Lincoln College

Modern Languages


Lincoln admits a total of eight to nine  students each year for places on the following degrees:

  • Modern Languages (One or two languages)
  • History and Modern Languages (French, Spanish, or German only)
  • Philosophy and Modern Languages (French, Spanish, or German only)

The standard of admission is neither higher nor lower in Modern Languages than in Joint Schools.

Languages available

Lincoln has Fellows in French (Dr Edward Nye), German (Dr Alexis Radisoglou), and Spanish (Dr Daniela Omlor) and lecturers in the following languages:  Italian (Dr Marco Dorigatti), and Portuguese (Dr Simon Park). Any combination of these five languages can be studied at Lincoln.

In addition, Lincoln has visiting teaching assistants in German and French, who are usually postgraduates from abroad. They teach part of the language course, and their native linguistic knowledge provides invaluable guidance to students.

The course

The First Year

Everyone in their first year studies the same course in language and literature. You will usually be taught by your College Tutor, although some of the language teaching is arranged centrally. For each language you study, you will have weekly classes in literature (where you will be in a group of two or four), and you will also have at least one class each week in language (translation, grammar, composition). In addition, you will attend two or three university lectures each week for each of your languages. First-year university examinations (the 'Preliminary Examination') take place at the end of the summer term.

The Second and Final Year

There is considerable room for individual choice in the second and the final years. Whichever subject options you choose, you will be taught by a specialist in the subject, who may or may not be a member of Lincoln. The literature teaching is by tutorial, which means your will be taught individually or in a group  of up to three students. Language teaching is usually conducted in groups of about four. You will also attend university lecture courses on the literary subjects you choose to study. Throughout your academic career at Lincoln, there are regular informal College examinations (known as 'Collections'), which are designed to help you and your tutor keep track of your progress.

The Year Abroad

The third year of the course is spent abroad, in a country or countries where your chosen lanuage/s is/are spoken.  Most people are offered jobs as teaching assistants in schools, or they enrol at a university to study for a year. You may also make your own arrangements, provided you make definite and constructive plans, and that your tutors approve.

All Lincoln College Modern Languages students are awarded a travel grant of £200 towards the costs of study abroad and may submit bids to the College's foreign travel fund, open to all Lincoln undergraduates

What are we looking for?

We are looking for people with genuine intellectual potential, and a genuine interest in the subject. Although performance in A-levels is important, part of the intention of the admissions process is to provide additional criteria by which to judge applicants. We look for an ability to interpret and express ideas, an aptitude for intellectual analysis, and an independence of mind which will allow you to benefit most from the course. We regard your intellectual potential to be as important as your academic achievement. 


If you are selected  to come to Oxford for interview  you will normally have two interviews at which there will be two or three tutors present, and each will last about 20 minutes. You will spend part of this time discussing a short literary passage given to you before the interview, and part of the time discussing your work at school, and more generally your knowledge of the subject. Some of the discussion will be in the target language. If you apply to study Joint Schools, one of the interviews will be with tutors in the other subject. Interviews are in no way intended to 'catch you out'; tutors are concerned only to give you as much opportunity as possible to perform to the best of your abilities. 

Tutors make as much effort as possible, therefore, to cultivate a relaxed, constructive atmosphere, and to avoid the experience becoming more stressful and tiring than it needs to be.

Further Information:

For further information, including arrangements for open days, please contact the Admissions Officer at Lincoln College, Oxford, OX1 3DR.  

For further details of the course content for each particular language, please contact the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Literature, either by their website: or by post: 37 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JF.  



Will Vowell, 2nd year French and Russian

There is a lot of variation and diversity in studying French and Russian. I have some French tutorials in College, some tutorials at other colleges, and Russian classes at the faculty centre. I also study a mix of translation, grammar, poetry and novels - writing and speaking in the language alongside literature-based essays (though thankfully not too many!).

I’m spending my second year living and studying in Yaroslavl’ in Russia, which I’m really looking forward to. But I can’t wait to return home next year to the brilliant company of Lincoln students, the great college community spirit, and the general buzz of Oxford life.