History and Modern Languages
The joint degree in History and Modern Languages combines the best of both subjects. It offers the opportunity to develop near native-speaker skills in a foreign language while studying a range of papers relating to the culture and history of the relevant language area.
Students 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 for other language students, those who take this course will spend their third year studying or working abroad, thereby immersing themselves in the language, culture, history and politics of a foreign country.
The languages available for study are: German, Italian, Russian and Spanish from scratch or post A level/equivalent; Portuguese from scratch; and French post A level/ equivalent.
If you want advanced language skills, a deep understanding of the regions in which that language is used, and a wider knowledge of European and extra-European history, this could be the degree for you.
The course lasts for four years and includes a year abroad. In the first year (Part IA), you will enhance your language skills and study a paper related to the history or culture of the relevant country. You also study two papers from the History Faculty, in European History, World History , or the History of Political Thought. You continue your advanced language study in the second year (Part IB) and study three further additional papers (at least one from History and one from MML).
Part II of the course encompasses the third and fourth years of study. Following your third year abroad you return to Cambridge for the final year of your degree. This year includes further language study, including an Advanced Oral examination, and three advanced papers chosen from a wide range in both Faculties. You also have the option of submitting a 10,000 word dissertation in place of one of these papers.
Both Cambridge 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.
Magdalene has flourishing communities of historians and linguists of which students reading History and Modern Languages will become a full part. As well as the College Lecturers (listed under the 'Teaching Staff' tab, above), there are a large number of Research and other Fellows in both History and in Modern and Medieval Languages. These include Professor Nicholas Boyle (Emeritus Professor of German), Professor Eamon Duffy (Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity) and Dr Annja Naumann (Senior Research Fellow in German).
We welcome applications for any of the possible combinations.
Applicants will have a variety of relevant examination qualifications, though not necessarily in both languages and history; they will be expected to demonstrate an interest in both subjects and will be assessed on their potential to succeed in them.
All Colleges require A-Level/IB Higher Level in the language if this language is to be studied at post A level. For languages taken up from scratch we expect to see an interest in the culture where the language is spoken and an aptitude for language learning.This may, for example, be a strong performance in one or more foreign languages at GCSE or AS level. We also expect applicants for History and Modern Languages to be studying A-Level/IB Higher Level (or equivalent) in History.
Our typical conditional offer for History and Modern Languages is A*AA (with the A* not necessarily in a specific subject) at A-Level. IB offers are usually for a total of 41-42 points, with 7,7,6 at Higher Level.
Interviews, Written Work, and Assessments
Candidates should normally expect two interviews, one with two college teachers in History and one with two linguists. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their relevant interests and potential directions they may wish to follow.
Applicants should submit two examples of recent work, which will be available to interviewers. These should ideally be in the form of marked school essays. At least one should be on a historical subject.
The admissions assessment for History and Modern Languages will be at the time of interview, format TBC.