Why study Medieval Studies at York?

There’s no better-resourced city in the UK for studying the Middle Ages

The Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS) at York is one of the most vibrant research centres for medieval studies in the world. It introduces students to interdisciplinary and collaborative work in a city that is unequalled as a place to study the Middle Ages.

York is surrounded by medieval city walls and dominated by its Minster, which contains the most complete collection of medieval stained glass in Britain. Medieval York had four great city gates, almost 40 parish churches, eight monasteries and friaries and countless chapels and chantries, houses and guildhalls, many of which survive today. These provide a wealth of study material, inspiration and resources to inform your exploration of this fascinating period in history.‌

Merchant Adventurers Hall

An inspiring environment for interdisciplinary collaboration and research

The close working community of students, researchers and staff at the CMS provides opportunities for frequent contact, collaboration and discussion. Researchers often convene to share their research in the company of teaching staff and fellow students, participate in regular research seminars, and attend talks given by visiting speakers.

Access a wealth of resources in the wider university 

Middleham Jewel

As a postgraduate student at the CMS you will have access to a wealth of world-class resources to support your studies. These include the King’s Manor library, York Minster Library and Archives, The Borthwick Institute for Historical Research, the Humanities Research Centre and the JB Morrell library.

You will be a member of the college you live in and the Graduate Student’s Association, which represents postgraduates’ interests and runs a programme of social events.

Join a friendly, supportive postgraduate community

Student in library

When you study at the CMS, you will become part of a large, multicultural, sociable community of MA and PhD students from around the world, and from a wide variety of backgrounds.

The social life of our community centres around the beautiful King’s Manor, where the CMS is based. As well as hosting classes and seminars, this former royal residence has a popular cafe, a students’ common room, a PC workroom and a library. Its location close to the city centre means that classes and events that begin in the King’s Manor often continue informally at various venues across the city.

If you’re a budding performer, the Lords of Misrule drama group will be delighted to welcome you. Based at King’s Manor, they stage medieval plays three times a year in a range of languages, including Middle English, Old Norse, Old English and even the occasional Latin.

York is a beautiful, welcoming, vibrant place to live

Students in City Screen

York is a friendly, welcoming, inspiring place to live and work – especially if you have an interest in medieval history, art, archaeology or literature.

Cafe culture is alive and well, there’s a daily market, a vibrant mix of small local retailers and major chain stores, an arts cinema, small gig venues and a pub for every day of the year – many of them housed in medieval buildings.‌

In the wider region, all within an hour of York, you will find:

  • Two breathtaking national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors
  • Numerous medieval abbeys, including Fountains, Rievaulx, Jervaulx, Byland and Whitby
  • Medieval castles including Bolton, Richmond and Scarborough
  • Spectacular ecclesiastical architecture and sculpture
  • Two of England’s biggest cities, Leeds and Sheffield

‌‌Pamela Hartshorne

“There was a stimulating research community at the CMS, with active groups and a remarkable willingness amongst the academic staff to engage in discussion and share their ideas.” 

Pamela Hartshorne (MA in Medieval Studies 1993-95)


Ollie Jones

“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!” 

Ollie Jones (MA in Medieval Studies 2006-2007)