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History and Modern Languages at Sidney

History and Modern Languages at Cambridge

The new 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; 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.

As of 2018 entry, the languages available for study will be:

  • 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 Languages 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.

History and Modern Languages at Sidney

Sidney has considerable strengths in both parts of this joint Honours degree, and students of History and Modern Languages will be fully integrated into both subject groups. There is a close-knit, friendly and hard-working community of historians, who benefit from one of the best libraries for History in all of Cambridge and from their shared involvement in the College's well-established History Society. Linguists benefit from a particularly wide-ranging Fellowship. Staff-student relations are notably friendly, with a whole host of events and activities providing students and Fellows alike with opportunities to mix more informally.


Director of Studies (DoS) and Fellows

Mrs Natasha Franklin

Dr Bernhard Fulda

Dr Maria Noriega-Sanchez

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

1 - 2

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level

41-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

All Colleges require A Level/IB Higher Level in the language (for languages to be studied post A-Level). At Sidney, candidates will normally have A Level /IB Higher Level History, although we have in recent years accepted candidates without a History qualification who could demonstrate an interest and aptitude for the subject. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate an interest in both subjects and will be assessed on their potential to succeed in them.

Admissions Process

Written work

Two essays on two different historical subjects, and if applying to combine History with a language to be studied post A-Level, then we will also ask for one piece of extended writing (min. 250 words) in the target language.

We will send out more specific information about what is required after the UCAS deadline.

Admissions Assessments

Pre-interview assessment. Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website. Candidates combining with a modern language will be required to sit a 60 minute at-interview assessment in addition. The assessment will ask candidates to write a discursive response in a Foreign Language (40 minutes), and a discursive response in English (20 minutes). 


Candidates should normally expect two interviews, one in each subject. Before at least one interview there will be a passage to read, and this will be discussed in the interview. For post A Level language applicants, part of the language interview will be conducted in the target language.

Find out more

For more information, please see the course website.

Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (