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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic is no longer accepting new applications.


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, as well as 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.

One to one supervision

Normally about eight hours per year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Between three and five hours per week


Between one and two hours per week.

Literature Reviews

The first assessed element of the programme is a Review of Scholarship essay, effectively a literature review for the projected MPhil dissertation. The reading and planning for that essay is undertaken during the first term, under the guidance of the MPhil supervisor and written feedback is supplied to each student after the essays have been examined.

Posters and Presentations

In the third term, as they approach the date for submitting their dissertation, all MPhil students give a 20-minute presentation on their dissertation topic to the MPhil Research Forum, attended by their fellow students and MPhil supervisors.


Students receive written feedback on all elements of the course, including independent reports from the two examiners of the MPhil dissertation.


Thesis / Dissertation

The MPhil dissertation (between 10,000 and 15,000 words) makes up 50 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of the overall mark.

Written examination

Students are required to take two three-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 per cent of the total MPhil mark, and is assessed independently by two examiners.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

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Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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