The Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, in consultation with Colleges, has identified the ways in which undergraduates can acquire and develop certain skills and attributes (‘transferable skills’) throughout their University career. As well as enhancing academic performance, these skills can be used beyond students’ university careers and are highly valued by employers. You are encouraged to make use of the opportunities afforded to you to develop those attributes which will stand you in good stead in later life.

The following are examples of how skills might be developed by an undergraduate in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic in each of these categories. You can click on each link to find out more.


As a guide, the University and Colleges have agreed jointly that all undergraduates should graduate with intellectual skills, communication skills, organisational skills and interpersonal skills. Further skills, such as foreign language skills, research skills, computer literacy and numeracy will also be useful to varying degrees for particular career paths.

Intellectual Skills

such as:

Intellectual initiative
Critical reflection
The ability to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information
The ability to extract key elements from complex information, including
listening in a discerning manner
The ability to identify and solve problems
The ability to select and apply appropriate methodologies
The ability to assess the meaning and significance of information
Analytical, evaluative and critical thinking
Estimation of the relevance of information
Discriminating between opposing theories
Forming judgement on the basis of evidence
The ability to engage in lateral thinking, openness to creative thinking
The ability to marshal arguments coherently, lucidly and concisely

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Preparing for and learning in lectures
  • Preparing for and participating in supervisions
  • Preparing for and writing essays
  • Preparing for and participating in seminars and classes
  • Preparing for and writing college and University examinations

Communication Skills

such as:

The ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently, logically and concisely
The ability to present material orally in a clear and effective way, including sensitivity to listeners’ perspectives
The ability to present written material clearly and effectively, including sensitivity to the reader's perspective
Attention to detail
Ability to think quickly on your feet

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Writing essays and dissertations
  • Participating in supervisions and seminars
  • Giving presentations on research in seminars
  • Participation in competitions (such as the Clemoes Reading Prize, or essay prizes)
  • Organising and performing in plays and rehearsed readings
  • Membership of committees, for example the departmental Joint Academic Committee, the ASNC Society and college JCRs
  • JCR involvement
  • Negotiating the use of Faculty and College facilities
  • Officership of the ASNC Society
  • Writing funding applications (University trust fund and College awards)

Organisational Skills

such as:

The ability to take initiative
The ability to write and think under pressure and to meet deadlines
Management of time and resources

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Organising one's own work programme and particularly ensuring that supervision assignments and dissertations are completed on time
  • Managing extra-curricular activities to ensure that they complement and do not detract from course-related activities
  • Understanding the Tripos structure, Lecture List and timetable and being able to use the information; choosing options
  • Membership and Officership of committees and societies
  • Organisation of events: entertainment, lectures, excursions, society events
  • Participation in Open Days, the Festival of Ideas, etc
  • Participation in debates
  • Keeping to deadlines set by Department/ College (submission of dissertations, titles and abstracts)

Interpersonal Skills

such as:
Working creatively and flexibly with others
Formulating and meeting team objectives
Interacting successfully on a one-to-one basis
Respecting different viewpoints

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Developing co-operative learning skills in supervisions
  • Participating in class and seminar discussion
  • Membership and Officership of committees
  • Interaction with a wide range of people, cultures, disciplines
  • Participation in college and university politics
  • Negotiating use of College and Faculty facilities
  • Membership and Officership of societies
  • Participation in sporting, drama, musical and debating activities
  • Standing for election to membership of the ASNC Society, Faculty Board, College committees and bodies
  • Acting as member of the Departmental Committee, College committees and student bodies
  • Acting as a student mentor/friend

Research Skills

such as:
Bibliographic skills
Practical skills
Palaeographical skills
Writing and presentation skills

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Use of University, Faculty and College libraries
  • Use of the University, Faculty and College Library catalogues
  • Ability to transcribe manuscripts and identify scripts
  • Ability to find, read and critically analyse scholarship
  • Ability to produce, review and re-write own work
  • Use of the Faculty and College computing facilities
  • Use of electronic resources
  • Use of the internet
  • Research Skills courses
  • Writing essays and dissertations
  • Ability to sift material and locate relevant or important aspects efficiently

Foreign Language Skills

such as:
Reading primary and secondary materials in other languages
Speaking/conversing in a foreign language
Writing in a foreign language

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Taking any of the ASNC language papers
  • Attending the Modern Icelandic and Modern Irish classes
  • Undertaking vacation study courses in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Scandinavia or Iceland
  • Reading scholarship in other languages
  • Membership of language clubs and societies
  • Conversation with students from other countries in the Department and College
  • Opportunities to attend courses and take diplomas/certificates offered by the University
  • Use of the Language Centre

Computer Literacy

such as:

  • Evaluation and application of appropriate use of software
  • Use of Office software or open-source alternatives (e. g. word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint);
  • Digital and online skills (e. g. internet & email, desktop publishing)
  • Database skills
  • Facility/aptitude for programming

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • IT and Research Skills courses
  • Use of College and Faculty computing facilities
  • Use of College and Faculty websites (including, for example, CamSIS, CamTools, CamCORS) for gathering information on courses, events, deadlines, timetables
  • Using the Internet for research
  • Using email for communication
  • Use of University, College and Faculty Library catalogues
  • Use of electronic resources such as LION and JSTOR
  • Using mailing lists, news groups or social networking sites to post or gather information
  • Word processing essays and dissertations
  • Designing databases for dissertation research
  • Use of the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)

Numeracy Skills

such as:
Knowledge and use of statistical techniques
Basic financial transactions

may be developed through University and College activities such as:

  • Statistical analysis of data as part of dissertation research
  • Involvement in financial activities of clubs, societies and committees
  • preparing comprehensive budget breakdowns for trust fund applications
  • managing budgets for student society activities

Other information

If you would like more advice about acquiring these kinds of skills, contact your Director of Studies or the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Further information is available through the following University web-pages: