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Reproduced from an original in the Borthwick Institute, University of York. Reference TAK/1/28, Takamiya Manuscripts Collection.

MA Medieval History

Study at one of the world's leading centres of expertise in medieval history

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

Online Open Day

Join us on Wednesday 5 June 2024 to find out what postgraduate study at York is all about. 

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York is the leading centre in the UK for masters level medieval study. 

Our MA in Medieval History will enable you to explore new approaches to the history of medieval Britain, Europe and beyond. You will have a chance to acquire new knowledge, as well as to develop valuable skills alongside extensive training in research technique and methodology.

Studying Medieval History in York will give you an unparalleled opportunity to encounter rich local resources, including manuscripts, documents, buildings and material culture. You'll benefit from a wealth of expertise on the medieval period and be challenged to think critically about source material.

You'll quickly feel part of the lively and supportive postgraduate communities in the Department of History and the Centre for Medieval Studies. We encourage you to attend seminars, conferences and research training sessions throughout the year.

The Medieval History MA has been a fantastic opportunity to delve into a period I simply wanted to know more about, facilitated and thoroughly supported by top academics in a city famed for its medieval heritage. The combination of knowledge and skills based modules has been especially enjoyable, and I've got to know a lovely group of other students who share my interests.
Connie, MA Medieval History student

We're 3rd in the UK

and third nationally for the impact of our research in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

Access to archives

The University is home to the Borthwick Institute for Archives and students can also access York Minster Library and the City Archives. We're also close to the British Library Reading Room at Boston Spa, where you can consult millions of items.

Skills training

Our skills modules are unique to our courses, and will give you practical knowledge of professional research methods.

Course content

The course consists of:

  • a core module
  • skills options, typically Latin and Palaeography
  • taught option modules
  • 14,000 - 16,000-word dissertation


Core modules

Option modules

You will study three option modules in total, one of them a skills option. Recent modules offered on the medieval period include:

The Centre for Medieval Studies also offers a variety of option modules which may be available to Medieval History students, subject to availability.

You will also be able to choose from other option modules in the department:

Reading the Middle Ages skills options

Students may study Arabic, or two other medieval languages, or a language and palaeography. Language options include Latin, Old English, Old Norse and Old French; palaeography options are early book hands, administrative hands, or late book hands. Many students include Latin as one of their skills and the teaching programme caters fully to the needs of complete beginners as well as those with some acquaintance with the subject.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


You will write a dissertation of between 14,000 - 16,000 words on a topic of your choice. Using source materials and analysis techniques, you will draft up the findings into an independently researched dissertation.

You will receive support, advice and guidance from your dissertation adviser throughout your project. The range of expertise of our staff and of our source materials means we can provide you with guidance on a wide range of topics. 

You will have five one-to-one meetings with your dissertation adviser across Semester 2 and the summer period (June/July). In these meetings, you will discuss the feasibility of your project and receive feedback on two draft chapters of your dissertation.

Past dissertation titles have included:

  • "A heap of all I have found" The study of Sub-Roman Britain through the Context of Time in Early Medieval History
  • Beneath deep and dark waters: An ecocritical study into Old Norse perceptions of water in the Íslendingasögur, with references to eddic mythology
  • Gentiles in Gwynedd: Assessing possible Scandinavian Settlement and Control in Medieval North Wales (AD 750- 1250)
  • "Now she has been made the nest of dragons and the pasture of ostriches,”: Orientalism, Othering and Place in Crusade-era Animal and Monster Sources
  • Theft in the Nottingham Borough Court Rolls, 1322-1366
  • The Right to Remain Silent: Understanding Marguerite Porete Through Her Decision Not to Speak
  • The Royal Pardon and Chivalric Culture: Political Reconciliation during the Reign of Edward IV
  • Books in Late Medieval English Wills, c.1300-c.1500

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:

  • Understand and provide illuminating interpretations of a range of primary sources for medieval history, in their original form and in published editions and translations, showing sensitivity to the epistemological and interpretive challenges associated with the use of these materials.
  • Evaluate historical arguments and deploy diverse methods to construct their own arguments, with a critical understanding of a variety of methodologies and approaches to medieval sources and historical subjects.
  • Work with medieval texts and documents in their original form, demonstrating a basic mastery of medieval language and, if relevant, palaeography.
  • Identify appropriate primary and secondary material in appropriate media and formats, including digital media.
  • Formulate original and well-targeted research questions, drawing on an understanding of the state of debate and what are likely to be fruitful areas of investigation.
  • Respond appropriately to the ethical and epistemological issues that arise during advanced historical research, including interdisciplinarity.
  • Express their findings in lucid, persuasive prose.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student 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

There is no obligation to purchase books or other texts - all core texts and resources will be available in our library or online.

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 2024/25 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

Departmental Funding Opportunities

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

Most of your modules will consist of weekly two-hour seminars. The Research Training module will be taught through three-hour workshops. You will normally work in small groups of fewer than 20 students.

Teaching location

You will be based between the Department of History in Vanbrugh College on Campus West, and the Centre for Medieval Studies in King's Manor in the city centre. Around half of your teaching will take place in King's Manor, while the other half will take place in or close to Vanbrugh College.

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 primarily assessed by essays and your dissertation. You will have the chance to submit assignments for formative assessment, enabling you to get and use feedback before the final summative assessment. 

A lecturer and student reading a historical text

A city rich in history and heritage

York is the ideal place to be inspired to study the past, with a rich and turbulent history stretching back to the Romans. Today the city boasts beautiful historic architecture, as well as a variety of museums, galleries and heritage organisations.

Extensive archives

The University is home to the Borthwick Institute for Archives and students can also access York Minster Library and the City Archives. We're also close to the British Library Reading Room at Boston Spa where you can consult millions of items.

Careers and skills

An MA in Medieval History will prepare you for a diverse range of careers. The degree is equally suitable for students who wish to pursue doctoral research or careers in teaching, public history, archives, or for those with enthusiasm for the subject but do not yet have a clear career direction.

While completing your MA, you will gain essential skills in research, presentation and analysis. The skills training modules will provide you with additional, specialist skills in areas of your choice.

Career opportunities

You will be able to explore careers in the following areas:

  • schools and academia
  • library and archives
  • civil service and government
  • communications and media
  • business and administration
  • charitable sector

Transferable skills

  • analytical thinking
  • formation of original arguments
  • effective time management
  • communication skills
  • efficient organisation, use and management of electronic research resources
  • ability to carry out independent research using primary sources
  • professional presentation skills
  • ability to analyse new information and draw conclusions

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in History or a related discipline.
Other qualifications and experience We would consider a 2:2 but our decision would depend on the whole application including the quality of the written work submitted.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit examples of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

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 (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR C1 Advanced: 185, with 176 in each component
Oxford ELLT 8, minimum 7 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 75 with a minimum of 70 in each component
KITE 495-526, with 459-494 in all other components
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all component

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't 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 online. 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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Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Sethina Watson

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Department of History

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