Although distant from us in time, the medieval is all around us, not only in physical remnants of the past (such as cathedrals and castles) and as the point of origin of many of our institutions (such as the monarchy, the church, and the university), but as the inspiration for poetry, novels, films, paintings, documentaries, and countless other expressions of our engagement with this period.
The aim of this multi-disciplinary course is to introduce you to many different aspects of medieval society and culture while allowing you to concentrate on particular areas of interest. The course emphasises the skills that are required for postgraduate research, whether your focus is literary or historical, and provides you with an introduction to a wide range of source materials such as artefacts, archives, manuscripts, and printed sources.
- Both the History and English departments at Royal Holloway are large, research-based departments with staff of international standing. Teaching on this course derives from our cutting-edge research.
- In addition to staff in the departments of History and English, Royal Holloway also boasts medievalists in the fields of Music, Drama, French, and Italian. We offer a truly multi-disciplinary approach to the Middle Ages.
- Our link with the Museum of London provides opportunities for field trips, courses, research, and internships.
- As part of the University of London, we participate in the rich variety of events taking place in the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of English Studies. Staff from the English Department also run the London Old and Middle English Research Seminar (LOMERS).
- You will have the opportunity both to pursue a wide range of disciplines in small groups and also to come together weekly to form a close-knit cohort. The result is not only enhanced research; it is a warm community of friendships.
Department research and industry highlights
Over the last few years the English Department at Royal Holloway has won a reputation as one of the most dynamic departments of English in the country. All members of staff are actively engaged in major research projects. This commitment to scholarly research means that our graduate programmes are inspired by the latest developments in literary studies. English is a varied and flexible subject and the diverse interests of the staff provide a wide range of exciting options for our students, from Old English and medieval literature to contemporary poetic theory and practice.
Noted for depth, breadth and innovation, the research output of the Royal Holloway History Department ranges from ancient to contemporary times, from Britain and Europe to America, the Middle and Far East and Australia, and from political history to economic, social, cultural, intellectual, medical, environmental, and gender history. In particular, the History Department has special strengths in social, cultural, and gender history, and in the history of ideas – with research that covers a notable range of countries, periods, and approaches.
On completion of the course graduates will have:
- a broad understanding of the Middle Ages based on relevant aspects of the disciplines (History, Literary Criticism, Languages, Museum Studies and Archaeology) which contribute to the course
- awareness of the interrelationship of political, cultural, and social change within medieval society
- a knowledge of the location and organisation of primary and secondary sources of evidence regarding the medieval period, and an understanding of how to deploy these effectively
- an understanding of how the human past may be studied through an examination of material remains
- an appreciation of the methodologies in the disciplines represented in the course and their application
- a systematic knowledge of a variety of techniques of enquiry and analysis used in the disciplines represented in the course
- mastery of the established principles and practice of research in medieval studies.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of assessment methods, including coursework, essays, oral presentations, and formal examinations.
Employability & career opportunities
Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many areas, including careers as translators, museum curators, authors and teachers. This course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.