How to Get into Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) at Cambridge

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) is a flexible, interdisciplinary course at Cambridge University. Around 60% of applicants were successful in receiving an offer to study ASNC in 2021, making it one of the least competitive courses at Cambridge, however it’s important to ensure that your application stands out in order to secure a place.

If you’re thinking of applying for ASNC or just curious about what it takes to get into one of the most niche courses at Cambridge, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert ASNC tutors.

The Profs’ ASNC tutors have first-hand experience of the admissions process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Cambridge University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC)?

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) involves the study of medieval history, languages and literature. The course allows you to explore a range of cultures from a dynamic period in human history, such as the history and culture of Anglo-Saxon England to Celtic languages and Viking exploits.

The ASNC course at Cambridge is one of the most flexible courses offered at a top university at undergraduate level. In your first year you can freely choose six options to study from the following:

  • Anglo-Saxon History
  • Old English language and literature
  • Medieval Scandinavian History
  • Old Norse language and literature
  • The history of the Brittonic-speaking peoples
  • Medieval Welsh language and literature
  • The history of the Gaelic-speaking peoples
  • Medieval Irish language and literature
  • Insular Latin language and literature
  • Palaeography

What are the entry requirements for ASNC?

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC), like all courses at Cambridge, is competitive. Although 60% of applicants receive an offer, the calibre of these applicants is already incredibly high, so you must achieve the minimum entry requirements in order to stay competitive. The table below shows the entry requirements for ASNC:

QualificationGrades
A-levelsA*AA
Scottish/Advanced HighersA1, A2, A2
International Baccalaureate (IB)40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) at Cambridge? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

Which subjects are recommended?

There are no required subjects for those wanting to apply for ASNC at Cambridge. However, Cambridge does highly recommend studying language and/or essay-based subjects at A level (or equivalent), such as English (Language or Literature), History, and/or a language (ancient or modern) in order to best prepare for the contents of the course. Note that from 2017-2019, 97% of successful ASNC applicants studying A levels took at least one of English (Language, Language & Literature, or Literature), History or a language, so it’s a good idea to take one of these subjects to maximise your chances of success.

Which admissions test do you need for Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC)?

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) is one of the only courses at Cambridge that does not require any applicants to take an admissions test. Your application will therefore be judged entirely based on your grades, your personal statement, and performance in your interview. Speak to our team to learn more about how to perform best in each of these areas when applying for ASNC at Cambridge.

How hard is it to get into ASNC at Cambridge?

Getting into Cambridge to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) is no mean feat. Not only do you need to achieve the high grade requirements, but you also need to perform well in the interview. In 2021, around 60% of applicants were successful in receiving an offer from Cambridge to study ASNC, however the majority of these applicants (those who studied A levels) achieved A*AA or higher and studied a language, English or History. Therefore, although one of the easier courses at Cambridge to get into statistically, ASNC still turns away 40% of applicants and thus you’ll need to make sure your application stands out.

The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Cambridge to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC). Thanks to our network of experienced tutors, many of whom are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, we have the very latest and best knowledge on what Cambridge is looking for in top ASNC applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for ASNC at Cambridge?

The table below shows the fees for Cambridge’s Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) course for both home (UK) and overseas students:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)
Home£9,250
Overseas£23,340

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Cambridge’s fee status page. You can also use Cambridge’s fees, funding and financial assistance page to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) at Cambridge

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study ASNC at Cambridge, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly.

  • Your grades – preparation for your ASNC application really starts from the moment you start studying for your A-levels (or equivalent). Excellent grades are essential in order to be considered for a place at Cambridge, so you should be aiming for A*AA in your A-levels (or equivalent) as a minimum.
  • Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your ASNC application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement, which is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for ASNC and prove to Cambridge that you are interested and committed to the subject areas. Learn more about writing a stand-out personal statement in our helpful guide.
  • The interview – if your UCAS application is impressive enough, you may be invited for an interview at Cambridge. This is your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often even a mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against. In the case of ASNC interviews, you may be asked about anything relating to the course, and may even be shown an image or a piece of text in translation to gauge how you think about it. It’s advisable to seek professional help to prepare effectively for these types of questions to ensure that you perform well in the interview.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

2. Show your genuine enthusiasm for History and related subjects

The Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) department at Cambridge are looking for a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for History in its applicants. Ideally, you should be able to show your interest specifically in the history and culture of the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic populations.

Whether you have studied this particular area of History in your A levels (or equivalent) or not, it’s important to show that your interests expand beyond school-level study. You probably will not have the opportunity to go into depth about this in your personal statement, as ASNC is a niche course and your statement will be sent to all other universities you apply for. Instead, you should use your personal statement to demonstrate your passion for History, Literature, Languages, Archaeology, or another related subject that you’re applying to study elsewhere.

You will get the opportunity to go into more detail about your specific areas of interest in your interview and Cambridge’s Supplementary Application Questionnaire. Use these additional stages of the application process to really evidence that you’ve seeked out additional knowledge relating to your interests and to explain why Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic History in particular is of interest to you. It’s a good idea to have some specific researchers, literature or topics in mind that you can discuss to give you an advantage.

3. Do some introductory reading

Although having studied the subjects included in the ASNC degree course is not necessary to apply, it is a good idea to have an interest and understanding of what you will study to show that you are a well-suited candidate. Cambridge recommends doing some introductory readings to help prepare; see the list below for some examples.

  • The Anglo-Saxons by J. Campbell, E. John & P. Wormald
  • The Viking Achievement by P. Foote and D.M. Wilson
  • Wales and the Britons, 350-064 by T. M. Charles-Edwards
  • Early Medieval Ireland 400–1200 by D. Ó Cróinín
  • An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England by B. Mitchell
  • The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse–Icelandic Saga by M. Clunies Ross
  • A Grammar of Middle Welsh by D.S. Evans
  • Early Irish Lyrics by G. Murphy
  • A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 by M. Brown

4. Seek help from a Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) expert

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) is a competitive course at Cambridge and requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist ASNC preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional ASNC tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles and excel in the admissions interview. If you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are more than three times more likely to get into Cambridge. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of a range of historical topics and important transferable skills. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.