Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2022/23>Medieval Studies (MA)
Reproduced from an original in the Borthwick Institute, University of York. Reference TAK/1/28, Takamiya Manuscripts Collection.

MA Medieval Studies

(Including Medieval Islamic Cultures pathway)

Explore all facets of global medieval life and culture, from 400 to 1550, studying in the heart of England's medieval capital.

Year of entry: 2022 (September)
Show year of entry: 2023


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2022 (term dates)

Meet us

Speak with us about postgraduate study at York through our range of events.

Find out more

As part of the MA in Medieval Studies, we offer a Medieval Islamic Cultures pathway so you can choose to focus your studies in this specialist area.

The Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS) is the UK’s oldest and largest centre for the interdisciplinary study and research into the Middle Ages. Our expertise spans over 1,000 years and multiple disciplines and faculties, offering dedicated skills training in palaeography, diplomatic and medieval languages.

New disciplines will complement your existing experience, offering you bespoke interdisciplinary modules as well as world-class teaching in the subjects of Archaeology, Literature and Language, History, History of Art and History of Science. You'll learn to recognise how geographies, chronologies and sources of evidence are interrelated, while exploring the fields of study that most interest you. Our global range of research and teaching extends across medieval Britain, Scandinavia, Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and Islamic Cultures, from 500-1500.

Our new interdisciplinary pathway examines the cultures of the Islamic world through the prism of literature, history, archaeology, art and architecture. Drawing on the wide-ranging experience of our staff, you can create a bespoke programme that demonstrates the close connections across the medieval Mediterranean and beyond into Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Anatolia, Central Asia and East Africa.

In the medieval city of York, inspiration is everywhere, and you'll have access to some of the UK's most important medieval archives and museums, including York Minster Library and Archives, the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the Yorkshire Museum, and Jorvik Viking Centre.

Our graduates go on to work in a wide range of professions, including academic teaching and research, archives, libraries, museums, galleries, publishing companies and the heritage sector.

Tomb of 'Izz al-Din Kay Kawus, Sivas, Turkey
The CMS has been a fantastic place to study with a vibrant and inclusive community. The staff are extremely supportive and happy to discuss ideas, while the centre's profoundly interdisciplinary character means that I have found new, exciting and sometimes unexpected approaches to my research.
Luke, PhD student

Four times the expertise

Work with specialists from the Departments of Archaeology, English, History and History of Art for a truly interdisciplinary experience.

A city full of resources

Access state-of-the-art resources, including research centres, archives and libraries.

Skills training

Unparalleled practical skills training in palaeography, diplomatic and medieval languages.

University of the Year shortlisted

We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.

  • Times Higher Education Awards 2021
  • The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Find out more about our nominations

Course content

You'll take a core module that will introduce you to the methodologies and approaches of interdisciplinary study, as well as training you in the use of research resources.

We offer a broad range of modules ranging in date, from Late Antiquity to the late Middle Ages, and geographically from England, Scandinavia and Europe to North Africa and the Middle East, enabling you to explore a cosmopolitan and connected global medieval world.

You'll also take skills modules, streamlined according to your knowledge and experience. These will equip you with the skills required to read and interpret original documents from the Medieval period.

In the spring, you'll choose a topic for your dissertation, and continue working on it throughout the summer. During this time, you'll attend dissertation workshops, research seminars and consultations with your dissertation supervisor, either in person or via email or telephone.

Medieval Islamic Cultures pathway

You must take at least two Islamic-related option modules and Arabic skills modules, and complete your dissertation on an Islamic topic.

If you choose the Medieval Islamic Cultures pathway you will graduate with a degree title of MA in Medieval Studies.


Core module

Option modules

At least one option module must be a CMS interdisciplinary module, and those remaining must be from different disciplines.

If you are on the Islamic Cultures pathway, two of your chosen modules must be Islamic-related option modules:

CMS Interdisciplinary modules

Interdisciplinary modules are team-taught by a number of staff from our parent departments. Options vary from year to year, but examples of these modules include:

Islamic-related option modules:

Modules may include:

Single-discipline option modules

Modules may include:

Skills modules

You'll also choose from a selection of skills modules. If you are on the Islamic Cultures pathway you must choose at least one Arabic skills module. Modules may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.


