The MA in Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary taught MA, offered by the UK's longest-established provider of graduate education in medieval studies.
By combining the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, Archaeology, Literature, and History, the Medieval Studies MA challenges students to recognize how these subjects are inter-related while still allowing them to explore whatever field of study engages them most.
The one-year (50-week) course comprises three terms: two taught terms, and a third devoted to researching and writing a dissertation.
The MA in Medieval Studies provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of the medieval cultures of Europe. It is taught by members of the Departments of Archaeology, English, History and History of Art.
The Centre for Medieval Studies has research and teaching strengths in the earlier medieval period (400-1100), the central middle ages (1100-1300) and the later middle ages (1250-1550).
The structure of the MA enables students to choose to specialise in one of these periods, or to choose courses from different periods, perhaps because they wish to explore a particular theme, such as Kingship or religion, over a longer chronological timespan.
In the Humanities in general, and in Medieval Studies in particular, some of the most exciting recent developments have arisen from the new ways in which archaeologists, historians, art historians and literary specialists have talked to each other and approached and questioned their respective evidence.
The Centre for Medieval Studies at York has been at the forefront of these developments for the past 40 years. The MA in Medieval Studies emphasises these new methodologies and techniques.
The core course and interdisciplinary modules provide students with training in such approaches whilst single subject modules allow students to specialise in particular disciplines that appeal to them.
We recognise that for many students taking an interdisciplinary programme is more challenging (and more exciting) than following a single-subject programme. We are familiar with the problems students encounter in tackling new subjects and approaches at graduate level, and the structure of the Medieval Studies MA and its assessment are designed to take account of this. For example, course work from the Medieval Studies MA is weighted at 42% and the dissertation at 58% of the final degree. By contrast the weighting on Single Subject MA degrees is 50/50. Also, students may choose whether to write their dissertations using the resources of more than one discipline, or to specialise in just one.
We regard the interdisciplinary MA in Medieval Studies as one of the most stimulating and creative programmes that we teach. The courses both grow out of and feed into the research publications of the Centre's staff and students.
All students follow a common Core Module (10 credits) in the Autumn Term. The core course is designed to introduce students to at least one new discipline, and, progressively, to interdisciplinary research and its methodologies. The central focus is a team-taught seminar course of three units. Unit 1 introduces students to a basic skills in a new discipline. Unit 2 has a focuses on particular topics from the perspective of two disciplines. Unit 3 explore the ways in which interdisciplinary methodologies can be used in the detailed examination of specific case studies: a single artefact, site or text.
All students study three Options (20 credits each) taking one Option in the Autumn Term, and two Options in the Spring Term. Students taking the MA in Medieval Studies must choose at least one Interdisciplinary Option, and they may choose no more than one Single Subject Option in the same discipline. Apart from this students may choose any combination of options. We offer a full range of modules in both the early, central and later medieval periods, enabling students to specialise in one of these periods if they wish.
|Autumn Term||Spring Term||Summer Term/Vac.|
|Core Course||Option 2||Dissertation|
|Option 1||Option 3|
|2 Skills Modules||2 Skills Modules|
For full details of options and module availability for 2012-13, see section on Option Modules.
Students on the MA in Medieval Studies programme must take three option modules (one in the Autumn term and two in the Spring term). Of these, at least one must be an interdisciplinary option module. Students cannot choose more than one single-discipline option module in the same discipline. Other than that, you are free to choose across the range of options offered. Below is a complete list of modules run by the Centre, organised by disciplines. We will be announcing which of these will be on offer for 2012/13 quite soon.
Skills teaching is integral to the course: modules are offered in Old English, Old French, Old Norse, Latin, Palaeography and Middle Welsh.
All students take two skills modules, but may take up to four. Skills modules run for two terms (Autumn and Spring) and are examined in Week 2 of Summer term.
The MA in Medieval Studies is assessed on the basis of two things.
The coursework is weighted at only 42% so that students can take risks and experiment with unfamilar disciplines. The weighting of the dissertation at 58% reflects the commitment of the CMS to fostering students capable of first-rate written contributions to scholarship in the field.
In the first term, students will a write a paper of 3000-4000 words on a topic related to their chosen module. In the second term, students write two more papers (again, 3000-4000 words).
Each student in the MA in Medieval Studies program at the CMS is required to submit a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation on a topic anywhere within the chronological period 400-1550. Don't worry -- you don't have to know what you want to write on yet: students choose their topics during February or March after consultation with a number of our faculty. Although students are not required to choose an interdisciplinary topic, many find the choice to do so rewarding.
The research and writing of the dissertation is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor who meets the student regularly to help structure their research programme, suggest reading, and respond to their written work.