The Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Tripos (ASNC) involves the study of the different peoples of the British Isles , Brittany and Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages, from the fifth century to the twelfth. The course is cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and source-based. That is to say, it covers the history, languages and literatures of various peoples — Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Celtic — separately and in relation to each other; it provides an opportunity for students to acquire, develop and apply expertise in some or all of a number of different though complementary disciplines; and it does so through first-hand exposure to, and direct analysis of, the available primary evidence. The ASNC Tripos enables students to develop their own interests in what is a very wide field of study, and at the same time gives them a challenging and rigorous intellectual training, which will help in many ways to prepare and equip them for whatever may lie ahead.
Within the scope of the ASNC Tripos, students are free to place the focus of their studies where they please. It is possible to concentrate on language and literature papers, or on historical papers; it is also possible to concentrate on Celtic (Irish and Welsh) options, or on Germanic (Anglo-Saxon and Norse) options. It is generally the case, however, that students select a combination of historical and literary options, and mix Celtic with Germanic. No previous knowledge of the subjects studied is expected or required.
We hope that you will enjoy your time in Cambridge and find the study of ASNC rewarding and exciting. The Department has a distinguished past. We hope you will play a role in giving it an equally distinguished future.