Medieval Research School

The English Department at the University of York is one of the leading institutions for the study of medieval language and literature in the UK.

The School covers postgraduate teaching and research in the literatures of medieval England and continental Europe from the beginnings to around 1500, and includes Arabic, Latin, Old Norse, French, Irish, Italian, Welsh as well as Old and Middle English. We carry out innovative research in many areas including digitalization, palaeography, gender studies, medievalism and history-writing. The Centre for Medieval Literature, funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, is based jointly at York and at the University of Southern Denmark

Centre for Medieval Studies

Centre for Medieval Studies

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The Centre for Medieval Studies provides an attractive physical location as well as a stimulating intellectual milieu for all medieval post-graduate teaching and research in the University, in whatever department.

All the English medievalists are also members of the interdisciplinary Centre for Medieval Studies, founded in 1968, which has its own building in the historic King's Manor, close to the heart of medieval York. The Centre for Medieval Studies provides a stimulating intellectual milieu for all medieval post-graduate teaching and research in the University, in whatever department.  

An active research community

MA and research students in English who are working in medieval fields of study are automatically members of this large, friendly and very active research community, which currently numbers around 150 staff, students and visiting scholars.

King's Manor is a complex of buildings of great character and antiquity. It was originally the medieval lodgings of the abbot of the nearby St Mary's Abbey and in the seventeenth century housed the Council of the North. It has seminar rooms, a library, computer facilities, workrooms for MA and research students, a staff-student common room and a refectory. The Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Archaeology Department are also housed there.

Seminars and events

The Centre for Medieval Studies runs a busy programme of talks and seminars which cover the full range of the Middle Ages. A diverse range of research and reading groups meet throughout the term.

English staff and students have recently organised national or international conferences at York and elsewhere on:

  • Multilingualism in medieval England
  • Universal Chronicles
  • Britain, Ireland and Italy: Cultural Exchanges, c.1270-c.1400
  • Storytelling in Court and Cloisters
  • Yorkshire Place-Names in the Early Middle Ages
  • Out of Bounds: Mobility, Movement and Use of Manuscripts and Printed Books, 1350-1550
  • Think Romance! Reconceptualizing a Medieval Genre
  • Crossing Conquests: Literary Culture in Eleventh-Century England
  • Latin Learning and Norse Culture

Students are actively encouraged to give conference papers (at York and elsewhere) and to organise research events. A fund set up in memory of Elizabeth Salter, founding professor of medieval literature at York, provides small grants to enable students to travel for the purposes of research.

Research Projects

Medievalists in the English Department are involved in leading or co-leading major research projects including the Centre for Medieval Literature (Tyler, Danish National Research Foundation), Cultural Memory and Identity in the Late Middle Ages: the Franciscans of Mount Zion in Jerusalem and the Representation of the Holy Land (1333-1516) (Campopiano, Dutch Research Council), England's Immigrants, 1330-1550 (McDonald, AHRC), and Identification of the Scribes Responsible for Copying Major Works of Middle English Literature (Mooney, AHRC, 2007-11)




There are currently eight full-time staff members in the Department's Medieval School whose innovative research crosses linguistic, chronologic and disciplinary boundaries.

They form one of the largest groupings of medievalists in any Department in the UK, and their interests range from Beowulfto Dante, from history to hagiography, from manuscript dissemination to medieval multiculturalism. They engage with topics as diverse as Viking poetry, textual cultures, medieval Italian literature and culture, the French of England, gender, literary theory, urban culture, popular narrative, relations between Europe and the Middle East.

They jointly teach the MA in Medieval Literatures and contribute to the interdisciplinary MA in Medieval Studies.


Other notable staff connections

  • Derek Pearsall, formerly professor of English at York, has returned to become an honorary member of the Centre for Medieval Studies on his retirement from Harvard.




Applicants who would like to find out about research opportunities, or to discuss a research proposal, should contact the School director (Linne Mooney) in the first instance, either by email (, or at the address below, who will put them in touch with the appropriate person.

General enquiries should be made to the Administrator, Centre for Medieval Studies, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP (email

MA in Medieval Literatures

Since 2001 members of the Medieval Research School have been jointly teaching the highly successful MA in Medieval Literatures alongside the interdisciplinary MA offered by the Centre for Medieval Studies.

Research degrees

The Medieval Research School also offers supervision for research degrees on a very wide range of topics from all medieval periods, including comparative topics that relate Old and Middle English to Old Norse, Latin, French and Italian.

The research degrees of PhD, MPhil and MA by Research, full-time and part-time, all entail the writing of a thesis. The PhD (three years full time, six years part-time) is usually open only to those who have already completed an MA. The MPhil is two years full time, four years part-time; the MA by Research is one year full-time, two years part-time. The research and teaching interests of staff listed here are only a brief indication of their range.