Course overview

BA Modern Languages

BA Modern Languages & Linguistics

BA Classics & Modern Languages

BA English & Modern Languages

BA European & Middle Eastern Languages

BA History & Modern Languages

BA Philosophy & Modern Languages

Typical intake: 9

The College currently admits students to read Modern Languages and the associated Joint Schools with Classics, English, History, Philosophy, Linguistics and Middle Eastern Languages.

Applicants are welcome in all languages, but for the Honour School of Modern Languages, one of the languages offered must be French or German; for European and Middle Eastern Languages, the European language must be French or German. For the other joint schools, any language may be offered. Beginners may be admitted to read Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Czech or Russian.

Undergraduates reading French and/or German may expect to be taught for the greater part of their course by the College’s resident fellows in those languages, but some options are taught by specialists outside the College. Language teaching in French and German is carried out within the College, in part by native speakers. The other languages are taught on an intercollegiate basis, but under the supervision of the College Lecturers. Dr Bullock’s (Russian) current research focuses on the relationship between words and music in Russian culture, with special reference to the song tradition. He has also published on twentieth-century literature, particularly Soviet writer, Andrei Platonov. Dr Tandello’s (Italian) interests range from modern Italian poetry (Leopardi, Montale, Rosselli) to dialects in Italian literature, and modern drama (Pirandello in particular). Dr del Pilar Blanco (Spanish) is currently working on a project that explores the intersections of science and literature in the work of the Spanish American modernistas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The facilities of the Taylor Institution, the centre for Modern Languages studies in Oxford and one of the major research centres for the subject in Britain, are very near to the College, as is the University Language Centre, which provides audio-visual language teaching. The year abroad (between the second and final year of study in Oxford) is a key part of the course, and Worcester undergraduates have in the past spent their year in places as diverse as Martinique, French Guiana, Moscow and Mexico City, as well as in Western European countries.

"Worcester is a great place to study languages as there’s usually a big group of us doing straight languages or joint honours. Within a few days of arriving there were a bunch of second year linguists hovering around to help us out if we had any questions and to just help us settle in."
George, second-year French & German student

Tutors

Headshot of Benjamin Morgan

Fellow & Tutor in German

Professor Benjamin Morgan

Headshot of Benjamin Morgan

Professor Benjamin Morgan

Fellow & Tutor in German

Professor of German and Comparative Literature

Education

MA DPhil (Oxford)

Benjamin Morgan’s main research interests are in German intellectual history (medieval mysticism, Nietzsche, early psychoanalysis, Heidegger, the Frankfurt School); German film (Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, the ‘Heimat’ film) and comparative literature. He has also worked on contemporary writing (Jelinek, Trojanow, McEwan). His current book project engages critically with the work of the Frankfurt School during the 1930s and 1940s to elaborate a model of socially committed, reflexive interdisciplinarity for the 21st century.

Benjamin is also the Modern Languages Coordinator for Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation.

Headshot of Kate Tunstall

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones Fellow in Modern Languages & Tutor in French

Professor Kate Tunstall

Headshot of Kate Tunstall

Professor Kate Tunstall

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones Fellow in Modern Languages & Tutor in French

Clarendon Professor of French

Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Education

MA MPhil PhD (Cambridge), MA (Oxford)

I have a longstanding commitment to and strong track record in widening participation in higher education. I was myself educated at a comprehensive school in South London and went from there to Cambridge, where I did a BA in French and German, including a year at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier. I did a PhD in French at Cambridge, and held a Kennedy Fellowship at Harvard from 1995-96. I am always delighted to receive UCAS applications from sixth-formers from non-selective state schools and colleges.

Besse Fellow & Lecturer in French

Dr Alice Violet

Dr Alice Violet

Besse Fellow & Lecturer in French

Education

BA MA DPhil (Paris IV)

My main research interests lie in the fields of corpus linguistics, contrastive linguistics (French-English), phraseology, Construction Grammar and language attitudes. I am particularly interested in linguistic phenomena at the interface between lexis and grammar, and my doctoral thesis, which was a corpus-based investigation of determination in certain French and English prepositional phrases, drew on insights from recent phraseological and constructional work in order to shed light on a problem that had, until then, primarily been treated as purely grammatical. I am also interested in the semantics of prepositions and adverbials, and in discourse markers and connectives. I am currently working on my first book project, which expands on the findings of my doctoral research. My next research projects focus on foreign language teaching (phraseodidactics) and computer-mediated communication (prescriptivism in online interactions).

Headshot of Maria del Pilar Blanco

College Lecturer in Spanish

Professor María del Pilar Blanco

Headshot of Maria del Pilar Blanco

Professor María del Pilar Blanco

College Lecturer in Spanish

Professor of Spanish American & Comparative Literature

Fellow & Tutor in Spanish, Trinity College

Education

BA (William & Mary), MA PhD (NYU)

I am Professor of Spanish American and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and a Tutorial Fellow at Trinity College. My current research focuses on the emergence of popular science writing in Spanish American periodicals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I grew up in Puerto Rico and studied in the USA, going on to hold permanent posts in Aberystwyth University and University College London before moving to Trinity in 2012.

