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History and Modern Languages

CCCP (Soviet) poster, 1963. Photo credit: Jorge Láscar


History and Modern Languages at Cambridge

Our joint degree in History and Modern Languages combines the best of both subjects. It offers you the opportunity to develop near native-speaker skills in a foreign language while studying a range of papers relating to that language's culture and history; options in some languages include film and contemporary politics. You will also develop analytical skills in History through a wide range of topics in British, European, American and World history, as well as the history of political thought. There will be opportunities to work with historical sources in foreign languages. As with other language students, you would spend your third year studying or working abroad, thereby immersing yourself in the language, culture, history and politics of a foreign country.

The languages available for study are:

Both faculties are regarded worldwide as leaders in their respective fields. The History Faculty is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and is consistently ranked as the best in research and teaching assessments. It has internationally recognised experts in all relevant fields of study. The Modern Languages Faculty is the largest in the United Kingdom and also consistently rated as one of the best. It offers an unrivalled range of courses taught by leading scholars. The library resources in Cambridge, which support teaching and research in both Faculties, are world-class; the University also has extensive collections of films in all relevant languages. 

Further information and course details can be found on the course website.

History and Modern Languages at Churchill

With a wide range of academics spanning both disciplines, Churchill would be an excellent College for you to study History and Modern Languages. We are fortunate to have a strong group of Teaching Fellows in French, German, and Spanish, as well as regular native-speaker teachers. The Churchill Archives Centre holds the papers of Sir Winston Churchill, Baroness Thatcher, and Sir John Major, together with a host of other politicians, civil servants, diplomats, military leaders and scientists of the twentieth century. While Churchill is well-known for being a college devoted to sciences, mathematics and engineering, 30% of our undergraduate students study arts and humanities subjects. As a History and Modern Language student here, you can expect to draw upon considerable strengths of expertise and experience in teaching and research. 


If you have a strong academic track record, a keen intellectual interest in both History and Modern Languages, and are ready for new challenges at university level, we are looking for students like you.

Subject pre-requisites

You will be expected to demonstrate an interest in both subjects and will be assessed on your potential to succeed in them. However, you do not necessarily have to be qualified in both languages and History, and applicants present a variety of relevant examinations. 

Essential Highly desirable/useful
A Level / IB Higher Level in the target language, unless the language is to be studied from scratch.
For a language from scratch, evidence of language ability is required.
A Level / IB Higher Level History

For details about potential A Level and IB offer conditions in your target degree, see our Typical Offers webpage and select your course from the University's Course Listing homepage then check out the "Subject Requirements and Typical Offers" link in the Entry Requirements tab.

For other qualifications, see our Typical Offers page.

Admissions assessment

Cambridge University uses a system of common format admissions assessments, specifically tailored to each subject. These give us valuable additional evidence of your academic ability, knowledge base, and potential to succeed at Cambridge.

For the History element of the course we do not use a common format written admissions assessment, before or at interview.

For more information about the admissions assessment in the Modern and Medieval Languages element of this subject, click on:

Admissions assessment

Written work

You will be asked to submit examples of recent teacher-marked work, normally including one essay in each of the languages you've studied at A Level / IB Higher Level and one essay written in English from History A Level / IB Higher Level. If your current studies do not include History A Level / IB Higher Level, please submit an essay written in English, ideally relating to a historical topic. If you are an ab initio ("from scratch") applicant for German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, and your current studies do not include a language at A Level / IB Higher Level, please submit an essay showing evidence of ability in a second language.


If called, you will normally have two interviews: one in each subject. Your should be prepared to discuss your relevant interests and potential directions you may wish to follow. 


For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.

Admissions Office


Image: CCCP (Soviet) poster, 1963. Photo credit: Jorge Láscar