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PhD Medieval Studies

Pacing out Edwin's Palace at Yeavering

Why apply for a PhD at the CMS?

PhD students are trained to be interdisciplinary researchers and are normally co-supervised by staff from two different departments.

What can I study?

Students work on research projects that cross disciplinary boundaries. Subject areas include Archaeology, Art and Architectural History, History (social, economic, political, cultural, ecclesiastical, and intellectual) and Literature (including Old and Middle English, Old Norse, Latin, Italian and Arabic), Natural Sciences, Gender and Sexuality, Viking Studies, Islamic Cultures, Codicology and Palaeography. 

To find out more about research at the CMS have a look at staff research interests, research projects, and what students are working on:

What's PhD research like at the CMS?

You will work closely with your supervisors on a regular basis to design and carry out an original research project. You will gain experience in a field, studied from two different disciplines, and learn how to do primary research, to develop an argument and to write an extended piece of work - the thesis. 

This will prepare you for academic posts, as well as for a range of other careers, where advanced research, analytical thinking, writing and speaking are key. 

Pursuing a PhD at York also gives you opportunities to work collaboratively and build international networks.

We value the relationship between research and the wider communities to which we belong. Your PhD will enable you to gain experience in public engagement, working with non-academic partners.

We are based at the historic King’s Manor, in the heart of the medieval city of York. Yorkshire offers stunning landscapes, medieval sites and vibrant multicultural cities. 

There are excellent library and archival resources in the university and the city. 

What skills can I learn?

We are committed to enabling you to gain skills in languages and palaeography, whatever your starting point. These will allow you direct access to primary sources. 

Tuition is offered in medieval languages (Arabic, Latin, Old English, Old French and Old Norse). Palaeography and Diplomatic are taught by specialists in the early, high and late Middle Ages. Modern language teaching is provided by the university's Languages for All centre. 

Learning to teach is an important part of many PhDs, so students often take the opportunity in the second or third year to gain teaching experience in their area of interest.

The Humanities Research Centre brings together PhD researchers from across the faculty and provides postgraduate training.

What is the CMS community like?

Our PhD students are active contributors to the research life of a vibrant community of medievalists. They convene research groups, where they share their research in the company of faculty and fellow students, they participate in the regular research seminars, and attend talks given by visiting speakers.

Research students have frequent and informal contact with faculty and fellow students to discuss areas of mutual interest in the friendly and welcoming environment of the King’s Manor. Here, PhD students are provided with a dedicated workroom, with desks, wi-fi, and printing facilities. 

What careers do CMS students pursue?

  • University academic lecturer/professor/researcher
  • Publishing
  • Broadcasting
  • Museums and heritage careers (English Heritage/Historic England)
  • University administrative careers
  • School teaching
  • Creative writing
  • Arts administration
  • Charity administration
  • Library and archives careers
  • Policy advisor
  • Civil Service