Modern Languages (and Joint Honours) at Magdalen

Modern Languages offers you the chance to get to grips with the language, literature and culture of one or more countries in Europe and the wider world, and to spend a year working or studying abroad. Job prospects for Modern Linguists are excellent, because of the wide range of transferable skills that you will have acquired. Detailed language study is at the heart of the course. Then there is literature of all periods and genres: Oxford continues to provide the full range, from medieval to modern, all studied in the original language. Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Spanish Golden Age, the plays of Molière and Racine, the rise of the modern novel, Russian dissident writing, Latin American Magic Realism, are just a few of the possibilities. There are also opportunities to explore linguistics, film, and other forms of culture.

Magdalen has a strong tradition in Modern Languages. In a typical year we admit six students (most of whom will be doing two languages, though some choose to do only one), plus another four for the joint courses: Classics & Modern Languages, English & Modern Languages, European & Middle-Eastern Languages, History & Modern Languages, Modern Languages & Linguistics, Philosophy & Modern Languages.

Recent students have spent their year abroad in Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, St Petersburg, Parma, but also Canada, Mexico, Chile and Guadeloupe. After graduating, they have gone on to do further study (including translation and interpreting, literature, film, linguistics, anthropology, politics, law, journalism) or to take up jobs in a wide range of sectors including the City, teaching, publishing, the arts, and charity administration.

Professor Toby Garfitt is in charge of Modern Languages. He is a specialist on twentieth-century French literature. The other Tutorial Fellows are Professor Juan-Carlos Conde, whose research areas are Spanish medieval literature and philology, and Professor Reidar Due, who is the University Lecturer in European Cinema but also helps with teaching French literature. Other languages are looked after by colleagues based in other colleges: Dr Alex Lloyd (German), Professor Philip Bullock (Russian), Professor Nicola Gardini (Italian), Professor Claúdia Pazos Alonso (Portuguese). We also employ a German Lektorin (shared with several other colleges), and a French Lectrice (shared with one other).

We are keen to recruit students with excellent language skills and a passion for literature and culture (even if you haven’t been able to read anything in your chosen language yet). Do come to an Open Day to find out more.