The degree consists of three elements which make a total of 180 credits:
Core modules - normally Approaches to Medieval Studies (20 credits) and Research Skills for Medieval Studies (20 Credits)
Optional module, such as Historical Methods chosen from an extensive list of modules offered across History's MA courses (20 credits)
Thesis of 20,000 words (120 credits)
The courses are assessed in various ways – by examination, coursework and attendance.
Why study this course
“What I’m really interested in is what was being used as money before coins came into common use in England. Being part-time I have limited time at the university, but the events that I’ve attended, and more especially the people that I’ve met, have more than made up for the limited opportunities to talk and socialise. The conferences, occasional lectures and presentations and the field trips that I’ve attended have helped me to view my own research differently, suggesting new avenues of research and reinforcement of what I’ve been doing. That the approach has been cross-disciplinary has been very useful, as it’s far too easy to compartmentalise when involved in a specialist field. When I started out, what I really required was some mental stimulation, and this I’ve found in the company of people who also really enjoy learning and who are friendly, constructive and open-minded about their subjects.”
[Mark Errington (part-time), who is researching money and money-equivalents in seventh- and eighth-century England.]
“I chose Birmingham and this course for two reasons. First and foremost there was the option to study part-time, which was essential for me with my family commitments and not being resident in Birmingham. Secondly, once I began making enquiries it became apparent that the staff members I was dealing with were interested in my background as a mature student, and seemed willing to tailor their input to suit my needs. This has continued to be the case: I came to Birmingham with clear ideas about what I wanted to research, and although they have been modified as I’ve learnt more about the medieval period, I’ve never felt that I was being pushed into a mould. In my experience the programme is about learning how to do your own research, in an encouraging and stimulating environment. Everyone I’ve met, both staff and fellow postgraduates, has been willing to share expertise - as often over coffee in the Common Room as in the weekly Research Seminars.”
[Katherine Lack (part-time), who is researching the life of Duke Robert Curthose and the impact of 'political propaganda' in the eleventh-century Anglo-Norman succession disputes.]
The following two modules form represent the core of the taught component of this course:
Approaches to Medieval Studies
Medieval Studies is a field to which many different disciplines contribute; the aim of this module is to expose students to approaches to the medieval past from a range of disciplines (such as archaeology, history, language & literature, art history, etc), in order to enable them to discuss and compare various approaches, and critically assess their utility for the students' own research.
Students will use key texts and case studies on important themes in the study of the Middle Ages (such as gender, space, the life-cycle, social groups, the nature of power) and each session will be led by two tutors, each from a different discipline, allowing students to directly compare different disciplines' approaches and methods. Seminars will also deal with a selection of contemporary critical and cultural theories and associated modes of analysis.
Research Skills in Medieval Studies
This module aims to equip students with the skills necessary to proceed to postgraduate dissertation research with confidence. In the first term students will meet for a fortnightly seminar that will consider themes that may include: (1) building a bibliography; (2) academic writing; (3) footnotes and citation; (4) writing and delivering academic papers; (5) reviewing. In addition, students will meet with their dissertation supervisors once in the Autumn and four times in the Spring for one-to-one tutorial meetings to discuss their chosen research topic and to develop a bibliography of primary and secondary materials as appropriate.
One further 20 credit module must be chosen from the school of History's extensive suite of taught-MA modules, such as:
This module introduces you to the major developments in historical approaches since the Second World War and to some of the major schools of, or tendencies in, historical research such as the Annales School, the English historians’ response to Marxism, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender, history of science and critical social theory (Geertz and Foucault). The focus is on the application of the ideas to historical practice then and now.
Under the guidance of your academic supervisor, you will complete a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a subject of your choice, providing an exciting opportunity to research a medieval topic of your own choice and helps you to develop your research and related skills,
Fees and funding
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2014/15 are currently as follows:
Home / EU £3,996 full-time; £1,998 part-time
Overseas: £12,565 full-time; £6,282.50 part-time
Learn more about fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
University of Birmingham graduates - including those due to graduate in summer 2014 - may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
How to apply
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages