Medieval History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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At Birmingham we offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research amongst one of the largest concentrations of medieval historians in the UK. There are nine permanent academic staff in the field of Medieval History in the Department of History, covering a varied range of aspects of the histories of Britain, continental Europe, and China from around 500 to around 1500. Current research interests extend to areas of cultural and social history, political development, and economic and religious history

Course fact file

Type of Course: Doctoral research

Study Options: Distance learning, full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MA by Research – 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: January 2014, September 2014

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance. See ‘Research interests’ for more information. 

Details

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.

You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

Research degrees in Medieval History at Birmingham provide opportunities for detailed guided engagement with a specific topic enhanced by the debates and cross-fertilisation of ideas sparked off by working in contact and association with a unique and dynamic group of academics and other students. The extensive holdings of the University’s library, and ready access to other regional archives and libraries, offer abundant raw material for research. As well as the extensive range covered by medievalists within the Department of History, additional expertise in many aspects of Medieval History is distributed across other departments of the College of Arts and Law, notably in the fields of Byzantine, Hispanic and Music history. All medievalists across the College are united in a lively inter- and multi-disciplinary research culture co-ordinated through the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (CeSMA), with seminar programmes providing fora to hear and deliver papers and broaden intellectual horizons.

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

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 be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. 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.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic 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

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

For all applicants:

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

Apply now

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance. See ‘Research interests’ for more information. 

Research interests of staff

  • Early European economic and social history; the Vikings.
    Contact: Dr Chris Callow
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5934
    Email: c.p.callow@bham.ac.uk
  • Economy and society in late medieval England.
    Contact: Dr Miriam Müller
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5741
    Email: m.muller.1@bham.ac.uk
  • Religious culture in central Middle Ages (c 1000-c1300) especially history of crusading.
    Contact: Dr William Purkis
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6626
    Email: w.j.purkis@bham.ac.uk
  • Late medieval English legal history; the friars in England.
    Contact: Dr Jens Röhrkasten
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5761
    Email: j.roehrkasten@bham.ac.uk
  • Premodern China, especially c.700-1200; comparative, world and global history; borders, cross-cultural interaction, politics and society
    Contact: Professor Naomi Standen
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6881
    Email: n.standen@bham.ac.uk
  • The late medieval Church and society, especially in England.
    Contact: Professor Robert Swanson
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5748
    Email: r.n.swanson@bham.ac.uk
  • England, 900–1200: religious and political culture; issues concerning gender and identity.
    Contact: Dr Simon Yarrow
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5744
    Email: s.s.yarrow@bham.ac.uk

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance. See ‘Research interests’ for more information. 

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Our History graduates develop a range of skills including, familiarity with research methods, the ability to manage large and diverse quantities of information, and the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines, which can be used in a variety of occupations. A snapshot of graduate destinations over a five-year period has identified a variety of career paths, from journalism, to accounting, to lecturing. Over the past five years, over 94 per cent of our History postgraduates have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance. See ‘Research interests’ for more information.