Headshot of Philip Bullock

College Lecturer in Russian

Professor Philip Bullock

Headshot of Philip Bullock

Professor Philip Bullock

College Lecturer in Russian

Professor of Russian Literature and Music

Fellow & Tutor in Russian, Wadham College

Education

BA (Durham), MA MSt DPhil (Oxford)

My path to Russian has been a long and, at times, indirect one. I first became fascinated by Russia at school, when I discovered the music of Shostakovich. Through him, I began to explore Russian literature and, thanks to a wise teacher, began to explore the language. I then headed to Durham University, where I studied not just Russian, but French and German too. For several years, I was torn between which of these languages I would like to specialise in, but a year spent in Krasnoyarsk and Ulyanovsk convinced me Russia was my real passion.

After a DPhil at Oxford on the Soviet writer, Andrei Platonov, I taught at the University of Wales, Bangor, before returning to Oxford to take up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wolfson College. Here, I began to combine my expertise in Russian literature with my love of music, and since then, I have written equally about both subjects. I took up my present position in 2007, having previously taught at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London. I have also been lucky enough to spend time as a fellow of both the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Paris Institute for Advanced Study.

Alongside my academic work, I enjoy sharing my fascination with Russian culture with wide and diverse audiences. I have written essays and given talks for Garsington Opera, Opera Holland Park, the Royal Opera House, Stuttgart Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Welsh National Opera, and work closely with the Oxford Lieder Festival and Wigmore Hall. I also regularly contribute to the UNIQ course in Modern Languages, as well as Wadham College’s own summer school.

Headshot of Dr Francesco Giusti

College Lecturer in Italian

Dr Francesco Giusti

Headshot of Dr Francesco Giusti

Dr Francesco Giusti

College Lecturer in Italian

Career Development Fellow & Tutor in Italian, Christ Church

After completing my PhD at the Italian Institute of Human Sciences in Florence and Sapienza University of Rome in 2012, I held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of York (2013), the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (2014-2015), and the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (2016-2018). Before coming to Oxford as a Career Development Fellow and Tutor in Italian at Christ Church and Associate College Lecturer at Worcester College and St John’s College, I taught comparative literature at Bard College Berlin (2019-2021).

Headshot of Marie Martine

College Lecturer in German

Marie Martine

Headshot of Marie Martine

Marie Martine

College Lecturer in German

Before starting my DPhil I studied Franco-German studies at the universities of La Sorbonne (Paris IV) and Bonn. I did a Master’s in German and Comparative Literature at the universities of Bonn and St Andrews.

I am now a third year DPhil at Hertford College. My research focuses on women writers of the end of the nineteenth century in France, Germany and Norway. I analyse and compare their work and look at how they respond to Naturalist writing, especially when it comes to the representation of femininity and mental health.

I was also part of the third cohort of Europeaum scholars, a programme aimed at DPhil students interested in European policy. Alongside a group of seven other students from all over Europe, I work on a project aiming at improving democratic participation.

You can listen to a podcast I did on a French woman writer, Georges de Peyrebrune here.

Headshot of Jennifer Oliver

College Lecturer in French

Dr Jennifer Oliver

Headshot of Jennifer Oliver

Dr Jennifer Oliver

College Lecturer in French

Departmental Lecturer in French

Education

BA MSt DPhil (Oxford)

I work mostly on sixteenth-century French literature, culture, and thought, and I teach across the early modern period and quite widely beyond. In my current book project Mineral Matters: Materials, Making, and Early Modern French Literature, I am interested in how early modern writers and craftspeople contemplated the connections and tensions between poetics, craft/technique, and the natural environment. The book explores mineral nature-cultures in Rabelais, Ronsard, Léry, Montaigne, and d’Aubigné, alongside technical writers like architecte du roi Philibert de l’Orme and the ceramicist Bernard Palissy. I am committed to widening access to the study of languages and literatures; I have given classes and talks on French grammar, Renaissance love poetry, and cinema for a range of schemes at Oxford and beyond, including the UNIQ summer school, and am a former co-organiser of the French Sub-Faculty’s Film Competition for secondary school students.

Headshot of Marita Schett

College Lecturer in German

Marita Schett

Headshot of Marita Schett

Marita Schett

College Lecturer in German

Education

MA

Originally from Western Austria, I studied Translation Studies, Spanish, and French at the University of Vienna. After working as a translator and German teacher for a while, I came to Oxford to teach German language and literature of the German speaking countries to students of all years at New College, St. Hugh’s, St. Anne’s, Worcester, and Lady Margaret Hall preparing them for their Paper I exams (Prelims & FHS). In addition, I teach a seminar on German and Austrian slam poetry for second year students.

Headshot of Cornelia Wiedenhofer

College Lecturer in German

Dr Cornelia Wiedenhofer

Headshot of Cornelia Wiedenhofer

Dr Cornelia Wiedenhofer

College Lecturer in German

My academic interests lie in linguistics, pedagogy, and the design of educational material for blended learning.

Applying

Applicants are naturally required to have a good standard of linguistic competence, and since the Oxford course also has a very substantial literary content, we expect candidates to show evidence of a commitment to, and aptitude for, literary study. The course offers a very wide range of options from the Middle Ages to the present day, from poetry to drama to film, together with linguistic studies.

Applications for deferred entry: our tutors firmly believe that a year abroad can be useful, especially if the year is spent where the language to be studied is spoken. This is particularly true for candidates taking up a new language. However, you should set against this the difficulty of gaining a place for deferred entry, as our tutors would need to be convinced that you would be among the best of the following year’s applicants. Of course, the gain in linguistic skills during the year abroad would be beneficial.

Read more on the university website Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages Faculty of Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics