At UCL, we study the Viking and medieval period because it marks the starting point for so many crucial developments in the Nordic countries. During this time, Scandinavian settlers established themselves in Britain, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. Viking adventurers travelled east to Byzantium and west to North America. The language they spoke, Old Norse, is the parent of the modern Scandinavian languages.
Some of the most fundamental and far-reaching transformations of Scandinavian society took place during this time: the conversion from paganism to Christianity, the transition from spoken to written culture, and the development of the individual Nordic states out of disparate tribal groupings.
Come meet us! If you have applied or are thinking of applying to study with us, please email to arrange an informal meeting. We welcome inquiries from students interested in all aspects of medieval Scandinavian studies at BA, MA and PhD level.
The department has a long-held reputation for excellence in medieval studies. UCL is the only university in Britain where in-depth study of the Nordic Middle Ages is combined with full training in the modern Scandinavian languages.
For most students, Old Norse is compulsory in the first year, and a full range of relevant optional modules is available in years 2 and 4.
The Department also offers a dedicated undergraduate degree in Viking and Old Norse Studies:
Staff in the department contribute to the Medieval and Renaissance Studies MA, with advanced courses on the language, history and literature of medieval Scandinavia.
We also welcome applications from prospective PhD students in any of these areas.
The Department employs two full-time medieval scholars:
Dr Goeres works on Old Norse-Icelandic literature and the role of Scandinavia within European literary cultures.
Dr Antonsson is a historian with particular interests in the Christianization of Scandinavia.
We also collaborate with other medievalists in UCL, mainly through the MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Seminars & Events
UCL Medieval Scandinavian Seminar
This seminar takes place four times a term and is open to all members of the department. Papers are given by graduate students and visiting scholars on all aspects of medieval Scandinavia.
Interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Seminar
This graduate-founded seminar holds discussions across disciplines and departments on all aspects of the medieval world.
Viking Society for Northern Research
The Department is affiliated with the Viking Society for Northern Research. Founded in 1892, the Society is a leading publisher of Old Norse texts and monographs.