Summer Courses

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Summer School in Scandinavian Manuscript Studies

Two-week intensive courses in working with medieval and early-modern manuscripts

14 - 23 August 2023

See the preliminary schedule here

The summer school in Scandinavian Manuscript Studies is a collaboration between the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen, the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies at the University of Iceland and the National and University Library of Iceland. It affords students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with manuscripts under the guidance of researchers from these three institutions. 

Consisting of lectures, workshops, excursions and special presentations, the summer school offers its participants basic training in palaeography, codicology and transcription of manuscripts, as well as in-depth workshops on editorial technique and textual criticism. 

Student target group

The courses, which comprise both lectures and practical sessions, are intended chiefly for graduate students (MA/PhD-level) but may also be of interest to more established scholars hoping to improve their manuscript reading and editorial skills. Some background in Old Norse is essential. Familiarity with one or more of the modern Scandinavian languages, while a distinct advantage, is not required, as all teaching will be in English.

Teaching methods

The summer school consists of three modules, each of which requires an increasing level of knowledge of and experience in working with manuscripts. Each module is worth 7.5 ECTS credits, and is it therefore not possible to take more than one module each year.

The modules are:

1) Reading and Working with Manuscripts. A basic module, focusing on palaeography, codicology, manuscript description and transcription.

2) Theory and Practice of Scholarly Editing. An advanced module, focusing on editorial technique and the theory and practice of textual criticism; to qualify for the latter one must normally have successfully completed the former.

3) Preparing an Edition. A Master class for those who have completed the basic and advanced modules and want to try their hand at preparing an edition of a previously unedited text.


The workload amounts to a total of 210 hours, equalling 7.5 ECTS.
For PhD students credits are 5 ECTS.
This includes preparatory reading before the beginning of the summer school. A list of recommended reading can be found here.

The timetables for 2023 will be made available closer to the date.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the summer school, participants will have obtained

Knowledge and understanding of

  • Palaeography: different script types used in medieval and early modern Scandinavia (from Carolingian minuscule to Gothic types of scripts), their development, and their characteristic letter shapes
  • Abbreviations in written scripts, recognising them and expanding in a meaningful way
  • Codicology: describing a medieval codex, knowledge about the production of books in the Middle Ages and early modern times (the different stages and people involved)
  • Differences between West-Norse and East-Norse manuscripts and scripts
  • History of edition from traditional philology (Lachmann) via Bédier and Cerquiglini to New/Material philology

 Skills in

  • Reading and transcribing texts in medieval and early modern scripts
  • Identifying different script types and giving a relative dating
  • Locating and identifying the numerous manuscript witnesses (copies) of a certain work
  • How to collate manuscripts for variants (variant apparatus)
  • How to make a stemma codicum

 Competencies in

  • Working with manuscripts in modern collections
  • Describing medieval manuscripts, their form and function
  • Theory and practice of scholarly editing
  • Technical realisation of edition work/project management
  • Preparing an edition of a previously unedited text


Students will be assessed throughout the courses, based on active student participation consisting of:

  • 80 % attendance of the total number of instruction classes
  • active participation in the discussions, assignments and group work during classes
  • final oral presentation (module 3/master class only). 

Tuition fees

For information on tuition fees for MA students, please visit the Faculty of Humanities summer school website.
PhD students registered at any university participate for free. See PhD Courses in Denmark.

Information on living costs and costs of accommodation is available at the UCPH website for international students.


Registration is now closed.