History & Modern Languages

  • UCAS Code: VR18 BA/HML
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Places per year: 2-3

This course 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; options in some languages also include film and contemporary politics. 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.

Course Overview

The languages available for study are:

  • French (post A Level)
  • German (from scratch or post-A Level)
  • Spanish (from scratch or post-A Level)
  • Italian (from scratch or post-A Level)
  • Portuguese (from scratch)
  • Russian (from scratch or post-A Level)

Both 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 and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL) Faculty is the largest in the United Kingdom and also consistently rated as 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.

How You Learn

As with other subjects, the Director of Studies is responsible for guiding undergraduates in their choice of subjects and their general intellectual development within the subject. Lectures are organised by the History Faculty and the MMLL Faculty, and they are attended by students from all colleges. Each college arranges teaching for weekly supervisions.

One of the most exciting aspects of Cambridge is the opportunity to discuss your essays and ideas with experts and to get to know them well. You will be taught by historians and modern linguists from other colleges as well, depending on the papers you choose. Your Director of Studies helps each student devise a custom-built course and finds appropriate supervisors.

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 and Linguistics (MMLL) 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.

Typical Offer Conditions




41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level


See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

Subject Requirements 


A-Level/IB Higher Level History, plus an A-Level/IB Higher Level in the language you intend to study (if studying post-A-Level)

Evidence of language ability (if studying a language from scratch)


Written Work

Two recent examples of essays you have written at school. One should be from your History A Level or equivalent. The other should be written in the language you intend to study at university (unless applying for a language from scratch, in which case it should be in English).

For further information on submitting written work, please read our How to Apply page.

Admissions Assessment

Applicants for History and Modern Languages are required to take a written assessment at interview, if interviewed. There are two separate components: one for History and one for Modern Languages. The College will register you automatically for both assessments. Descriptions are given via the links below: