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Modern Languages

12 places per year. Applicants can choose between Modern Languages and joint schools in: Modern Languages and Linguistics; English and Modern Languages; European and Middle Eastern Languages; History and Modern Languages; and Philosophy and Modern Languages.

Why Study Modern Languages at St Hilda's?

As a Modern Linguist at St Hilda's, you'll have a rich intellectual life and benefit from excellent resources to support your studies, starting with your tutors. They will work intensively with you as you develop your language skills and embark on your career as a discerning critic of foreign literature and culture. Your tutors will help you to identify and develop your personal interests and to find your individual critical voice as you grow in confidence in your chosen languages.  The Modern Linguists form a large group in St Hilda’s, and we have a strong tradition of supporting students from a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities to realise their potential and achieve excellent results – including nine First-class Honours degrees in the past three years.

'The College library is particularly well stocked for French and German, and our travel grant fund helps to finance trips or courses abroad. An annual ‘year abroad’ meeting provides a forum for fourth-years to pass on information and advice to second-years choosing their placements. Our strong community of students across almost the full range of languages and joint schools available is a diverse and exciting group of which to be a part. You’ll benefit, too, from a programme of specialist events and workshops organised in College.

Over the past years, St Hilda’s linguists have been notably active in University and College student politics, as well as in student journalism, music, drama, and in the executive committees of the various student-run modern languages societies. The internationalism of the student body at St Hilda’s provides an excellent context for this discipline.'

In addition, the College is fortunate to have a number of different funds for supporting Modern Linguists’ travel and study plans during their course. Grants may be obtained, for example for short language courses abroad. The College also gives several prizes in the subject, accompanied by small bursaries, to reward excellence and endeavour.

Subject Tutors

At the core of Modern Languages at St Hilda's are French, German, and Linguistics; the College has Fellows in all subjects.

- Dr Kerstin Hoge (German Linguistics)
- Dr Jonathan Patterson (French)
- Dr Georgina Paul (German)
- Dr Elinor Payne (Phonetics and Phonology)
- Dr Helen Swift (French)

In addition, we have College lecturers in Italian, Spanish and German:

- Dr Marco Dorigatti (Italian)
- Dr Roy Norton (Spanish)
- Ms Nicola Thomas (German)

In French, Dr Swift, who specialises in the medieval periods, is supported in the modern period and for native-speaker oral classes by College lecturers:

- Dr Stephen Goddard
- Ms Elsa Baroghel
- Dr Charlotte Cooper

- Dr Pauline Souleau

- Ms Forence Maw


In German, Dr Paul, who specialises in modern German literature, and Dr Hoge, whose specialist interests include the study of syntax and Yiddish, are supported by a Lektor part-funded by the German government-sponsored German Academic Exchange Service:

 Mr Christoph Held

After St Hilda's

A Modern Languages degree opens up an especially broad variety of exciting career options; recent St Hilda’s graduates have embarked on careers in translation and interpreting, management consultancy, law, the foreign office, accountancy, media and the arts, and teaching. Many students also choose to continue to postgraduate study in Modern Languages or other disciplines where their linguistic knowledge is an asset, from art history to international relations.

Further Information

Information about the working life of a Modern Languages student is available here.


Dr Helen Swift: A Tutor's-Eye View of Oxford University admissions interviews