Our graduates and careers

Find out what a selection of graduates have to say about interdisciplinary study at the CMS, and how it prepared them for a wide range of careers.

Pamela Hartshorne (MA 1993-95, PhD 1995-2004), author and editor

Pamela Hartshorne

“Someone told me York was the place to study medieval history, so I sold my flat in London, moved to York to do the MA, and I’ve been here ever since.

“As a mature, part-time student, it was exciting to be introduced to different subjects and to the idea of interdisciplinary research, which was completely new to me. There was a stimulating research community at the CMS, too, with active groups and a remarkable willingness amongst the academic staff to engage in discussion and share their ideas.

“I’m interested in the pre-modern city, so the strength of York’s civic archives was a huge advantage. I’ve also drawn a lot of inspiration from the fabric of the city itself, walking along the streets and using the same spaces as people who lived here in the past.

“I started writing fiction to fund first my MA and then a PhD, and it remains my full-time job. Knowing how to research and question sources has been very useful when writing historical fiction, and having a PhD was a useful selling point when it came to selling and promoting these novels.“


Greg Jenner (MA in Medieval Studies 2004-5) Historical Consultant, BBC Horrible Histories series

Greg Jenner

“The MA in Medieval Studies further developed my analytical skills, gave me a broader skillset and built my confidence. I wrote my dissertation on issues of historical accuracy in medieval movies, and the contested ownership of the past. That intellectual training was invaluable in my subsequent career as a public historian working in the TV industry, especially when I became Historical Consultant to BBC’s Horrible Histories series.”

 

Abigail Wheatley (MA 1996-1997, PhD 1998-2002), Senior Editor/Writer, Usborne Publishing Ltd

Abigail Wheatley

“I chose York to study an MA in Medieval Studies because I liked the rigorously interdisciplinary nature of the course. It was great to be supervised and taught by academics from several different disciplines. I also enjoyed the tutorial-style teaching model, and the very structured help that was provided with writing the dissertation.

“Access to the Minster Library and the Borthwick Institute was very helpful, as well as being able to study local architecture and other institutions such as the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the Glaziers Trust.”


Ollie Jones (MA 2006-2007) Lecturer in Theatre, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York

Ollie Jones

“Having read Archaeology at York for my undergraduate degree, concentrating on the medieval period, I wanted to take this period specialism further, but to broaden the range of approaches and disciplinary outlooks. The interdisciplinary CMS MA was the perfect means to build on my archaeological and historical training, and to explore new subjects in medieval literature, art and languages – and it meant I got to stay in York!

“There were many benefits to studying in the Centre for Medieval Studies, including the range of expertise held by all the staff, the diversity of students, the almost daily series of research events, seminars, lectures and conferences, and the facilities, particularly being able to work with original manuscripts in the Borthwick Archives.

“The teaching was a great strength of the course. The breadth and depth of the materials and ideas we looked at, and the discussions they provoked, helped me to make links and connections I hadn't previously thought of.

“The interdisciplinary research skills I learned, from the palaeographic skills course to constructing a research project through to the MA thesis, were absolutely essential training for my subsequent PhD research.”