Research course

Medieval History

University of Birmingham · Department of History
PhDMA by research

Entry requirements

Students applying for an MA by Research have normally obtained a good (usually Upper Second) undergraduate degree, while students applying for a PhD have a postgraduate degree. Work-related experience is also taken into account for registration.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

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.

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.

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:

Department specialisms

The late medieval Church in continental Europe, especially religious orders, heresy and Inquisition. Early European economic and social history; the Vikings. Economy and society in late medieval England. Religious culture in central Middle Ages (c 1000-c1300) especially history of crusading. Late medieval English legal history; the friars in England. Premodern China, especially c.700-1200; comparative, world and global history; borders, cross-cultural interaction, politics and society The late medieval Church and society, especially in England. England, 900–1200: religious and political culture; issues concerning gender and identity.

Information for international students

International students can find details of scholarships at

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT - £2,061 PT
International students
£13,680 FT - £6,840 PT

Please visit:

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
36-72 months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months

MA by research

distance learning
12-24 months
full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005