Medieval Literature and Culture (MA)

Year of entry


Start date

September 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


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

This programme offers the opportunity to make a special study of the medieval period, considering the richness and diversity of its literature, art and history. It is possible to study in either an interdisciplinary or a more literary way.

A combination of taught core and option modules with an independent research component enables you to tailor the programme to your personal interests. The programme allows you to engage with advanced work at Master's level and is also an excellent preparation for doctoral research.

Students have access to some of the best resources in the world for medieval research, being close to many renowned research libraries, galleries, museums and manuscript repositories. This programme teaches the skills which are needed to explore those riches in original and scholarly ways.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

MA Medieval Literature and Culture students are invited to apply for two research internship placements at the Globe Theatre.

Read more


  • 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.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • We are based in Bloomsbury in central London and the unrivalled resources of the British Museum and the British Library are nearby, alongside a host of other world-renowned libraries, museums and galleries. There is an opportunity to apply for a research internship placement at the Globe Theatre.
  • The Department of English and Humanities has an outstanding reputation for offering imaginative, critical and creative programmes designed and taught by leading academics and practitioners in the field, within a learning environment supportive of the needs of students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.
  • 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.
Book an open evening Order a prospectus Contact us

Course structure

The programme has two core modules - Medieval Material Texts and Medieval Text and Intertext - which run in alternate years. You will take one of these, depending on your year of entry. Both modules explore resources for studying medieval literature and demonstrate their use in higher-level postgraduate research work. 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 from 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.

    Read more about modules

    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).

    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.

    Visit the Department of English and Humanities