Classics and Modern Languages

Classics and Modern Languages at Balliol College

Classics and Modern Languages offers the opportunity to study the languages, literatures, and cultures of the modern and ancient worlds alongside and in comparison with each other. Reading for Joint Schools enables students to experience varied perspectives on the world and to think for themselves within an interdisciplinary context. Our students are also exposed to international cultures, and spend a year abroad to work on their chosen modern language.

Balliol is in every way one of the biggest Classics colleges in Oxford. We are unusual in having tutors in all four of the main areas of the subject, a large, vibrant, and cohesive community of undergraduates (as well as postgraduates), a college library with one of the best Classics collections in Oxford, and plenty of opportunities to participate in the wider life of the subject, including Classics societies, and travel grants.

In Modern Languages (that is, French, Italian, German, Spanish), the work covers language, literature, and linguistics. In the first year, students will study a set selection of texts from a variety of periods. After that, students choose their own papers from a wide set of options ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students are encouraged to build on their existing skills in speaking, reading, and writing their chosen languages. A high final standard is expected, and to help students reach it, we offer progressive language teaching throughout the course. Note that a majority of our teaching staff in Modern Languages are native speakers in the language they teach. We strongly encourage our students to spend a year abroad between the second and third years of the course, and can offer help in finding placements either as language assistants or on university courses in their country of choice.

Number of places at Balliol: 1-2.


Alexander Bown (photo: Stuart Bebb)
Associate Professor, Fellow and Tutor in Ancient Philosophy
Adrian Kelly
Associate Professor, Clarendon University Lecturer, Fellow and Tutor in Ancient Greek Language and Literature
Elena Lombardi
Professor of Italian Literature, Paget Toynbee Lecturer in Italian Medieval Studies, Fellow and Tutor in Italian
Sophie Marnette
Professor of Medieval French Studies, Dervorguilla Fellow and Tutor in French
Sandra Paoli
Research Fellow in Romance Linguistics
Matthew Robinson
Associate Professor, Fairfax Fellow and Tutor in Latin Literature
Rosalind Thomas
Professor of Greek History, Dyson-Macgregor Fellow, Jowett Lecturer and Tutor in Ancient History
Xavier Buxton
Lecturer in Classics
Maria Czepiel
Lecturer in Spanish
Cecile Deer
Lecturer in French
Balliol crest black and white
Lecturer in French
Alex Hardwick
Lecturer in Greek and Latin Language and Literature
Steven Lydon
Lecturer in German
Sina Menrad
German Lektorin

About the course

There are different course options and patterns of study, shown on the University’s course pages. Please also see the Faculty of Classics and Faculty of Modern Languages websites.

Course requirements

Please see:

How to apply to read Classics and Modern Languages at Balliol College