Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) at Cambridge
The Cambridge course is uniquely flexible and interdisciplinary. You can pursue your interests in many areas – from Italian Renaissance art to contemporary Brazilian cinema, medieval German folk tales to socialist realism in Stalin’s Russia. MML also includes options in linguistics, such as the historical and cognitive dimensions of the languages you’re studying.
All our students study two languages, one of which can be learnt from scratch (the exceptions being French and Latin, for which A Level/IB Higher Level standard is required). No matter what your proficiency when you arrive, you leave with near native-speaker competence in at least one of your languages. Most of our language classes are run by native speakers.
Our Faculty is one of the largest in the country. It consists of six departments, whose members are internationally renowned experts in their fields. In the Guardian University Guide 2016, Cambridge came top for modern languages and linguistics.
You study two languages for at least the first two years of the course. You can choose from:
Alternatively, you can combine any of these with either Classical Latin (if you’re taking it at A Level/IB Higher Level) or Classical Greek (which can be studied post-A Level or from scratch).
If you wish to combine one of these modern European languages with Arabic, Hebrew or Persian, you can do so by applying for the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies degree course.
It is also possible to combine one of these modern European languages with History – see History and Modern Languages course.
See also ‘Want to study more than two languages?’ below.
Facilities and resources
Our students make use of the very well-stocked Faculty library, the Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Facility, and the Media Centre (which has all the equipment for film studies), as well as bespoke language teaching and learning materials at the Language Centre.
A year in...
MML students spend their third year abroad in one of three ways: they attend a foreign university, become an English-speaking assistant at a school, or do an internship with a firm. In the past, some have:
- worked at a lifestyle TV channel in Paris
- studied history at the Humboldt University in Berlin
- taught English as a British Council assistant in Buenos Aires
- conducted an orchestra in St Petersburg
You can tailor your year abroad to suit your own interests and later career goals, providing you spend at least eight months abroad and are constantly immersed in one of the foreign languages you’re studying.
If you wish you can split the year between two countries, spending at least three months in each - see the Faculty website for information about the year abroad.
Additional course costs
Additional course costs for MML are dependent on the languages and papers studied and destination(s) for the third year abroad. See the Faculty of MML website for details of additional course costs 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.
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.
Students on other courses may be able to change to MML after either Part IA or Part IB, providing they have the necessary language skills.
Fluency in a foreign language, an understanding of foreign cultures, analytical and research skills are all in great demand on the job market. Employers – even those who aren’t primarily interested in languages – particularly value the experience, independence and cross-cultural awareness our graduates have gained during their year abroad.
Most graduates use their languages in their work, and all build on the many skills developed during their degree. Our graduates find that an array of different jobs are open to them. Recent destinations include the BBC World Service, international law firms, UNICEF, and KPMG.
For a small number, the degree is more directly vocational: they become professional linguists (language teachers, translators or interpreters), usually after further specialised training. Further information on what our graduates go on to do is available on the Faculty website.
Want to study more than two languages?
In the second and fourth years, it may be possible to take an introductory course in a language and culture you haven’t studied before. The languages offered are subject to availability but may include Catalan, Dutch, modern Greek, Polish, Portuguese and Ukrainian.
Another possibility (open to any member of the University) is to take a one-year course at the University’s Language Centre to obtain a further language qualification. Courses are available in basic Arabic and Mandarin; and in basic, intermediate and advanced French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.
Diploma and certificate courses may be available through the Faculty. Please visit our website or contact the Faculty Office for more information.