Category Archives: Studying at Oxford

UNIQ 2022 – Applications now open!

After two years of online delivery, UNIQ 2022 is delighted to be able to welcome Year 12 students back to Oxford! UNIQ 2022 will combine the best aspects of our residential summer school and sustained online programme to offer a hybrid UNIQ programme to 1600 students across the UK. 

UNIQ logo

What is UNIQ?

UNIQ is Oxford University’s flagship outreach programme for Year 12 students at UK state schools/colleges. It is completely free and prioritises places for students with good grades from backgrounds that are under-represented at Oxford and other universities. The UNIQ programme offers a fantastic opportunity for these students to immerse themselves in the Oxford environment, sample some of our teaching, and try out life as an Oxford student.

What does the programme entail?

UNIQ 2022 offers both an in-person residential in Oxford and an online support programme. Taking place over several months, UNIQ starts in April, with academic courses in the summer, followed by university admissions support.

During the summer residential, students have the opportunity to experience life as an Oxford undergraduate by staying in an Oxford college and exploring the city for themselves. They will also get to know some of our Oxford undergraduates and work with our academics in face to face lectures, labs and tutorials.

What does this look like for Modern Languages?

For Modern Languages, there will be courses available for Spanish, French, and German. All three courses enable students to explore the language, literature, theatre, film, and linguistics of each discipline, while also providing the opportunity to have a taster of four other European languages at a beginners’ level.

Our aim is to give students a taste of what it is really like to study Modern Languages at Oxford, and to provide a sense of the breadth of our courses – including several of the languages you can study here as a beginner.

UNIQ student testimony

What are the benefits?

Throughout the UNIQ programme, students will explore subjects they love and gain a real insight into Oxford life, helping them to prepare for university, and decide what is right for them. UNIQ also enables students with similar interests in local regions and across the UK to connect with each other through social and academic activities.

Most UNIQ students go on to apply to the University of Oxford and they also get help to prepare for our admissions tests and interviews. In general, UNIQ students who apply to Oxford have a higher rate of success than other applicants.

How do I apply?

We welcome applications from:

  • Year 12 students from England and Wales, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • Year 13 students from Northern Ireland, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • S5 students from Scotland, studying Highers or equivalent

The online application process is quick and easy – it only takes 15 minutes! – and can be completed via the UNIQ website. Applications close on Monday 7th February at 11pm.

You will need:

  • the name of the school where you did your GCSEs (or equivalent) or your Nationals if you are a Scottish student.
  • the name of your current school.
  • your first and second choice UNIQ courses.
  • your teacher’s surname and email address.
  • a list of your qualifications.

As UNIQ is an access programme, admission to UNIQ 2022 will be based on a range of criteria that relate to students’ academic potential and socio-economic background. You can read more about this here.

UNIQ student testimony

Good luck to all applicants!

A Very Merry Oxmas!

1st year English and French student Holly Milton-Jefferies reflects on a festive end to her first term at Oxford.

Celebrating Christmas Day… on the 2nd of December? Yes, that’s right – here at Oxford, we do Christmas properly! Because our terms are only eight weeks long compared to the usual twelve, we end up spending the month of December largely at home, so Oxford festivities start as early as November. I never thought I’d be going out to buy an advent calendar on the 1st of November, but as this term has shown me, taking part in Oxford traditions, however strange, is usually a lot of fun.

Christmas dinner at Queen’s College – Holly Milton-Jefferies

I go to Queen’s College, who put on a lovely Christmas dinner for us. Not only did the hall look beautiful, decked out in full with a huge Christmas tree squeezed in the corner, and festive candles burning, but our college choir (the best in Oxford of course!) also came to sing us a few carols while we ate. I know everyone always says it, but my college has really made my experience at Oxford so far. Queen’s has such a friendly atmosphere; big enough that there are all kinds of different people to chat to, but small enough that whenever you walk around you’ll always get a smile from someone you know. It really does feel like home, and I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of the college system.

Snow in New College cloisters – Holly Milton-Jefferies

At the start of eighth week, we were lucky enough to get some snow in Oxford, which felt like a celebration of work winding down for the term. I was in the middle of writing my last essay in the library when I saw it through the window. There was something a bit magical watching the tired eyes of burned-out students be lit up with excitement. My friend and I took the opportunity to visit the cloisters at New College, which are famously featured in the Harry Potter films, and we certainly felt like we were at Hogwarts!

This term has definitely been a steep learning curve for me. It took me a while to get back into the swing of studying, with our A Levels so disrupted by the pandemic, but by the time the last week of term came around, I was feeling a lot more confident. I was particularly proud of the last translation I did, having spent the weeks prior to it grappling with the ever-tricky question: how much of this do I keep very literally translated, and how much can I take some creative liberties? I decided to be less strict with myself, choosing what sounded right to me over diligently sticking to the original, and the risk paid off! Walking out of my last tutorial on the way to do some Christmas shopping, with the sun setting over the beautiful buildings, I was very much getting into the festive spirit, and feeling proud of myself for navigating a difficult but fulfilling first term here.

Sunset over the dreaming spires – Holly Milton-Jefferies

Joyeux Noël et bonne année à tout le monde !

Three More Reasons to Come and Study Modern Languages with us at Oxford

It’s the time of year when the annual rankings of universities and higher education courses are published. Here at the Oxford Modern Languages Faculty we are a modest and unassuming bunch, reluctant to blow our own trumpet. We do, though, work extremely hard to make sure that our undergraduate courses are inspiring and exciting, a world-class education in language and culture, and a qualification that will be one of the most valuable passports you can have to success the career of your choice.

