Oxford University
Language Centre

Languages for Study and Research - The LASR programme

Currently offered:

Chinese / French / Georgian / German / Greek / Italian / Portuguese / Russian / Spanish / Welsh


Guide to LASR for applicants

Please read this guide before submitting an application form to join a course within LASR.


What is the LASR programme of courses?

Fees and priority applications

What’s the difference between LASR and OPAL?

What sort of courses are they?

How do I register for a LASR course?

How are places allocated in October?

How do I know which level I am at?

Can I register for more than one course?

What if I’m placed on a waiting list or register after October?


What is the LASR programme of courses?

The programme consists of about 50 courses at different levels in ten languages (French, German, Georgian, Italian, Chinese, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Welsh) intended primarily but not exclusively for students and staff who require foreign language skills for their study or research. Those with a general interest in learning a language or maintaining existing language skills are also welcome to join a course if places are available.

Most courses consist of two single fifty-minute classes each week or one double class. Classes are held in the morning or afternoon.

Courses begin in October and continue throughout the academic year. French, Italian and Spanish beginners courses are timetabled for Michaelmas and Hilary Terms but may continue into Trinity Term if there is demand. New beginners courses in French, Chinese and Spanish are offered in Trinity Term. It may be possible to join a course later in the year if places are available.

LASR courses are not formally assessed (though there may be periodic progress tests). Participants may request a Certificate of Attendance.

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Fees and priority applications

Students must pay a registration fee of £35 per term once they have accepted a place on a LASR course. For staff the rate is £65 per term. Associate members of the University (for instance academic visitors and spouses) may also apply, and the course fee for this status is £125 per course per term (which includes Language Centre Library membership).

If the LASR language course applied for is needed for study or research purposes then Oxford students can make a priority application. The LASR priority form must be signed by a tutor/supervisor confirming the student's academic need for the course. Priority forms must also be counter-signed by an authorised signatory in the Department/Faculty/College/Institution, agreeing to pay a £65 termly registration fee on behalf of the priority applicant (there is no charge to the student). Forms without both signatures will be rejected.

Staff members who wish to study a LASR course for research or essential work purposes can also make a priority application, but will be expected to pay the £65 registration fee themselves. They should contact the Language Centre with details of their research.

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What’s the difference between LASR and OPAL?

OPAL (The Oxford University Programme in Languages) offers staff and students fee-paying, early evening courses with a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the year-long programme. OPAL courses are fast-paced and are intended for those who are highly motivated, can commit to regular attendance (80% requirement), are prepared to spend a substantial amount of time each week on follow-up and preparatory work, and are confident they will not encounter workload problems later in the year.

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What sort of courses are they?

The emphasis in most classes is on general communication in the language (that is, listening and speaking rather than writing). There are also reading courses in French and German. The content of the courses is based on coursebooks together with supplementary material prepared by the language tutors.

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How do I register for a LASR course?

Registration is now based completely online here and you can also register at the Language Centre from Monday 6th October. You should only register for a class when you know that you will be able to attend the class regularly, so check your departmental timetables first.

Priority registration forms will be available from 15th September from the Language Centre. Priority registrations cannot be made online.

The initial deadline for applications will be Wednesday 15th October at 12 noon. Registrations received after this will automatically be allocated to the waiting list for a course if no places are available.

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How are places allocated in October?

Priority applicants (staff and students) will be placed in class first. All standard applications will be allocated on a random selection basis after the initial registration period of Monday of 0th week (6th October) to Wednesday of 1st week (15th October). Students and staff of the University will be given places before other statuses (such as academic visitors and spouses).

Applicants will be contacted by e-mail to confirm whether they have a place or are on the waiting list on Friday 17th October. Classes begin from week 2 of term (week of 20th October).

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How do I know which level I am at?

The Centre's courses are divided into five general levels:

BEGINNERS: No knowledge necessary or even desirable
LOWER INTERMEDIATE: Completed Beginners course or 'rusty' GCSE standard
INTERMEDIATE: Recent or maintained GCSE standard
UPPER INTERMEDIATE: Able to use complex language in a variety of situations
ADVANCED: Fairly fluent in spoken and written language - approximately 'A' level standard or above.

If in doubt, you can check the course entry requirements or take a short online placement test (for French, German, Italian and Spanish) on our website. Course syllabuses are also available with the course times/details on the specific language pages.

Please see the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages document by clicking on this link.

If you are still unsure which level to register for, then you can contact the Language Centre for advice.

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Can I register for more than one course?

Yes, but our aim is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to take one course. Therefore, if you receive a place on one of our LASR classes, any other registrations you make automatically become second class registrations. Second class registrations are only considered once those without a place on any courses have been offered a place.

The registration form allows you to indicate first and second preference courses if you apply for more than one class

It is possible to make a priority application for more than one course provided that (in the case of students) each application for a course is endorsed by the authorized signatory.

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What if I’m placed on a waiting list or register after October?

Please be patient - places do come up in class during the year, especially at the start of every term. We also offer intensive 'Catch-up Brush-up' classes in December for the most popular classes, to allow those on the waiting list to cover the first term's material, and join from January.

Try and keep up with the class independently. Some courses have their syllabuses and work plans on our web pages to enable those on waiting lists to keep up and join at a later stage when places are available. Join the Language Library and take advantage of its excellent resources and facilities.

If you are on a waiting list for French or German at Lower Intermediate or above, you might consider joining the Lambda Project, which provides supported independent learning to those with at least GCSE (or equivalent) French or German. See this website for more information.

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