Postgraduate study
As well as expertise in language and literature, we are also renowned for specialisation in Name-Studies and Runology.
MA Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies
1 year full-time, 2-3 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (Upper 2nd class honours undergraduate degree or international equivalent) in English language/literature, history or archaeology.
Other requirements
Transcripts are required
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,290 - Terms apply
International fees
£17,910 - Terms apply
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This unique programme introduces you to a variety of approaches to the early Medieval period in England and Scandinavia, with particular emphasis on languages, scripts, and texts.

The course is excellent preparation for postgraduate research in the subject area, but is also suitable for those planning a career in the heritage industry, or with a more general interest.

The course offers you the basic linguistic, textual, and analytical skills for early medieval studies, within a broader comparative and thematic context.

Two MA modules, Q34310 Research Methods in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies and Q34306 Reading Runes: Language, Literacy and Material Culture are based around field trips, funded by the school. The field trips provide students with practical experience and relevant skills, which are then put to use in independent projects on topics chosen by the students, which form part or all of the assessment for the modules concerned.

Many of the photographs on the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age website are taken from such field trips. There is also the opportunity to learn about public engagement through a placement in our well-established ‘Vikings/Anglo-Saxons for Schools’ project.

Key facts


You will be taught using the latest advances in teaching methods and electronic resources. Principal features of the masters programme include:

  • seminar group teaching
  • group and one-to-one tuition with academic members of staff
  • teaching informed by active researchers
  • access to a variety of on-line resources
  • flexible course content
  • innovative and engaging teaching methods
  • interdisciplinary study and discussion
  • field trip options on some modules

Please Note:

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies.  Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


Full course details

The course content combines taught modules and a dissertation.

You will take modules which serve as an introduction to Medieval studies in general, as well as language modules in Old English and Old Norse (occasionally other languages may be offered).

Optional modules on this course allow you to study topics such as the history of religion or runology, or allow you to approach new disciplines, such as Name-Studies (for which the school is particularly renowned).

This course may be taken over one year, full-time (September to September) or part-time over two to three years.

Most taught modules are assessed by written work of varying format and length commensurate with content and weighting. Tutors provide detailed comments on assignments. The objective is to provide you with the confidence to work as professional academics, at ease with the conventions of the discipline, and ready to tackle any area of research in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies.

Towards the end of your studies, you will complete a supervised dissertation of 14,000 words. This is a major piece of advanced independent research, which you will undertake with the supervision of a specialist in your chosen area. We will provide you with advice and guidance while you select and refine your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research and your MA.

Students on this MA form part of a lively local and international community. You may attend the seminars and lectures organised by the Institute for Medieval Research, where you will meet postgraduates and senior scholars in all areas of Medieval studies. There are also specific events of direct relevance to students on this programme, such as the Norse and Viking Seminars (NoViS), the biennial Fell-Benedikz lecture organised by the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age (CSVA) and the biennial Cameron Lecture, organised by the Institute for Name-Studies (INS). Both the CSVA and INS have a range of research projects.

You are also encouraged to attend the wide range of postgraduate events organised by the School of English. There are opportunities for study abroad supported by the Erasmus programme with the University of Oslo. The library has strong collections in all branches of the subject area, including the special Eirikur Benedikz collection of Icelandic Literature.



The following is a sample of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change, for example due to curriculum developments.

Students must take all modules from the following list:

Reading Old English
This module teaches the students the fundamentals of the Old English language, providing a thorough grounding in its grammar and an introduction to a range of texts in both prose and verse. These will be analysed in class, and preparation will include translation and language exercises. The module’s assessment will require students to demonstrate a good understanding of the structure of Old English and knowledge of the selected texts.
Reading Old Norse
This module provides an intensive introduction to Old Norse language and literature, based on carefully-selected extracts from real texts, including sagas, and historical and mythological narratives. By the end of the module, you will have been taken through all the main aspects of Old Norse grammar and have translated the set extracts. In class we will discuss questions of translation and style, and you will gain an overview of the main genres of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and their literary and historical characteristics. Regular preparation and revision will be required, and your understanding of the language and the set texts will be tested in the coursework assessment.
Research Methods in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies
The module provides a substantial grounding in the research resources and methods appropriate to interdisciplinary Viking and Anglo-Saxon studies. Teaching takes place during an intensive field trip, which includes a series of half-day workshops; students can participate in the Vikings for Schools programme, creating lesson plans or reports as part of their assessment. The workshops introduce students to a variety of approaches to the study of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, including runology and name-studies. Students will also be given bibliographical training which will be assessed by an annotated bibliography and book review. The field-trip allows students to discover a range of material and linguistic evidence relevant to the study of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, and to understand the importance of interpreting the evidence within its landscape setting.
The final element of the course is a 14,000 word dissertation, which students complete over the summer period. You will be provided with guidance and and advice to help you complete your independent research in a specialist area of your choosing.

