Research course

Medieval Studies

University of Birmingham · Department of English Literature and Creative Writing

Entry requirements

2:1 (Hons) in a relevant subject

Months of entry


Course content

This programme offers opportunities to engage in advanced study of Medieval English texts (or another medieval literature and culture), with options to explore links between medieval writing, cultural production and social processes.

As part of the Medieval Studies MRes you are required to take the following modules:

Resources and Methods for Medieval Literary Studies

This module introduces the key resources and methods used in working with original medieval literary sources. You will be introduced to the examination of medieval manuscript books and to the principles and practices of editing texts from manuscript. Classes in language study and transcription will support work on the original texts (you may focus on Old English or Middle English; undergraduate study or equivalent of the variety chosen will be required for registration on the module).

Bibliographical Methods

This module introduces the key bibliographical resources and methods used in working with secondary sources for medieval literature and culture.

Approaches to Medieval Studies

A Topic in Medieval Texts, Cultures and Societies

This module offers you opportunities to tackle problems and issues that are at the forefront of current research on medieval texts, cultures and societies. Working independently, but with the regular guidance and feedback of a supervisor, you will research and write an essay on a current problem or issue related to your chosen topic, selected in consultation with the supervisor. Generally subjects selected for study will be relevant to your proposed dissertation subject. Topics for which supervision is available include: Chaucer and Dante: Modern Receptions; Chaucer and Dante: Response, Reaction, Assimilation; Courtly and Popular Song in the Middle Ages; Editing the Medieval Text in the Electronic Age; History, Chronicle and Annal in the Middle Ages; Medieval English Romance; Medieval German Adaptations of French Literature; Medieval German Courtly Romance; Medieval German Epic; Piers Plowman: Manuscripts, Texts and Contexts; Symbolism and Allegory in the Middle Ages; Text and Image in the Middle Ages; Women and the Early Printed Book; Writing, Religion and Politics in Late Medieval England.

These modules then provide the framework for a 20,000-word dissertation.

Carrying out research for and writing the dissertation gives you the opportunity to develop and put into practice what you have learned on the taught modules. The dissertation is due at the end of the programme and may form the foundation for a doctoral project, or it may serve as a free-standing piece of work. You work under the guidance of a supervisor or joint supervisors (for example, for an interdisciplinary project).

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days (Friday 3 November 2015 and Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at:

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT - £2,061 PT
International students
£13,680 FT

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Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005