Taught course

Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Durham University · Department of History

Entry requirements

  • A 2:1 or equivalent
  • A 500-word personal statement which should include the following:
    • An outline of your interest in an interdisciplinary MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies
    • What skills and knowledge you would bring to the course
    • What skills and knowledge you would hope to acquire
    • An indication of your planned area of research
  • Two academic references from people who are familiar with your work, commenting on your suitability for the programme
  • A 2,000-word sample of your written work, which could be an essay, an extract from your dissertation, or something you have written in pursuit of your further studies, preferably on a topic linked to medieval or early modern studies.
  • Required Document – Academic CV -Please upload an Academic CV - this should be no longer than 1 A4 page and should contain information about your academic achievements to date and any related-work experience you have undertaken.

Months of entry


Course content

The MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies equips you with the skills and knowledge you will need to embark on your own doctoral research journey.

Delivered by Durham’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) this MA is an ideal opportunity to develop your interest in a particular historical period.

Exploring aspects of society and thinking between AD c.300-c.1800, it is suitable if your undergraduate background is in archaeology, classics, history, literature and languages, philosophy or theology.

You will study over one year full-time or two years part-time and complete two core modules on reading and writing the medieval and early modern past. You also choose from a selection of optional modules ranging from medieval Franciscan theology to sources of power in South East Asia 1400-1800. The course culminates in a dissertation on a subject of interest.

Teaching is delivered by renowned scholars who are experts in their respective fields and together comprise one of the largest gatherings of medieval and early modern scholars in the world.

From the outset, you will be integrated into the wider research community, including an opportunity to join the vibrant postgraduate student group, MEMSA. This gives you access to an active programme of events, workshops and masterclasses with visiting subject experts and industry professionals. By joining this Masters, you will experience the rich and varied research life that exists within the Institute and the associated departments of archaeology, classics, English, history, modern languages and cultures, philosophy and theology.

All the while you will have access to unrivalled resources that include rare books, records, manuscripts and artefacts as you complete your studies within the rich cultural setting of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Core modules:

Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past introduces you to the different approaches to studying this period of history, and develops your research skills both for course work and for possible further study. This module also looks at specific historical texts and objects and their contemporary context in order to help develop your understanding of how such material emerged and developed in the medieval and early modern periods.

Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past considers a range of key themes, approaches, ideas, movements and institutions involved in the study of this period of history, including change and continuity over this time. This module will develop your research and communications skills as well as honing the skills that will help you design and complete your dissertation.

The Dissertation explores an area of interest in greater depth. It gives you the opportunity to practise, develop and demonstrate your research skills on a specific topic and prepare for independent academic research in the future. It also tests your ability to argue, respond and interpret, while demonstrating subject-specific knowledge and skills. You can choose to complete a dissertation in any of the following fields:

  • Archaeology
  • Classics
  • English Studies
  • History
  • Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Theology

Examples of optional modules:

  • Research Topics Archaeology
  • Debating Heritage and Museums
  • Protecting World Heritage
  • Latin for Research
  • Ancient Greek for Research
  • Edessa: The Athens of the East
  • Independent Research Topic
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Old Norse
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Qualitative Approaches to Digital Humanities
  • Reading Medieval Literature
  • Palaeography: Scribes, Script and History from Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Negotiating Life in The Early Modern England
  • Serious Fun: A History of Sport from the Late Middle Ages to the Present
  • Sources of Political Power in South Asia, 1400-1800
  • Power and Society in the Late Middle Ages
  • An Exhibitionary Complex: Museums, Collecting and the Historical Imagination
  • Special Topic in History
  • History of Translation
  • Crossing Cultures: Word, Text and Image in Translation
  • Special Topic in Music
  • Science and the Enlightenment
  • Special Topic in Philosophy
  • High Medieval Franciscan Theology
  • Grant-writing for Masters students
  • Things that Matter: Material and Culture in/for the Digital Age

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Department of History