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Course Content

Course content

Designed to develop your understanding of medieval history, or introduce you to it if you have not studied it before, this is a taught degree with some provision for dissertation research.

We offer uniquely wide ranging expertise across the whole medieval period, from c. 300 to c. 1500. We cover all of the countries of western Europe, Scandinavia, the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia and China, and have a broad range with thematic interests including religious cultures, socio-economic history, the Crusades, Islamic history, gender, manuscript studies, drama, regional literatures and history (West Midlands, Scotland, Spain, Iceland, Byzantium, Afghanistan, northern Eurasia), material culture, comparative history and the ‘global Middle Ages’.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

This programme offers an opportunity to engage in advanced study of your chosen discipline through a range of core and optional modules. In all teaching you are encouraged to apply class material to your own specific research interests and your dissertation.

The programme includes six taught modules, made up of:

  • Two interdisciplinary core modules
  • One pathway-specific core module
  • Three optional modules (usually including a language)

Full module descriptions are available below.

Assessment

Most core and optional modules on this course are assessed by written assignment. See module descriptions for further details.

You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Learning and teaching

Birmingham has an outstanding reputation for research and teaching in medieval studies, which it has maintained for well over fifty years.

We have been rated highly in all three of the UK’s Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) and our library is one of the leading research libraries in the country, with exceptionally good medieval holdings. 

To support your studies, we have regular research seminars where visiting and Birmingham speakers present their research. The university’s Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (CeSMA) acts as a focus for interdisciplinary research projects and events which feed into our teaching. In addition to this we have a large number of postgraduate students in medieval studies so you’ll have a supportive and sociable environment for your studies.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates 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.

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 publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.


Visit the Medieval Studies - MA page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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