Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic

  • UCAS Code: QQ59 BA/ASNC
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 1-2

This course focuses on the history, material culture, languages and literature of the peoples of Britain, Ireland and the Scandinavian world in the earlier Middle Ages.

You’ll discover medieval history while learning one or more languages and reading great works of literature in the original languages. This includes the:

  • Old English poem ‘Beowulf’
  • epic medieval Irish tale ‘Táin Bó Cúailnge’ (‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’)
  • Icelandic sagas

Exactly which areas you study and to what depth is largely up to you.

Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic

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Course Overview

No other university course offers the range of options available in the BA in Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic at Cambridge: in your first year you can freely choose six options from among Anglo-Saxon History; Old English language and literature; Medieval Scandinavian History; Old Norse language and literature; the history of the Brittonic-speaking peoples; Medieval Welsh language and literature; the history of the Gaelic-speaking peoples; Medieval Irish language and literature; Insular Latin language and literature; and Palaeography.

For further information about this course and the papers you can take see the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic website.

How You Learn

Teaching is provided through lectures, classes, seminars and small-group supervisions.

In your first and second year, you can expect to have between 10 and 15 hours of lectures and classes per week.

You’ll be assessed through written exams and coursework.

All students write a dissertation of between 9,000 and 12,000 words in their third year.

Entry Requirements

Minimum Offer Level

A-Level: A*AA

IB Diploma: 41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Other: See the University’s Entry Requirements page

Subject Requirements

While we don’t ask for any specific subjects to apply to ASNC, we recommend certain subjects for a strong application:

  • English (language or literature)
  • History
  • Languages (ancient or modern)
Stack of old books in the Old Library

Admissions Process

Written Work

Applicants for Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic are required to submit two school essays on any subject. You do not have to send this work before applying, we will write to you after you have applied and let you know exactly what you need to send and when.

Admissions Assessment

We do not require a written assessment for this subject.


Two interviews of around 25 minutes each.

Student Profile

Rhiannon has completed an undergraduate degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic at Trinity Hall, and is now studying for a Masters degree. In the photo she is looking at the Book of Durrow at the University Library.

‘I loved my time studying ASNC at Trinity Hall! It is such a fascinating course, with an interdisciplinary approach which meant I was able to study everything from Old Norse literature to Pictish History and pre-Conquest material culture.

‘My favourite paper (and focus of my current MPhil research) was palaeography and codicology – the study of medieval manuscripts as a material object and their handwriting, allowing you to date and locate them. The fact that Trinity Hall has a chained manuscript library is definitely a plus!’

More from Rhiannon

Last updated: May 2024 for 2025 entry