Medieval Literature and Culture (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

September 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

This degree offers you the opportunity to make a special study of the medieval period, considering the richness and diversity of its literature, art and history. This course runs alongside the MA Medieval History, and we have close links to other departments at Birkbeck. So you will be able to tailor this course to suit your personal interests by choosing to study relevant option modules and pursue an independent research component.

You can also choose to study in either an interdisciplinary or in a more literary way, and use this course as preparation for doctoral research.

As a student at Birkbeck, you will have access to some of the best resources in the world for medieval research - we are close to many renowned research libraries, galleries, museums and manuscript repositories. On this course, we will teach you the skills you need to explore these riches in original and scholarly ways.


 

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
  • English Language and Literature achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff in our Department of English and Humanities submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • The Department of English occupies houses in Gordon Square that are associated with the members of the Bloomsbury Group: 46 Gordon Square was the family home of Virginia Woolf, her brothers and her sister, Vanessa, until the latter's marriage to the art critic Clive Bell in 1907. It was later occupied by the economist John Maynard Keynes.
  • We have a thriving research culture, with student-led reading groups and a regular programme of major visiting speakers, including the Birkbeck Medieval Seminar and the Material Texts Network. You will also be able to access the unrivalled resources of the British Museum and the British Library, alongside a host of other world-renowned libraries, museums and galleries.
  • In any term, instead of a taught option module, you can opt to do a module of directed reading. This would suit a student who has a particular interest which is not covered by the offered options. You would work with a supervisor towards an independent research essay of 5000 words.
  • There is an opportunity to apply for a research internship placement at the Globe Theatre.

Course structure

This degree has two core modules - Medieval Material Texts, and Medieval Text and Intertext - which run in alternate years. Both modules explore resources for studying medieval literature and demonstrate their use in higher-level postgraduate research work. You will take one of these, depending on your year of entry. The other core module will be offered as an option to part-time students in their second year.

You will also study the module, Approaching Research in Medieval Literature and Culture, which covers study skills. Classes may include field trips to local archives and workshops on describing manuscripts and good writing.

Option modules will reflect the research interests of Birkbeck staff from the Department of English and Humanities, but also the disciplines of history, archaeology and art history.

These will variously cover:

  • Middle English and Anglo-Saxon literature and books
  • religious, cultural, political and gender history
  • visual and literary theory
  • the archaeology of a number of different parts of Europe
  • European architecture and art.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

 

    Module groups

    Option modules vary from year to year. You may also choose other modules from the MA Renaissance Studies (or, by arrangement, other Birkbeck MA programmes).

     

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      A good second-class honours degree in a relevant subject.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 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

      You usually have a 90-minute or two-hour seminar, with some individual instruction for essays and the dissertation. Where student demand is high, however, a mixture of lectures and small discussion groups may be used.

      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

      Core and option modules are assessed by essays. You also write a dissertation of 15,000 words. There are mandatory core course research skills sessions in the summer term.

      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 go in to careers in research and archiving, museums and galleries, education and journalism. Possible professions include archivist, researcher, or higher education lecturer. This degree can also be useful in a variety of roles within museums and galleries, as well as in becoming a newspaper/magazine journalist or arts administrator.

      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

      We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.