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MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic

Course Description

The MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic is designed for students who have already done a first degree incorporating work in some of the subjects encompassed by the Department. Our MPhil programme provides a 9-month course (October to June) in the scholarly methods and disciplines relevant to the study of the history, languages, literatures, and material culture of the peoples of Britain and Ireland, Brittany and Scandinavia in the earlier Middle Ages.

The course enables candidates to achieve an understanding of early Insular culture as a whole, as well as specialising in aspects of particular interest, whether historical, palaeographical, literary, or linguistic. Training is given in scholarly methods and practices, complemented by instruction in the particular fields of the candidate's interests.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/elasmpanc

Course detail

During the MPhil, students should have:

(1) developed a deeper knowledge of their chosen area within Anglo- Saxon, Norse & Celtic and of the critical debates within it;
(2) developed an understanding of critical debates which allows the evaluation of current research in their dissertation field;
(3) shown independent judgement based on their own research.
(4) acquired and/or consolidated linguistic, palaeographical or other scholarly skills;
(5) participated effectively in seminar discussions and made an oral presentation of their research;
(6) learnt how to schedule independent research to produce written work of a high standard to a strict deadline.


After two weeks of orientation and study-skills training, MPhil students meet for a weekly hour-long text-seminar throughout the first two terms of the course. The text-seminar focuses on a sequence of literary texts (studied in translation), including key Latin and vernacular texts from all the fields within ASNC, preceded by a group of earlier works that provided the intellectual background to the medieval world.

Alongside this core seminar, students are expected to attend the two courses they have chosen to pursue from among the selection of linguistic/literary and historical subjects offered in the Department, which are taught through a varying combination of lectures, classes and seminars. In this way, a significant proportion of the taught element of this MPhil is tailored to the individual needs of each student, hence the possible variation in weekly hours of seminars, classes and lectures.


The MPhil dissertation (between 10,000 and 15,000 words) makes up 50% of the total mark for the course, and is submitted in the last week of the third term (mid-June). Students are required to submit a dissertation title, with abstract, by the mid-point of the second term (February).

At the end of the first term of the course (December), students are required to submit a 5000-word Review of Scholarship essay, intended as a survey and assessment of scholarship on the topic of the projected MPhil dissertation. The mark for the Review of Scholarship essay constitutes 10% of the overall MPhil grade.

Over the course of four days in the first week of the third term (April), students write a 3000-word take-home essay, on a broad topic chosen from a selection, and drawing on at least three of the works of literature discussed during the course of the MPhil text-seminar, which runs throughout the first two terms of the course. The mark for the take-home essay makes up 10% of the overall mark.

Students are required to take two 3-hour written examinations which assess knowledge and skills acquired during the first two terms of the academic year, in two courses chosen from among those taught in the Department. Courses on offer include Anglo-Saxon history, Scandinavian history, Brittonic and Gaelic history, Old English, Old Norse, Medieval Welsh, Medieval Irish, Insular Latin, and palaeography, most of which can be pursued at beginner, intermediate or advanced level; Germanic philology, Celtic philology, and textual criticism are further options for students with the appropriate prior knowledge. Each written examination is worth 15% of the total MPhil mark, and is assessed independently by two examiners.


MPhil students may apply to continue to a PhD in ASNC; the academic condition for continuation is an overall mark of 70 or more in the MPhil course, and 70 or more for the dissertation. A viva on the dissertation is compulsory for all students who have been made an offer for continuation to PhD.

Find out how to apply here http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/elasmpanc/apply

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Geraldine Parsons

I was a graduate student (MPhil and PhD) in ASNC between 2001-6 and I am constantly aware of the excellent basis for a career in academia that the Department offered me. Presenting at the graduate seminars (and at the annual symposium the graduates organise) was invaluable preparation for speaking at bigger conferences, and the experiences I had supervising and lecturing were similarly beneficial. Yet, the graduate provision far exceeded the chance for 'trial runs' of various kinds. The vibrant and friendly interdisciplinary culture of the Department and - above all else - the incredible care and attention my work received from my supervisor, made ASNC a stimulating, supportive and rewarding place in which to be a graduate student. On submitting my PhD in 2005 I was fortunate to be appointed as Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, for four years, but then in 2008 the chance of a permanent post came along, so I took up my position as Lecturer in Celtic in the Department of Celtic and Gaelic at the University of Glasgow. My employers have been very generous and far-sighted in allowing me, after a year's teaching, to return to Cambridge for one more year to finish my Research Fellowship and it's great to be back.


Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. If you have already taken a Cambridge BA Degree in ASNC you will need an average mark of 67 at Part II including at least 67 in your Part II dissertation. Conditional offers for other degree courses will be equivalent.

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