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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Modern and Medieval Languages

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Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) is a four-year course. In the first, second and fourth years you will be resident in Cambridge; the third year is spent abroad. The course is assessed mainly by annual examinations. In the second year you can opt to submit a portfolio of essays based on work done during the year. During the Year Abroad you are required to write a dissertation or a translation project. In the fourth and final year you can write an optional dissertation to replace a Scheduled Paper. There are oral exams in each part of the Tripos.

In the first year (Part IA) you can study two languages that you have studied at school to A-level or combine one of them with a new language. The emphasis in Part IA falls on language work (Translation, Use of the Foreign Language, Oral) and an introduction to the culture of the foreign language (chosen from the study of literature, film, history, thought, history of art, linguistics). In the second year (Part IB) you continue with the languages you have studied in the first year, giving equal attention to both or more attention to one of them and can choose from a wide range of options relating to linguistics, literature, history and thought of the language. The College and the Year Abroad Office in the Faculty help you to find you a suitable placement for your Year Abroad (either at a university, teaching or working) and to complete the academic work required. When you return to Cambridge for your final year you will take an oral examination and in Part II you can concentrate on one language or divide your time between two. There is a wide range of Scheduled Papers relating to all aspects of your language(s). There are also papers with a comparative and interdisciplinary nature and papers which can be borrowed from other Triposes.

You can also combine Modern Languages with Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Oriental Studies, Classics and (from 2017) History.

Full details of the courses can be found on the Faculty webpages

Modern and Medieval Languages in Murray Edwards College

We welcome around 7-8 undergraduate students and 3-4 Erasmus exchange students in MML each year.  Within the College as a whole this means we have around 25 undergraduate students, 3-4  postgraduate students, and 6 Fellows in the subject. Students attend lectures, languages classes and seminars in the Faculty (at Sidgwick Site, a short walk from the College) and the Director of Studies arranges  supervisions in small groups (generally 2-3 students) with a relevant specialist. The College has a distinguished team of dedicated teachers who cover all the major languages and subject areas studied in the Faculty.  (Former Fellows include Dorothy Gabe, Lorna Close, Rosemary Lloyd, Zyg Baranski). We are very keen to help our students achieve their best results. One of our students who graduated with a starred First wrote.

"Murray Edwards provided the supportive environment that I found to be key to academic success. I will look back on my time here with much fondness." Rebecca

The current teaching Fellows are listed below. We have a flourishing Modern and Medieval Languages Society, the Gabe Society,  which meets termly.

Applying to study here 

We are looking for students who are enthusiastic about their subject, motivated to learn more and have achieved highly in their examinations to date. At interview we will be looking for evidence of intellectual curiosity in relation to foreign languages and cultures, some proficiency in the language/s you wish to study and the desire to explore them more deeply across the spectrum of history and culture. We normally give candidates a short written test before the interview, a reading passage in one or two of their languages to prepare 10 minutes before the interview, followed by questions and discussion in the interview and questions about reading and school coursework. The best preparation for the interview is reading, speaking and writing in the foreign language, or, in the case of an ab initio language, acquiring some familiarity with its culture (e.g. by reading works in English translation).

We usually set typical/standard offers for A levels or equivalent i.e. usually A*AA. Full details of entry requirements and selection processes in Modern & Medieval Languages across all colleges can be found on the central University webpages.

Moving into your career 

Our students follow a wide range of careers when they leave: some will want to stay closely involved with their subject interest while others  will be keen to apply the skills and attributes they have developed while studying here to a wide range of opportunities. Those who have studied MML have recently taken up positions in the academic or teachings worlds, translating, law, business and finance, journalism, cultural administration. 

We support students in developing their skills and in exploring varied career options through our Murray Edwards Gateway Programme.

Find out more

Prospective students are most welcome  to contact us by email or to visit us to find out more.

Fellows in this subject