Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses>Medieval History (MA)
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: 2020


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

Chat to current students at our next online event and find out what studying at York is really like.

Talk to us

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

In the Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, our Department of History was second overall for research performance.

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

Skills modules

  • Palaeography (10 credits)
  • Beginner Latin (10 credits) or Intermediate Latin (10 credits): 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.

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, 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

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, both 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 in constructing and evaluating historical arguments.
  • Evaluate historical arguments and deploy diverse methods to construct their own arguments in the light of a critical understanding of a variety of methodologies and approaches to medieval sources.
  • Work with medieval texts and documents in their original form, demonstrating a basic mastery of Medieval Latin and 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 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

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 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. 

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 Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in History or a related discipline.

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 176 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'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.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of History

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.