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MA Medieval Archaeology

Explore the past from the European heartland of medieval archaeology

Year of entry: 2019
Show year of entry: 2020


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time,
3 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Find out what studying at York as a postgraduate is really like.  

Meet us

The buildings, material culture and landscapes of York and the north of England offer unrivalled opportunities to study and research medieval archaeology.

One of the first universities in the country to specialise in medieval archaeology, the department at York is well established as a leading authority on the subject. The specialisms of our staff cover the whole medieval period, ensuring that you benefit from a wide range of teaching and other opportunities.

The course focuses on the artefacts, landscapes and buildings, social, cultural and environmental contexts of medieval Britain and Western Europe. It covers the period from the end of the Roman Empire to the Reformation, and explores themes such settlement, trade and economy, religion, buildings and artefacts, social structure, ethnicity and identity, conquest and cultural contact, and methodological and theoretical approaches.

The flexible modular structure of the course means you can tailor your MA to suit your interests and goals. There is an opportunity to learn valuable practical skills, which are essential for a wide range of archaeological and associated careers.


Course content

You'll study a total of 180 credits over the course. You will study two core modules (worth a total of 40 credits) and six option modules, four of which will be shorter skills modules (worth a total of 20 credits, plus longer option modules worth a total of 40 credits). You will hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your chosen topic (80 credits).


Core modules

Option modules

You will also select two further 20-credit modules and four shorter 'skills' modules from this table.


Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


You'll also write a dissertation of 15-20,000 words and present an assessed lecture on your research topic. This is worth a total of 80 credits.

Some examples of past dissertation topics include:

  • Sites of kingship and their meanings in early medieval Ireland
  • An exploration of the landscape of Hadrian’s Wall in the post-Roman period
  • The effects of the Reformation on brass commemoration
  • An analysis and reinterpretation of settlement sites in the Crusader kingdoms
  • An archaeological assessment of the Danelaw boundary and its landscape
  • The creation of new typologies and interpretations of Cistercian metalwork
  • A theoretical assessment of Anglo-Saxon female saints’ cults
  • An analysis of the osteological material from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • study a broad range of issues in medieval archaeology at a general level
  • explore selected topics in detail, which may be drawn from both the early and later medieval periods
  • relate general research principles and skills to studies of medieval archaeology in particular
  • develop an ability to gather and organise information and arguments in a critical and independent manner
  • undertake a piece of independent research on a topic within the field of medieval archaeology
  • develop written communication skills through essays and dissertation
  • develop presentation skills through the delivery of seminar papers and a short lecture on the dissertation topic 

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Part-time (3 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online and it isn't mandatory that you buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and fieldwork.

Teaching location

The majority of teaching takes place at King's Manor, in the centre of York.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you opt to take, these could include: 

  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation
  • Or alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters

Beautiful surroundings

Study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of historic York.

Feel at home

Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our department is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York.

Careers and skills

The course provides a solid foundation for a wide range of careers and further studies. Our students have gone on to research degrees, academic or teaching careers, museum positions and archaeology posts at local councils, regional authorities, field units, and heritage bodies such as English Heritage and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Find out more about what our students have gone on to do.

Career opportunities

Postgraduates have gone on to pursue research degrees, academic or teaching careers, museum positions and archaeology posts at local councils, regional authorities, field units and heritage bodies. Some of the organisations our students now work for include:

Transferable skills

  • Time-management
  • The ability to investigate topics in depth
  • Research skills
  • Think critically
  • Work independently
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Presentation skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
  • A good honours degree (upper second or first class) in a relevant subject, or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution. Relevant subjects include archaeology, anthropology, Classics, history, art history, geography and medieval/Renaissance studies. From North American universities, we generally ask for a GPA of 3.2 or higher. If you are uncertain whether your first degree is appropriate, please contact the Course Director for more information. 
Other qualifications

If you don’t have conventional qualifications, but do have appropriate, relevant experience, you are encouraged to apply. We carefully consider each application on its merits. 

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.  We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 6.5 in Writing and no less than 6.0 in all other components
  • PTE Academic: 61, with a minimum of 61 in Writing and no less than 55 in all other components
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with a minimum of 176 in Writing and no less than 169 in all other components
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 23 in Writing and a minimum of 21 in all other components
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Archaeology

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