You'll submit a 15,000-20,000-word dissertation on a topic anywhere within the chronological period 400-1550. You'll choose this during February or March after consultation with CMS staff. You can choose whether to write your dissertation using the resources of multiple disciplines, or to specialise in just one. Although you're not required to choose an interdisciplinary topic, many students find this a rewarding option.

If you are on the Islamic Cultures pathway, you must complete your dissertation on an Islamic topic.

You'll be allocated a supervisor who will meet you regularly to help structure your research programme, suggest reading, and provide feedback on your written work. Dissertation workshops will run throughout the summer to provide extra support. The dissertation accounts for 57 per cent of your final mark.

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:

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of current research, theoretical approaches, context, sources and advanced scholarship at the forefront of medieval studies.
  • Critically evaluate a range of complex scholarly arguments and primary sources, informed by systematic knowledge of relevant disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches within the early, high and later Middle Ages.
  • Independently analyse and interpret diverse forms of medieval primary sources and data to high academic and professional standards.
  • Confidently and concisely synthesise, review, critique and present relevant information verbally and in written form to a range of academic and other audiences, using print, visual, and where appropriate, digital media.
  • Demonstrate originality through the application of knowledge and skills from disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary contexts, in individual and group work, and where possible, generate new contributions to scholarly understanding.
  • Informed by learning and research, reflect critically and constructively on a range of personal and professional skills, identifying opportunities for personal and collective development, to proactively enhance employability both within and beyond academia.
The Centre for Medieval Studies is a very supportive community, both staff and students. Everyone is easy to talk to, discuss and share ideas with. It is a fantastic place to study.
Stefan, MA Medieval Studies

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2022/23

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,290£19,950
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

You will be expected to meet printing costs associated with the submission of assignments. It may be recommended that you buy textbooks for language courses, but it is not essential, and the courses are designed so that no books need to be purchased.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

The Centre for Medieval Studies will have a limited number of scholarships to award this coming year, to support students who fall into the following categories:

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

The core module is team-taught by experts from our parent departments. You'll attend weekly two-hour seminars, where you'll be expected to read, discuss and present your work to your seminar group, culminating in a poster session. Skills modules are also delivered as weekly classes.

You'll engage regularly with our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), where you'll access weekly teaching content as well as further reading and resources.

The Centre for Medieval Studies is part of a vibrant research community, and you'll be expected to regularly attend the seminars, workshops and research groups that run throughout the year. In particular, the York Medieval Lecture is given by a distinguished external speaker, giving you a unique opportunity to learn from and engage with the wider academic community.


You'll have access to a wealth of resources including the Minster Library and Archives, the King's Manor Library and the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

You'll have use of our dedicated Humanities Research Centre on Campus West, as well as the Department of Archaeology's BioArCH lab and experimental archaeology facilities.

We have good working relations with institutions around York, such as English Heritage, the Council for British Archaeology and the York Archaeological Trust.

Teaching location

The Centre for Medieval Studies is located in King's Manor, in the city centre. Almost all of your teaching will take place in the Centre.

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 using a range of methods, including 4,000-word essays, skills tests, written exams and group poster presentations, as well as completing a dissertation. You will have the chance to get useful feedback on draft work ahead of your final submission.

Your coursework is weighted at 43 per cent of your final mark, to encourage you to experiment with unfamiliar disciplines. Your dissertation makes up the other 57 per cent.

Careers and skills

This course has successfully launched students into careers with a huge range of organisations involved in investigating and interpreting the Middle Ages, including English Heritage, the National Trust, archives, libraries, museums, galleries, publishing companies, television companies and the media.

Career opportunities

  • Historic properties steward
  • Museum education officer
  • Civil servant
  • Editorial assistant
  • Curation and collections
  • Higher education research and teaching

Transferable skills

  • Digital literacy, including use and management of electronic research resources
  • Presentation skills
  • Time management
  • Formation of original arguments
  • Analysis and interpretation of a diverse range of sources
  • Ability to carry out independent research
  • Communication skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Other qualifications and experience If you don't have experience of undergraduate study we may consider your application if you have a suitable professional background.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

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:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 176 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 110 in all other components
LanguageCert C1 Expert High Pass with 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction 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 English language test 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.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Gillian Galloway
Brittany Scowcroft

Learn more

Centre for Medieval Studies

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

Meet us

Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.