Students must then choose 60 credits worth of modules from the following list, with each module being worth 20 credits each.

Conflict and Cohesion: Religion and Cultural Change

The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings is a marked watershed in both cultures. While Anglo-Saxon Conversion appears to be straightforward, the Conversion of the Scandinavians seems to have been more complex, or so it seems. This module will introduce the processes that led to the Conversion; it will introduce the major texts and primary sources, but also consider the important research questions and the methods with which we can approach such a complex period of change, with often incomplete or missing sources.

Contextualising Old English

This module follows on from Reading Old English, offering students the opportunity to explore the culture of the Anglo-Saxons through the surviving literature in Old English. The focus will be on extensive reading of texts in Old English and discussing themes which may overlap in the different genres. Classes will cover topics such as history and hagiography, heroic and homiletic writing. Texts to be read will include Beowulf and related narratives. Practical skills such as palaeography and theoretical topics such as metrical analysis give added depth to the contextual study of the literature.

Contextualising Old Norse: Vikings, Myths & Sagas

This module introduces students to current critical thinking about Old Icelandic literature and its historical and cultural contexts. Students will read texts in both poetry and prose, and the module will equip them with a range of practical and theoretical frameworks for their own study of these. Seminars will be student-led: they will present and discuss recent critical approaches and test them against their own readings of the texts themselves. Students will write an essay similarly combining theoretical reflection with analysis of a text or texts of their choice. Texts will be read in English translation, though students who have completed Reading Old Norse will be expected to show familiarity with texts in the original.

Place-Names in Context: Language, Landscape & History

This module employs the study of place-names to illustrate the various languages - British, Latin, French, Norse, and English - that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years. Students will learn how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English (its interaction with other languages, its regional and dialectal patterns, and its changing vocabulary) and for the history of the English landscape. They will also undertake a directed self-study project which will assess the value of place-name evidence for some aspect of Anglo-Saxon and/ or Viking settlement-history.

Reading Runes: Language, Literacy and Material Culture

This module trains students in the essential skills of runology: they learn how to examine, transliterate, transcribe, translate and present runic inscriptions.  This includes working with databases, corpus editions and specialist literature.  In the workshops participants will develop and practise skills using photographs and other visual materials and will then be able to apply these skills on a field trip, with hands-on study of inscribed objects.  At the end of the semester students undertake an independent project on a set of inscriptions.  


More information on the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.

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The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

UK/EU Students

The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, however, financial support and competitive scholarships are available and we encourage applicants to explore all funding opportunities.

Please visit the school's website for the latest information about funding opportunities, including ESRC funding.

The Graduate School website at the University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.

Students should check the eligibility requirements with their funding body before enrolling on a part-time course.  

Careers and professional development

The course is excellent preparation for postgraduate research in the subject area, but is also suitable for those planning a career in the heritage industry, or with a more general interest.

Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers following their time in the school.

Conducting postgraduate work in the School of English fosters many vital skills and may give you a head start in the job market. Studying at this level allows you to develop qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to employment in a wide range of different fields.

We will help you develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way. A postgraduate degree from the School of English at the University of Nottingham shows potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.

Our applicants are among the best in the country, and employers expect the best from our graduates.

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

In 2016, 94.1% of postgraduates from the School of English who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,333 with the highest being £22,000.**

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research
** Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice from the dedicated Faculty of Arts careers team as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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