An Introduction to Learning and Teaching in ASNC
(for new graduate students)

Welcome to the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.  This page describes the main aspects of teaching and learning in the department for graduate students who are new to it.

Information particular to the MPhil course (including the MPhil Guide and descriptions of all aspects of assessment) can be found on the MPhil page.

Further documentation and links for PhD students are on the PhD page.



All graduate students in the department are required to attend the Graduate Seminar, a regular series of papers by PhD students in their second year and distinguished visiting speakers. After papers by visiting speakers a wine reception is held in the ASNC Common Room which provides an ideal opportunity to get to know other graduate students as well as senior members and visitors.  The seminars take place on Mondays at 5.00, usually four or five times per term.  All graduates also attend the Graduate Symposium, a weekly event in Easter Term, at which all PhD students present short papers.

Other regular events which you are encouraged to attend and participate in include:

  • the ‘Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic’ (CCASNC)
  • the annual Oxford-Cambridge Celtic Colloquium and COLSONOEL (the Cambridge-Oxford-London Symposium in Old Norse, Old English and Latin), at which graduate students give papers
  • the ASNC Research Seminar
  • other seminars in Cambridge



All the department’s graduate students have access to the English Faculty’s graduate study area, as well as to the ASNC Common Room with its small reference library.  For information about libraries in Cambridge, including the ASNC Library (in the English Faculty Library) and the University Library, see here.

Training in a wide range of skills (presentation, teaching, computing, languages etc.) is available to graduate students; see the information given under Graduate Training and Related Funding.  These pages also give details of funding available to current students.  PhD students should discuss their training requirements with their Advisor (see further the PhD advisory policy).


Undergraduate teaching in ASNC

Undergraduate lectures, classes and seminars are detailed in the lecture list (also presented in timetable form).  All this teaching is open to ASNC graduate students (though before you attend a series for the first time it is a good idea to check with the lecturer concerned about its level and appropriateness for you).  MPhil students normally attend two courses in preparation for their ‘written exercises’.  PhD students who wish to attend undergraduate teaching are advised to follow no more than two or three courses at any one time, and to discuss their choices in advance with their Supervisor.

Undergraduates in the department read for the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Tripos, which consists of two parts: Part I (first and second years) and Part II (third year).  They take examinations at the end of each year, viz. Prelims (first year), Part I (second year), Part II (third year).  In the first two years they are required to study six ‘papers’ (i.e. courses), for each of which they attend lectures (and in many cases also classes or seminars) every week.  In addition to this timetabled, departmental teaching, each student also has an hour’s ‘supervision’ in one of these papers each week, for which they write an essay; supervisions (small group, and often one-to-one, tuition) are arranged by the student’s Director of Studies in his/her College.  For detailed information about the Tripos and the teaching which makes it up, see the Introduction for Undergraduates and the Teaching, learning and assessment pages.

PhD students (in their second and subsequent years) very often conduct supervisions, and occasionally (e.g. when a lecturer is on sabbatical leave) give lectures and other aspects of timetabled teaching.  If you are interested in teaching, then you should discuss this with your Supervisor and with the lecturer who co-ordinates the paper in question.  Subject-specific training will be available in the first instance from the paper co-ordinator, and generic training in teaching in Cambridge via the Graduate Development Programme.  Before you undertake any supervision you must also access the materials on ‘Supervising for ASNC’ on CamTools.  There is some general guidance about supervising here. Also, please note that to write supervision reports and receive payment, you need to access the CamCORS system; for instructions see the website here.


Further information

As well as your Supervisor (and/or, for PhD students, your Advisor), you can address any queries to the Director of Graduate Studies (Dr Judy Quinn) or the MPhil Convenor (Dr Richard Dance).

The Graduate JAC, of which all ASNC graduate students are members, meets once a term.  MPhil and PhD students each have a representative, who is elected annually and whose duties include attending the GJAC.

Enquiries about administration at the Faculty and University levels can be addressed to the Degree Committee Secretary, Anna Fox.  For further information see the graduate web pages of the Student Registry (previously known as the Board of Graduate Studies).