History and Modern Languages at Cambridge
The Cambridge course provides insight into the cultures of other countries, and understanding of the past and present in international contexts.
Our four-year degree encompasses intensive study in language, culture, film, the history of political thought and a wide variety of modern British, European, American and world history. Like other language students, you spend the third year abroad – studying or working in a foreign country, and immersing yourself in the language, culture and history.
When you graduate, you’ll have near native-speaker skills in your language and a deep knowledge and understanding of the regions in which that language is used. You’ll also have acquired a wider knowledge of European and extra-European history.
Languages options are German, Italian, Russian and Spanish from scratch or post-A Level; Portuguese from scratch; and French post-A Level. You should indicate in your SAQ (see p7) which language you’re interested in studying.You must have an A Level/IB Higher Level (or equivalent) in the language for languages to be studied post-A Level/IB Higher Level.
Facilities and resources
Students can benefit from access to the facilities and resources available across both Faculties, as well as those offered at the University’s Language Centre.
The Faculty of History is globally respected (consistently topping national and international league tables), with an exceptional teaching staff of more than 100 leading historians. The collections in the Seeley Library (one of the largest history libraries in the world), the University Library, College libraries and online are extensive and include a wealth of rare materials and manuscripts, as well as standard texts.
The Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) also has a well-stocked library – boasting excellent coverage of the literature, film, history and thought of key language areas, from the middle ages to the present day – the Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Facility, and the Media Centre.
Additional course costs
Additional course costs for History and ML are dependent on the language papers studied and the destination for the third year abroad. See the information on the Faculty of MML website and if you have any queries about resources/materials, please contact the Faculty (see fact file, right).
Please also see the information about tuition fees during the year abroad.
It’s possible to change from History and ML after Part IB (Year 2) to the History course or to the Modern and Medieval Languages course. In some cases, it may be possible to change to other courses (providing any subject pre-requisites and other conditions are met).
Students on other courses may be able to change to History and ML after either Part IA or Part IB, providing they have the necessary language skills.
If you think you may wish to change course, it’s best to discuss this with the College you intend to apply to before submitting your application.
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.
History and ML graduates will be well equipped to appeal to a wide range of potential employers – advanced language skills and experience of living abroad are transferable skills that are often in great demand.
Recent History graduates and Modern Languages graduates have progressed to careers in the media, PR, law, public administration, consultancy, teaching and the charity sector. See the History course and Modern and Medieval Languages course pages and the Careers website for more information about what our students go on to after Cambridge.
The course also provides good preparation for further study in either history or the language.