Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Provision of teaching is divided between the Department and the colleges. The Department provides lectures, seminars and classes for all students, while the colleges arrange supervisions to supplement the Department’s teaching provision, and, in particular, to encourage students to develop skills in oral and written expression.

Once you have settled down, it is important that you should think carefully about your selection of papers for Part I of the ASNC Tripos. You will meet your Director of Studies at the very beginning of the Michaelmas Term, before the induction course in week 1(Wednesday-Friday). It is on this occasion that you will have the opportunity to discuss matters fully. You should feel free, of course, to seek advice from your Director of Studies at any time during the course of the academic year. You will be required to submit a form detailing your choice of papers at the end of the induction course.

The ASNC Tripos is divided into Part I and Part II. Four of the options in Part I can be classified as history papers (1, 2, 3, 4), five as language and literature papers (5, 6, 7, 8, 9); to which range of options may be added the paper on palaeography and codicology (10). It is also possible, in Part I, to offer a dissertation (in place of one paper), and to ‘borrow’ certain papers from other Triposes.

Further details, and introductory reading lists are available for each paper for each paper.A more formal statement of the regulations governing the ASNC Tripos may be found in the Cambridge University Guide to Courses (a new version of which is published each year); copies of this handbook are to be found in college libraries, and in the English Faculty Library. The ultimate authority on all matters to do with the structure of courses, and much else besides, is a large book called Statutes and Ordinances, which should also be in your college library.

Your immediate concern is with Part I. The choice is yours, and will be determined by your own interests and abilities, or by the challenges that you wish to set for yourself. You should, however, discuss the options in which you are interested with your Director of Studies, who will help you to decide on the suitability of your selection of papers, and ensure that it falls within the bounds of the regulations.

There is naturally some advantage to be gained from making your choice in the first week of the Michaelmas term (if you had not already made it before you came up), and sticking to it. On the other hand, nothing is set in concrete in the first week, so it is possible to change from one option to another; but the further you advance into the term, the more you will become committed to your original choice of papers (having already done work for some, and having not done work for others). In your first couple of weeks you may wish to sample lectures and classes for more than a selection of six papers, so that your eventual choice is better informed. The decision is forced, however, by the timetable for submission of examination entries. Entries need to be submitted on CamSIS by mid November and you will be sent details of this by your college tutorial office.

First year students are required to choose six papers, four of which will be assessed by examinations (known as Preliminary Examinations) at the end of their first year. Further informal assessments may be assigned at the discretion of individual paper convenors, for the purpose of monitoring students' progress in their other two chosen papers. Students will then have the option to continue all six subjects to Part I, or to replace one, two or three of their first-year papers with one or two borrowed papers and/or a dissertation.

During the first year, students will receive three or four supervisions in each of the four subjects that they offer for their Preliminary Examination. They will receive further supervisions in these subjects during their second year, as well as supervisions in the other papers they will be examined in at Part I (whether they be borrowed papers, the papers for which they took PATs in their first year, or a dissertation). Students starting the course in Michaelmas 2022 will receive a total of six supervisons per paper over the two years of Prelim and Part I. Students entering their Part I year in Michaelmas 2022 will continue to receive the previous prescribed number of eight supervisions per paper.

It is important to bear in mind (a) that you need to attend courses from the outset of your first year in all six of the papers that you are intending to take; and (b) that several lecture courses are organised on a two-year cycle, so you may find that a particular series of lectures advertised in your first year will be replaced by a different series of lectures in your second year. It is essential, therefore, to examine the Lecture List carefully, in order to ensure that you do not miss any of the teaching provided for your choice of papers; if you are in any doubt about any aspect of the teaching, you should consult your Director of Studies, or a member of the teaching staff.


Teaching and learning resources

  • Libraries in Cambridge
  • Computing Facilities
  • Lectures, classes, and seminars
  • Supervisions
  • Student feedback on teaching
  • Private study
  • Dissertations
  • Examinations