern Languages
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    Fantastic features, unbeatable exposure... but choose your course wisely.

    Oxford University has an international reputation for academic excellence, and I can confirm this to be the case.

    My course comprises seminars of around 10 students and even smaller tutorials – intense discussions normally based on written work submitted in advance. These professors are some of the world-leading experts in my subject – 19th century France.

    One thing you can expect is intensity. With such small classes, there is nowhere to hide if you have not done the requisite reading, and on a more positive note, there are unbeatable opportunities to ask academics specific questions about an essay.

    Oxford, like Cambridge and Durham, has a collegiate structure. Whether this suits you or not depends on personal preference, and of which college you decide to apply to. Most people think all colleges are the same – however, some have a tendency to attract certain ‘types’ of students. It really pays to do your research beforehand.

    Living in college makes it very easy to make friends, but can feel a little insular. Most students decide to live out after their first year, but some colleges are large enough to allow students to live in college for the duration of their degree. One the whole, Cambridge colleges are much larger and fewer students live out.

    This decentralised system means it is important to research each college specifically. Does it have new accommodation? Do you have to pay for laundry? What are the scholarships and bursaries like?

    That said, all students at Oxford have worked hard to get there and many colleges share fun traditions, such as formal dinners. Oxford itself is a beautiful city and large enough to provide a sufficient range of shops, cinemas, sports facilities.

    One note of caution: please choose your course wisely! Last term, I chose a module that had no lectures, seminars, or tutorials, and I was the only student enrolled on the course! I had to do all my own research and create my own bibliography, with almost no support.

    This term, however, I have chosen a more popular module with a regular structure of contact hours, which I am really enjoying.

    In short, it really pays to do your research beforehand.

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    Programme: Modern Languages
    Degree: Master's
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Spanish and ...
    Latin American Studies
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    Excellent springboard to your career, if you understand how to play the system

    I did my bachelors in the Netherlands and masters at the University of Oxford.
    Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience of studying in Oxford, in terms of access to world class academic knowledge, networking opportunities, teacher quality and overall student experience.. it just doesn’t get much better than this. Also, the University of Oxford is a highly esteemed brand recognised globally, that upon graduation has definitely opened many doors that otherwise might have remained shut.

    However, like most Ivy League Universities, I find that Oxford values presentation over substance. In this sense, it has been frustrating at times to watch professors award high grades to students that conducted poor quality research, but knew how to present their ideas eloquently and/or network with professors. Again, this is mostly a question of personal preference, but for me… coming from a Dutch university that put much greater emphasis on methodologically sound research (but at the same time, all but ignored the importance of presentation skills), it was refreshing to experience both models.

    Also, in terms of preparation for professional life, I feel like the potential value of an Oxford degree is strongly correlated with existing personal networks and exposure to professional opportunities. By this I mean that if you already grew up as a member of the global elite, you will likely have a much greater understanding of how to behave and how best to take advantage of the many opportunities Oxford offers its students and alumni. Yet, if you were raised in a working class environment and believe that just by holding a degree from the University of Oxford all professional doors will magically open… you will probably be in for quite a shock upon graduation (and sadly… I´ve seen this happen to quite a few alumni). Oxford is a world class institution that can do wonders to your career, but only if you understand how to use the system to your advantage.

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    Programme: Spanish and Latin American Studies
    Degree: Master's
    Graduation: 2014
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Modern Languages
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    Academic rigour

    Wonderful professors. Intellectually stimulating. Courses outdated, however, and should be altered – more modern texts, female intellectuals etc. The term length of 8 weeks is unnecessarily short at the expense of student welfare (work load too high for short period of time).

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    Programme: Modern Languages
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2020
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Oriental Languages
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    academic excellence, academic facilities, welfare, democratic values, history

    With its academic excellence and exceptional research opportunities, Oxford University is a world-leading institution of research, learning, and teaching. Not only students are provided a brilliant academic environment,
    but they are also surrounded by supportive groups of people and services that take care of their life in Oxford, especially their welfare.

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    Programme: Oriental Languages
    Degree: PhD
    Graduation: 2018
    Campus: Oxford
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  • Modern Languages
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    High quality of teaching and great social scene

    Oxford is obviously a very high pressure university. The highly personal tutorial system at this university allowed me to go very deep into the subjects that interest me. It also created a level of focus that forced me to push myself intellectually in a way that I never had before. I have also met so many interesting, unique, and likeminded people here, and learned as much from them as from the (great) tutorial system. Despite the difficulties of studying here, I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else!

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    Programme: Modern Languages
    Degree: Bachelor's
    Graduation: 2021
    Campus: Oxford
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