Medieval History (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to July

Between the heyday of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (c. 200-1500), Europe, the Middle East and North Africa were transformed. The loss of Roman power in the west, the rise of Christianity and Islam, the changing shape of cities and the development of new technologies and economic systems are only some of the processes which you will have a chance to explore. Their impact was felt from Britain to India and China. This Master's degree in Medieval History will train you in the skills needed to explore societies which developed in this fascinating period and will give you the freedom to trace your own path through it. 

The programme will introduce you to a variety of topics, including religion and heresy, philosophy and political thought, the expansion of urban communities, power and kingship and travel and mobility. You will develop your ability to assess and analyse historical evidence, examining material and textual sources. Courses offered include analysis of guild records, manorial court rolls, literary sources such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Margery Kempe, maps and travel texts, coins and architectural remains. Breadth of interdisciplinary coverage and geographical scope, including seminars on Byzantium, the Indian Ocean, the Low Countries, Italy, France, Britain and Scandinavia, make the Birkbeck Medieval History MA a unique, challenging and exciting introduction to the Middle Ages.

Highlights

Course structure

You study one compulsory module and three option modules from a diverse range of topics. Supplementary courses - including in Latin and palaeography - will also be available.

Not all modules are available each year. 

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    At least a second-class honours degree.

    We also offer a one-year Graduate Certificate in History, which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study history at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £4075 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £8175 pa
    Part-time international students: £7425 pa
    Full-time international students: £14850 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Two-hour seminars. However, these cannot be guaranteed and, where student demand is high, a mixture of lectures and small discussion groups may be employed, giving you a full opportunity to develop your own ideas.

    Key teaching staff on this programme

    Course director: Dr Rebecca Darley

    Staff involved in teaching the MA include:

    Other medievalists at Birkbeck include:

    • Professor Anthony Bale, a Reader in English who works on late medieval texts and culture
    • Dr Isabel Davis, a lecturer in English who works on late medieval texts and culture
    • Dr Alison Finlay, a lecturer in English, specialising in Old Icelandic sagas and heroic poetry, and Old English
    • Dr Robert Maniura, a lecturer in art history who works on late medieval art and architecture
    • Dr Zoe Opacic, a lecturer in art history, who works on late medieval art and architecture.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Compulsory and option modules are assessed by essays of 5000-5500 words (four in total); dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words.

    Every module has an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in research and archiving, education, the heritage industry, publication and the media, the charity sector and journalism. Possible professions include historian, higher education lecturer, or archivist. This degree provides a range of transferable skills, which may be useful in becoming a journalist, heritage manager, politician’s assistant, academic librarian, or museum/gallery curator.

    Find out more about these professions.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You should apply as early as possible.

    Interviews from January.