MA Medieval Studies
How long it takes:
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
All students take two interdisciplinary core modules:
Approaches to Medieval Studies
This module will expose you to approaches to the medieval past from a range of disciplines, in order to enable you to discuss and compare various approaches, and critically assess their utility for your own research. In the first half of the semester, you will directly compare different disciplines’ approaches and methods, using key texts and case studies on important themes in the study of the Middle Ages (such as gender, space, the life-cycle, social groups, the nature of power). In the second half of term, seminars will focus on contemporary critical and cultural theories and associated modes of analysis.
Assessment: Two 2,000-word essays
Research Skills for Medieval Studies
This module will equip you with the skills necessary to proceed to postgraduate dissertation research with confidence. Themes studied will include: building a bibliography; academic writing; footnotes and citation; and writing and delivering academic papers. You will also meet with your dissertation supervisor for a number of one-to-one tutorial meetings to discuss your chosen research topic and to develop a bibliography of primary and secondary materials as appropriate.
Assessment: 3,000-word essay and oral presentation
In addition, you will choose one pathway-specific core module:
Medieval Archaeology pathway – Creating Europe: Complex Societies 1000 BC-AD 1000
This module explores the nature of complex societies in Europe from the Iron Age to the early medieval period, and their interactions with the state-organised societies of the Mediterranean. It is organised thematically and chronologically, focusing on interpretations of complex societies, large-scale economic and political systems, ethnicity, elite culture, chiefdoms, state formation, empire, urbanism, coinage, and long-term change. Case studies are drawn from a wide range of cultural contexts in north-west and central Europe, using both archaeological and historical evidence.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay
Medieval History pathway – Historical Methods
This module focuses primarily on the development of history writing since the Second World War. You will be introduced to some of the major schools of or tendencies in historical research in turn, in all of which medievalists have played a significant role: the Annales School, the English historians’ response to Marxism, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender, history of science and critical social theory (Geertz and Foucault).
Assessment: 4,000-word essay
Byzantine Studies pathway – Methodologies of Byzantine Studies
This module provides an introduction to predominant research methodologies in Byzantine studies. You will be given introductory training in a variety of subject areas, such as historical writing, charters and documents, art history, numismatics, epigraphy and sigillography.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay
Medieval Literature pathway – Meeting Medieval Manuscripts
From the sole-surviving manuscript of Beowulf to William Caxton’s introduction of the printing press to England, this module is designed to open up the fascinating world of medieval manuscript studies and book history. Throughout the semester we’ll use new online and digital resources to explore a series of key manuscripts and printed books from the eleventh century through to the early sixteenth century. Each week we’ll teach you how to read and transcribe different types of medieval handwriting (a skill known as palaeography) and introduce you to some of the central features of manuscript production (codicology) and early printing.
We’ll focus week-by-week on a specific manuscript or type of manuscript (e.g. chronicles, book of hours, copies of The Canterbury Tales) and also discuss themes related to the study of the material text, including illumination and decoration, dialect, the production of miscellanies/anthologies, and digitisation. Above all else, you’ll have the chance to turn the pages of some very special old books for yourself, beginning with an introductory session in the Cadbury Research Library here at Newcastle and ending with a trip to one of the UK’s major research libraries (e.g. Bodleian Library, Oxford).
Assessment: 3,000-word essay and transcription assessment
You will also choose three optional modules. You may choose to study one of the core modules from the other pathways as one of your options, and you can choose from a range of other modules which typically includes:
- Archaeological Theory, Method and Interpretation
- Archaeology of Greece
- Aspects of Byzantine History
- Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture
- Byzantine Art and Architecture
- Egyptian Language 1 and 2
- Empire and Identity
- Fantastic Beasts and Where They Came From
- Fantasy and Fandom: Writing Back to the Medieval in Modern Fantasy
- Field Survey
- Funerary Archaeology
- Gender and Society in Byzantium
- GIS and Spatial Analysis
- Greek/Latin (Beginner/Advanced)
- History Advanced Option
- History Special Subject (double module)
- Individuals in History
- Landscape Archaeology
- Magic, Monsters and Marvels in the Medieval World
- Mapping the Middle Ages: Cultural Encounters in the Medieval East and West
- Material Culture
- Numismatics for Research and in Museums
- Reading French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish for Researchers
- The Economies of the Late Roman, Byzantine and Frankish East
- Understanding Medieval Literature
In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.
Considering postgraduate study, but unsure whether you meet the entry requirements for a Masters-level degree? Postgraduate admissions guidelines vary by course and university, but can be quite flexible.
Your existing qualifications will be important, but you don’t necessarily need a great Bachelors degree to apply for a Masters. Your personal circumstances and experience may also be considered during the admissions process.
This guide explains the typical entry requirements for a Masters, which include:
- An undergraduate degree in a relevant subject – Depending on the programme and institution, you may need a 2.1 in your Bachelors, but this isn’t always the case
- Language proficiency – If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to display a certain ability level, usually through a language test
- Professional experience – Some postgraduate programmes may require you to have some professional experience (this is usually the case for PGCEs and Masters in Social Work)
- Entrance exams – These are only required in certain subject areas and qualifications, including some MBAs
Tuition fees for UK/EU students 2020/21
MSc: Full-time £9,900. Part-time £4,950
Postgraduate Diploma: Full-time £6,660. Part-time £3,300
Tuition fees for International students 2020/21
MSc: Full time £23,310
Postgraduate Diploma: Full-time £15,540
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.
The University’s Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.
You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:
- Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
- Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
- Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
- Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV
What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: History
Our History postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.
Over the past 5 years, 81% of History postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 – 2017). Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include Royal Air Force, Ministry of Defence, University of Newcastle, Royal Air Force Museum, and University of Oxford.