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Medieval Studies MA (with pathways)

Course Description

Serious study of the Middle Ages must be interdisciplinary, and accordingly our programme allows you to gain interdisciplinary skills while studying a discipline-specific pathway at an advanced level, providing you with a solid grounding for your further studies or future career. We offer pathways in history, literature, Byzantine Studies and archaeology, and can offer additional expertise in art history, music and numismatics, all taught by scholars enjoying international recognition in their fields.

Our collective interests are uniquely wide ranging, covering the whole medieval period from c. 300 to c. 1500, and all the countries of western Europe, Scandinavia, the eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia and China, with thematic interests including religious cultures, socio-economic history, the Crusades, gender, manuscript studies, drama, regional literatures and history (West Midlands, Scotland, Spain, Iceland, Byzantium, Bactria, northern Eurasia), material culture, comparative history and the ‘global Middle Ages’. Accordingly we can supervise a wide range of dissertation topics. We encourage students to take language options relevant to their interests, with offerings that include Latin, Greek, Old and Middle English, modern European languages, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Our programme thus also provides a strong foundation for those who wish to go on to doctoral research.

Course content

You will engage in advanced study of your chosen discipline through a core module in your field, taken alongside a multi- and interdisciplinary core module that brings together all the students on the programme for comparison of methods and a wide range of case studies. Research skills are taught in a dissertation-focused module, and you will take three optional modules, usually including at least one language.

The programme is made up of three elements:

- Three core modules (two interdisciplinary and one for your pathway)
- Three optional modules (usually including a language)
- A 15,000-word dissertation, supervised by a specialist in your chosen field

You’ll study these core modules on all pathways:

- Approaches to Medieval Studies
- Research Skills for Medieval Studies

You will also take one pathway-specific core module:

- Medieval Archaeology pathway - Creating Europe: Complex Societies 1000 BC-AD 1000
- Medieval History pathway - Historical Methods
- Byzantine Studies pathway - Methodologies in Byzantine Studies
- Medieval Literature pathway - Resources and Methods for Medieval Literary Studies

You will choose your optional modules from a wide range.


The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Our History graduates develop a range of skills, including familiarity with research methods, the ability to manage large and diverse quantities of information, and the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines, which can be used in a variety of occupations. Historically, over 94% of our History students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

Visit the Medieval Studies MA (with pathways) page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An honours degree in a subject related to the chosen pathway, such as History, English, Archaeology or Theology, is required, normally upper second class level (2.1) or its equivalent for overseas applicants. Graduates without these qualifications (for example with a lower second class degree, or a degree in a different subject) are very welcome to apply and their application will be considered on its merits. Applicants may be asked to submit written work and/or attend an interview. For some pathways evidence of relevant linguistic ability may be required.

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Recipient: University of Birmingham
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