Taught course

Medieval and Renaissance Studies

University of Glasgow · School of Critical Studies

Entry requirements

We normally expect applicants to have obtained a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject in medieval, Renaissance or early modern studies. We also require a sample of written work (up to around 3,000 words), a short statement of around 500 words outlining your interest in the programme, and at least one academic reference. Further information regarding academic entry requirements: student.recruitment@glasgow.ac.uk

Months of entry


Course content

This programme provides interdisciplinary training in a broad range of subject areas, covering many aspects of medieval and early modern culture. You will receive intensive training in current theories and research methods across disciplines, manuscript studies, palaeography and the medieval or modern languages most relevant to your research interests.

Key facts

· MLitt: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time

· Contact: Professor Elizabeth Robertson: Critstudies-PGEnquiries@glasgow.ac.uk

Why Glasgow

· You have a wide choice of languages to study which may include medieval Latin, Old English, Old Icelandic, medieval Welsh, Old Irish, Old French and Persian as well as a range of modern languages.

· You can tailor the programme to your own interests and requirements, while gaining an excellent grounding in the technical skills required for advanced postgraduate work.

· There are a wealth of resources available for study, including a world-class collection of medieval and renaissance manuscripts and early printed books in the University Library, original works of art housed in Glasgow Museums, and regional architectural monuments and archaeological sites.

· The strength of this programme lies in the breadth of teaching and research at the Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Programme Structure

In the first teaching period, a team-taught core course will introduce you to a range of approaches, disciplines and research developments in medieval and renaissance studies. There is a focus on original manuscripts and printed books available in the outstanding collections in the University Library.

In the second part of the programme you can select from a combination of

· supervised study on a specialist topic with an essay and oral presentation

· a medieval manuscript studies course, including palaeography training

· a specialist research methods course in renaissance studies, including palaeography training

· one or more language courses.

In the final part of the programme you will research and produce a dissertation on a topic approved by the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor.

Core and Optional Courses

Core Courses

In the first semester, students attend a twelve-week progamme of lectures and seminars with additional classes devoted to the examination of original illuminated manuscripts and incunabula in the Special Collections Department. These sessions are designed to introduce students to key research methods and developments in a variety of disciplines within Medieval and renaissance studies and to help them select individual study options. In addition, during the first and second semesters, a series of workshops are held focusing on practical aspects of academic discourse, such as research and documentation methods, essay writing, and presentation skills. During the second semester, we also offer specialized field training conducted at regional Medieval and renaissance museum collections, architectural, and archaeological sites.

An important bonus component of our core course is a select series of additional seminars and masterclasses conducted by medieval and renaissance specialists of international renown who are invited to Glasgow University from across the UK, the USA, Europe, and the Middle East. Recent speakers have included Michelle Brown, Mary Carruthers, Madeline Caviness, Michael Clanchy, Katrin Kogman-Appel, Carole Rawcliffe, Miri Rubin and Paul Saenger.

Optional courses

The study option essay may be taken in subject areas offered by contributing departments following consultation with the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor just before the semester break. The research for the study option essay is conducted in the second semester and is combined with an oral presentation element for which practice and training is provided.

We can offer expert supervision in a very wide range of subjects. To illustrate this, we have included a selection of essay and dissertation titles from past years’ intake:

· “Th’end is every tales strengthe”: unfinished narrative in Chaucer’sCanterbury Tales

· A Lacanian approach to medieval masculinity

· A study of court life in Béroul’s Tristan et Iseut and Walter Map’s De Nugis Curialum

· Allusion to illusion: discerning emblems in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta

· An analysis of Carolingian and Ottonian relations with the Church

· An analysis of Dhuoda’s Liber manualis in relation to religion, education, and aristrocratic family roles in Carolingian Europe

· Developments in Old English textbook production and their influence on student learners

· Getting under the skin of Suibhne Geilt: Shape, skin and surface inBuile Suibhne

· Hieronymus Bosch and the reinvention of the hellish

· Hunting Caravaggio’s feminine forms: “The Martyrdom of St Ursula”

· Language and national identity in Havelok, Horn Childe and Maiden Rimnild

· Romanitas in the kingdom of the Britons at Dumbarton Rock

· Saracens in C. S. Lewis: comprehending Muslim stereotypes in The Chronicles of Narnia

· Select emblems from Alciato’s Emblemata and their connection with Emperor Charles V

· Within bounds: the medieval urban house

Manuscript studies and research methods

Students may choose courses in either Medieval manuscript studies or specialist research methods in renaissance studies. The Medieval option is divided into two discrete elements, the first comprising a broad-based introduction to Medieval manuscript studies including an overview of palaeography, codicology and the editing process. The second offers students a choice from a series of options offering specialised training in specific periods, areas or types of script, such as (for example) Anglo-Saxon palaeography, Italian notarial hands or Caroline minuscule. The early modern alternative course provides training in subject-specific research skills including an introduction to early modern palaeography, textual bibliography and advanced IT resources.


Students may select a modern, medieval or ancient language to fit best with their own interests. They may join either beginners’ or more advanced classes in Latin or Greek as well as a range of modern languages, and, depending on staff availability, it is normally possible to arrange tuition in a variety of medieval languages including medieval Latin, Old English, Old Icelandic, Old Irish, Old French, Occitan, Medieval Welsh, and Old Irish.


Students choose their dissertation topic by the end of the second semester in a subject area offered by contributing subject areas following detailed consultation with the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor. The dissertation, which is to be submitted in early September, is a major study around 14,000–15,000 words in length.

Career Prospects

The programme provides an excellent preparation for PhD studies and an academic career. It also provides excellent training for museum, school and other related educational and vocational careers.

Information for international students

IELTS:overall score 7.0; no sub-test less than 7.0. ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 22 with Speaking no less than 23. CAE: 185; no sub-test less than 185 CPE: 185; no sub-test less than 185. PTE Academic: 68; minimum 60 in writing

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Prof Elizabeth Robertson