Applying

The following information on the admissions and application process is specific to Modern Languages.

Open days

It is a good idea for applicants to come to one of our open days. They give you a valuable opportunity to gain a better understanding of the course, to get a feel for the atmosphere of the college, and to meet both current students and the tutors in Modern Languages. Check for open days organized by the college and by the Modern Languages faculty.

Application process

Hertford admits about 10 modern linguists a year (normally including 2 to 4 students in the joint schools). We currently offer four languages: French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese. There are no fixed quotas for individual languages. We take students in the joint schools with English, History, Philosophy, and Linguistics (as long as you are applying for one of the four languages above).

During the admissions process, we take into account the following:

  • the relevant Modern Languages and Linguistics Admissions Test(s)
  • your actual and/or predicted examination grades, UCAS personal statement, school references, and submitted written work
  • the interview(s)

We consider each individual’s performance by reference to all of these different criteria before coming to a final decision on the allocation of places.

For information on how to apply, minimum offer grades, and the timetable for sitting tests and submitting work, see both the Modern Languages faculty’s website and the University’s Admissions website. As well as giving full details and advice about how to apply, these pages have several useful resources relating to the application process, including past papers for the Admissions Tests.

Interviews – what to expect

You will have two 20–30 minute interviews, one for each language you intend to study. Normally, each one will be with two interviewers, including the tutor in the relevant language. In the case of joint school applicants, the second interview will be with tutors in the relevant joint school subject (i.e. English, History, or Philosophy).

The interviews may vary slightly from language to language, but they all have the same aim in mind: to gauge your interest in your chosen course and your potential to study it. For part of the interview, you may be asked questions about a short text given to you beforehand. The majority of applicants will not have had the chance to study literature formally at school. If that applies to you, do not worry: you will not be at a disadvantage, as interviewers will not expect prior knowledge of any particular period, genre, writer, etc (unless you mention them in your personal statement or submit written work about them!). The interviewers will probably ask you about your wider interests in reading and/or the culture of the relevant country. They are not looking for set answers. Instead, they are looking to see that you can grasp the sense and language of a given text, say something relevant and interesting about what you have read, and respond to questions from the interviewer(s) appropriately.

The interview will usually also involve some conversation in the target language. As with the other elements of the interview, this is designed to help identify potential – we do not expect you to be fluent at this stage!