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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

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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York is the leading centre in the UK for masters level medieval study. The international reputation of our staff means that our medieval MA courses are some of the most popular and sought after in the world.

Our MA in Medieval History will enable you to explore new approaches to the history of medieval Britain and Europe. 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 get acquainted with rich local resources, including manuscripts, documents, coins, 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 supportive postgraduate community 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.


Leading research

History at York has been ranked 2nd in the UK for the quality, significance and impact of our research in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

Top 100 in the QS World Rankings

QS ranks our Department of History as one of the best in the world

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 (20 credits)
  • two skills modules, Latin and Palaeography (10 credits each)
  • two taught option modules (20 credits each)
  • a research training module (10 credits)
  • 20,000 word dissertation (90 credits)

In the Autumn Term, you'll complete the core module and one option module and you will begin the study of Latin and palaeography.

The research training module runs over the Autumn and Spring Terms.

In the Spring Term, you'll complete one further option module and your two skills training modules.


Core modules

Perspectives on Medieval History (20 credits) in the Autumn Term introduces you to a diverse range of themes and areas of debate within the study of medieval history. You will develop a familiarity with the source materials used by historians as well as the analytical and interpretative methods necessary for your own research.

Research Training (10 credits) will prepare you for your dissertation. It provides you with essential training in graduate-level research skills: selecting and shaping a research topic, project management, locating appropriate primary and secondary sources and analysing and presenting your findings.

Skills modules

Palaeography (10 credits) will enable you to accurately transcribe manuscripts and documents of your chosen period, to understand when, how and why such texts were produced and to understand the circumstances and conventions associated with their production and preservation.

Latin (beginner or intermediate) (10 credits) will give you a sound grasp of Latin grammar and vocabulary, and will help you to read and translate texts of varying difficulty. We assume that most students will have little or no prior knowledge of Latin and the teaching programme caters fully to the needs of complete beginners as well as those with some acquaintance with the subject.

Option modules:

You'll choose two taught option modules (20 credits each).

We offer the following option modules focussing on the Medieval period:

The Centre for Medieval Studies provides a number of modules for Medieval Studies students. Medieval History students may be able to study one of these modules, subject to availability. 

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

Please note that these option modules are provisional and may be subject to change.

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


During the Summer Term and the summer vacation, you will write a research dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice. You'll start planning for your dissertation in the Autumn Term, supported by the Research Training module.

For your dissertation, you will be advised by a member of the Department of History, with a programme of regular meetings and feedback. Our range of expertise and wealth of source material means we can provide supervision on a wide range of topics, both chronologically and geographically:

  • Using the Borough Court in Fourteenth Century Nottingham. How did people present their cases to achieve the outcome that they wanted?
  • Fear, Gregory of Tours and the Sixth Century Merovingians
  • Readers of Souls': The Roles and Requirements of Priest-Confessors, 1000-1250
  • The English Episcopal Acta as a source for governing and reforming the dioceses of Chichester and Salisbury, 1230-1270
  • Punitive Blinding in Carolingian Europe: Royal Justice and the Uses of Mercy
  • Representation and Regulation of Sexuality and Gender in Later Bestiary Manuscripts, c.1200-1500

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780

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.

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 accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

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. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

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 in the Department of History in Vanbrugh College on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in or close to Vanbrugh College.

Course location

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. 

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

Our graduates have gone on to a variety of careers:

  • ​Archiving
  • Teaching
  • Museums
  • Civil service
  • Law 
  • Heritage management
  • Conservation
  • Publishing

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 in primary sources
  • Professional presentation skills
  • Ability to analyse new information and draw conclusions

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

We typically ask for a 2:1 degree in History or a related discipline.

If you are an international student please check the minimum requirements for your country or region..

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

English language

  • IELTS: 7.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 51 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with no less than 162 in each component
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all component


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

Dr Mary Garrison

Learn more

Department of History

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