Oxford History and Modern Language course experience

Kryssa Burakowski, Oxford History and Modern Language 2015 - 2018
21 Jun 2018

What’s special about studying History and Modern Language at Oxford apart from its name value?

History and Modern Languages joint-honours provides a great opportunity to study subjects across two different faculties. This allows for moments of cross-over and intersection as well variety. After first year, you have a few different options concerning how you organise your course as to whether you want to do more language or more history. Furthermore, you can choose to combine your language and history by studying the history of areas where the language is spoken, or you can keep the two more separate. Personally, I really enjoyed my final year Bridge Essay project when you write a long essay on a subject of your choice which links the language you study and history. You also get the opportunity to go on a year abroad and explore.

What’s the typical week of a Oxford History and Modern Language student?

Since you are studying two subjects, the work-load is considerable. But you don’t do double the amount of papers! The work is always varied and interesting so you stay engaged. There are lectures and tutorials as well as language classes such as conversation class or translation class (it varies slightly from language to language). Usually you have one essay and tutorial a week and then several lectures and language classes, for which you do have some homework to prepare. It can vary from term to term. There are lots of opportunities in Oxford to attend talks by visiting speakers as part of different societies, which can be useful both for your degree and just for general interest. For just one example, there is an active History Society which runs talks and social events. Outside of studies there is loads to do, whether you’re into sports or drama or anything else. I volunteered at local museums in my spare time and contributed to our college newspaper. It is fun to do some of the typical Oxford activities like going to formal hall or going punting in the summer.

What’s the differences between History and History/Modern Language?

Historians have fewer contact hours since they don’t have to attend language classes, so there is more time for independent study. Furthermore, the course is organised differently if you do history on its own. History and Modern Languages can be organised in 2nd - 4th year in a few different ways, allowing you to put more weight on either subject depending which you prefer and which papers you’d like to sit.

What’s it like living in Oxford as a student?

Oxford is a great city to be a student in. Since there are two universities here, there are always lots of student-friendly events. It’s a beautiful city and green areas like Port Meadow and University Parks are just short walks away from the centre. Also, London is really easily accessible by train or bus. The one negative about living in Oxford is that it is quite an expensive city compared with other areas of the UK, which means that rent prices are pretty high. But it is by no means impossible to live in Oxford and enjoy the city on a student budget!