Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic

  • Intake: 2 
  • Typical Offer: A*AA 
  • Essential Subjects: none 
  • Desirable Subjects: Languages (to GCSE or A-level) 
  • Faculty website:


The interdisciplinary Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Tripos is concerned with the history, material culture, languages and literatures of the different peoples of the British Isles, and Scandinavia, mainly in the earlier Middle Ages (from the fifth century to the eleventh). Students lay firm foundations in Part I (Years 1-2), and move on in Part II (Year 3) to pursue their particular interests at a more advanced level. 

For the purposes of Part I (your first two years), you will make an initial selection of six papers, from a range of 10; it is possible in your second year to submit a dissertation (an extended essay of about 30 pages, written in your own time on a subject of your own choice) in place of one paper. You will be examined on four of the six papers at the end of your first year (the Preliminary Examination), and on all six (or five, if you are submitting a dissertation in place of one) at the end of your second year (the Part I examination). 

Historical subjects:

  • Anglo-Saxon history
  • Scandinavian history
  • Gaelic history (Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man)
  • Brittonic history (Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Pictish kingdoms and the North Britons)

Language and literature subjects:

  • Old English
  • Old Norse
  • Medieval Welsh
  • Medieval Irish
  • Medieval Latin
  • Palaeography (the study of manuscripts and handwriting)

A further four borrowed papers of which no more than two may be selected. These vary from year to year.

For the purposes of Part II (your third year), you have to choose four papers from a range of 12, and submit a dissertation. You will be examined on the four papers, and on your dissertation, at the end of your third year.  

  • A subject in Anglo-Saxon History: Saints and Farmers: Economy and Society c. 950–1050
  • A subject in Scandinavian history: Rethinking the Viking Age
  • A subject in Celtic history: Sea Kings and the Celtic Speaking World c. 1014-1164
  • A subject in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic History: Law and Lawlessness
  • Beowulf 
  • Advanced medieval Scandinavian language and literature 
  • Advanced medieval Welsh language and literature 
  • Advanced medieval Irish language and literature 
  • Writing Women 
  • Textual criticism 
  • Germanic philology 
  • Celtic philology 
  • Dissertation [compulsory] 

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Queens’ 

The ASNC department is located opposite the College in West Road. As ASNC is such a small department (about 90 undergraduate students distributed between the three years and 29 colleges),  your subject related activity will be run through the department.

You will be requested to provide two marked essays following your application.

Director of Studies 

Dr Ali Bonner, Director of Studies 


"ASNC is the most unique and interesting course, offering the chance to explore so many different subjects and disciplines. Queens' is a really supportive environment, well-located and beautiful. ASNC at Queens' will be the best choice you ever make"

Lily - ASNC


"Studying ASNC is diverse and fascinating. The level of freedom to pick and choose which papers suit you makes for a unique academic experience. Living in Queens' makes access to the ASNC department, library and centre of town incredibly easy with no more than a five minute walk to any."

Harry - ASNC