History and Modern Languages

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.

Number of students

 We typically admit one or two undergraduates per year.

The course

Students on the History and Modern Languages course will 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 is the case for all 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.

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.

The benefits of History and Modern Languages at Fitzwilliam College

​Fitzwilliam has a large number of Fellows (senior college members) in both History and Modern Languages. This means that much of the teaching on the course can be delivered 'in house', and History and Modern Languages students will find themselves a part of a large, supportive academic community.

The College's History Society is highly active and helps to build a lively academic and social community amongst our History students. It arranges an exciting programme of events for all students interested in History, whether they study it or not.

Fitzwilliam linguists are a lively and distinct group within the College.  They are involved in the Hilltop Linguists Society, which arranges termly events for language students from Fitzwilliam, Churchill, Murray Edwards, and Girton Colleges.  There is also an annual Modern Linguistics Dinner, and end of year Linguists Soiree.

Entry requirements

Typical offers for History and MML would be A*AA at A Level and 40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level in the International Baccalaureate.  An A Level (or equivalent) in History or Ancient History is required, as is an A Level in the Modern Language you wish to study (unless applying for abinitio Russian).  

An A Level language is also useful for those wishing to study a language from scratch.

The Admissions Process

Applicants will be asked to submit one piece of written work in History, or a cognate subject, as part of their application.

Applicants are also required to sit both the History written assessment and the Modern Languages assessment at interview (if invited).

Candidates should normally expect two interviews, each lasting around 30 minutes. They will be expected to demonstrate an interest in both subjects and will be assessed on their potential to succeed in them. 

Directors of Studies

Modern Languages

Dr John Leigh (1st and 4th years)

Research interests: eighteenth-century French literature, principally Beaumarchais and Voltaire.

Mr Paul Hoegger (2nd and 3rd years)



Dr Julia Guarneri

Director of Studies (1st year)

Research interests: American social and cultural history.

Dr Jean-Michel Johnston

Director of Studies (2nd year)

Research interests: social and cultural history of modern Europe.

Dr Gabriel Glickman

Director of Studies (3rd years)

Research interests: Political and religious history of Early Modern Britain.

More information 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages >>