Modern and Medieval Languages

  • Intake: 6 - 10 
  • Offers: A*AA 
  • Essential Subjects: One modern language 
  • Desirable Subjects: none 
  • Faculty website: www.mml.cam.ac.uk

MML Course

Studying MML will give you the opportunity to become fluent in at least two languages. You will only need to have studied one of them to A-level or equivalent, and so will have the option of learning from scratch the other main language you choose (plus others from scratch if you want). You will learn a great deal about countries in Europe (and in parts of Africa and Latin America if you wish), about their culture, history, cinema, literature, art, politics, philosophy, values, ideas.  You can also choose to study linguistics within the MML course. Overall, you will decide what to focus on, tailoring the course to your interests. You will get first-hand experience of one or two countries by spending a year working and/or studying abroad.  You will also have the chance to include within your course other subjects taught at the University of Cambridge.

Students normally take either two languages post A level, or one language post A level and one new language. In the first year (Part IA) both languages must be studied and in the second year (Part IB), while there is a certain amount of choice, a language begun from scratch must be continued. The first year of Part II, the third year, is spent abroad. This year may be spent either as an English Language Assistant, or as a student at a foreign University, or working in a job approved by the Faculty. In the fourth year (second year of Part II), students can choose either to specialise in one language or to continue with both.  Cambridge has  a  very wide  range  of  specialised options  in  literary, linguistic, cinematic,  historical,  philosophical, philological,  visual  and  comparative  studies,  and  the  choice  amongst  these increases steadily from the first year onwards. For a full list of options, please see the faculty website above.

You can study two out of:

French
German
Italian
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish

All of these apart from French may be studied from scratch. Alternatively, you can combine any of the above with either Classical Latin (if you are taking it at A Level/IB Higher Level) or Classical Greek.

If you wish to combine one of the modern European languages above with Arabic, Hebrew or Persian, you can do so by applying for the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies course.

From October 2017, it will also be possible to follow a joint degree in History and Modern Languages. Students on this degree will study one foreign language throughout their course, and they will be able to choose from courses offered by both Faculties. Like other language students, they will spend their third year studying or working abroad thereby immersing themselves in the language, culture, and history of a foreign country. This degree will also provide opportunities to work with historical sources in foreign languages. The languages offered will be French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. German, Italian, Russian and Spanish may be learned from scratch or studied following on from an A-level (or equivalent). Portuguese will be offered from scratch. French will be post A-level only. For further details, please see the MML Faculty website listed above. A similar Queens’ Admissions factsheet to this one is also available, providing full information for the History and Modern Languages course.

You can also study from scratch more languages, if you wish, as part of your MML degree. Options include Catalan, Dutch, Modern Greek, Medieval Occitan, Portuguese, Ukrainian, and Neo–Latin.

In the first year, students will receive approximately three College Supervisions, three University language classes, and four University lectures per week.

MML at Queens'

Candidates attend two interviews and are given a short piece of writing to discuss prior to one or both interviews. Candidates applying to study a language they are currently taking, or have taken, at A level or equivalent should expect this piece of writing to be in the language in question; they should also note that their interview for this language will include some discussion in the language. There will also be a written assessment on the day of the interviews: this will follow a standard format across all the Colleges. The assessment will be of one hour’s length and based on a short text in English. Candidates will answer one question in a language they are proposing to study at Cambridge, and one question in English. The assessment will be marked by those conducting the MML admissions interviews in Queens’, according to a set of criteria agreed by all the Colleges. Two specimen assessments, together with the agreed criteria, can be found on the MML Faculty website listed above. More information on the written assessment can also be found at http://www.cam.ac.uk/assessments.

 You will also be requested to provide two marked essays following your application.

Queens’ MML applicants are encouraged to take a gap year between school and university, where possible, and to use this time to travel or work abroad. Experience suggests that this can prove very beneficial in terms of both language skills and cultural awareness. Candidates choosing not to take a gap year are in no way at a disadvantage in the application process, however.. 

Queens’ MML Fellows 

Dr Martin Crowley, Director of Studies (Pt IA & Pt II)

Teaches: Modern French literature and thought

Current research: Responses of French thinkers to contemporary crisis and catastrophe. 

Dr Ioanna Sitaridou, Director of Studies (Pt IB & Year Abroad) 

Teaches: Romance Languages 

Current research: Comparative and historical syntax of Romance languages within the generative framework. 

Mrs Annemarie Künzl- Snodgrass 

Teaches: German

Current research: Teaching of ab initio German and of advanced translation, and the development of online language learning materials.

Studying MML at Queens’ has taught me to embrace the notion of never knowing enough and always striving to know more!

– Francisca, 3rd year MML