So we’re pleased to see that our hard work has been noticed. The Times Higher Education world university rankings for 2021 place Oxford University at Number One, ranked against over a thousand higher education institutions worldwide.

QS World University Rankings place Oxford University as the highest ranked of all UK universities, although it ranks four US institutions above us in the global list. Their most recent ranking of world universities by subject area, from last year, ranks Oxford University as Number One in the world for arts and humanities subjects, including modern languages.

Lastly, the Guardian has released its 2021 rankings of UK universities by subject, and their Number One university to study modern languages this coming year is… Oxford University. They also rank Oxford University as the top UK university overall, up two places from last year. The newspaper accompanies its listings and university guide with an article explaining why Oxford made the top spot, and in particular what it has to do with the employment prospects of our graduates.

That’s enough bragging from me. There’s only one way to really find out if our course and our university are really as good as they say. And that’s to come and try us out for yourself.

Student Snapshot

Over the last few weeks, we have shared with you some of the material we would normally tell you about at an open day. Dr Simon Kemp, Tutor in French and Co-Director of Outreach, gave us a video overview of what it’s like to study modern languages at Oxford… but do the current students agree?

We asked three current undergraduates to tell us a little bit about their experience of studying languages with us: Dalveen is in her first year studing Spanish and Linguistics; Alex is in his second year studying French and History; Charlotte also studies French and History and is in her final year. Here they give us a glimpse of what Oxford has been like through their eyes.

Something New: An Introduction to Linguistics

Linguistics is an increasingly popular area of study amongst our undergraduates, with some opting to study the subject as one half of a ‘joint schools’ degree (a degree where you combine two subjects e.g. ‘Modern Languages and Linguistics’), while others study it within their Modern Languages degree as an optional paper. But, for most people, linguistics is not something they will have had a chance to study at school and the subject will be brand new to them when they start at university.

So what exactly is linguistics? Fortunately, our colleague from the Faculty of Linguistics, Dr Jamie Findlay, has recorded an introduction to the subject. Check it out below and, if you like what you hear, perhaps consider incorporating linguistics into your degree…

Branching Out: Picking up a language from scratch

One of the wonderful things about studying languages at university is that you quite often have the opportunity to pick up a new language from scratch. This can be a wonderful chance to immerse yourself linguistically and culturally in something brand new. At Oxford, within the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty, you can study Italian, Russian, Portuguese, German, Modern Greek, Czech or Polish as a beginners’ language.

In this video, Julie Curtis, Professor of Russian at Oxford, tells us a bit more about why that could be an exciting option…

Q&A with the tutors

If you’re exploring your options with regard to universities, you probably have lots of questions, perhaps about the different courses on offer or the application process, maybe about the year abroad or what kind of jobs your degree with set you up for. Two of our tutors and Co-Directors of Outreach got together to record some responses to frequently asked questions. Prof. Julie Curtis teaches Russian and Dr Simon Kemp teaches French. Here they are providing some answers to the questions you might have…

FAQs

0:33 What is the standard A Level or equivalent offer for Oxford Modern Languages courses?

01:24 Should I try to take four subjects at A Level? Do you take EPQs into account?

02:50 Can I take a gap year before starting my course?

04:58 What do you look for in a personal statement?

06:29 What do your language tests look like?

08:45 What schoolwork should I send in?

10:13 What happens in an interview?

12:57 How should I choose a college?

15:07 If I study two languages are they both studied up to the same level? What if I take one of those languages frm scratch?

17:00 How does a ‘joint school’ affect the Modern Language?

18:57 How do I plan my year abroad? When I’m on it, how do I keep up my studies in the other subject?

22:54 What careers do Modern Languages graduates go on to have?

Student Q&A

Today would have been an Oxford open day, a date we look forward to every year as a chance to meet lots of prospective students and tell them why we think studying languages at Oxford is special. This year, that open day sadly can’t go ahead but some of our current students have come to the rescue!

We know that meeting the undergraduates is one of the best ways to really get a feel for what it’s like to study at Oxford, to feel part of the community and to hear from someone who has been in your shoes not so long ago. We asked eight of our current students some questions that we are frequently asked at open days. They are studying different languages, are at different stages in their degrees, and are at different colleges – we hope this will help you to get a sense of the variety of student experiences here at Oxford. And, of course, we do hope to meet you one day!

Why Literature?

Something we get asked about a lot at open days is the amount of literature on the Oxford Modern Languages course. Prospective students usually want to know how far the course focuses on literature and what the benefits of literary study are. Literature is certainly an important part of a Modern Languages degree at Oxford, and if you study with us you will do at least some literature as part of your course. But you’ll also have the chance to explore other areas, such as film, linguistics, theory, or translation, depending on the language you are studying.

Check out this video from Dr Alice Brooke, tutor in Spanish, for a deeper insight into the role of literature in an Oxford Modern Languages degree…

An Overview of Modern Languages at Oxford

Last Saturday would have been our main open day for Medieval and Modern Languages at Oxford. It’s an event we normally look forward to delivering because it’s an exciting chance to meet lots of prospective students and share with them our passion for studying languages and cultures, as well as introducing them to what it’s like to be a student at Oxford. We’re sad not to have been able to host that open day this year but the happy news is that we are creating some online content to replicate what we would have said, had the event gone ahead as planned.

First up, our Co-Director of Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer for French, Dr Simon Kemp, has recorded an overview of Modern Languages at Oxford: the different courses that are available, what they entail, and why Oxford is unique.

If you were thinking about coming along to the May open day, or to the open days in July (which have also, unfortunately, been cancelled), do check out the presentation below. We would also recommend checking out the video introduction to the course here. We’ll be posting more open day material on here in the coming weeks and we sincerely hope to meet you one day!