Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic
The course in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) offers a unique range of options, not available in this combination at any other British university, or probably in the world. It is designed for studying the languages, literatures and history of the different peoples who inhabited the British Isles and Scandinavia in the earlier Middle Ages – particularly the literature and history of Anglo-Saxon England and of medieval Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and mainland Scandinavia. Beowulf, the Vikings, Irish legends and early British history (before the Norman Conquest) are some of the things that fall within our scope.
Although it is perfectly possible to study only history, or only language and literature, it is part of the intellectual commitment of the Department that the two complement each other. Most undergraduates find a combination of these two elements more satisfying, in that studying the history of a particular people informs your study of their literature, and vice versa.
The Department is one of the smallest in Cambridge, and prides itself on its friendly and informal atmosphere among undergraduates, post-graduates and staff. Because there are usually only one or two ASNaCs (as undergraduate students in the Department are known) per year at any particular College, the Department itself has a strong sense of identity and intercollegiate cohesion.
You may wonder what this unusual course leads to for students after graduation. Obviously, opportunities for further study and research are open to students, but ASNaCs tend to go on to the same range of careers as graduates from (say) English or History, but with the additional cachet of having read a very unusual subject (one which makes many people say, 'You studied what?'). In recent years, several ASNC graduates have gone on to successful careers in law, others to the media, computing and administrative posts; and a high proportion go on to academic careers.